Car Review: Slightly morphed Mini Cooper is now the 2012 Mini Coupe

Taking the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe on the road means business. Photo: Russell Dandridge

DALLAS, September 11, 2012 — Taking the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe on the road means business. I drove the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe, all new in 2012, and while much like the regular Cooper, there are a few noticeable differences in this two-seater version and with great mileage numbers too.

The new 2012 Mini Coupe.

The new 2012 Mini Coupe.

While it is being billed as a compact sports car, the look is not as convincing as hitting the gas pedal, at least that’s when I began to take the Mini Coupe seriously.

Competition comes from Honda CR-Z or the Scion FR-S or at least those are the closest rivals. The design is a bit off the beaten path here too. In fact, the difference that the Coupe brings to the Mini Cooper-friendly market is in the design with engine placement, roof and trunk, all quite different from the Cooper hatchback version.

The Coupe sits one-inch lower than the hatchback, and the roof blends into the rear glass and offers a spoiler. When the Coupe takes speeds over 50, a second spoiler appears from the trunk lid, sort of Batman-like really.

The 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe is offered in three trims and is a two-passenger vehicle still offering the hatchback trunk. Trims are the Base, S and John Cooper Works (JCW).

On the base you get 15-inch alloy wheels, all power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping leather steering wheel, and a sound system with the works including an auxiliary audio jack.

On the Sport package for the base, the wheels are 16-inch with hood stripes, fog lamps and a dynamic traction control with electronic differential lock.

For the Coupe S trim there is 16-inch wheels, turbocharged engine, hood scoop, fog lamps, and a sport seat. If you go with the Sport package for this trim, you get 17-inch instead of 16-inch wheels, xenon headlights, dynamic traction control and hood stripes.

The top-of-the-line John Cooper Works also has a turbo engine, Brembo brakes, aerodynamic body kit, and checkered-cloth upholstery.

In addition to the trims and Sport Package offerings, there are other features that you can mix and match like adaptive xenon headlights, heated seats/mirrors/washer jets, keyless entry/ignition, different wheels, parking sensors, cloth or leather upholstery, a navigation system, interior trim, and material options too.

Under the hood the 2012 Mini Coupe has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 121 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Expect a six-speed manual as standard, but a six-speed automatic is also available and the Coupe has a Sport button that increases the throttle, transmission and steering handling.

For the turbocharged version the S is 181 horsepower with 177 pound feet of torque and the John Cooper Works is a mighty 208 horsepower with 192 pound feet of torque. On the latter it is six-speed manual only.

Safety on the Mini Coupes includes the standards like antilock disc brakes, stability control, dual front and seat-mounted side airbags, and dynamic traction control. You can opt for a differential lock and parking sensor as well. There is also a “latch” child seat tethering system in the passenger seat as well.

Inside the Coupe it is Mini Cooper styling all the way so think those much-loved toggles and a jumbo speedometer that Mini Cooper fans are used to already.

Quite small inside, the headroom is not bad, but it does feel like a tight squeeze once inside. For luggage you get seven-cubic-feet and you access the trunk by lifting the rear glass designed to work like a hatchback.

A sporty driving experience, the Mini Cooper made me realize that it offers so much more than I had expected, really taking and owning the road, no question about it. For those who have the need for speed opt for the S or the John Cooper Works Coupe, altogether you will definitely know you are behind the wheel of a Cooper.

Should You Need to Know: For the 2012 Mini Coupe expect zero to 60 in about 6.3 seconds.

Miles Per Gallon: I drove the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe JCW with 25 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The JCW came in at $38,850.

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.

She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at www.unregularradio.com.

Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.

Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from www.historypress.net. Her third book in the Haunted Series will be released in October “Haunted Bartlesville, Oklahoma.” Follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13.


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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.

 

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