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MINI Gets Even More Mini -- and Manly

2012 Mini CooperThe 2012 Mini Cooper Packs a Punch With Top Speeds from 127 to 149 MPH.

Anyone who thought the Mini Cooper that’s been on the market for the past decade was just too spacious is in luck. BMW, Mini’s parent company, is introducing the 2012 Mini Coupe, with only two seats and a sporty rear roofline.

The Mini Coupe will come in three variants in the US, which basically break down as fast, faster, and fastest:

- Fast: the base model Mini Cooper Coupe has a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and a top speed of 127 mph.

- Faster: the Mini Cooper S Coupe has the same engine, but with a turbocharger added for a top speed of 142 mph.

- Fastest: the Mini John Cooper Works Coupe edition has the turbocharged engine and a bunch of race bits that up its top speed to 149 mph.

Why make the sporty little Mini Cooper even more sporty? It’s likely the same thing that drove Volkswagen to toughen up the silhouette of the iconic Beetle: both are perceived, rightly or wrongly, as “chick cars.” The Mini is as fun to drive as a go-kart, and the Beetle had a surprising amount of interior room, even for the very tall. Who knows why these attributes make it a “chick car,” or, for that matter, why that’s a problem, as long as the chicks are buying.

Mini recently re-entered the world racing stage with its Mini Countryman, which has been holding its own in the World Rally Championship series this year. The lessons learned at speed have gone into the Coupe, creating the fastest-accelerating Mini ever with the highest top speed.

Like the VW Beetle, this new Mini has a flat silhouette and what Mini’s calling a “helmet roof” -- not to be confused with “helmet hair” -- with a roof spoiler and active rear spoiler that extends at 50 mph. The S and Works models have standard sport seats, and a contrasting-color roof is standard on all Mini Coupes.

So it’s faster, sportier, and it has more cargo capacity, thanks to the missing rear seats. Are these manly things, or will women be just as happy to throw a weekender bag in the back of the Mini Coupe and punch the gas pedal through the twisties on the way to the beach? We shall see. For more advice on new auto buying services you can use for “chick cars” or any other cars, check out our New Autos section.