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#11

in Affordable Sports Cars

MSRP: $22,000 - $31,900
Invoice: $20,240 - $29,350
MPG: 29 City / 37 Hwy
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MINI Cooper Coupe Performance

Critics are impressed with the 2015 Mini Coupe’s razor-sharp cornering, precise steering and strong brakes. They add that the turbocharged engines in the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models are particularly potent.

  • "All of its responses are fully caffeinated, especially when you hit the little Sport button next to the shifter, which tightens up throttle and steering calibrations." -- AutoTrader
  • "In addition to the styling, the Coupe also delivers that fun-to-drive Mini experience, with crisp steering, nimble handling and spirited performance from the available turbocharged engine." -- Edmunds
  • "The Mini Coupe's driving characteristics are terrific, more terrific and even more terrific as you move upward through trim-level and horsepower steps, and each feels just slightly ‘racier’ than its corresponding Hardtop model." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "Some Minis may ride like buckboards, but all models corner like go-karts. The Coupes are no exception. These are among the smallest cars around, so they're sports-car nimble in fast direction changes." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Mini Coupe comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 121 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. The Cooper S model has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional on both models. The EPA reports that the base 2015 Mini Coupe gets up to 29/37 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class, and the Cooper S gets 26/35 mpg, which is also quite good.

The John Cooper Works model comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 208 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. According to Mini, the JCW Coupe will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 149 mph.

Though automotive journalists think the base engine delivers adequate acceleration, they say the turbocharged engines in the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models provide more thrust and a great engine sound. Reviewers prefer models with a manual transmission because of the manual’s precise shifter and light clutch pedal.

  • "The Cooper S model's turbocharged engine is one of our favorite engines in any car, delivering exuberant acceleration with virtually no turbo lag. It sounds like it's having a great time, too." -- AutoTrader
  • "The base engine is fine for leisurely cruising, but to get the kind of acceleration that better complements the Coupe's sporty styling, you should go for one of the turbocharged engines in the S and JCW models." -- Edmunds
  • "As ever, Mini's slick-shifting manual transmission and smooth, low-effort clutch action add to driving fun." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Both Coupe models have flexible torque curves, so acceleration is quick." -- Popular Mechanics (2012 Cooper S and John Cooper Works models) 

Handling and Braking

Test drivers agree that the 2015 Mini Coupe has very agile handling. Add to that responsive steering and powerful brakes, and critics say the Mini Coupe can make anyone feel like a racing champion. However, they do caution buyers to test the stiffer sport suspension option before they buy, as they can make the ride a bit harsh.

  • "It feels very nimble through turns and responds eagerly to steering inputs." -- Edmunds
  • "As with other MINIs, the optional sport suspension can make the car too stiff for everyday use -- ditto the 17-in wheels, alluring as they are. A thorough test drive may be in order if you want to check those boxes." -- AutoTrader
  • "All Minis have super-responsive handling, but the Coupe, particularly in the Cooper S or John Cooper Works versions, hangs onto twisty roads like a handshake with flypaper. It makes champions of us all." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "But also typical of Minis, the brakes are easy to modulate and deliver smooth, quick stops." -- Consumer Guide (2013) 
Review Last Updated: 12/5/14

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