California Autos Examiner

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MINI turns 50, belches out the Concept Coupé

Would you buy a MINI Coupé?

Fifty years ago Mini was presented to the public for the first time and shortly thereafter began a career of stealing gold. Yadda, yadda, BMW buys the brand, relaunches the Cooper as a modern icon and creates a blockbuster success where customers actually wait months to get the exact car they wanted.

Click this link to view a slideshow of the MINI Concept Coupé.

BMW knows that if it wants to keep the cash rolling in, it has to keep things interesting by adding body styles. First there was the MINI, then the MINI Convertible, a longer MINI Clubman, the MINI E all-electric prototype and soon a four door model will be upon us (most likely called the Countryman). What this concept represents is another take, an extreme coupe robbed of most functionality in exchange for the “Thrill of individual mobility and the focus on pure driving pleasure.”

MINI has never been shy with superlatives and then press release is chock-a-block with them:

The new concept car carries over the unmistakable front end look from the four-seater MINI. Smoothly balanced contours on the engine lid characterized by wide and sweeping radii, the large headlights, the homogenous shape of the radiator grille and the wide lower air intake give each model that unique look, openness and charm so typical of the brand. Through the greater rake of the windscreen on the MINI Coupé Concept, the car looks even more striking and dynamic, the low and streamlined body proving clearly that the MINI Coupé Concept is a particularly outstanding performer.

The hexagon radiator grille and the large round headlights are unmistakable design features re-interpreting the front view of the classic Mini in particularly modern style. The direction indicators are integrated in the headlights, just above the innovative three-dimensional surrounds for the positioning lights and the foglamps. The entire front air dam has been adjusted to the sporting look of the car, standing out even wider and more striking than before.

Don’t get me wrong, I love MINI and have toured the factory. I enjoy building Coopers on the MINI site and am looking forward to the Countryman. However, I just don’t think this Coupé is anything to write home about.

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