Old Mini’s new look
THIS Mini is more than just a car. It’s also a unique birthday present and the icing on the cake for the 50th anniversary of the original Mini, which was born in Britain in 1959.
It could also become the next addition to the Mini lineup, although nothing is confirmed yet and the car will not be seen for the first time until the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
The two-seat Mini Concept Coupe is all new but, like every Mini model since BMW Group brought the car back from the dead, has a solid link to the past. In this case it’s to a car called the Broadspeed Mini, which was a cut-down racer with a low roofline and a bunch of go-fast gear developed by British tuner Ralph Broad.
The original Broadspeed GT Coupe was built in limited numbers in the 1960s as a road car, based on a Mini Cooper S.
It’s a similar story with the Concept Coupe, which picks up the mechanical package from the regular Mini but wraps it in a cut-down coupe body with a much different look to the roof and tail.
‘‘As yet, we don’t know a hell of a lot about this car. We’re certainly delighted with it, though,’’ says Justin Hocevar, head of Mini in Australia.
‘‘It’s a potential addition to the range but, as you know, it’s just a concept to measure the reaction from the public. The Mini brand has often explored alternative models this way.’’
Mini began the Clubman push with a string of motor show concept cars and the Concept Coupe could go the same way.
The Frankfurt car is a genuine runner that uses the 155kW turbo engine from the Mini John Cooper Works, as well as its tweaked chassis. The body has been substantially tweaked, from the laid-back windscreen and A-pillars to a new roof and a low-line tail with far more taper than the boxy four-seater. Predictably, there is a spoiler set into the rear end.
Mini says luggage space is greater in the Concept Coupe because it takes up space from what is normally the back seat, with a lift-up tailgate.
Hocevar says there is no firm plan for the car beyond the Frankfurt show appearance but he is hopeful it could eventually be productionised to join the Mini sedan, Cabrio and Clubman.
‘‘A lot of the Mini concepts have seen the light of day in some variation.
‘‘They obviously have been tuned and tweaked and moulded for final production and this could go the same way eventually,’’ he says.
Concept Coupe has the mechanical package of a regular Mini but wraps it in a cut-down coupe body.