MINI Speedster to Spawn MINI Coupe Model

MINI has another trick up its sleeve in regards to new models over the next several years. As we broke over a month ago, MINI is currently working on a speedster model based off of the R57 platform using the existing 1.6L engine family. It’ll have an aggressive look, more sportiness and less space which all should equal the fastest MINI drop-top yet. The car will likely have a fabric top (with an optional removable hard top) with two roll bars behind the occupants giving the car a sleek sporty look.

But the big surprise in all of this is that MINI won’t be debuting the production speedster first. While they’ll be showing a concept speedster likely at Frankfurt this fall, the first model to come to market will a notch-back coupe version of the car meant to be the sportiest model of the R56 derived platform yet. As one source told us, “think of this model as the Z4 Coupe of the MINI line-up.”

Originally MINI thought about making this model a JCW only model but corporate fuel consumption averages mean that BMW will likely need to sell some Cooper and Cooper S versions to help with BMW’s corporate fleet average. Nevertheless both the speedster and the coupe will be the most aggressive looking MINI to date and will take the R56 platform and Prince family of engines out in style.

Based on information we recieved we’d expect an onsale date of late 2012 and a four to five year model run in total.

(image courtesy of Automobile.Fr)

  • Jon

    And now it gets really interesting! (On edge of seat)…

  • AN

    Me want.

  • Rocketboy_x

    Ok, I’m back on board with buying a new mini. Now how to convince the wife that the two back seats (that never get used) are unneeded.

  • Bor

    great news, terrible cheap-looking headlights, hope they never make it to production

  • Timothy

    Speaking of CAFE standards, how about bringing the MINI One to U.S. shores? Just the coupe (i.e. not the Clubman) and probably only with standard transmission.

  • JonPD

    Great news, think a coupe would be a great car for them to develop a GP2 type of car on. Really look forward to seeing more info on this. Of course its going to be tough to make a decision between the Z2 (hopefully in a coupe version) and the Mini Coupe.

    One thing I have never understood are the CAFE pedestrian standards. While the R56 hoodline was raised quite a bit for better pedestrian impact protection my only question is why this had to happen when a huge percentage of the supercars coming from Europe never come closed to this. I would much rather be hit by a R53 than a Atom Ariel ;).

  • One thing I have never understood are the CAFE pedestrian standards. While the R56 hoodline was raised quite a bit for better pedestrian impact protection my only question is why this had to happen when a huge percentage of the supercars coming from Europe never come closed to this. I would much rather be hit by a R53 than a Atom Ariel ;).

    It’s not just the hood line but relationship of the hood line and the engine. Mid and rear engines cars don’t have to worry about the standard the same way that front engine cars do. Cars like BMWs (which have their engines pushed as far back as possible to the firewall for better weight distribution) worry less because there is more “soft” impact area in the front vs a car like the MINI which has its engine perched up high and way up front.

  • bnystedt

    This car needs to at least be AWD or else it will be a laughing stock. Can you say “Mercury Capri”?

  • lavardera

    And the backwards air flow – intake air getting from the front of the car to the back of the engine, and exhaust to turbo to getting back under the engine and out the rear – that all did not help matters either.

    Makes me think that this speedster is going to be in much the same position, unless they can move the firewall back and rotate the engine towards the rear a little..

  • CraigE

    If MINI sells this car, everyone who has been complaining that MINIs keep getting larger should step up and buy one. If this doesn’t sell and MINI starts going the other direction again, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

  • JonPD

    Actually Craig can say if they are aiming this at being more of a focused performance car I will be looking hard at it. Still for a moment doesn’t change my point of view that BMW has done Mini any good with developing a SUV for Mini.

    Whats going to be interesting to me is how this will settle out. I think we are going to see similar issues with the price point we have been seeing between a JCW Mini and the 1 Series. Already betting a similar issue is brewing between the R60 and the X1, so fully expect we will see the same thing between the Z2 and the Mini Coupe.

    Thanks for the clarification Gabe. Still would much rather be ran into by a R53 that any number of ankle high cars coming out of Europe.

  • Danny

    I’m confused. I read the story twice and the comments, but guess I am not familiar with the z series enough to understand what and where this new model will fit in.

    First, I am assuming it will be the same shape as the Mini and Mini S?

    Would the front end be any different?

    Is the main thrust of this model a much quicker engine? more torque? If so, then where do you see Mini placing this

    Mini Mini S Mini JCW

    Mini coupe ?

    But the last part of the story says BMW would offer it in Cooper and Cooper S versions to spread costs so I have no idea how they expect to price this.

    Sorry for sounding like a total newbie. I love my Mini and hope to upgrade in a couple of years and just want to get an idea of what will be offered around then.

    thank you!

  • Danny

    OK. After looking at some of Gabe’s side links I think I get it.

    Basically the new coupe option will be a package that can be added to any model. Faster etc.

    Faster = Better!

  • lavardera

    JonPD – I think its going to be the same engine program as the coupe/vert/clubman. I don’t think it makes any sense for them to invent anything new here. Faster, maybe if it can be made lighter. And it would be really nice if it actually cost less than the current coupe on the basis of less glass and interior, more sheet metal and trunk.

    But I think that will only happen if they draw from the existing parts as much as possible. It would be nice if they could add value to the car in other ways – like JCW body kit standard, and maybe an upgrade in wheel size, say 16″ standard on the cooper and 17 on the S without having to get a sport package, sport suspension standard. Try to answer the performance focus with the existing stuff that is available, and maybe bring it in at the same or less than the coupe and vert.

    Then if they can build a following for the model it will be on a more aggressive platform with the Z2 for the next generation.

  • hardingsan

    no, i think you’re still off. the z is a bmw coupe – 2 doors, 2 seats, lots of fun. ( i think this will be an entirely new model to the family. coupe, convertable, clubman, suv, and now a roadster.

    i think this is going to take design cues from the current coupe, but be smaller, only have 2 seats, and be even more performance oriented. something along the lines of the miata/s2000.

  • lavardera

    maybe the next gen shared with the Z2 will be as you say, but the first gen is bound to be parts bin.

  • Danny


    gotcha, just read this part again:

    “the first model to come to market will a notch-back coupe version of the car meant to be the sportiest model of the R56 derived platform yet. “

    So a smaller Mini cooper with the engine and performance of the upcoming roadster.

    Would love that. I like small Mini personally.

    only two seats would not be a problem for me personally.


  • Lord, I hope it doesn’t look like a Mini Jem

  • that.guy

    The MINI Del Sol. Brilliant (not).

  • hardingsan

    @lavardera: sorry, my comment was aimed at danny, but you’re too quick and got in right before mine. i agree that it’ll probably (or probably should) share as much as possible to help keep the price reasonable.

  • Buchloe

    Why this? Why another body style on the same platform? Aren’t there already too many?

    Hardtop is of course fine, Clubman may be tracing its roots to Countryman of the old days.

    Cabrio is already questionable, I guess there were some ad-hoc/home-made silly looking roofless versions of the classic mini.

    But SUV? I don’t remember any classic mini SUVs….Sounds ridiculous to be honest.

    And I don’t remember there ever being any speedsters/roadster in the classic range. Mini was never about that. There were plenty of British manufacturers flooding the market with various models in that class, most with such tradition and know-how (Lotus, Triumph, MG, Morgan etc) that mini never dared venture in that territory.

    How about this: MINI could maintain only hardtop, Clubman and Cabrio, and instead of introducing more body styles, introduce more engines, e.g. a 1.4 liter engine for those who want cheaper option, a turbodiesel (2.0 BMW of course) for those looking for efficiency combined with torque (even if it is a detuned 150ps version), and another hard core version, which would show upper boundary of that prince engine (240ps ?).

    And BMW can keep small SUV for its own range if they really want it (X1 ?). I guess launching it as BMW only model could enhance sales rather than diluting the market with two models (sounds a bit like Dodge and Chrysler story).

    And, even better idea, if they want a small speedster/roadster, why not revive the Triumph brand which they own anyways, and introduce small light-weight front engine rwd car with stylistic cues of classic Michelotti designed TR4/TR5.

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  • JonPD

    True Buchloe, although I think unlike the R60 a small 2 seat lite weight Mini does hold true to the design theories of Sir Alec.

    I also agree I can see some shared parts between the speedster and the Z2 over the long run. Still think if the Z2 comes with a coupe option that the RWD alone will draw me that way.

  • If they really make this… then we’ll all have to stop calling our current hardtop MINIs “coupes” and properly refer to them as hatches! 🙂

  • greg

    If it has the power of the factory JCW and they drop the weight to 2400lbs or less I’m IN!

  • Buchloe

    Yes, but think of BMW engineered (engine, transmission,suspension, quality), British built, Triumph badged, light-weight, front engined, rwd two seater, with retro design akin to TR5. TR5 even used 6 cylinder engine, so BMW could fit one of their silk-smooth atmospheric inline sixes. It even had the perfect front end, upright and high so that with adding some modern curvature new pedestrian impact laws could be satisfied without making the car look silly with raised hood. And those huge headlamps could make it into the modern design, the same way they made into r50/53/55/56 giving birth to another “cheeky chap”…. I shouldn’t talk about it anymore, it will never happen….

  • joe

    for the love of god pleeeeeeeeeeeeease make it!

  • bee1000

    Notchback coupe with a length as short as a Mini sounds very ugly. Look at the US 1-Series. BMW took a nice looking 3 or 5-door platform and turned it into a notchback with looks of questionable parentage. Or look at the Honda del Sol which probably isn’t far off of Mini’s puffy design style.

    As for buying one because I complain that all the latest Mini variants have been bigger and more expensive, well this may or may not be smaller, but I’m sure it will be expensive. So I think I’ll stick with the one I’ve got, thanks.

  • It sucks! Poor Mini is dying.

  • ddmini

    I would love a mini like the rendering if it were cheaper than the current car. Unfortunately BMW/MINI will almost certainly make it more expensive.

  • Excited.

  • VERY excited.

  • KipperFillets

    @Buchloe: I don’t think MINI should be swayed too much by the supposed ethos surrounding the marketing and development the old Mini.

    The old British management of Leyland etc. in the 60’s – 70’s was questionable to say the least. Not something to follow.

    It would be entirely justifiable to say we shouldn’t really have in car audio systems, as Sir Alex deliberatley didn’t put a radio (or space for one) in the old Mini because he didn’t think they should be in cars.

    Opinions are fine, but cherry-picking facts to prove a point doesn’t really prove anything.

    Much as I wouldn’t want too many variants of the MINI (body-wise) because I feel it would dilute the brand to become “just another manufacturer producing a range of cars”, I would suspect the biggest negative aspect of the MINI is interior space. Hopefully the Clubman addresses that…

  • Rick

    Love our ’08 MCS Hardtop – don’t need a coupe….

    Love our ’09 MCS Convertible, but can’t wait for the Speedster…

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  • Kevin


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