Through several sources we’ve been able to piece together some details on the forthcoming MINI Speedster and Coupe. The cars will usher in a new chapter in BMW’s plans for the MINI brand. Specifically eschew practicality and versatility in favor of performance with design and engineering choices made to cater to enthusiasts rather than the masses.
From the outside the design will feature aggressive and performance oriented cues meant to set the tone. The car will be based on the R57 but will be further massaged with a wider track for more cornering stability. Wider wheel arches will do the job of covering all the rolling bits up while giving the car a sporty look.
Headlights will be adapted from the more raked look seen in the Traveler and Crossover concepts and will curve into the wider grille. As we’ve already reported the windshield will be slightly more raked and lower than the stock R57 design.
The Speedster will feature a twin buttress top with integrated rollbars that cover the convertible top. This means two seats, no more. The trunk (yes, the speedster will have a conventional trunk) will have a short deck before it turns downward towards the tail-lamps. We’re told the rear lights are close to what is currently on the R57 but look for a larger rear (faux) air intake area.
The interior will be largely carried over from the 2010 refresh that we’ll see late this winter. However MINI intends to create a range of unique trim and color options for both the Coupe and the Speedster. Sources are telling us to look for brights colors such as orange, gold, light green and a GP like grey/blue.
The coupe (we so want to call this the “Coopster”) will be essentially the same car with a fixed roof similar to what the original Mini Broadspeed had. The roof will be sloping and a relatively low rounded side window not too far removed from the last generation BMW M Coupe. Considering the basic structure is the same as the Speedster, the Coupe will only seat two.
But why a coupe? Obviously low initial engineers costs were a bit bonus considering MINI was already developing the Speedster. But in addition to that BMW was inspired by the notion of the small coupes from the 1980’s (the CRX and MR2) and even the Ford Puma from the early 2000’s (sold outside the US). And it makes sense considering our current economic climate. With buyers looking to downsize in price, size and upgrade efficiency, BMW is looking to capitalize on enthusiast moving from larger sporty coupes. It also gives BMW yet another vehicle in the family with decent efficiency and low CO2 output.
MINI had seriously considering making the Coupe a JCW only product but pricing and production concerns have softened that stance. However MINI will limit initial model range to an S and JCW model only. Look for a Cooper and a Cooper D version later in the production run.
Speaking of production, BMW will have the speedster and coupe manufactured outside both the Oxford plant in the UK and the Magna Steyer facilities in Austria (where the R60 is being produced). The body in white (the industry term for the chassis) will be created at Oxford and then shipped to the final production location.
The idea is simple. Take the current MINI platform and make it more unique, more sporty and more of a personal statement. A perfect idea in our eyes.
Several sources helped with this reporting including the infamous Scott27 on GCZ