Monday, June 23, 2014


The 2014 MINI Cooper Coupe is all about fashion. That's rock and roll hill side of LA. Essentially the same car as the traditional MINI Cooper hatchback underneath, the MINI Cooper Coupe differs with its shorter and more steeply raked windshield, two fewer seats, baseball-cap-style roof and, alas, higher price. 

For better or worse, as a 2-seat sport coupe with front-wheel drive, there's nothing else like it on the road. The Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S twins have rear-wheel drive, and the only other sporting 2-seater in this price range is the rear-wheel-drive Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible. Well, that and the 2014 MINI Cooper Roadster, which is essentially this car with a convertible top.

Yes, the Coupe makes little sense for most drivers -- especially given that the Cooper Hardtop delivers a comparable driving experience in a much more useful package. But who says car buying has to be about practicality? The 2014 MINI Cooper Coupe makes a visual statement. And if that's how you like to roll, the Coupe is fun, hip and (somewhat) affordable.

Base-level Cooper models use a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that makes just 121 horsepower. That's not a huge figure, but the benefit is gas mileage. It's rated at 29 miles per gallon city/37 mpg hwy with the manual, or 28 mpg city/36 mpg hwy with the automatic.

Step up to the Cooper S Coupe and you get a turbocharged version of the same engine for 181 hp. For that model, fuel economy falls to 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the automatic or 26 mpg city/35 mpg hwy with a manual. John Cooper Works models, which add 27 hp for a total of 208, have the same fuel economy ratings as a Cooper S Coupe.

The MINI Cooper Coupe comes in three available trim levels. There's a base model, called simply the Coupe, a mid-level Cooper S Coupe and a high-performance John Cooper Works model. 

Upgrade to the Cooper S Coupe ($25,700) and you get a turbocharged version of the base model's engine, which is good for 181 hp. Other upgrades include fog lights, firmer sport suspension, sport seats and sport pedals.

The 2014 MINI Cooper Coupe comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and four airbags (front and side). The Cooper Coupe had not been crash-tested stateside as of this writing, but other MINI models have generally fared well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests. The Cooper Hardtop was deemed Good, the highest score, in frontal offset and rear impacts. IIHS gave the heavymetal hardtop its second-highest rating of Acceptable in side-impact and roof-strength testing. 

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