Mini Coupe JCW (2011): the latest spy photos

Published: 22 March 2011

BMW (and thus Mini) is particularly media savvy, so as the launch of the new Coupe fast approaches, the disguise on the company’s test vehicles is gradually being stripped away to reveal the concept-aping shape of the production cars. Our spies have just snapped the John Cooper Works version on test in Europe, giving us a close-up look at the hottest version of the new Mini Coupe.

I’m not sure whether to love or hate the new Mini Coupe…

On the one hand it’s another variant of an existing car, and the roof design doesn’t exactly look practical. On the other, development costs are so expensive that spinning more and more cars off one platform is the name of the game these days. More importantly, there’s a lot to like…

The existing Mini hatch isn’t exactly practical but this car will ditch its siblings useless rear seats and uselessly small boot for one bigger, more practical load bay. Carryovers from the hatch are go-kart handling (even more sporty in Coupe guise, we hear) and top-notch interior quality.

When do we get to see exactly how closely the new Mini Coupe mirrors the concept car?

Mini will unveil the Coupe this summer, with the new car’s motor show debut coming at Frankfurt in September 2011 and UK sales starting shortly afterwards. At launch we hear they’ll be Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works variants, all powered by Mini’s latest 1.6-litre petrol ‘four’. The naturally aspirated Cooper will produce 121bhp, while the turbo’d Cooper S and JCW will manage 181bhp and 208bhp respectively.

The nose of this new Mini will be identical to the hatch, and our spies have snared the JCW variant with its beefier bumpers and extended sills. It’s the same bodykit that the concept wore, and as you can see from our side profile comparisons the production car will change very little. The exotic roof keeps its backwards-baseball cap styling (though we hear it will now be made of steel rather than aluminium to ease production at Plant Oxford), the steeply raked windscreen stays, and there’s now a pop-up rear spoiler to aid stability too.

>> Click ‘Add your comment’ below and let us know what you think of the new Mini Coupe

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy