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Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2012 Mini Coupe JCW

Eric Peters on

Who doesn't like the original Mini? It's cute, but not girly. Sporty - but not overbearingly macho. A six foot man can drive it - and not look (or feel) silly driving it. So can his five-foot-five daughter. Or her 65-year-old grandmother.

The Mini is also inexpensive - around $19k to start, which is cheap for a new car. And it's very fuel efficient: Almost 40 MPG on the highway. It has a pleasantly spacious - even practical - interior for such a small-on-the-outside car. It is easy to drive, fun to drive - and affordable to drive.

In a very real sense, the modern Mini is more like the old VW Beetle than anything else on the road ( including the New Beetle - which is too big, too thirsty, too expensive and probably too sporty, too.)

Well, what about this new two-seater Mini coupe? Has it got the Mini mojo, too?


The Mini coupe is a two-seat version of the regular Mini - the nomenclature being a tad confusing since both cars have two doors for passengers and a hatch in the back for accessing the cargo area. So technically speaking, they're both hatchback coupes.

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The coupe differs from the regular Mini from the tops of the doors up. It has a steeply raked windshield and its roof sits about an inch lower than the regular Mini's. It also has unique bits such as a Porsche-like rear airfoil that deploys automatically at 50 MPH.

Like the regular Mini, the coupe is available as a hardtop or convertible and in standard, turbocharged S or even-more-turbocharged John Cooper Works (JCW) versions. Base price for the hardtop coupe is $21,300. A JCW coupe lists for $31,200. The convertible starts at $24,530 and tops out at a $34,500 for the JCW version.


The two-seater version of the Mini is all-new.


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