Tips, Tricks & Trends

The Mini Cooper Coupe Was a Quirky Car Designed to Look Like a Hat

The Mini Cooper is a fun-to-drive compact car with razor-sharp driving dynamics and barely enough seating for four. But what happens when you get rid of the rear seat and chop the top? You get a Mini Cooper Coupe. But this fastback Cooper wasn’t modeled after chop-top cars from the 50s, instead, it was designed to look like it was wearing a backward baseball cap.

The Mini Cooper Coupe was uniquely familiar

2012 Mini Cooper Coupe
2012 Mini Cooper Coupe | MINI

Do you remember the BMW M Coupe that was a hardtop version of the Z3 and looked like a clown shoe? That oddly styled car was one of MINI designer, Marcus Syring’s, bold creations and the Mini Cooper Coupe and its Roadster sibling were more notches on his belt. While you, like many other consumers, might not care for the Cooper Coupe’s low-slung design, what is most interesting about it is that its roof structure was meant to resemble a backward baseball cap. Apparently, you can find aerodynamics in the most mundane things.

And while the Cooper Coupe’s roofline is the most unique part of the car, it’s basically the same car like every other Mini Cooper from the beltline down. That means it has the same button and seat layout on the inside, the same engine choices under the hood, and the same bulbous exterior features, but there’s no backseat. This is most likely why it didn’t sell well during its short production run from 2011 to 2015.

2012 Mini Cooper Coupe
2012 Mini Cooper Coupe | MINI

The Mini Cooper Coupe may have tried too hard

Quirky styling aside, the Mini Cooper Coupe may have been trying too hard when it came to being a sporty car. It’s kind of like how the Audi TT and the A4 had a lot in common in terms of performance and styling, but the TT was meant more for couples as opposed to families. The only issue is that when you buy a Mini Cooper, you probably want more space on the inside rather than having it taken away.

2012 Mini Cooper Coupe
2012 Mini Cooper Coupe| MINI

RELATED: Bargain Buy: The 2021 Mini Cooper Oxford Edition

With the two-seat setup came a slightly larger trunk area that measured in at 7 cubic feet that were impeded by a large rear brace that bifurcated the cargo area from the front seats. Upfront, the Coupe was available with a six-inch screen and navigation system that found a home in the middle of its pizza-sized center speedometer and as you can imagine, the car’s rearward visibility was limited due to its sloping roofline.  

2012 Mini Cooper Coupe
2012 Mini Cooper Coupe | MINI

RELATED: The Mini Cooper Is Getting Large and in Charge

But it was still fun to drive

Otherwise, the Cooper Coupe was just as fun to drive as all of the other models in the lineup. Just like it’s Cooper hatchback stablemate, the Cooper Coupe was available in a base model, Cooper S, and JCW trim levels depending on how sporty you wanted to be.

The base model came with a 121-hp, 1.6-liter engine, the Coupe S came with a turbo 1.6-liter engine that put out 181 hp, and the John Cooper Works trim pumped out 208 hp. According to Edmunds, the latter setup was good for 0 to 60 mph runs of 6.4 seconds, which was on par with the times recorded for the regular Mini hatchback.

2012 Mini Cooper Coupe
2012 Mini Cooper Coupe | MINI

RELATED: The 2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP Is Lacking an Important Option

What was the point of the Mini Cooper Coupe?

As we can see, the Mini Cooper Coupe was nearly identical as far as its features and performance to its hatchback brethren, so you might be wondering why the automaker even created the car in the first place. According to Mini, the Coupe was “geared squarely to maximize fun,” and it technically did as Car and Driver one noted that the Cooper Coupe was entertaining to drive “when the road gets kinky.” But that still doesn’t mean that it’s as fun as a hardtop Miata, per se.

But if you happen to taken by the car’s styling and only need two seats, then the Mini Cooper Coupe can fulfill your quirky, sporty driving needs any day of the week. Best of all, you can currently find one on the market for anywhere between $8,000 and $15,000, which far less than the $30,000 price tag it once had. And if anyone as you what you’re driving, you can just tell them that it’s a “backward baseball cap on wheels.”