Today marks fifty years to the day since the first, classic incarnation of the Mini was first shown and to celebrate the event the company is set to unveil a brand new concept car that will eventually star at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.
Dubbed the 2009 Mini Coupe Concept, the latest concept car previews what could possibly the next Mini variant destined for production and the by the looks of it we sure do hope so. Mini is calling it a prototype for now but its engine and chassis, in this case a 211 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque (206 pound-feet with overboost) 1.6-liter gasoline unit and stiffened suspension lifted from the high-performance John Cooper Works model, are entirely plausible for a production spec model.
It is based on the regular Cooper Hatchback but sports a lightweight aluminum roof to help lower its center of gravity. Strictly a two-seater, the low roof line, compact dimensions, perfect axle load distribution and lightweight construction are all trademarks of a genuine sports car. Other unique elements include a body colored grille and matching inserts on the wheels and rear diffuser.
The Mini Coupe Concept stands 1,356 mm high and the steep rake of the A-pillars is accentuated by the high waistline common to every Mini. Sitting on 18-inch triple-tone finish light alloy wheels, the concept is 3,714 mm in length and 1,683 mm wide.
Inside, sports seats with strongly contoured side supports feature, as does a three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with multi-function controls. Two Chronoswiss clocks to the right and left of the rev counter provide a close link to earlier concept cars by Mini, bridging the gap between the analogue age of the classic Mini and the digital age of new Mini. One acts as a stop watch and the other a standard clock.
A luggage capacity of 250 liters is offered and can be accessed at the rear by a tailgate which is hinged above the roof spoiler, meaning easy access to goods stowed in the rear. The bulkhead between the passenger and luggage compartments comes with a lockable opening, giving passengers access to the rear section at any time.
Hinting that the latest Coupe Concept may eventually enter production, Mini states that it offers a “vision” of how the company’s lineup may continue to grow.