Rupert Suren Journalist  

- Motorsport - Rugby - Cycling -

With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce the BMW Group is the world's most successful premium manufacturer.

The amazing iconic MINI has gone from strength to strength. The latest and fifth addition to the family is the Coup with the S version now equipped with a real BMW engine, a four-cylinder petrol with twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection. The 184hp 1.6 litre in this pocket rocket means beaming grin fun all the way up to 143 mph. You'll even squeeze a miserly 48.7 mpg out of it on the combined cycle.

The electric power steering gives the MINI Coup exceptional directional control, soaking up the bumps and potholes of our appalling roads. The power steering is speed dependent which means finger tip manoeuvres at parking speed while firming up at speed to let you really feel the road surface under those chunky tyres on 16" alloys.

While the overall length and width are almost identical to the dimensions of the MINI Hatch, the Coup is 29 millimetres lower. Visually, this and the stepped rear end give the car a more aggressive, forward-thrusting profile. The lower roofline doesn't come at the expense of driver and passenger comfort, though. Oval recesses in the headlining (a touch of M Sport design cues) provide extra headroom. The most striking view is the muscly profile, with horizontal layering of the car into three separate tiers the body, the wrap-around glass and the uniquely striking roof design. This car has pecs! The A-pillars and windscreen are sharply raked by 13th compared to the MINI Hatch, resulting in a smaller frontal area while airflow is optimised by both the integrated spoiler at the rear of the roof, and by an active rear spoiler hidden in the boot lid, deploying automatically when the car reaches 50 mph and retracting again at 37mph.

Behind is a generous 280-litre luggage area - 20 litres larger than the MINI Clubman. The large, high-opening tailgate makes for simple loading and the car has clutter free carrying options. The one thing that I have never liked about the face lifted interior is the absurd Mickey Mouse central speedometer. The only way to forgive this taste disaster is to opt for the optional satnav which means that the speedo and rev counter then sit neatly just ahead of the steering wheel. All the other trademark MINI interior features remain including the great toggle switches.

The four Coup models go on sale from the 1st October. For £20,000 you get a fast, comfortable eye catching two-seater, with loads of boot space that will do the local town runs and still blast up Alpine passes and down the autoroute.

Engine: 1.6 litre Four cylinder with twin scroll turbo charger & direct injection
Power: 184hp/135kW at 5,500 rpm
Torque: 192 lb-ft with overboost
Top Speed: 143 mph
Basic Price: £19,775