BMW is struggling to create a bigger market for its Mini cars with the new coupe

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 14, 2011

BMW AG considers the Mini as one of its solutions to meet tighter environmental standards but then, it is having a hard time in expanding its market. BMW acquired Mini, which was saved from the mess surrounding the botched takeover of the UK's Rover Group. BMW hopes that the Mini will help it fend off Volkswagen AG's Audi and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz.

Among the reasons given by potential customers for not buying a Mini car is that it isn’t multifunctional. For example, Boris Knoblich, a media consultant from Berlin, refused to accept the new two-seater Mini coupe as a replacement to his BMW 1-series compact because it is “too small and not variable enough."

What Knoblich is considering instead are another 1 series, an Audi A3 and a Toyota Auris hybrid. BMW seeks to intensify the cooperation between Mini and the namesake brand by sharing front-wheel drive technology after the Mini hatchback gets a major facelift in 2014. Priced from 21,200 euros, this coupe had started selling in Europe last Oct. 1.

It is scheduled to arrive at U.S. dealers later this fall. It is the first Mini variant out of three that are slated to start selling by the end of 2012. These vehicles will expand the lineup to seven similarly sized vehicles. Analysts said that these new models, which are built on the same platforms, will likely not be very effective at preventing sales from falling.

Rebecca Lindland, an analyst IHS Automotive in Norwalk, Connecticut, said that Mini can’t achieve the volumes being targeted with the current body styles. She believes that Mini has to come up with bigger and smaller models in order to “push the envelope up and down.”

What makes the MINI Coupé more attractive probably lies just around the exterior. After all, the design elements are something we don’t see everyday in the compact sports car category. At the very least, the MINI Coupé is still eye-catching as ever. ---Probably because the marque has maintained the classic design of the 2-seater roadster that we know of for the last ten years.

The classic brand’s sporting DNA runs in the new MINI Coupé with more intensity. The fresh new design blueprint is a smart combination of masculine curves, parallel lines and sleek outlines surrounding the surface. In fact, the new MINI adapted the three-box body frame wherein the key elements are divided into three categories. One is for the boot, then one goes for the cabin and the other portion is for the compartment.

In spite of these, the new MINI Coupé’s overall measurement (width and length) is very much the same with the MINI Hatch. However, the Coupé is shorter by 29mm this time around. Nonetheless, the lack of height adds more visual attraction as it brings out the car’s forward-thrusting stance and sportier shape.

Still, the lower roofline does not compromise the comfort of the passenger and the driver in any way. The MINI Coupé is designed with indented oval headlining to increase the headspace. Now it already makes sense why MINI uses the “no compromise” philosophy in every aspect.

Anders Warming (MINI’s Head of Design) and his team came up with MINI Coupé’s distinctive new look. We could see this in the car’s horizontal layering in 3 different dimensions. It starts out with the helmet-inspired roof followed by the wrap-around windshields and then the Coupé’s extraordinary body contour.

Unlike the MINI Hatch, the MINI Coupé’s windscreen and A-pillars are trimmed by 13 degrees, giving the car its exceptional aerodynamics. The integrated spoilers on the other hand optimise the airflow. These spoilers are located in the bootlid and also along the rear roof.

The improved airflow works whether manually operated (by switching the button above the control panel) or automatically (when the Coupé attains 50mph and subsides at 37mph).

On the other hand, the active spoilers at the rear provide better handling and balance on the road. In fact, the new MINI Coupé is the first and only one to have this.

Now as we search inside the Coupé’s interiors, we couldn’t help but notice the iconic trademarks that we always loved about the brand. Of course, the MINI Coupé can’t be without the chrome toggle switches and round speedometer at the middle.

Topics: bmw, mini, coupe

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