2015 MINI Cooper Coupe Review

Cooper Coupe

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2015 MINI Cooper Coupe Overview

Long on funky looks, gas mileage and driving excitement, but a bit short on practicality, the 2-seat 2015 MINI Cooper Coupe sports a few minor changes to its 3 returning trims. Offered with a hatchback-mirroring trunk lid, the Cooper Coupe comes back in Base, S Coupe and John Cooper Works (aka JCW) variations, and each trim is delivered with standard auto climate control and rain-sensing wipers for the upcoming model year. Furthermore, LED fog lights and daytime running lights are now standard on the S and the JCW and optional for the Base coupe.

This little 2-seater remains one of the more distinctively styled sport coupes, at least on U.S. roads, but that individualistic demeanor offers a mere 7 cubic feet of trunk capacity, meaning grocery shopping is an exercise in stowage geometry, while packing for more than a long weekend will probably involve shipping most of your luggage to the hotel.

Maneuvering in big-city traffic, however, or finding a convenient parking spot on a crowded avenue or even searching for something to talk about at the water cooler gets a little easier when you own this downsized British (via BMW) import. Should your trip include wintry weather conditions, though, be advised that all MINI Cooper Coupe iterations come only in front-wheel-drive (FWD) configuration.

Powertrain-wise, look for the MINI Cooper Base Coupe to tote a 1.6-liter normally aspirated inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine managed by either the standard 6-speed manual transmission or an available 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission. Expect 121 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque from this matchup, with EPA-estimated mileage returning at an impressive 29 mpg city/37 highway in stick-shift-boasting versions and 28/36 in automatic-toting editions.

Step up to the MINI Cooper S Coupe to find the 1.6-liter I4 in 181-hp-boasting turbocharged form. The force-fed 4-banger again mates with either the 6-speed manual gearbox or the available 6-speed shiftable automatic for 177 lb-ft of torque to the tune of a still-respectable 26/35 in manual-transmission form and 25/34 when equipped with the 6-speed automatic.

The JCW remains sporting a tweaked version of the above turbocharged 1.6-liter I4 that’ll put out 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, again managed by either the 6-speed stick shift or the optional 6-speed shiftable automatic. Mileage figures from this bumped-up I4 mirror those of its S Coupe sibling.

Goody-wise, standard appearance features in the Base Coupe include 15-inch alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable mirrors and a speed-sensitive rear spoiler, while leatherette upholstery, full power accessories, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering adorn the inside. As mentioned, auto climate control debuts as a standard feature in this entry-level trim, with Bluetooth hands-free calling again complemented by a single-CD player with 6 speakers, HD Radio and an auxiliary audio input.

The Cooper S Coupe, meanwhile, remains delivered with 16-inch alloy wheels mounting run-flat tires, as well as a hood scoop and front fog/driving lights, while a number of upgrades to accent materials and design grace this midlevel version’s cabin.

The flagship Cooper JCW Coupe, finally, tacks standard 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, front Brembo brakes, an aerodynamic body kit, unique cloth upholstery and further accent upgrades to all of the above.

Of course, lower trims offer as options much of the bling that comes standard in higher trims, while stuff like leather upholstery, rear parking sensors, power-folding exterior mirrors, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and satellite radio can be added to the standard equipment list at an additional cost. MINI Connected infotainment with Smartphone apps, a 6.5-inch touchscreen and voice-command functions is also optional, as is a GPS navigation system.

Standard safety equipment aboard all MINI Cooper Coupe iterations includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), dual side-mounted airbags with head protection chambers, daytime running lights and a post-collision safety system. A remote antitheft alarm, meanwhile, remains optional across the lineup, as do xenon headlights and a dynamic traction control system.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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