Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe
- Sharp handling
- distinctive exterior styling
- great fuel economy
- highly customizable
- all the fun you normally get from a Mini Cooper now available in a two-seater.
- No measurable performance gain over regular Cooper hatchback
- choppy ride (especially in the John Cooper Works trim)
- limited outward visibility
- more expensive than Cooper hatchback.
Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Though its overall performance isn't very different from that of the regular Cooper, the 2012 Mini Coupe brings some visual differentiation to the model lineup.
Mini is trying very hard to convince people that the two-seat 2012 Mini Coupe is a super-compact sports car. From its shallow-rake windshield to the integral roof spoiler and wing that deploys from the trunk lid, the Coupe aims to strike a chord with hard-core driving enthusiasts in a way that its upright Cooper hatchback doesn't. The problem is that the 2012 Mini Coupe presents more of a styling statement than it does any measurable enhancement in performance or driving pleasure.
Mini touts the Coupe as its first coupe design, meaning the engine compartment, "helmet" roof and stubby trunk differentiate it from the now-familiar Cooper hatchback. From a distance, the Coupe, which sits 1 inch lower, looks oddly proportioned, but it's when you get close that the unusual design starts to make an impression. Where its roof blends into the rear glass, a slot and integral spoiler are created, giving the Coupe the look of a car wearing a backwards baseball cap. At speeds above 50 mph, another spoiler deploys mechanically from the edge of the trunk lid, offering even more airflow management that's said to increase the top speed slightly. The downside is that it also further obscures already-challenging rearward visibility.
In terms of driving dynamics, the 2012 Coupe is nearly identical to the rest of the Mini lineup. There's a definite Mini feel to everything the Coupe does -- it has essentially the same footprint as the hatchback -- and because the Coupe sits a little lower, it feels sportier but truly isn't. Fuel efficiency and straight-line performance are nearly identical because the drivelines are the same from Base all the way through high-performance John Cooper Works trim levels.
With what appears to be a resurging interest in coupes, the 2012 Mini Coupe offers a unique take on the personal car with, well, personality. Whether Mini's Coupe better stimulates the adrenal gland or makes any more sense than something like a Honda CR-Z or Scion FR-S is still a question that remains to be answered. For now, we'll congratulate Mini for taking a design risk, but wish the manufacturer had given its self-described "sports car" more performance.
Trim levels & features
The 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe is a two-door two-passenger coupe with a hatchback-style trunk lid. There are three available trim levels: Base, S and John Cooper Works (JCW).
The base Coupe comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The optional Sport package adds 16-inch wheels, foglamps, dynamic traction control with electronic differential lock, sport seats and hood stripes.
The Coupe S adds 16-inch wheels, a turbocharged engine, a hood scoop, firmer suspension tuning, foglamps, sport seats and alloy pedals. The Coupe S Sport package adds 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, dynamic traction control and hood stripes. The John Cooper Works trim includes a more powerful turbo engine, upgraded suspension and Brembo brakes, an aerodynamic body kit, John Cooper Works badging and checkered-cloth upholstery.
Major optional features (some of which are grouped in packages) include adaptive xenon headlights, automatic climate control, heated seats/mirrors/washer jets, keyless entry/ignition, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, Bluetooth and an iPhone interface that includes Twitter access, RSS feeds and Web-based radio. Other options include different wheels, parking sensors, cloth or leather upholstery, a navigation system and a multitude of different interior trims and materials. Furthermore, a multitude of dealer-installed accessories are available.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 Mini Coupe comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine good for 121 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual with hill-start assist is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. Every Mini Coupe comes with a Sport button that sharpens the response and behavior of the throttle, transmission (with the automatic) and steering.
Mini estimates a manual-equipped Coupe will go from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds (9.5 seconds with the automatic). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined with the manual and 28/36/31 with the automatic.
The Cooper S has a turbocharged version of the same engine good for 181 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque (192 lb-ft at full throttle thanks to an overboost function). Mini estimates 0-60-mph acceleration in 6.5 seconds for the manual and 6.7 seconds for the automatic. Estimated fuel economy is 27/35/30 with the manual and 26/34/29 with the auto.
The John Cooper Works cranks up the turbo boost to produce 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the only available transmission, and fuel economy is 25/33/28. Mini estimates a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds; our testing revealed slightly slower results, with a 6.4-second best 0-60 time. As good as these figures are, however, we've recorded nearly identical ones in a regular Cooper JCW hatchback.
All 2012 Mini Coupes come standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, dual front and seat-mounted side airbags. Dynamic traction control, a differential lock and parking sensors are optional. A LATCH child seat tethering system is standard for the passenger seat. In Edmunds testing, a Coupe JCW stopped from 60 mph in a very good 114 feet.
Unfortunately, measurable performance advantages of the two-seat 2012 Mini Coupe over the four-seat Mini Cooper hatchback do not exist. But whether or not the Coupe is reported to be a tenth of a second quicker than the Cooper is largely a moot point. Every Mini's mission, regardless of model/trim is to provide a uniquely sporty driving experience, and the 2012 Mini Coupe fulfills that promise.
The Coupe's lower stance and slightly firmer suspension don't translate into improved handling, either. Instead you get a slightly busier ride -- especially on the John Cooper Works Coupe, where some have even called it unacceptable. This is why we have historically recommended either the Base or the S trim, but without the optional Sport suspension. The car's electric-assist power steering is as good as any manufacturer has developed, with crisp reactions and laserlike precision. As expected, however, the higher-performance models' more aggressive suspension and wheels/tires can produce a nervous on-center feeling at speed if the roads get choppy.
Overall, the Base Coupe will likely satisfy most drivers, with the S trim adding a little more thrill with its turbocharged engine. Opting for the 208-hp John Cooper Works Coupe is a commitment that some may later regret.
As expected, the interior of the Coupe is done up with typical Mini flair, including the infamous toggle switches, giant speedometer and body-colored panels. They're all nice nods to the original Mini, but in terms of practicality, it comes off as a bit gimmicky.
At best, the Coupe's cabin feels intimate; at worst, it's claustrophobic. There is no shortage of headroom (thanks to a double-bubble headliner), but unlike the airy feeling in the high-roof Cooper, the Coupe's cabin itself feels rather tight. In place of rear seats, Mini fits the Coupe with a cargo area divider that offers up a small parcel shelf.
Luggage space, at 7 cubic feet, is a couple cubes better than a regular Cooper hatchback's, but besides the cargo area pass-through, there's no provision to expand as is the case with the hatchback. Access to the trunk is rather easy, at least, as the rear glass lifts up with the trunk lid like a hatchback. Rear visibility is particularly poor for the Coupe.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Mini would prefer it if you saw the 2012 Coupe as a pure sports car, so much so that its boss Kay Segler felt the need to conduct the press conference at its launch wearing fireproof overalls.
And it's true that in its two-seat configuration and three-box design, its outline has far more in common with traditional purpose-built sports cars than any other to wear the Mini badge.
So how different is it really? We drove one of the first examples to find out.
Style or Substance?
It's hard to tell whether the 2012 Mini Coupe's styling is a landmark of modern design or an approximation of what the hatch might look like if you could persuade an elephant to sit on one. For what it's worth, I didn't like it at all when I first saw it, but after a day in and around it, I did at least get used to its looks.
In essence, the Coupe is almost an inch lower than the hatch and features a windshield with 13 degrees more rake. At the back a new opening has been designed to give the car a three-box shape and integrate a deployable rear spoiler into its deck. Thanks to the removal of the rear seats, the trunk has been substantially enlarged.
Inside, the architecture will be familiar to anyone who knows Mini but if you look up, you'll see scoops in the roof lining like the one Dan Gurney used in his GT40. They won't help you win Le Mans, but they do mean the Coupe offers just as much head space as the taller hatch, which is a neat trick.
Mechanically, however, very little is different. The engines are cut and paste from the hatchback and if you want go for the John Cooper Works model, you can say the same for the suspension, too. Standard coupes get stiffer dampers and thicker roll bars compared to their hatchback counterparts, but the springs are the same.
Don't expect that lower roof line and the lack of rear seats to result in less weight. That's because all the extra bracing to increase torsional rigidity and the weight of that rear spoiler system actually put on an extra 50 pounds or so.
The Moment of Truth
It doesn't take long before I realize that despite having no more power and a little extra weight, it feels faster than the standard hatchback. Sadly, it's not, at least not by much. Mini says the Coupe cuts a tenth off the 0-62-mph time only because the new shape has shifted the car's weight balance even farther to the front (though by how much it would not say) to provide a touch more traction off the line. And its 2-mph gain in top speed comes courtesy of the slight aerodynamic advantage conferred by that more acute windshield.
But let's not be delayed by the details. Fact is, whether its top speed is 148 or 150 mph, or whether it takes 6.4 or 6.5 seconds to reach 62 mph, this is one fast, little car. The more time I spend with its pint-size 1.6-liter engine, the more impressed by it I am. For such a small motor, 208 horsepower is a huge output even with a turbo attached. But what really impresses is that this power is delivered so evenly and smoothly across the wide power band, with no lag or slack throttle response.
And the way the 2012 Mini Coupe handles a twisty road shows again how well BMW understands how to translate the values of the original Mini to the 21st century. The steering is quick, the tires grippy, and when you really start to fling it, the balance impressively neutral for a front-drive car.
Far From Perfect
Which might lead you to think all was well with the new family member. But it's not. Whether this coupe is going to amuse or infuriate depends rather more on where you live more than it should.
The surfaces around Munich are impressively smooth, but even here the Germans have not been able to eliminate every rough road. And when you find one, the ride quality deteriorates quickly from satisfactory to unacceptable. It's not just your comfort, which you might not care about so much in a two-door sports car, but the fact that progress can get so jittery it spoils your enjoyment of the car's otherwise fundamentally good handling.
There are other problems, too. Just as you think the rear screen might be just a touch too small, the rear spoiler pops up and robs you of much of what little rearward vision was there. And that vast and silly central speedo works no better in here than in any other Mini.
A Tough Sell
But none of these things explains why the 2012 Mini Coupe disappoints. It's not about what it does, right or wrong. It's about what it does not do, namely provide you with a single serious reason to choose one over the standard hatchback. For all Mini's posturing about it being a sports car and however much Nomex its boss chooses to wear, the Coupe offers no more real-world performance over the standard hatchback, nor is it notably better to drive.
Then there's the fact that the hatch is cheaper and more practical. You can turn the hatch into a two-seater with more than double the trunk capacity of the Coupe by simply folding the rear seats. And you can get four people in one should the need arise. Not going to happen with the Coupe.
Even so, don't escape with the idea that Mini has produced a bad car, as it's still fast, fun and well finished. But Mini has missed a trick with it. If it had paid even half as much attention to the way the Coupe drives as it has to the way it looks, its claim to have built the brand's first proper sports car could have been credible.
It wouldn't have taken a complete reengineering, just some detail tuning: a little more power that the chassis could take with ease, a thoughtful retune of the suspension, a shorter final drive — that sort of thing. Then it could have been as good, or even better to drive than it looks. As it stands, however, there is one reason only to choose it over a Mini hatchback, and it has nothing to do with driving.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe Overview
The Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M), 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M), and John Cooper Works 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M).
What's a good price on a Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe?
Price comparisons for Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe trim styles:
- The Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe Base is priced between $8,265 and$10,995 with odometer readings between 0 and93105 miles.
- The Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe S is priced between $10,495 and$12,652 with odometer readings between 49037 and84451 miles.
- The Used 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe John Cooper Works is priced between $14,690 and$14,690 with odometer readings between 77076 and77076 miles.
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Should I lease or buy a 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.