Used 2015 MINI Cooper Coupe John Cooper Works Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2015 Mini Cooper Coupe gives you all the personality and nimbleness expected in a Mini along with a more distinctive look. But it's not as refined as the new Cooper hatchback, and the lack of both a rear seat and usable cargo space is a big drawback.
What's new for 2015
The 2015 Mini Cooper Coupe is a compact two-seater that takes the iconic Mini styling and gives it a sleeker look and sportier twist. The roof is more steeply raked than on the familiar hatchback (officially called the Hardtop), the ride height is slightly lower for a more aggressive stance, and the hatchback-style trunk lid accentuates the car's streamlined, more aerodynamic look.
In addition to the styling, the Coupe also delivers that fun-to-drive Mini experience, with crisp steering, nimble handling and spirited performance from the available turbocharged engine. But you also have to accept some compromises in this racier package. With no rear seat and a modest cargo area, the Coupe is less practical than the hatchback model. The ride is somewhat busier, and rear visibility is more limited due to the sloping roof line. In addition, because the Coupe is based on the previous-generation hatchback, it doesn't offer the refinements of the revamped version, including its more comfortable ride and easier-to-use audio and infotainment controls.
Similarly sporty two-doors that are worth checking out are the 2015 Scion FR-S and 2015 Subaru BR-Z, virtual twins that offer rousing performance that's on par with Mini's top-of-the-line John Cooper Works Coupe but at a lower price. We also suggest you compare the Coupe with the recently redesigned 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop, which offers a host of worthwhile upgrades along with similar performance and more practicality. That said, if you're yearning for a Mini with an extra dash of sporty pizazz, the Coupe's practical shortcomings may not seem all that important.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 Mini Cooper Coupe is a two-door, two-passenger coupe with a hatchback-style trunk lid. It's available in three trim levels: Base, S and John Cooper Works (JCW).
In addition to the safety features listed below, the base Coupe comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels, a speed-sensitive active rear spoiler, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, six-way manually adjustable seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, push-button ignition, automatic climate control, cruise control, full power accessories, color-adjustable ambient lighting, an air-conditioned glovebox, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio input jack. Among the many available option packages, the Sport package includes 16-inch alloy wheels, dynamic traction control, front foglights, sport seats and hood stripes.
The S model adds a turbocharged engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, run-flat tires, front foglights, six-way manually adjustable sport seats, a hood scoop and additional styling details. The optional Sport package on the S model bundles 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, dynamic traction control and hood stripes.
Stepping up to the higher-performance John Cooper Works version gets you a more powerful turbocharged engine, a sport-tuned suspension (optional on base and S versions), 17-inch alloy wheels, dynamic traction control, front Brembo brakes, an aerodynamic body kit, distinctive cloth upholstery and exclusive styling details.
Major options, many of which are grouped into packages, include adaptive xenon headlights, keyless entry and ignition, rear parking sensors, heated power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated seats, Recaro sport seats, a premium 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio and a wide variety of exterior and interior customizing trim pieces, body graphics and color themes.
The Mini Connected infotainment system includes a 6.5-inch display that's located inside the car's oversize center-mounted speedometer, a corresponding console-mounted joystick, enhanced Bluetooth and iPod functionality, voice commands and smartphone app integration (iPhones only). A navigation system can be added to the Mini Connected system for an additional cost.
Performance & mpg
In base trim, the 2015 Mini Cooper Coupe is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 121 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional. According to Mini, this version can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds when equipped with a manual transmission and 9.5 seconds with the automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy is a very good 32 mpg combined (29 city/37 highway) with the manual and only slightly less with the automatic: 31 mpg combined (28/36).
For more zip, the Cooper S Coupe uses a turbocharged version of the same engine, which delivers a stronger 181 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. According to Mini, this version cuts 0-60 acceleration times to 6.5 seconds with the manual transmission and 6.7 with the automatic. Better yet, there isn't a giant drop-off in fuel economy with the turbo; EPA estimates are 29 mpg combined (26/35) with the manual and 28 mpg combined (25/34) with the automatic.
The same engine is under the hood of the John Cooper Works version, although added turbo boost increases output to 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. EPA fuel economy estimates are identical to the S version. In Edmunds performance testing, we recorded a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds with a manual transmission.
A Sport button that sharpens steering effort and engine response is standard in all versions. Premium gasoline is recommended for all models.
The 2015 Mini Cooper Coupe's list of standard safety features includes antilock disc brakes, stability control and seat-mounted side airbags. Dynamic traction control is standard on the John Cooper Works version and optional on base and S trims. Rear parking sensors are optional.
In Edmunds testing, a JCW Coupe with summer performance tires stopped from 60 mph in 114 feet, which is a bit longer than average for this class of car.
Like all two-door Mini models, the 2015 Cooper Coupe provides good, clean driving fun. It feels very nimble through turns and responds eagerly to steering inputs. Its small size also makes it relatively easy to park in tight spots. The Coupe's ride quality is pretty firm, however, and it can get pretty choppy on rough roads.
The base engine is fine for leisurely cruising, but to get the kind of acceleration that better complements the Coupe's sporty styling, you should go for one of the turbocharged engines in the S and JCW models. The six-speed manual transmission fits the car's personality nicely, although the optional automatic shifts quickly and smoothly enough to make it a viable option as well.
If you're familiar with the Mini Cooper hatchback, you'll feel right at home in the 2015 Mini Cooper Coupe. It retains that distinctive Mini styling throughout the interior, including the huge centrally mounted speedometer, the row of toggle switches for power windows and locks and the overall rounded design theme. As neat as the instruments and controls look, they're not as readable and intuitive to operate as they should be, especially compared with what Mini has done with the newest Cooper hatchback.
There's no shortage of headroom in the Coupe. Still, it can feel cramped inside, compared with the Hardtop hatchback, partly because the sloping roof line limits visibility out the back.
Instead of a rear seat, the Coupe provides a small shelf that can hold a purse or briefcase. Under the trunk lid is a modest 9.8-cubic-foot cargo area with a small pass-through door that allows longer items to extend into the passenger compartment. The integrated trunk lid and rear window swing up together, as on a hatchback, which makes it easy to access your gear.
The optional Mini Connected infotainment system packs in a lot of functionality, including voice commands and iPhone app integration that lets you stream Internet radio, access social media and more. The iOS GoPro app even lets you control a GoPro camera from the center console screen. Some functions, however, require the car to be parked to access, and using Mini Connected can be tricky due to the limited functionality of the controller knob.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.