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 |  Jun 21 2011, 7:37 AM

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The latest flavor of Cooper to join the MINI lineup is the all new Coupe. Yet another variant of the similarly styled Brit-car, this two-door forgets about even trying to have rear seats instead trading them for a small cargo shelf and a fixed rear wall.

With a more distinctive coupe profile the new model’s rear liftgate opens more like a hatchback and there is a rear passthrough for larger items. Easily the car’s most distinguishing feature is its roof which resembles a backwards baseball cap. Another major design piece that’s also a performance addition is an active rear spoiler that pops up at 50 mph and drops back to sit flush on the rear deck below 37 mph. John Cooper Works models (shown) can be distinguished by more aggressive aero package.

While unique chassis tuning is a part of the package, the car’s overall dimensions are much the same as the standard hard-top MINIs; as are the engines. Powering the base Cooper Coupe is the brand’s 1.6-liter 4-cylinder making 121-hp at 6000 rpm and 118 lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm, delivering a 8.3 second 0-60 mph time. The Cooper S Coupe gets a turbocharger added to the mix to deliver 181-hp at 5500 rpm and 177 lb-ft of torque at 1600 rpm and with a special overboost function will bring on 192 lb-ft. MINI claims a 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds.

As for the gotta-have-it John Cooper Works model, it delivers a peak 208-hp at 6000 rpm and 192 lb-ft of torque at 1850 rpm, with overboost upping that number to 207 lb-ft. Edging ever-so-close to the 5 second range, this is the fastest MINI ever and will hit 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds.

Acceleration numbers for the base Cooper and the top-trim JCW are a 10th of a second faster than their hard-top counterparts, likely due to a reduced curb weight – although MINI has yet to release those figures. Tossing the extra pounds is sure to help in adding performance on all levels, while the fixed rear divider is also likely to improve the chassis rigidity, thus improving performance further. We’ll find that out later this year when we first get behind the wheel of the new MINI Coupe.

GALLLERY: 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe JCW

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