Mini Coupe and Roadster Will be Discontinued After 2015
Humility has never been one of Mini’s strong suits, so it must be tough for the German automaker to admit when it messed up. Unfortunately for Mini, one of those times occurred at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show when Mini USA product boss Patrick McKenna told AutoGuide that the company’s Coupe and Roadster models will be discontinued after next year.
According to McKenna, both the Coupe and Roadster are being axed because of their disappointing sales numbers. This news doesn’t come as a surprise to all those who never warmed up to the two models because they were too similar to the hardtop and convertible versions of the Cooper. Mini tried to distinguish the Coupe and Roadster with their design offerings, but customers never took the bait.
In their eyes, paying a premium for the Coupe and Roadster made no sense when they could get pretty much everything the two models offered from the hardtop and convertible versions of the Cooper. All at a price that was at least a few thousand dollars cheaper than the Coupe and Roadster models.
Take for example the difference between the two-door 2014 Mini Cooper and the Coupe. The former starts at $20,700 while the latter starts at $22,000. The pricing difference between the Cooper Convertible and the Roadster isn’t that big — $25,700 compared to $26,100 — but the point is clear: there’s no room for the Coupe and Roadster when the two-door Cooper and the Cooper Convertible are already entrenched in the lineup.
So Mini’s doing the prudent thing by dropping the Coupe and Roadster together after 2015. In doing so, the German automaker is learning an important lesson. You can’t always win all your battles.
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Why it matters
We’re actually surprised that it took this long for Mini to realize that the Coupe and Roadster were bad ideas from the very beginning. Neither model did much to differentiate itself from the existing lineup like the company intended them to. Sure, they looked different than the two-door Cooper and the Cooper Convertible, but that just wasn’t enough.
It’s a painful lesson for Mini, but one that we believe the company can overcome. It’s come back from bigger and more damaging missteps in the past. This one’s a little problematic, but not to the point that it irrevocably damages its competence as a company.
Mini Coupe and Roadster
The Mini Coupe was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Show, two years after the Coupe Concept first broke cover at in 2009 at the same event.
The Coupe was put on sale in the North American market in early 2012 and while it did develop its own fan base over the years, it still didn’t sell as much as Mini had hoped. The Coupe generally looked like every other car in Mini’s lineup even though it did benefit from some distinctive features. The helmet roof was unique to the model, as was the active rear spoiler that went up automatically any time the Coupe hit speeds of over 50 mph.
But other than these two designs, the Coupe still lacked the separation that likely fueled its slow sales.
The Coupe comes with three different engine options, beginning with a base, 1.6-liter four-cylinder that pumps out 121 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. This trim, called the Cooper Coupe, is able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds to go with top speed of 127 mph.
The next trim model is the Coupe S, which comes with a turbocharged, 1.6-liter engine that delivers 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Its 0-to-60 mph time is almost two seconds faster than the Cooper Coupe at just 6.5 seconds while top speed is rated at 142 mph.
The top-of-the-line Coupe trim is the Coupe John Cooper Works. The model comes with a modified version of the same turbocharged, four-cylinder engine of the Coupe S, good enough to produce 208 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. The JCW model hits 60 mph in as little as 6.1 seconds and tops out at 149 mph.
Meanwhile, the Mini Roadster carries the same mechanical configurations of the Coupe and is also divided into the same three trims. The biggest difference between the Coupe and the Roadster is the latter’s open-top profile that should have made it a top choice for buyers who enjoyed their share of joyrides. Unfortunately, Mini already has that exact same car in the Cooper Convertible.