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Mini Roadster and Coupe: Buying guide and review (2011-2015)

Mini Roadster and Coupe: Buying guide and review (2011-2015) Classic and Performance Car
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Following on from the huge success of the new-generation Mini in 2001, BMW decided to grow the range following the launch of the second-gen R56 Mini. Along with the Clubman, Countryman and Paceman – the company launched the Coupe and Roadster. 
Marketed for a short four-year period, these cars attempted to fill a niche that perhaps did not need filling. Offered with a wide range of engine and transmission options as well as a comprehensive specification list, they were cracking little weekend cars. A hot JCW version added some serious poke too.
Their relatively lacklustre sales performance may have made them commercially unsuccessful when new, but quirkiness and rarity are desirable traits in the used car market.

Which one to buy?

The Mini Coupe arrived in 2011 sporting the usual range 1.6-litre engines in either 121bhp naturally aspirated or 181bhp turbocharged form. There was also a 143bhp 2.0-litre diesel. Either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission could be specified, with exception to the 208bhp John Cooper Works (JCW) which was manual only until the 2013 model year. 
The backward wearing baseball cap styling of the Coupe might have not been universally loved, while the two-seater configuration made it less practical than the already ‘cosy’ three-door. It was perhaps the high price that really turned buyers off.
The Roadster followed in 2012. Mechanically unchanged, it offered a partially automatic retracting roof, with a manual catch that needed unclipping first. It found itself in a tough position, competing with more traditional roadsters including the four-seat Mini Convertible, as well as small hatchbacks that traded style for practicality and a lower price tag. 
The Roadster and Coupe models aspirational status meant they were a bit spartan in standard trim, but most were specified with desirable options, such as leather seats and interesting colour schemes. The Chili Pack is perhaps the most desirable, featuring an on-board computer, larger alloys and the Media packs. Sat Nav and smartphone connectivity are worth looking out for.
The Coupe is best experienced in either the Cooper S or JCW flavours. Its taut chassis and darty handling is certainly better suited to the extra power of the turbocharged engines. The JCW in particular is a little rocketship, with a 0-60 time approaching 6 seconds. If you have to have a diesel version, it is also best experienced in the Coupe. The Roadster is as enjoyable in base 1.6-litre trim as it is in more powerful variants, and if cruising is to be its main task then the automatic gearbox is a perfect. Standard wheels can help tame the bouncy ride, but larger wheels always look better. 

Performance and specs

Engine 1598cc, 16 valve DOHC in-line four-cylinder 
Power 208bhp @ 6000rpm 
Torque 207lb ft @ 2000-5300rpm
Top speed 149mph 
0-62mph 6.4 seconds 
Fuel consumption 39.8mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2467mm
Length 3734mm
Width 1683mm
Height 1384mm
Weight 1240kg

Common problems

• Being relatively new, no recurring faults have been documented by owners just yet. Most owners mention the hard ride and sometimes creaky interior trim but these are generally par for the course with small sports cars.
• As the running gear is shared with the mass produced Mini variants, there should not be the usual concerns that go with niche products.
• Watch out for abused examples as Turbo failures can occur as well as premature wear on clutches, brakes and tyres.
• New Minis could be optioned with a Mini TLC (five year 50,000mile) or Mini TLC XL (eight year 80,000mile) service package. Cars older than three-years and not covered by these packages can still be serviced for reasonable rates under the Mini service plan at a dealer.
• Other than some bespoke body panels the Coupe and Roadster share their running gear and trim with other second generation Minis, so servicing and parts availability is not an issue.
• A recall was issued for all JCW models regarding a potential fire hazard from the secondary water pump for the turbocharger. This affected all cars built during 2011. It may be worth checking to see if your potential purchase was one of the ones affected.
• The Roadster’s roof is well made and keeps the elements out but it can get noisy on the motorway and when the rain is pelting down.

Model history

2011: Mini Coupe launched in UK. Available in either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic form (except the JCW). Engine range from naturally-aspirated 121bhp 1.6 up to 208bhp turbocharged JCW-spec, as well as a 2.0 BMW diesel unit.
2012: Mini Roadster launched. Engine and transmission options mirrored those of the Coupe.
2015: Production of both Coupe and Roadster models ends with no direct replacement planned

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.mini2.com – Mini enthusiast site and forum
• www.britishminiclub.co.uk – UK Mini club focusing on older models but open to all variants
• www.mini.co.uk – Official Mini website

Summary and prices

The majority of cars available in the UK are petrol powered Coupes; Roadsters are rarer and also predominantly found with petrol engines. Manual gearboxes are also by far the most common, hinting at the sporty nature of these cars. The 121bhp 1.6 Coupes start at £6000, rising to £17,000 for the last of the low-mileage JCW models. 
Condition is generally very good, with mileages usually on the low side, so you can afford to be picky. Roadsters are less numerous and start at £7000, run-out models are similar money to the Coupes. 
For a feisty little two-seater that offers a range of engine and spec levels to suit most tastes the Mini Coupe/Roadster duo are hard to beat. Their relative rarity is sure to make them desirable modern classics in the years to come too.
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 15th Feb 2017
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Mini Roadster
7000 15970 GBP
  • MINI ROADSTER 1.6 Cooper 2dr

    £7,850 £7,850

    Type: Used Year: 2013 Make: MINI Model: ROADSTER Trim: 1.6 Cooper 2dr Body: Coupe Trans: Manual Mileage: 36176 Engine Size: 1598 Ext Color: Black

    • Mileage: 36176 mi
    • Engine size: 1598
    For sale
    £7,850 £7,850
    CarShop Doncaster
    01301508859 View contact number

    £15,970 £15,970

    UKI (Sudbury) Limited are pleased to offer this 2014 (63) Mini John Cooper Works roadster for sale presented in Midnight black metallic. This roadster is in excellent condition inside and out, it comes with full Mini service history and an MOT until January 2019.;;This Roadster JCW has virtually every extra possible, this includes - Chili pack, Satellite navigation, Media pack, Harman Kardon sound system, Bluetooth telephone and audio, DAB radio, Full black lounge leather, Heated front seats, Climate control, Cruise control, Electric folding door mirrors, Comfort access, Reversing parking sensors, Bi-Xenon headlights, Black headlight reflectors, Midnight black metallic, Automatic lights and wipers, 17" JCW multi spoke alloy wheels in gloss black, Chrome line interior, Ambient lighting, Gloss red interior trim, Centre armrest, Wind deflector.;;All of our vehicles come with the remainder of their manufacturers warranty (where applicable) and are HPI clear, they also come with an M.O.T with no advisories (where applicable) and a standard 3 month warranty with options to upgrade to 2 years, we also have trained valets who are experienced in applying the market leading Williams F1 Ceramic paint protection which we can offer at discounted rates to all of our customers.

    • Mileage: 18250 mi
    • Engine size: 1.598
    For sale
    £15,970 £15,970