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2012 MINI Cooper Coupe: Lots Of Fun In A Small Package

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The MINI family is set to expand with two new editions set to debut over the next six to twelve months; the production versions of the MINI Coupe and Roadster concepts first unveiled back in 2009. The first of these will be the new 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe, which has been previewed today in these official ‘spy’ shots ahead of the car’s world debut at this September’s 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

MINI fans in the U.S. can look forward to three different versions of the MINI Cooper Coupe when the ultra-cute compact sports car goes on sale towards the end of the year. All are front-wheel drive and come with six-speed manual transmissions as standard, though a six-speed automatic is offered as an option on all but the sportiest of the trio.

The base model, the regular Cooper Coupe, is the car that will offer the best gas mileage, with its naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine delivering 121 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. MINI promises a 0-60 mph time of 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 127 mph, all with fuel economy of 43.55 mpg on the European combined cycle.

The mid-tier model is the 181 horsepower MINI Cooper S Coupe, followed by the range-topping MINI Cooper Coupe John Cooper Works (JCW) with 208 horsepower on tap. This latter model will complete the 0-60 mph dash in just 6.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 149 mph.

The key to the car’s strong fuel economy is its light curb weight, which is expected to be slightly less than the already light MINI Cooper hatchback. However, aerodynamic efficiency also plays a major role when it comes to fuel economy.

Aerodynamic aids include two rear spoilers, one on the roof and the other hidden in the rear lifting tailgate. This integrated active rear spoiler is designed to optimize airflow at higher speeds, automatically extending when the car reaches a speed of 50 mph and subsiding once again when speeds drop below 37 mph. Drivers can also manually extend the spoiler at the push of a button.

For now, MINI has only released these official spy shots of its 2012 MINI Cooper Coupe but stay tuned for undisguised images as we approach its world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show this September.

In the meantime, follow the jump below for full details on the latest car.

[MINI via MotorAuthority]

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