AT12MARHow far can the MINI brand be stretched? From the bread-van like MINI Clubman to the pseudo off-roading MINI Countryman,  it would seem that the company is moving further and further away from the simple, driver oriented ethos of the original.

Thankfully, the new MINI Coupe seeks to right some of the wrongs of its forebears. Sitting low and with the swept back profile that gives a hunkered down look, the Coupe’s intent is clear: it is a sharpened up, focussed version of the already fine handling MINI Hatch.

It’s available with the same engine line-up as the hatchback, from the frugal Cooper SD model to the hardcore John Cooper Works, meaning there is performance and economy to suit all tastes. The interior is largely unchanged too, meaning quality plastics and sturdy construction but a design that may be too retro-inspired for some.

The removal of the hatchback’s (tiny) rear seats has – strangely – boosted practicality. The Coupe’s boot is much larger with a better load shape and there is more room for passengers in this strict two seater. If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t ever use their rear seats (and if you’re considering a MINI then clearly you don’t) and you like the thought of a car with a roof-line designed to look as though it’s wearing a baseball cap back to front, then we’d recommend the Coupe wholeheartedly.

12-plate wish list

Feb 01: Hyundai i40 Tourer

Feb 02: Audi A4

Feb 03: Ford Focus

Feb 06: Citroen DS4

Feb 07: Volkswagen up!

Feb 08: Vauxhall Astra GTC

Feb 09: Audi A1 Sportback

Feb 10: Renault Scenic

Feb 13: Subaru XV

Feb 14: Renault Twingo (video)

Feb 15: MINI Coupe

Feb 16: Nissan LEAF

Feb 17: MINI Coupe (video)

Feb 20: Hyundai i30

Feb 21: Chevrolet Camaro

Feb 22: Porsche 911 (video)

Feb 23: Kia Picanto

Feb 24: BMW 1-Series

Feb 27: Honda Civic

Feb 28: Hyundai Veloster