Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Four engines will be available from launch: three variants of the 1.6-litre petrol (122bhp, 184bhp and 211bhp) and one 143hp 2.0-litre diesel. The top-of-the-range 211bhp John Cooper Works is the quickest MINI ever and can complete the benchmark sprint in 6.4s while it has a top speed of 149mph. Zipping in and out of traffic in the JCW is not a problem, but take it out on to twisty B-roads and you can enjoy its outright pace.

The 122bhp available on the Cooper can get from 0-62mph in 9.0s and has a top speed of 127mph while the Cooper S can complete the sprint to 62mph in 6.9s and this version has a top speed of 143mph. The sole diesel option is the newly introduced 143bhp SD engine. It will reach 62mph in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 134mph.

A lower centre of gravity (29mm lower than the hatch) means that the Coupe feels even better to drive through the corners. One of the key strengths of the MINI has always been its excellent handling and the Coupe version continues with that tradition. It has that famed go-kart handling, sharp steering and it’s incredibly responsive with a low-slung driving position (although a little lower would be even better for true enthusiasts).

Body roll is kept well in check too thanks to the lower ride height and the rear spoiler is not just for style. At speeds of more than 50mph it will automatically pop-up to aid handling and below 37mph it will retract because it's not needed at such low speeds (there is a ‘poseur button’ where you can raise the spoiler if you are doddling through town, however).

The MINI is fitted with electric power steering and although this often comes at the expense of involvement, this isn't the case here. There’s a great deal of feedback, while the tyres grip tenaciously through the corners and that all makes the JCW the pick of the bunch on twisty B-roads.