A few months have left till Mini releases its R58, offered in Cooper, Cooper S, and the JCW variants. The so much expected car will be available at dealers in September, appearing as the most hardcore Mini produced yet. As Minis presumably most performance focused model in the years ahead, the R58 will be sold in the lowest numbers of any MINI version. Actually, the projects on both, the R58 and the Roadster (its twin) were promptly put into practice. The work got started in early 2009, and Mini unveiled the production version of the R58 Coupé at Frankfurt Auto Show the same year (with R59 Roadster followed a few months later). Right after the Coupé and the Roadster were last seen at the LA auto show in 2009, Mini went into designing and engineering to put the finishing touches to the models. Both concepts are basically a Mini John Cooper Works, featuring a few custom bits, including painted wheel inserts, painted mini-blind grille slats, and darkened headlamps. The significant changes include the trailing edge of the rear window which moved forward a few inches making it look like a trunk and the redesigned front and rear facia, also unique hood design (noticed on both cars). Mini calls both concepts as an unusually attractive vision of how the model family will develop in the future. Indeed, all the revisions make these vehicles unique in design apart from their Hatch and Convertible siblings.
Mini R58 is now enduring the final production testing around the world, including California. As an example, the model is tested in BMW's new Environmental Test Center, which simulates conditions ranging from -22F to +113F. As for first production prototypes, they already debuted. Mini USA actually ordered first initial September cars for US dealers. They are going to be Cooper S and Cooper versions with both auto and manual transmissions.
Speaking about performance, the Coupe is expected to weigh about 150 lbs less than the hatchback and have a more rigid chassis. According to AutoGuide.com, the 4-cylinder R58 will be Mini's performance leader. Its sporty character is expressed by an electronically deployed spoiler which rises from the car at speeds around 50 mph adding efficiency and creating a downforce on the rear wheels. The R58 will be a hatchback, just like the R56 and will have more cargo room than one can think. Still it is the least versatile model of Mini's line-up till the R59 Roadster appears.