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With its previous generation, Mini went for a maximalist strategy, expanding its lineup to include seven derivatives. But with the new generation, BMW's retro Anglo-Saxon brand is shifting gears to a "superhero strategy" focusing on core models with volume sales potential rather than small niches.

Nobody could argue at this point that Mini (like its parent company BMW) has not mastered the art (if you could call it that) of filling every niche with its own model. But with the third generation of Mini now upon us, some of the company's strategists are asking themselves what the point is of it all.

The Mini Cooper Coupe – or "Couper," as associate editor Jeff Glucker has dubbed it – goes on sale in the fall, priced from a respectable $22,000. Stepping up to the Cooper S Coupe will set you back $25,300, and the top-rung John Cooper Works Coupe commands $31,900. But those are just the base MSRPs.

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