MINI Cooper S
What is it?
Let’s dispel one myth right from the start – the Frank Stephenson re-designed MINI has never enjoyed ‘go-kart handling’. That particular driving experience began and ended with the original Alex Issigonis Mini built between 1959 and 2000.
However, when the new MINI was launched in 2001 it could boast a claim to being one of the sharpest steering in class, something the new bigger hatchback cannot now that several rivals are besting it in this department.
That said, if big is beautiful, then the new MINI Cooper S is getting more attractive all the time.
That’s because the new MINI hatchback is a rebuild from the ground up and shares no common parts with the out-going model as the marque tries to widen its appeal.
The extra dimensions, and here the Cooper S is the longest model at 3850mm, are noticeable mainly in the larger boot space, which now boasts improved storage capacity, thanks to 60/40 folding rear seats, and also marginally in a little more legroom for the occasional rear passengers.
The MINI Cooper S also enjoys more power and better fuel consumption from the all-new 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo producing 195PS and, more importantly, a full 280Nm of torque from just 1250rpm.
In this way, while Mini purists may be disappointed, the new car makes a more compelling argument for the corporate user-chooser seeking a more practical motor, which still exudes its special brand of charm and style that has most variants of the brand a run-away sales success.