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Mini Cooper S review, test drive

7th May 2012 7:57 pm

It's not practical, it's not cheap and it's a hatch. But with 184bhp, the Mini Cooper S is a pocket-sized rocket on four-wheels, an absolute blast.

  • Make : Mini
  • Model : Cooper S

We’ve just got our hands on the very attractive Mini Cooper S, and we can tell you straight off the bat it’s exactly what we expect it to be – an absolute riot. 

For a start, it’s just an unbelievable eyeball magnet. The go-faster stripes, pugnacious stance and breathtaking quality levels instantly tell you this is something special. And you just can’t get away from the fact that there’s plenty of retro rally car appeal to this Cooper S. Then there are the black wheels, the flush-mounted glass house and that big centrally mounted exhaust can. So attractive is the car, in fact, that almost no one noticed the brand-new full-sized German luxury SUV standing right next to it!

Then there’s the way the car drives – like a go-kart with a fizzing rocket motor strapped on. The turbo four under the hood delivers immediate and serious shove virtually from tickover, 184bhp of turbo boost is delivered in a sustained rush, and find a nice empty stretch and this sportscar in the shape of a hatch will breach 200kph quite comfortably. It weighs just 1100kg, so all that power goes a long way. 

Watch Mini Cooper S video review

The Mini Cooper S’s best party trick however is just how hard it can be hurled around corners, full rally style. Yes, this car is front-wheel drive – the original Mini rally car was famous for being one – and it just attacks corners like a terrier. The front wheels have massive grip, the Cooper S simply sticks to the road and go really hard, and the tail steps out smartly, which brings out the smiles.

Other things we love about the car: the electric steering is well weighted, the uniquely retro interiors are as good as in any luxury car and you can go nuts customising it. Yes, the ride is stiff, there are only two doors, the car isn’t good value at Rs 28.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and it won’t win a price vs size comparisons. But for sophisticated owners looking for plenty of driver appeal and cheeky fun, this car is just it – a screaming, laughing, howling rollercoaster on wheels. 

PRICE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Price Range Ex-showroom - Delhi Rs 28.6 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi) - - -
ENGINE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Fuel Type / Propulsion Petrol - - -
Engine Installation Front, transverse, FWD - - -
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/tonne) 24.47kgm / 26.51kgm (overboost) - - -
Hybrid type 4-cylinders in-line 1598cc Petrol - - -
Power 184bhp - - -
BODY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Rear Tyre 195/55/R16 - - -
Wheels 6.5JX16 light alloy - - -
Dimensions Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Length (mm) 3723mm - - -
Width (mm) 1913mm - - -
Height (mm) 1407mm - - -
Wheelbase (mm) 2467mm - - -
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