We're in beautiful Puerto Rico to drive the new Mini Cooper S. Is it still as exciting as the previous car? Only one way to find out.
Of course you know what this car is - the shape is Mini right through. This one however, is the new Mini Cooper S. It is longer, wider and pancaked to the ground like a Mini should be. The grille is now more oval-shaped, the headlights feature LED rings and there's the deeper front bumper and signature bonnet rally scoop. The Cooper S sits on 16-inch alloy wheels. More interestingly though, it's 1998cc twin-scroll turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine is 400cc bigger than the unit it replaces, making it the largest-capacity petrol engine ever to be offered in a Mini hatchback. It is, however, 7kg lighter than the old powerplant.
Power is up by 8bhp to 189bhp, but more apparent is the increase in torque, which rises by 2.07kgm 28.4kgm at 1250rpm. Mini claims 0-100kph of 6.8sec and a top-speed of 230kph, making the new Cooper S a respective 0.2sec and 6kph faster than its predecessor, in its six-speed automatic guise. Inside the thoroughly redesigned cabin, there is a nicely proportioned leather-bound steering wheel, unique instrument graphics, more equipment and more supportive seats. But it feels very much a Mini in here - large windows, retro toggles and all.
It drives like a proper Mini too. It's sporting nature is noticeable from the moment you fire up the engine. Sporty as ever, in the city, we found it to be a lot more mature too in that it's well, less manic, than the older Cooper S. It's a lot more of an everyday car now. But give it the beans and the S takes off - it revs hard and revs quick. It sounds rather sporty too with a nice blip from the exhausts as you lift off the throttle. India will get the automatic Mini, and on the new Sport automatic gearbox, shifts are really quick. Thankfully, the BMW-like pull-push paddles have made way for more intuitive +/- ones.