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Recently, something odd has happened. Since the launch of the latest generation Mini back in 2014, I’ve been adamant that I don’t like them. To me, they seemed overpriced, over styled, and overly patriotic. However, it appears, that almost overnight, I’ve had a massive change of heart. Suddenly, I find myself browsing classified sites wondering if there is any way I can afford one. Afterall, do I really need both of my kidneys? At this point I should mention that, I know myself well enough to be able to tell you that next week I’ll be lusting after something else, but for the time being I’m going to try and find out if my desire for the Mini is justifiable.
In my opinion, the Mini Cooper S seems to have all the ingredients to make it the perfect daily driver. It’s worth remembering that everybody has different needs from their cars. I don’t need much space; therefore, I can get away with something small. The main reason I’ve found myself gravitating towards the Mini is because, it manages to maintain an element of fun and character, whilst at the same time being a well finished and desirable product. A lot of the character that the car has, comes from elements that I originally didn’t like. For example, the styling. I’ve come to appreciate it as iconic and distinctive. The Mini looks fun and fresh, yet it still has enough hints back to the Minis of old, for you to know exactly what it is as soon as you lay eyes on it. Sure, I’d still argue that union jack rear light clusters, are a touch over the top, but they’re perhaps not something to be taken so seriously, maybe I should see them as something to have a giggle over when you approach to open the boot.
Despite the John Cooper Works Mini sitting on the top branch of the model tree, it’s the Cooper S that I find most desirable. The main reason for this is looks. Yes, they look very similar, but I think the JCW extras clutter the design of the Mini. In my opinion, the Cooper S has more class about it, and despite not being the fire breathing performance model, its hardly going to leave you feeling short changed. The 2 Litre turbo charged engine develops 192bhp and 280Nm of torque. This translates to a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds, or 6.7 if you opt for the duel clutch gear box. It will also top out at 146mph, so, it’s safe to say that the Cooper S is more than fast enough to entertain. More importantly, I think the performance it offers is usable and exploitable. This is important to me, its pointless having a car if you can’t use full throttle through fear of instantly losing your license. The experience of being able to play with a car and experiment with its performance, is to my eyes, one of the most fun things you can do. It’s also worth noting that the less hardcore set up of the Cooper S will have benefits such as, a more comfortable ride.
So, the Cooper S gets a tick for styling and performance, but as a daily driver, they’re not the only things that need considering. You spend an awful lot of time stuck in traffic in this country, and as such, you want to make sure you’re sat in a nice cabin. Luckily, the Mini is hands down the best in class when it comes to interiors. I assume this is one of the perks that comes with having BMW as a parent company, but there can be no denying that it’s a beautiful place to be. Tech highlights include, a rear-view camera, heads up display, 8.8inch screen with Minis version of the iDrive system and a Harman Kardon stereo. All of this should ensure that those tedious commutes are as comfortable as possible.
It appears that my lusting for a Cooper S is justifiable, it has all the ingredients to make it a wonderful daily driver. Would you take something like this over a Golf R? Let me know in the comments below what car you'd pick to live with everyday!
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