Mini Cooper S (2014)
I had a fun time chucking the not so small Mini Cooper. Nothing big has changed for the new version, so I thought everyone should read about it!
Age and maturity usually go hand in hand, but not always in divorce court. The Mini Cooper and the Cooper S hit their third generation as slightly larger and somewhat less fitfully childish fashion accessories. The Mini has more comforts, more features, more inches here and there, and more presence.
Why does the Mini grow when smallness is so directly evoked by the brand name? Some of the credit—or blame, depending on your perspective—goes to the new front-wheel-drive UKL platform that the new Mini will share with a full phylum of vehicles coming from Mini and BMW. The Cooper and the Cooper S are the smallest of the UKL derivatives, we’re told, so the size increase is something of a compromise made unavoidable by the future Minis and BMW's that will use the architecture.
With the styling, Mini sticks to its heritage and even those who profess to know cars will have trouble picking out the new model. Basically, the styling is laid further back, the bug-eyed theme for headlights cooling off the in-your-face pug-nose look of the previous car. The fish eyes of the new, LED-ringed headlights and the enlarged, fully ovoid grille strongly evoke the Mini Rocket man concept of a few years ago. All in all, the Mini has grown in many ways, well how can one put it; more feminine! This is the German design team’s idea of an incremental modernization without a serious tampering of the Mini look. Mind you the British heritage is only left in the Mini Badge, Union Jack liveries and John Cooper Woke badges. Ze Germans are everywhere!!
The technical highlights of Mini 3.0 include two new engines that are a part of a modular family of BMW-designed and assembled inline mills that range from the 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder in the base Cooper to the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder in the Cooper S all are direct injection, and Valvetronic throttle-less airflow control, pops and bangs anyone?
Embraced by a six-speed automatic the little car needed little throttle to keep it going the gearing is deep in first but rapidly stretches out for fuel economy, typical hatchback tuning surprisingly for a Mini. So, if you go for third at the wrong moment, the engine seems to gasp for air, but with a predicable lag you will regain your ground. On a flat, acceleration is rapid and when you feel you are getting to the limit, pull on the paddle shift, Yes this car has the optional JCW steering wheel and the engine with its single-scroll turbo opens up more to the red line. One fantastic fact about the gearbox is that it holds the gear for you just like in a manual, now that’s reassuring and grin worthy in corners. Switch to sport mode and the huge circle display shows Go-Kart mode ready, now that’s cool. Mini claims a 0-to-100 time of 7.3 seconds, a figure I think I achieved somewhere along the drive. Steering feedback and suspension can be explained in one simple word- “GRIP” and more grip. Never in any moment it felt loose or unsettled, the only let down are the 195 section tires, mighty small for a boy racer car. The Cooper S comes with Dual Exhausts and they are glorious, blurting out glorious sound track all day long.
Interiors are typical BMW, build quality are right up there on par with premium sedans, the familiar i-Drive is present between the hand brake and gear selector. Dual zone climate control to keep you and your hotness cool. Motorbike inspired dials are situated behind the steering wheel, showing all the required tell-tale lights. The most unique switches inside Mini are the toggle type switches for ceiling lights and other functions. Star to the show is the red toggle switch for Start and Stop. Marketed as a 4-seater, well there are 4 seats inside. If you are above 5,10 and weighs around 80+, you must be contortionist or a gymnastic to access the rear seats.
Mini is a legend and it looks like it is going to embraced by future generations, for its versatile, chic, fun-to-drive character. It is a daily driver, economic if you keep the sound track muffled, has decent boot space and maybe seat for 4. This is as close as you get to a BMW without shelling out more zeroes than I can count. Mini is stereotypically classified as being a feminine car, well it is sort of from my point of view.
Food for thought- The Italian Job- Charlize Theron driving in a Mini, drifting, smoking tires. Did you like her or Jason Statham? Me- Charlize Theron always!