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Published on June 30th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Mini Cooper S COUPE test drive review_You Either Love It Or Hate It

This is another new version from the designers of the iconic Mini from BMW. It is obvious by now that Mini wanted to wring out as many variants of the Mini to take on as many vehicle segments as possible. This is a pure 2 seater with a larger luggage space and a coupe like profile that looks like an afterthought conceived on a bar napkin in a night club. Yes, I am not taken by the design and in fact am very disappointed in how the traditional classic lines of the Mini have been disturbed. I have to however confess that my ‘don’t like the new Mini Coupe’ club is very small. The 4 days I had the car in my possession I had a large number of admirers and even some classic Mini owners very taken by its looks. This just shows how one person’s gourmet meal is another’s highway-stop snack.  

Well let’s start with the cabin. The coupe profile reduces the headroom marginally where even a non basketball player like me had difficulty getting in and out where we hit the side of our head the first few times. A few admiring passengers were also giving a head butt by the roof. Once inside the familiar cabin that we have all grown to love is still executed very well and now with a higher standard as materials and features have been upgraded just like in the Countryman. Toggle switches are everywhere and the centre round INFO screen houses all the necessary comfort features like entertainment and driver conveniences.

So how does it drive? It’s a proven formula which the previous 2-door Mini Cooper S enjoyed: build a small, lightweight hatch, sit it on big wheels on all corners and put a willing torquey engine under the bonnet. This Mini Coupe scores the same BMW-sourced 1.6 litre turbocharged engine as the other Cooper induced Mini carries. It finds its 184bhp at 5500rpm, but it’s the low down and flat torque curve of 240Nm that comes available from just 1600rpm to 5000rpm that gives this Cooper S Coupe a very lively feel under the drivers command. With turbocharging, DOHC, multi-point electronic fuel injection and a snappy gearbox, it is happy to run without complaint to the 6500rpm redline. It is lots of fun when stretched and has no trouble hauling the Coupe’s featherweight chassis around.

This is a very well-balanced small car with quite tenacious grip and eager performance. Covering the 0-100km/h sprint in a claimed 7.1 seconds, acceleration is certainly brisk, but it doesn’t raise the hair on your back. That said, with nicely-weighted steering, good road feel and a willing engine, this Coupe can really be hustled along. At speeds, turn-in is sharp where this Coupe readily points where it’s intended, however it is easily shaken off-line on pot-holed corners and uneven surfaces. It can be precisely-placed when cornering quickly on well paved roads and, even with some induced slide feels controlled and very well-balanced.

So, after 4-days with Mini’s new Cooper induced Coupe we have to say that it certainly has striking looks to attract attention and on-road performance to match its lines. You get a lot of performance for your money and Mini is pitching it at a premium buyer, someone looking for a cutish sports coupe. This however is a smaller high-quality package that we feel is over-priced as a 2 seater with no convertible roof. At it’s almost quarter a million ringgit asking price there is a lot of options in the market and this Coupe has a lot of work on its hands to win buyers over. That said, Mini’s Cooper S Coupe is fast and fun to drive, offers good on-road dynamics and individual but purposeful lines.

MINI Cooper S Coupe Specifications
Engine: Turbo 16v
Power: 184bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque: 240Nm @ 1600-5000rpm (Overboost) 260Nm @ 1730-4500rpm
Capacity: 1598cc
Transmission: 6-speed with manual steering shifts
0-100km/h: 7.1secs
Top speed: 224km/h
Price: RM249,888.00


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