MINI: 2014 Cooper S hatch quick drive

MINI: 2014 Cooper S hatch quick drive

At the same time as I had the keys to the latest Mini Cooper S in my pocket, I happened upon a documentary from Britain’s BBC as to why the German automotive industry was so much better than their own.

Among a number of obvious reasons – vehicle quality, labour relations, arrogant management – was that the Germans work heavily to develop, and then protect, their brands.

And that work is clearly evident in the history of the Mini. BMW have managed to take what was an iconic small vehicle decades ago, and turn it into a brand, which in the space of a decade has become so strong that they can stick it to a range of vehicles with little but come round headlights and cutesy styling nods to the past.

2014 MINI Cooper S r:h sideHow? By realising and enforcing that as long as they stuck to a few parameters – that the car is fun, cute and nimble – they can do that they want.

Darren Cottingham has already tested the third-generation of the new Mini, and we will leave the details to him – which can be found in his review: http://www.carandsuv.co.nz/articles/mini-2014-cooper-hatch

Let’s stick to the juicy bits.

The Cooper S features what will be, for now, the most powerful version of BMW’s new B48 engine. It shares the same basic 2014 MINI Cooper S enginedesign as the three-cylinder in other Minis, but being modular means it has grown to four-cylinder and 2.0-litre in capacity. You will next see this unit in the front-wheel-drive BMW225i active tourer.

In this form it gets a ’Twin-power’ twin scroll turbo – and that means fun. More specifically 141kW from 4700rpm to 6000rpm and 280Nm of torque from 1250rpm. In the relatively light – 1160kg empty – Mini can run to 100km in 6.7 seconds, while achieving a 5.9-litre per 100km combined consumption figure – in manual form.

While a six-speed manual is standard, and at a risk of fire from 2014 MINI Cooper S upholsterythe purists, I think the optional six-speed automatic with a sequential function is a better pair for the car. It is actually fractionally faster to 100 and more fuel efficient – and the car seems so frantic in round-town running I am not sure I would want to try keep up with a traditional shift.

Flick the Minis ‘sport’ mode toggle switch and steering and throttle response firms up dramatically. The suspension itself is firm to the limit of what you really can handle on Auckland’s city streets, and at times felt as if it was pitching a little, but didn’t cross the line into unpleasant.

In the traffic light grand prix, the little Mini feels unbeatable, 2014 MINI Cooper S rear 3:4and the unnecessary but fun crackle and ‘brap’ on shifts that has been programmed into the car is so amusing you will be coming on and off the throttle to trigger out simply for the grin.

Inside, over the standard Mini you get firm but comfy leather sports seats, and an uprated steering wheel. I have always loved the ‘sit up and beg’ driving style a Mini requires, and despite being bigger it retains its small, letterbox windscreen, feel.

The back seat and boot, as with the previous generation, are an afterthought.

The new Cooper S sticks to the above mentioned brand attributes, while being a great sports drive for the city in the process. The Mini brand is safe for now.

 

 

Mini Cooper S prices:

$44,200 (manual) $47,200 (Automatic)

Words:

Pictures: MINI Australia

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