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Mini Cooper S Classic Fun

Published On Jun 23, 2012 By CarDekho for Mini Cooper

Don’t go by the name, I warn you! Well this is what I must tell each and every one who would be reading this road test of the Mini Cooper S. The Mini, over a period of time has sold more than 2,000,000 units across 90 countries. Lets get some facts in place before we get going with the road test.

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Incidentally Mini was a small car made by British Motor Corporation (BMC) from the year 1959 till the year 2000. The car was considered as an iconic British car of the 60s and had diehard fans and followers right since its inception; this car has evolved originally from the Morris Mini-Minor which again was an iconic car from Britain.

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The Mini was and is till today the direct rival of the VW Beetle and this rivalry is on since donkey’s years. We won’t get into this bitter-sweet rivalry because we are here to get you the first hand report of the Mini Cooper S. The Mini brand is now owned by the BMW Group.

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Things have changed over the years and the Mini now has grown larger in dimensions and has changed with today’s time and technology. We spend a day in the Mini Cooper S (Sports) and relive what it is to be driving around in a car that makes a big Style Statement.

Exteriors.

A complete head turner, the easiest way to describe the Mini Cooper S. See it from any angle and you will surely open your mouth in awe at the strong design presence on the Mini Cooper S. The Mini Cooper S has grown in proportions as compared to the older generation Mini. The current larger Mini Cooper S stands at 3723mm in length, 1683mm in width and stands at 1407mm in height with a wheelbase of 2467mm. 

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What is instantly striking, is the short body overhangs in the front profile and at the rear too that blend with the large dimension wheels that add muscularity to the sides of the Mini Cooper S. At the front you have the characteristic Mini hexagonal radiator grill that comes with a thick band of chrome stripping.

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The head lights are large in size and round in shape- again with chrome strip running around them. The nose has an air-intake just above the centre grill and two more intakes on the lower half of the front bumper which also have chrome linings that enhance the Mini Cooper S face and give it the Rally-Car like look. The round fog lamps are placed just besides the air intakes on the bumper.

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The bonnet of the Mini Cooper S has a pair of racing stripes that run towards the wind shield starting from the grill. The bonnet has a sharp curve, technically this is to make extra space and accommodate the turbocharged engine under it. 

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The side profile of the Mini Cooper S is highlighted by the large dimension wheels, the large flushed glass area and the glossy oval wing mirrors. The Mini Cooper S drives on black finish alloys with spec of 6.5Jx16 and tyre spec of 195/55/R16. A thick fibre band runs across the wheel arches and foot board acting as the under body protection and also enhancing the visual appeal of the sides.

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The side fenders also get the special Mini Cooper S detailing design element in chrome. The wing mirror is in a glossy black oval housing along with chrome door handles. The roof gets a twin panoramic sun roof along with glossy black roof bends. At the rear, things are upbeat as well to match the Mini's proportions with the front.

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The rear profile is all wounded and blends perfectly with the retro looking tail lamps with chrome surrounds. A thick chrome strip runs across just above the registration plate. The large rear roof spoiler adds a lot of sporty character. The rear bumper gets an extra set of LED retro styled stop lamps which are also surrounded with chrome giving a classic Mini look.

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The rear bumper also has a honey comb mesh air dam. The Mini Cooper S has twin exhaust pipes placed in the centre instead of sides and the COOPER S emblem looks smart on the boot lid. The build quality on the outside is top notch and the Mini Cooper S is available in 13 colour shades to choose from; the best and most striking shade being the one we drove in Rooster Red (Bright Red).

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Chrome detailing in the cabin is high, making the cabin look very stylish and giving a classic feel. The Mini Cooper S has a striking road presence and a complete head turner where ever you go in it you surely will be noticed. 

Interiors – Cabin – Equipment.

Step inside the Mini Cooper S and the first impression you get is that of a retro sports car. The seats are hand stitched in black leather with manual adjust for height and reach, seating in the front seats is extremely comfortable. The front seats hug the occupants and give you a feel like that of a rally car.

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The dashboard is in two parts, the upper half in black while the lower section is in red leather covering. The door pads too have the same red leather cladding on them. You can customize the leather colour on the panels from the many available shades. Ambient lighting is another feature that is available in the Mini Coopers cabin, you can change the light effect in here from 5 colour options on the roof, grab handles and storage compartments.

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The center of attraction on the dashboard is the huge analogue speedometer that is calibrated to 260kmph. Now this speedo has a ivory background and has digits in black while the needle runs in red giving a super classic retro feel to it. In the middle of the speedo is housed the color LCD screen that reads out the needed info for music, Bluetooth telephony, vehicle statistics etc.

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The fuel gauge indicator is just below this screen. The AC vents are in round shape with a dash of aluminum lining around them. The three spoke steering comes with all the multi-function buttons on it, this steering is chunky to grip, comes with paddle shifter and gives you a feel that of a go-kart steering wheel.

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An RPM meter with multi-function display sits behind the steering. The RPM meter cluster also houses a digital speedometer in it. The engine start stop push button is on the right side of the steering on the dash along with the key remote port.  A single CD/MP3 system with Harman/kardon speakers does its bit. 

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A single zone climate control unit is good enough to cool down the cabin of the Mini Cooper S. You have aircraft cockpit like metallic buttons for operating the sun roof, lights etc. placed in front of the rear view mirror and another set of similar buttons placed under the climate control to operate the central lock, power windows and fog lamps.

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The Mini Cooper S gets a special auto transmission shifter with a unique S emblem in red inscribed on it. Just behind the auto transmission shifter are glass holders and in the front is the Sports mode activation button. 

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To access the rear seats you need to flip down the front seats using the handle on them; the rear seats with adjustable headrest can seat 2 adults comfortably, but with a bit tight leg room. 

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The overall fit and finish in the cabin is typical BMW level and of very high standards. The leather used is of high quality and the control switches feel like lasting more than a lifetime. Design and detailing in the cabin is very high. 

Engine – Transmission – Suspension.

The Mini Cooper S which is the sports version of the Mini family gets power from a 1.6liter (1598cc) inline four cylinder Petrol engine having a twin scroll turbocharging on it.

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This engine makes a very healthy 184bhp across the power band and has a high torque level of 260Nm. Superior technology is used to enhance performance and minimize turbo-lag.  This 1.6liter engine is mated to an 6 speed automatic transmission with tiptronic shift. 

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Push the engine start button and the 1.6liter engine comes to life with a soft growl at idle. Rev the engine and the growl grows louder and gets much sportier. This engine is refined but gives a feedback of a rally car thanks to the growl on it. On the move the engine response is instant with 184 horses coming to life quickly and dramatically.

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The gear shifts on the auto transmission go un-noticed and there is zero lag experienced. Power delivery is very fast and abundant. You need to get used to the power that the Mini Cooper S can throw at you mostly because of the weight of the car that is just 1100kgs, which makes the power to weight ratio click in its favour heavily. 

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Driving the Mini Cooper S is super fun, you are seated at a low level as compared to other cars and the small steering combined with tight handling reminds you a lot of go-karting.

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You want more fun, just activate the Sports mode and the gear ratios get tighter with more down shifts and extra power on to the wheels. You can drive this baby at a speed of 200kmph and it does not complain a bit. On an empty stretch just floor the pedal and see the Mini Cooper’s true character. 

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The suspension is tuned on the stiffer side to blend with the power delivery and enhance the handling capabilities to a large extent. You can corner at high speeds and smile it away cause the Mini Cooper does everything handsomely with loads of fun involved for the driver.

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The electric steering has good enough feedback to keep the driver involved at all speeds. The Mini Cooper S excels in all departments including braking, handling and cruising. Handling is rock solid and high standards of stability are felt at all speeds. Safety features like 6 airbags ( 2 front, 2 sides, 2 head), brake assist, ABS, Run-Flat indicator, Dynamic Stability Control, 3 Point seat belts come as standard on the Mini Cooper S. 

Verdict.

The Mini Cooper S is a cute two door hot hatch but there is much more to it. The Mini Cooper S is a big style statement, a complete head turner. The Mini Cooper S may not be a large luxury sedan but it brings much more smile to your face while driving it, the Mini Cooper S in short is an iconic car that can transform itself into a rally car when you want it to.

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It has all the style, the panache and character of a true blue retro car combined with the latest safety gizmos and a very powerful and performance oriented engine. 

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Competition Check.

The Mini Cooper S has the Volkswagen Beetle and the Fiat 500 for competition currently.

Price.

The Mini Cooper S is priced at Rs. 28.60lakhs Ex showroom Delhi. 

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Parting Words.

At the price tag of Rs. 28.60 Lakhs Ex Showroom Delhi the Mini Cooper S is expensive no doubt but if you can afford it there is no match for it currently, for this is the perfect pocket-rocket cum style icon that money can buy.

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