MINI Cooper S Review
The 2015 Cooper S is not only the quickest MINI but tremendous fun behind the wheel
The MINI range has been on sale in India for a few years now and the British brand brought in the new generation of the iconic car to our country late last year, one year after its global debut. With the third generation MINI Cooper (both 3 and 5-door) being offered with diesel engines only, it’s only the Cooper S which gets petrol power, being the fastest and insanely maniac version of the standard hatchback. MINI launched the Cooper S at Aamby Valley and we got behind the wheel of this hot hatch to experience the thrills and spills of this mad machine with an entire airstrip at our disposal.
The exteriors boast of a redesigned front grille with ‘S’ signage on both the front grille and on the rear. One of the most striking features is the MINI Adaptive LED headlamps which look the part and also switch off the high beam automatically when there is a vehicle approaching from the front. The new Cooper S get a lot of kit as usual. The interiors feel a good place to be in with great quality, fit and finish. The dashboard is revamped with the speedometer and rev meter being placed right behind the steering. There is a new MINI Central Display which shows all the car and entertainment related information. There is auto start/stop feature and we love the airplane type switches used inside.
The MINI Cooper S handles so well, it actually feels like a big go-kart
Coming to the main brownie point of the Copper S and it has to be the engine and what a gem it is. In the age of downsizing, MINI has gone ahead and developed the brand new TwinPower Turbo engine from scratch. The 1998cc, 4-cylinder unit churns out 189 HP of raw power and 280 Nm of twisting force. This powerplant is not only fast but also sips less fuel. The Cooper S felt mighty fast in a straight line on the airstrip and MINI claims it does the 0-100 km/hr sprint in just 6.7 seconds. We will putting the Cooper S through our rigorous test a little later and will come out with our own VBOX numbers. Although there is a tiny bit of turbo lag, the way the power lays down in the mid and higher end of the rev band is truly impressive. And what sound from the 2-litre turbo petrol engine. As you climb through the rev band, the aural note just keeps getting sweeter and it backfires quite a bit when you lift off. The Cooper S has a top speed of 233 km/hr.
Mated to this engine is the standard 6-speed transmission which behaves in a relaxed manner when you are cruising. Change to sports mode and this gearbox gets more eager to perform. Power is channeled through the front wheels, as in the case with most modern day hatchbacks and whoever said that only rear wheel cars are fun simply hasn’t got behind the wheel of this MINI. The dynamics are sorted to the core and will easily put a smile on your face and pump that adrenaline a little faster and harder. On the slalom course, it’s astonishing, the way the Cooper S handles. The chassis is well balanced and takes the weight transfer like a piece of cake. The steering feels just right with excellent feedback at all speeds, weighing up beautifully as you speed up. To make things even more interesting around the track, the manual handbrake ensures you can use the lever to make those tight handbrake turns. There was a tight track set up on the runway around which this MINI’s agility kept things quite exciting while the smell of burning rubber kept soothing the soul. However, like most front drive cars, it did tend to understeer on extremely hard cornering. The brakes offer good stopping power as we figured in the emergency braking tests.
The MINI Cooper S really makes a statement for those who want an iconic car delivering not only on snob value but also offers a serious adrenaline rush. Currently the MINI Cooper S is available for sale as a CBU (Completely Built Unit). While the differential in cost between the MINI Cooper D and Cooper S is just a couple of lakhs, the Cooper S will find many takers for its sheer speed and impeccable driving mannerisms. But at a price of Rs. 44.96 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai), this ‘Furiously Fun’ hatchback doesn’t come cheap.
The MINI Cooper S oozes snob value and is still fast and immense fun to drive. Pricier by a couple of lakhs over the Cooper D, the Cooper S makes perfect sense for the adrenaline junkie.