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Interiors – Step inside the MINI Cooper S and you are right in the lap of luxury with a large dose of sportiness thrown in. The doors are fantastic to hold and feature border less glass. Roll down the windows and close the doors, which are longer than you can imagine and similar to those seen in sports cars. When you open the door, the windows roll down a bit and on closing, they roll back up. This is to ensure there is no air leakage. There are the usual puddle lamps but most interesting are the lights on the door pads, mood lightning as its known. They change colors from blue to red and green, giving an amazing effect at night. Blue lights are also present on the door knob, which is made of chrome.

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The leather seats are made of very high quality and hug the passengers in comfort. The MINI Cooper S also gets a panoramic roof as standard, which gives the cabin a very airy feeling. BMW has kept every aspect of the MINI retro but modernized it to the best degree possible. The 3-spoke steering wheel houses the MINI logo and features controls for the audio system and cruise control. There are paddle shifts on the steering wheel and everything feels so solidly put together, including the indicator and wiper stalks.

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Right in the drivers vision is the huge tachometer, which is calibrated to 8000 RPM. It also features a digital speedometer along with a digital display for distance to empty, odometer and trip meters. Harmon Kardon speakers are positioned on the A-pillar with good sound quality. The drivers side door has controls for the adjustment of the rear view mirrors and thus everything else is placed on the center console. The glove box is of decent sized and can be opened by pressing the chrome button right below the left side AC vent.

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The center console houses a huge round display, which consists of the retro speedometer (calibrated up to 260 km/h), LCD screen, hazard lights and fuel meter. This screen is quite similar to BMW’s i-Drive and features a barge of information including vehicle information, MINI service, office, Telephone, Radio, CD/Multimedia and settings. Reverse guidance is also shown on this screen. The small stalk right behind the gear knob is used to control all the above features. This is easy to operate but seems to be configured for a left hand drive markets. As the center console is adorned by the large speedometer cum LCD display, AC vents are placed on either side, thereby being closer to the driver and co-passenger.

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Right below the retro speedometer are various controls, including that of the Audio system, AC and other bits. The MINI Visual Boost is what the company likes to call its audio system, which features a CD player. Right below is the automatic climate control, below which are 5 buttons (from right to left) – driver side power window control, rear fog light, door lock/unlock, front fog light and co-driver power window control. These buttons feel like they are right out of a fighter plane! Below these buttons is a small storage area along with a cup holder, cigarette lighter and an ashtray. Traction control on/off button and Sport button is placed right in front of the gear lever. A physical hand brake is present along with a arm rest at the front, which slides open for small storage.

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Right above the rear view mirror lies buttons for the cabin lights and the sunroof. These buttons are exactly the same as the ones present on the lower end of the center console and feel extremely solid and good to use. This is the first car I have seen that has two sun visors for the driver. One to prevent sun from the front, while the other is to prevent the sun from the driver window. The driver seat has manual adjustment and a button to push the seat forward for passengers to get into the rear seats. The rear seats offer good support but legroom is very poor and the seats are best for small children or keeping luggage.

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The interiors of the MINI Cooper are a work of art and feel very luxurious. Built quality is solid and the attention to detail is simply mind boggling. Even the hazard light button has been carefully designed. There are blue lights (yellow in the day) inside the rear airbag opening. Everything feels so good to touch and use that you simply wouldn’t want to leave the vehicle. Boot space is strictly average though and the MINI will carry a decent sized bag without any issue.

Head over to the next page to read about the driving dynamics of the MINI Cooper S.