[singlepic id=12651 w=540 h=375 float=center]

The turbocharged engine in the Cooper S is a total racket of speed and brutal acceleration.

Performance – The MINI Cooper S is powered by a 1598cc, 4-cylinder petrol engine which has twin scroll turbocharging. This engine is unique to the Cooper S and was developed by BMW in collaboration with PSA Peugeot Citroen (it also does duty on the Peugeot 207 GT). Producing a peak power output of 184 PS at 5500 RPM and a peak torque output of 240 Nm between 1600-5000 RPM, the Cooper S also has an overboost function, which gives the vehicle an additional 20 Nm of torque (260 Nm in total). This results in the MINI Cooper S flying to 100 km/h in just 7.2 seconds with a top speed of 223 km/h. Performance is very strong and the Cooper S rushes to the redline with utmost of aggression. The engine never seems to run out of breath and continues to pull strongly even at triple digit speeds. This engine is undoubtedly the best 4-cylinder petrol engine in India today, well suited for both city and highway driving.

[singlepic id=12636 w=540 h=375 float=center]

The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The gear knob reads P, R, N, D (with manual/sport mode). However it is the Sport mode which gives the Cooper S significant quicker shifts in each gear whenever needed very quickly, thereby helping the driver extract power at high revvs. The Cooper S sounds very sporty as the revvs climb and the splendid exhaust note is quite audible in the cabin. There are paddles too, which helps you take control of shifts, or you can also manually shift using the tiptronic function on the gear lever.

[singlepic id=12624 w=540 h=375 float=center]

Ride, Handling and Braking – BMW claims that the MINI Cooper is born to corner and once you get behind the wheel you simply can’t argue with that fact. The wide track, long wheel base, low weight and low center of gravity ensure that the MINI cuts through corners like a razor sharp knife! BMW says that the MINI Cooper is a go-kart. A go-kart is a rear-wheel driven vehicle, whereas the Cooper in-spite of being front wheel driven does indeed handle like a go-kart, thereby becoming the world’s fastest go-kart. Turn-in is very tight and accurate, with the Cooper moving with laser guided confidence. Push it beyond its limits (which by the way is a big limit), and the Cooper’s tail will step out happily.

[singlepic id=12631 w=540 h=375 float=center]

Ride quality is very stiff and the MINI Cooper S really shakes up the occupants on bad roads. The ride is so stiff that on uneven roads the Cooper S bounces badly. The low profile rubber and the run-flat tyres are to blame for the stiff ride. Brakes are splendid though and the MINI Cooper stops dead in its track without any drama. The brakes have massive speed shedding capabilities and along with traction control system helps to keep the Cooper S in its track in all conditions. High speed stability is excellent too and you won’t believe its a hatchback that you are driving, so mature are the MINI Cooper’s high speed manners. Steering wheel gives immense feedback to the driver and weighs up splendidly at high speeds.

Head over to the next page to read our conclusion on the MINI Cooper S.