Just like the Alfa MiTo we tested earlier, the Mini Cooper s Cabrio is also penalized by the extremely low ground clearance in the front. By default, this car is an enemy of potholes, speed bumps and roadside curbs. Actually, these are the car's major downsides in the city. Those and the fact that with the top up there is absolutely no way for you to see something behind you.
Thankfully, the exterior rear view mirrors, albeit with a funky oval design, are more than decently-sized and, on top of that, our test car had both front and rear parking sensors. That, corroborated with the fact that the Mini is just what its name implies, Mini, almost makes parking in the city a breeze.
We got the chance to test a de-tuned version of 1.6-liter turbocharged mill under the hood in a Citroen C4 Coupe we tested before, and we have to say we were more than impressed with the one in the Mini also. The nice and beefy torque band is present almost on the whole rev-range, which makes city-driving as comfortable and as pleasurable as possible from the "switching gears point of view."
Although it's an engine with over 100 horsepower per liter, almost unheard of on a road car in the times when the original Mini was leaving the factory, the turbocharged four-banger is quite economical. During our test drive in a city with busy traffic we managed to achieve around 10 liters per 100 kilometers (US 23.5 mpg), which isn't half bad considering it has a 175-horsepower gasoline engine that can deliver quite a lot of punch.
We believe that in regular traffic, without endless lines of cars at each traffic light and intersection, the official 8.1 liters per 100 kilometers (US 29 mpg) can actually be achieved. We also should mention that, besides the direct injection system and the twin-scroll turbocharger, the new Mini Cooper S Cabrio also benefits from BMW's "stop/start" feature, which we kept disabled most of the time since the traffic we encountered didn't allow the said technology to actually help fuel consumption. Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
I gotta say that I did bring a lot of doubts to this test drive. When I heard I was about to drive a Mini Cabriolet, Cooper S or not, a special alert was triggered in my brain. A gay alert. Not to say that I'm a homophobe or anything, but I have to state clearly that I am a straight male. I only like girls, mkay?
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