In typical Mini Cooper S fashion, the low ride height in the front can be quite troublesome if you live in a city with lots of fierce man-eating potholes, over-optimistic tram lines, high roadside curbs and/or quiet neighborhood with lots of speed bumps. Also, the rather stiff and short-travelled suspension, along with the run-flat tires, can really make you hunt for smoother roads on every route you take.
Still, there is a chapter where the Mini Cooper S we drove now is much better than its convertible brother, and that is rear visibility. If you remember, we criticized the Cooper S Cabrio
for the almost complete absence of rear visibility through the rear windshield, especially when raining. The Mayfair 50 Coupe on the other hand had no such problems.
While the exterior rear view mirrors have the same size, the rear windshield has a much bigger area and is of course equipped with a wiper. As far the parking sensors, they were only present in the rear, unlike on the Cabrio last tested, which was "fully loaded" from this point of view. We know, it might sound a bit snotty to ask for parking sensors on a Mini, but they are very helpful in the winter time, when from various meteorological reasons you have very poor visibility all around the car.
Considering that when we did most of the city-driving the traffic was either packed with slow-moving cars or we were trashing it in the ghetto-looking neighborhood we talked about earlier, we didn't actually achieved the best possible fuel consumption. At the end of the city part of the test the average fuel consumption was around 11 liters per 100 kilometers (US 21.4 mpg), which doesn't make this midget of a car quite a fuel sipper. Especially when taking into account that the official fuel consumption figures in the city are 7.9 liters per 100 km (US 29.8 mpg).
All in all, even though the Mini Cooper S is still technically a "mini", the only way you can enjoy it to its full potential is either by driving it in a deserted city with no cops and/or radars, on a race track or on a serpentine road through the mountains. The stiff suspension, the surgical steering and the torquey engine don't make much sense in everyday, city-driving.Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
After having to drive that yellow convertible hot tub with a brown paper bag on my head last summer, you can imagine how relieved I was when I saw that this Mini Cooper S Mayfair 50 had tinted windows. OK, they were only in the rear, so I still had to wear a Zorro mask.
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