After driving a car named after one of London's most expensive districts through a spooky neighborhood filled with graffiti, junkies and other odd characters, it was finally the time to let it stretch its muscles on the open road. Unlikely just by taking a short look at the little bugger, this is actually the Mini Cooper S's playground. We know that a twisty road with absolutely no traffic is somewhat of a cliché topic when talking about driving a sporty car, but it really is heaven if you're a Mini driver.
The highly responsive and accurate steering, the feedback form the suspension, the perfectly-geared transmission and the explosive little turbocharged 1.6-liter under the hood – so pretty much everything about the car – encourage you to became a little racing driver warming up the tires before a race. On more than one occasion we were downshifting for no reason other than to hear the thumping and throbbing of the centrally-mounted dual exhaust.
In case it's not obvious by now, we found the Cooper S - even in its cozy-themed Mayfair 50 trim level - to be a real driver's car, and the best place to unleash what it's capable of is somewhere outside the crowded cities, or on a small track.
The tiny four-banger under the hood may sound like it's too small to provoke any awe and thunder, but the twin-scroll turbocharger provides more than enough oomph from as low as 1,600-1,700 rpm. Just to give some statistics, the maximum torque figure is available from 1,600 rpm all the way to 5,000 rpm, which is huge for any engine for that matter.
Also, the 240 Newton Meter (177 lb ft) figure can rise to 260 Nm with the help of an overboost feature. Coupled with over 100 horsepower per liter (175 hp from a displacement of 1.6 liters), a total weight of a little over a tonne and a manual transmission can only translate in pure driving joy.
Earlier on, we were talking about the go-kart experience we had with this same car. Honestly, since the Mini Cooper S is so small and feisty, it actually felt at home on the very short and technical kart track. In a larger car with similar performance this would have probably felt like trying to sew with boxing gloves on.
We gotta say, the 225 km/h (139.8 mph) top speed is a bit eclipsed by the 7.1 seconds required to go from zero to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph), but the best fun is had by the sheer bursts of acceleration coming out of a corner after downshifting. As far as the fuel consumption goes, it really depends on the weight of your right foot, since it can go from as low as 6 liters per 100 km (Us 39.2 mpg) - when using the cruise control on the highway - to as high as 13-14 liters per 100 km (US 16.8-18.1 mpg) – when trashing it through the twisties. Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
You know, the first thing I said upon glancing at this sweet little brown Mini was to ask for the keys. I think I am now an official Mini aficionado, I kid you not! After treasuring all the precious moments I had together with the mustard-yellow Cooper S Convertible last year, I thought those feeling could never again be duplicated.
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