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2014 MINI Cooper S Tested

Put aside many of the things you knew about the MINI. They’ve just reinvented their core model, the Hardtop (or Hatchback in Europe) and it all feels like it’s a BMW MINIon.
2014 MINI Cooper S driving 1 photo
That’s because... well, it is, since the 2014 MINI rides on the UKL platform, which is shared with an upcoming family of front-wheel drive BMWs. Yes, Bimmers now also come in FWD guise and the first example of that is already here, in the form of the 2-Series Active Tourer.

Returning to the MINI, we are now dancing though the city in a 2014 Cooper S. The agility that made the model famous is thrilling us right now, but this is not the trick here.

The focus with the new MINI is that it has become more of a car. You can now use it without having to face many of the aspects that made the past two generations rather impractical.

For one thing, the Brit has grown considerably and you can feel this when climbing aboard. Speaking of the cabin, the traditional MINI elements, such as the funky windscreen, are still here.

Nevertheless, the super-sized central dial doesn’t accommodate the speedometer anymore. This has migrated in front of the driver, while its space is now occupied by the infotainment screen. The display is not a touchscreen one, since BMW has integrated its latest iDrive interface. The new layout is a nice treat for your eyes, but the center console ergonomics are a bit of a pain.

We are not preoccupied with this at the moment, as the landscape has loosened up around us. Alas, out here on the open road, the new BMW-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged engine falls short of the expectations.

While the 192 hp may or may not be enough, you can feel the need for more torque as you get past second or third gear - the unit offers 221 lb-ft (300) with the overboost function. The revised six-speed automatic isn’t exactly sharp either.

The handling brings plenty of fun, but in a rather unexpected manner for a MINI. We’ll throw various bends at the car and let you know how it feels in our 2014 MINI Cooper S review.

 

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