Drag Race: 2016 MINI Cooper S Convertible vs. MX-5 Miata

Drag Race: 2016 MINI Cooper S Convertible vs. MX-5 Miata 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
The Fast Lane Car show is well known for its unusual and sometimes controversial drag races. Of course, we all need to remember that the Colorado track they are using is at high altitude, which plays havoc with naturally aspirated engines.
Some noteworthy races over the years have shown that the new MX-5 can be slightly faster than a Scion FR-S or that the Audi S3 is slower than the less powerful BMW 228i.

While the MX-5 and MINI Cooper S aren't direct competitors, they are both lifestyle convertibles that make a lot of sacrifices to give you that wind-in-the-hair experience. However, their engineering is totally different.

Mazda made the all-new MX-5 much lighter and slightly smaller than before. In those regards, it matches the original generation of the car.

On the other hand, MINI increased the size of the hardtop and subsequently the convertible as well. Purists are going to point out that this is no longer a MINI in any way and that the weight has increased due to the 2-liter engine now being used.

But thanks to that 2-liter engine's turbocharger, the maximum output of 189 horsepower easily beats the 155 hp of the MX-5. We have a feeling the result would have different at sea level, but as things stand, the Cooper S is the winner by the smallest of margins.

Convertibles are not cars that should be taken seriously. They are meant to be fun, playful critters. But under those circumstances, it's difficult to justify the as-tested price of $38,000 for the MINI. Sure, it comes with every feature you could want, but the MX-5 is a lot more engaging.

After testing the 2016 model ourselves, we can tell you that even those who aren't keen drivers will love the sensations. It's like a smile made from metal, and "who's fastest?" "or who's got a bigger engine?" become pointless question after you experience the first corner.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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