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Old 6th August 2013, 21:07   #1
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Default Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

183 bhp @ 5500 rpm
240 Nm @ 1600-5000 rpm
0-100 kmph in 7 seconds
Top speed of 229 kmph


I am currently living in UK and I have done a couple of road trips before with friends. The last time it was a Vauxhall Insignia and before that it was a Ford Focus. But this time it was special for me... because it was in a -

Mini Cooper S:

Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!-dsc_1088_20130806091504093.jpg

We planned for a one day trip to Cornwall via Bournemouth from Coventry and back:

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Although we had planned to take the Mini to Scotland for a 3-4 day trip, we decided against that as eventually its a small car with not much space inside (and no cruise control!) and hence its not suitable for a long trip. Moreover, we have bigger plans for Scotland!

So, when we decided this one day trip, we knew that it HAS to be the Mini... We booked the Mini days in advance and on the day of our trip - the surprise that we got was that it is not just a Mini Cooper but its a Mini Cooper S! It was the base model of Mini Cooper S I guess as it had no steering mounted controls, no cruise control and not even front fog lights. But who cares? The S is all about the gem of an engine - 184 bhp in a small two door hatch... Imagine the power to weight ratio!

This thread will focus more on the car rather than the destination itself as it was more of a road trip. Moreover, there was nothing much to talk about in Bournemouth, though Cornwall was a beautiful place.

The Jet:

Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!-dsc_1083_20130806041602581.jpg
Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!-dsc_1085_20130806091917337.jpg
Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!-dsc_1090_20130806091255598.jpg
Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!-dsc_1057_20130806041333184.jpg

The Beast:
Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!-dsc_1086_20130806091644376.jpg

The cockpit:
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The roads:
Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!-dsc_1074_20130806092424056.jpg
Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!-dsc_1076_20130806092255397.jpg

Performance:

Since, it is a Mini Cooper S, I cannot start with anything but the performance. The Mini has 3 petrol engine options in the UK - a 1.6 litre 121 bhp engine in the Cooper, a 1.6 litre turbo engine producing 208 bhp in the John Cooper Works... We had the Cooper S which had a twin scroll turbocharger on its 1.6 litre petrol engine producing 184 bhp and 240 Nm of torque. That's on a car which just weighs 1215 kgs.

The engine has won the "International Engine of the Year" award 5 times! Apart from more power, the Cooper S also has a stiffer suspension (when compared to the standard Cooper) along with a SPORTS mode option.

The car comes with a key fob (not an actual key) with a Start/Stop button. As soon as you depress the clutch and press the Start button, the engine roars to life with a silent yet deep and bassy burble. The claimed acceleration is 0-100 kmph in 7 seconds and I have no reasons to doubt that. Stomp the accelerator hard and let go of the clutch and you will make the passengers puke, literally. One of my friends started complaining after two hard acceleration tests! More importantly, because of the Electronic Stability Program, the take off is smooth and effortless with no loss of grip or drama.

Even roll on timings are great. Our car has a manual 6 speed gearbox. Mini also provides an A/T options. The gearbox in itself was nothing great as the shifts were short but very notchy. Infact, I feel the shifts in my XUV are smoother! Most of the times, we would shift to 6th and the car would even pull comfortably from 30-40 miles per hour (50-65 kmph). At high revs, the car has a nice growl, but not something which will force you to downshift just to hear the engine scream.

We were 4 adults in the car and I could comfortable touch 130 mph (210 kmph) without any fuss. That's great for a small hatch. Most of the times, we were doing speeds of 70-100 mph (110-160 kmph). I did not notice a huge difference in the normal mode and sport mode though.

Fuel Efficiency:

Of course, a downside to all this performance was fuel efficiency. The car just gave us a FE of 13 kmpl on the whole trip. Yes, it was driven at excess of 100 mph for some short bursts and was at about 80-100 mph for longer ones, but if driven sanely, I guess the FE would increase to 15-16 kmpl. In comparison, the diesel Focus had given us a FE of 26 kmpl. Yea, its not fair to compare a performance oriented turbo petrol hatch to a family diesel hatch when it comes to FE. But again, given the fun we had, who cares... Our car had a start-stop system which switches off the car once it halts and is in neutral. Guess it did not help much as we were cruising most of the time.

Looks:

Looks are subjective. I love the way the Mini looks and I would say its the best looker among all hot hatches. It not at all feminine like the Fiat 500 or the VW Beetle. Its compact but does not look like a "newbie's" car. The white colour and black roof reminded me of my Pintu...!

Cabin:

I have sort of mixed feelings about the cabin. While I was at the driver's seat in about 80% of the trip, I was actually quite comfortable. But as expected, my friends in the rear seat had a tough time. Apart from the lack of space, they also complained about the bench being too hard and thus the buttocks and back suffered on such a long drive. Getting in and out of the rear seats was no easy task either, I did not even try it! On the other hand, I loved the way the dashboard is laid out. The BIG speedo in the middle is quite retro. Of course, there is a digital speedo right in front of the driver within the tacho, with other necessary telltale signs. Even the switch are the nice flippy kind given the retro theme of the cabin. Even the lights, wiper and indicator controls are quite unique in the Mini.

Safety:

Our car has 6 airbags - 2 front airbags, 2 side airbags and 2 curtain airbags. Other than that, it also has Electronic Stability Program, which could be switched ON and OFF. I did not try switching it OFF as it was raining heavily.

Ride:

As mentioned earlier, the Cooper S has a stiffer suspension. The ride was excellent in city speeds and even on the highways till about 80 mph. British roads are really smooth and stiffer suspension will not really bother you much. Above 80 mph, the small undulations on the roads did transmit small bumps into the cabin, but nothing that will bother you much.

Handling:

In simple words - excellent. If you notice the google map posted above, we had a take a slight detour from the Motorway and enter the smaller single lane highway because of some maintainence work going on. Now these roads were single lane and with lots of twists and bends. Thankfully, at 2 am, they were devoid of any traffic and all I could do was easily drive at above 100 kmph. The Mini handles corners precisely and the steering is razor sharp. The feedback from the steering is great too. That said, the steering is among the heavy ones, which I love. It is not super light like in the Swift and i20.

Verdict:

+ Performance of the engine
+ Looks
+ Dashboard styling and layout
+ Handling and Ride
+ Safety

- Space in the rear
- Fuel Efficiency
- I expected a louder roar of the engine in Sports mode atleast!
- Notchy gearbox

All in all, this is one car I would love to own. I wish I could drive a diesel Cooper too one day, as I love diesels more than petrols!
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Old 6th August 2013, 22:01   #2
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Thumbs up re: Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

Thanks for the fabulous report mate! How was the road quality out there? Also how did the suspension react to the quality of the road?
Also, the next time you settle there, please drive and give us a report about the VW Scirocco!

Rating the thread a well deserved 5 stars!

Cheers,

Achyuth
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Old 7th August 2013, 05:21   #3
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Default re: Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achyuth Vaibhav View Post
How was the road quality out there?
If compared to Indian roads, the British roads are smooth like a baby's skin!

Quote:
Also how did the suspension react to the quality of the road?
Since the roads were pretty smooth, the ride was pretty stable with no unwanted jerks or bumps.

Quote:
Also, the next time you settle there, please drive and give us a report about the VW Scirocco!
It's tough to get hands on a Scirocco, however I will try.

Quote:
Rating the thread a well deserved 5 stars!
Thanks buddy.
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Old 7th August 2013, 09:20   #4
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Default re: Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

nice thread... loved the pictures. But isnt the speed on British roads limited to 70mph ( jeremy from TOP GEAR seems to always rant about it)
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Old 7th August 2013, 13:12   #5
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Default re: Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

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Originally Posted by bullrun87 View Post
nice thread... loved the pictures. But isnt the speed on British roads limited to 70mph ( jeremy from TOP GEAR seems to always rant about it)
Yes it is. But there are some roads where you can test the limits of the car with no speed cameras... or atleast we believed so, lets see if we get any speeding tickets.

Before with the Focus and Insignia, I made sure I never crossed 70 mph, but the Cooper S was just too tempting!
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Old 7th August 2013, 17:39   #6
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Default re: Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

Nice report and pics!
Looks are subjective but when it comes to the Mini, I doubt you'll find many haters!
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Old 8th August 2013, 08:43   #7
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Default re: Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

Quote:
Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
All in all, this is one car I would love to own. I wish I could drive a diesel Cooper too one day, as I love diesels more than petrols!
Good report Raj and glad you enjoyed the trip so much. In my personal taste, I still keep on thinking what is good about the mini apart from exceptional handling. Have found a very very good Citroen hatchback earlier and not to forget a high spec Golf in similar characteristics on these roads. But as said, Mini does have a standing of it's own. Hope you will have the Diesel one day for such a trip.
PS : We have made the Scotland trip in a Punto quite some years back. So rest assured the smaller cars will be enjoyable in the same way as the Scotland trip is always.
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Old 9th August 2013, 03:19   #8
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Default re: Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

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Originally Posted by yogibear007 View Post
PS : We have made the Scotland trip in a Punto quite some years back. So rest assured the smaller cars will be enjoyable in the same way as the Scotland trip is always.
We were planning to hire a Land Rover for the Scotland trip but that is too expensive and cuts short our plans for other things to do in Scotland! So, I guess we will be hiring a Bimmer.
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Old 9th August 2013, 03:53   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
183 bhp @ 5500 rpm
240 Nm @ 1600-5000 rpm
0-100 kmph in 7 seconds
Top speed of 229 kmph

I am currently living in UK and I have done a couple of road trips before with friends. The last time it was a Vauxhall Insignia and before that it was a Ford Focus. But this time it was special for me... because it was in a -

Mini Cooper S:

ols!
Good one Raj
Enjoyed reading this.
You have just lived my dream.
Need to get there on my next holiday!
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Old 14th August 2013, 09:47   #10
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Default re: Driving a British car on British roads - The Mini Cooper S!

Mod Note : There are several spelling & grammatical errors in your posts. This negatively affects the forum experience for other readers.

Kindly ensure that you proof-read your posts prior to submission. Also, it would be a good idea to use spell-checkers.

Last edited by GTO : 28th August 2013 at 12:33.
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