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Old 8th July 2012, 00:28   #16
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Default Re: Mini Cooper S and Mini Convertible : Driven

Will be interested to see how many they will sell.
Why doesnt the retracted roof fit flush? Is it because its a hatch without much space left in the rear? Doesnt look good.
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Old 8th July 2012, 09:15   #17
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Thanks for reviewing one of my favorite cars of all time. Here's my thoughts
- given the hefty price Id wait till CKD prices become clearer.
- the Cooper S is a masterpiece but i hate the fact that one would have to deal with run flats even on a mini. Never knew this but that seems to be another source of revenue for bmw along with a flatbed service in case one of your tyre goes kaput and you dont carry a space saver.

- absence of a manual gearbox spoils some of the fun.

- bone jarring rides on rough roads would a magnetic adjustable suspension do the trick? Or a push rod actuated suspension ala Ktm Crossbow? Like Clarkson, neither do I know how a push rod suspension would work except that it makes the ride a whole lot better

- the mini S might make sense as a trackday car for many of those living in and around Delhi given its superb handling and acceleration characteristics. And might very well justify the hefty price.

- the convertible with the top up deserves the title of the Ugliest Car on the Planet. Ive never seen a more hideous looking top.
Top down, id echo the opinions of the fairer sex " Ooo its sooooooo cuteeee". The Jekyll and Hyde statement holds true for the topped and topless convertible too. Who designed the top on this thing?

- What worries me is that with all the option boxes ticked who would buy this car at that price? Its almost entering 370z, porsche boxster, TT, Z4 territory isnt it?

- On a given day Id have more fun in the Classic mini than the new one just as the classic beetles are more appealing than the new ones. The mini was an icon in its hayday, plus People wouldnt confuse it with swift, and its the actual hero in the Italian job.

I dont like the integration of iDrive with the speedo and also runflats on the newer minis. Why couldnt they have left it untouched just like the classic. The classic did win rallys without runflat tyres didnt it?! But then probably im the only guy in the world who must be preferring the classic to the new one.

Thanks once again for the thorough review.
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Old 8th July 2012, 10:56   #18
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Excellent review. Had wanted to read more details ever since I ogled at a brand new blingy Cooper S at the Infinity service centre a month back.

Will a build your own kit car format for a car like this make sense?
Enthusiasts could get the delivery of a pallete direct from BMW and could assemble it themselves. More joy. More involvement. They could throw in a test at the service centre before RTO registration so that the assembled vehicle meet their standards and quality checks.
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Old 8th July 2012, 20:17   #19
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Excellent review. The Cooper S must have been real fun to drive. The prices however are too steep to make it a practical buy.
Didn't you get a chance to review the Countryman?
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Old 10th July 2012, 12:32   #20
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Default Re: Mini Cooper S and Mini Convertible : Driven

Congrats on your first review, Suhaas! Very comprehensive one at that.

The Mini is certainly a vehicle that tugs at the heart strings and is clearly not targeted at the "sensible" buyer. The S with 184 BHP on tap is something I wouldn't mind tooling about town in!

There are enough things to make this car a deal breaker: harsh ride, runflats only (interesting that BMW continues with the reason-defying decisions even for sister brands), minuscule boot, unaffordable (for me) price tag.

I started reading your description of the non-S engine and thought to myself, hey that sounds like my Vento AT engine - sure enough a few lines later, there it was! I don't think the lower-powered variant has any appeal bar the convertible roof.

And then...the Swift pic (great catch BTW). So effectively I now have the Mini Cooper split across my two cars

I guess they could have launched a manual-tranny variant with less safety kit (maybe only 2 airbags and ABS) and a sparser interior and priced it at say 22 lac ex-showroom? Then we'd be talking!

Last edited by noopster : 10th July 2012 at 12:37.
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Old 10th July 2012, 16:05   #21
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Default Re: Mini Cooper S and Mini Convertible : Driven

Great first review Suhaas. Congrats.

Couple of weeks back, I had a chance to catch up with Mini Countryman. I didn't like the looks much but the space was great. The ride was horrid on Mumbai roads. The interior was good to look at like lights in the door pads etc. The quality of the interiors was not upto the mark considering its costs almost 50 lakhs on road.

I would never buy Countryman rather be happy with Mini Cooper S.
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Old 10th July 2012, 16:48   #22
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"The design / engineering team that built this car from scratch had one and only one thing in mind. Economy.". Sheer irony.

It does look good but is too expensive.
But I think there are a bunch people out there who can spend that much amount of money for a small car as it is.

For the rest of us. Lets ogle.

Last edited by download2live : 10th July 2012 at 16:50.
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Old 10th July 2012, 17:01   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivasuma View Post
I don't know how people will take to the bone-jarring ride. If they soften the suspension, then it might lose its handling, but I guess people wouldn't mind a compromise between ride & handling. I had one question, is it really possible for BMW to price the Mini starting from 15L if they start assembling it here? Even if they could, will they?
One option would be to avoid ticking the 17" wheel option-box. Not only would you save 70k, you'd retain the stock 16" wheels with the higher-profile rubber and that should make the ride slightly better, I suppose.

We can keep speculating, but only time will tell!

Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
Why doesnt the retracted roof fit flush? Is it because its a hatch without much space left in the rear? Doesnt look good.
Well, I suppose it's a design-characteristic. But if they had to make it completely retractable - to sit flush, there is no question that whatever little boot it has will be occupied by the top. Maybe the next-generation Mini Convertible would come with a properly-retracting top?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parthasarathig View Post
- given the hefty price Id wait till CKD prices become clearer.

- absence of a manual gearbox spoils some of the fun.
I don't think a CKD Cooper S would cost a lot less. Yes, it will make it more affordable. But even if it is sold at 20 lakhs, it's still a petrol car and a hatchback. These two points alone will seal it for most Indians willing to shell out their money on a car.

The 6-Speed torque-converter is actually not a bad 'box at all. It gives you the convenience of an automatic is grueling bumper-to-bumper city-traffic, and it lets you have some fun on your favourite roads as it allows you to rev it all the way till the red-line. It even holds the gear for you. The paddles do make it involving, but I'd have preferred the conventional left-downshift right-upshift setup over this Porsche-esq paddles.

A manula would have been perfect indeed. But if this is going to be your daily car, it's hard to fault the AT. For a weekend car, sure the manual is the best thing. But when you drive this car regularly, you'd find the AT a boon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parthasarathig View Post
- bone jarring rides on rough roads would a magnetic adjustable suspension do the trick? Or a push rod actuated suspension ala Ktm Crossbow?
Like I'd mentioned earlier, you could opt for the stock 16" wheels an pocket 70k. I must say that the ride over bad patches and surfaces is really choppy. But on smooth tarmac, it's just as good as any. To be honest, it feels a bit like a 3-Series riding on larger wheels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parthasarathig View Post
- the mini S might make sense as a trackday car for many of those living in and around Delhi given its superb handling and acceleration characteristics. And might very well justify the hefty price.
The track would be the best place to test this car to its limits. But this car does have its limits. I'd say, this car is the best daily-driver if your drives involve city roads. This car is brilliant just where you want it to be. It's reasonably comfortable, handles speed-breakers, and turns into a sports-car when you want it to.

For the track, I'd invest in a proper sports-car though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parthasarathig View Post
- The Jekyll and Hyde statement holds true for the topped and topless convertible too.
The Jekyll-Hyde reference was made with respect to the performance of this car. In the city it drives like an ordinary hatchback but on the straights and twists, it transforms into a high powered go-kart. But this applies to the Cooper S only, solely because of that turbocharger that bumps power by over 50 horses. That's a lot of extra power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parthasarathig View Post
- What worries me is that with all the option boxes ticked who would buy this car at that price? Its almost entering 370z, porsche boxster, TT, Z4 territory isnt it?
Well, with all options ticked it should be around 37-45 lakhs on the road, which is not exactly value. For the same price, a BMW/Merc/Audi offers a lot more car. But if you have an agenda i.e. if you're an enthusiast and if you drive predominantly within the city, you don't ferry more than 1 or 2 people besides yourself, you don't do more than 15 km a day, you struggle to find parking-spots and you still have 45 lakhs to blow, this is the car for you. It will guarantee you fun without giving you the hassles that most sports-cars come with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parthasarathig View Post
- On a given day Id have more fun in the Classic mini than the new one just as the classic beetles are more appealing than the new ones. The mini was an icon in its hayday, plus People wouldnt confuse it with swift, and its the actual hero in the Italian job.

I dont like the integration of iDrive with the speedo and also runflats on the newer minis. Why couldnt they have left it untouched just like the classic. The classic did win rallys without runflat tyres didnt it?! But then probably im the only guy in the world who must be preferring the classic to the new one.
Of course, the classic Mini one of the best cars ever engineered IMO. Even today, you could drive it around town and not worry about parking-spots and still have a lot of fun with it. The new Cooper S just amplifies that experience. Nothing can replace a classic though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Automaton View Post
Will a build your own kit car format for a car like this make sense?
Enthusiasts could get the delivery of a pallete direct from BMW and could assemble it themselves. More joy. More involvement. They could throw in a test at the service centre before RTO registration so that the assembled vehicle meet their standards and quality checks.
I would not recommend a kit-car unless you've got a helluva lot of time and money to blow. There are many others formalities and issues to consider,and after all the struggle you may not really enjoy the experience. You really need to be totally nuts and completely dedicated to the idea if you want to even try it. Not scaring you but just laying down the hard facts. I've seen many friends and acquaintances struggle over the years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
Excellent review. The Cooper S must have been real fun to drive. The prices however are too steep to make it a practical buy.
Didn't you get a chance to review the Countryman?
The Countryman you'd think is the more sensible car, for all practical purposes.

It has 4 doors, a more spacious rear-seat and a pretty useful boot. AND it comes in the same Cooper S trim too. But I cannot comment on it until I experience it. From several other reviews, I've inferred that it's not worth the extra money and you'd rather save and buy the regular Cooper S hatch instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Congrats on your first review, Suhaas! Very comprehensive one at that.

I guess they could have launched a manual-tranny variant with less safety kit (maybe only 2 airbags and ABS) and a sparser interior and priced it at say 22 lac ex-showroom? Then we'd be talking!
Thanks Noop

Ahh.. if wishes were horses eh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by F50 View Post
Great first review Suhaas. Congrats.

Couple of weeks back, I had a chance to catch up with Mini Countryman. I didn't like the looks much but the space was great. The ride was horrid on Mumbai roads. The interior was good to look at like lights in the door pads etc. The quality of the interiors was not upto the mark considering its costs almost 50 lakhs on road.

I would never buy Countryman rather be happy with Mini Cooper S.
Thanks Priyank.

I echo your sentiments dude! *winks*
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Old 10th July 2012, 17:19   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307

One option would be to avoid ticking the 17" wheel option-box. Not only would you save 70k, you'd retain the stock 16" wheels with the higher-profile rubber and that should make the ride slightly better, I suppose.

We can keep speculating, but only time will tell!

I would not recommend a kit-car unless you've got a helluva lot of time and money to blow. There are many others formalities and issues to consider,and after all the struggle you may not really enjoy the experience. You really need to be totally nuts and completely dedicated to the idea if you want to even try it. Not scaring you but just laying down the hard facts. I've seen many friends and acquaintances struggle over the years.
Sorry, the words 'kit car' were misleading.
I meant a DIY Mini Cooper S, a kind of preselected, build your own, which the company delivers for you to build and assemble.
The final test and okay would have to be done by the local dealer, and then sent for registration.

That way you choose features that you want. Get the joy of assembling it yourself, and (hopefully) keep costs down. A teensy-weensy bit.
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Old 11th July 2012, 14:19   #25
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Arrow Re: Mini Cooper S and Mini Convertible : Driven

The car is really really nice, but crazy expensive I however like the idea of a 2 seater car. Only you and your girlfriend/wife. Going on those long sunset drives alone. With the top down and the wind in your hair feeling. I only hope the hard suspension setup won't spoil the idea of a romantic drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by download2live View Post
It does look good but is too expensive. But I think there are a bunch people out there who can spend that much amount of money for a small car as it is. For the rest of us. Lets ogle.
I agree with this. 100%. Let's just ogle at the pictures, since right now it's pretty expensive, and in my case I don't have a girlfriend/wife either.
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Old 12th July 2012, 23:10   #26
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didn't expect spot one so soon on the road. this one was taking a 90 deg turn at the Sony World signal Koramangala this evening. impressive acceleration; this thing shot out like a bat outta hell! caught me by surprise
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since i was carrying a long lens, didn't get a whole picture
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Old 13th July 2012, 13:23   #27
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Originally Posted by IronH4WK View Post
didn't expect spot one so soon on the road. this one was taking a 90 deg turn at the Sony World signal Koramangala this evening. impressive acceleration; this thing shot out like a bat outta hell! caught me by surprise
Same here. In fact I did not expect to spot that many but on weekends and especially Sunday evening I have spotted at least 6-7 different coloured Minis in So-Bo.

A company like Mini can price their cars at 30+L and find takers because of the companies heritage and its fan following world wide. Ideally had this car been priced at 15 or even 19 lakhs, I am sure it would have doubled or even tripled its sale and it would have opened up the gates for many other hot hatches which are in park mode, by their manufacturers who don't want to risk getting them here as they are shy of starting a new segment here. But who knows, the Swift Sport, the Golf GTis, the 500 Abarth and all those may follow soon seeing the Mini's success at double the original cost.
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Old 13th August 2012, 17:40   #28
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Default Re: Mini Cooper S and Mini Convertible : Driven

Good review, Suhaas!

The Mini. What can I say? Packs so much appeal. Would love to own one in Madras. Small enough for the city, solid enough for those highway dashes to Bangalore and sporty enough to hit the track! One day.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 09:46   #29
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I got a chance to test drive both a Cooper S and the Mini Convertible yesterday. On a recent visit to UK I was impressed by the number of Minis on the road and was eager to sample one

What I liked

Loved the engine and sound of the Cooper S, the steering feel and handling. I love the retro styling of the mini. Interesting facia, that large dial is a wow especially the speedo needle. Quality and feel of the switches is top notch. If you work the regular Mini through the gears and keep the engine revved high it just about becomes a fun car to drive. Leather smell was typical British sports car like and odd enough we grew up smelling leather to be like that and it was a nice feeling to encounter that smell again. I remember the old MG's smelt like this.

What I didn't like

Suspension seemed to unsettle on Indian monsoon pot holes. Felt slightly soft and hence seemed to get flustered when driven through rough patches at higher than snail speeds.

interior sounds from creaking trim/panels gave the car a cheap hatch feel. Disappointed with this on a Rs 30 lac plus car. The convertible roof bows actually clattered once down and that doesn't feel right on a modern car. There is a clear and noticeable scuttle shake and brought a smile on my face to remind me that the 911 really is the only cabrio without such a problem.

Overall the car doesn't feel like it was hewn from a block of steel. It feels cheap for a Rs 30 lac plus car. Even if I had more money than sense I wouldn't buy it at the CBU pricing. It's absurdly priced and lacks the top end car interior finish and detailing and solid feel.

I would love to buy a Cooper S Convertible ( live with the scuttle shake) if it's priced at Rs 20 lacs.

This car really should be priced in the Rs 15 to 20 lac range.

Today as I drove my Fiat Punto to work my respect for the car went up a few notches. At its price point which is atleast one third the price of the base Mini the Punto is certainly a lot of car for the money. it feels solid and guess what, not a single rattle inside even when driven through Indian monsoon potholed roads.

BMW need to get their arithmetic right if they want the Mini to be a major revenue stream. At the present launch prices it's a poor proposition, atleast for me.
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Old 4th September 2012, 19:28   #30
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Originally Posted by DKG View Post
I got a chance to test drive both a Cooper S and the Mini Convertible yesterday.
Hi DKG

Wonderful inputs! Honest and to the point.

The Mini that's now in India is coded the R56 and it was launched in 2007. Though it's life, it's been tweaked ever so slightly and the car has been improved over the lat 5 years. What we get here is the 2012 version of the R56 and most of the minor niggles were sorted in these.

Some of the niggles:
  • The bonnet-scoop had this tendency to warp due to heat from the turbo that sits few few inches underneath it. Hot-weather conditions contributed to the warping as well. This was because the the scoop was of inferior quality and was even claimed to be made of plastic. Mini duly replaced the warped scoops free of charge with either the optional carbon-fiber one or with one that was made of metal.
  • The timing-belt / tensioner was extremely fragile and would give way in no time, especially if the car was driven hard regularly. This issue was sorted too, I believe.
  • Interior rattle was said to creep up within a few thousands of miles on the ODO. This was fixed in the later versions of the R56 apparently. I did not hear or experience any rattles during the drive. Although on a few occasions when I drove it fast over seriously rough patches, there would be the odd squeak.
  • Several Minis required an entire turbo-overhaul once they had clocked a little over a 100,000 km. This was an expensive affair. We'll have to wait and see if the '12 Cooper S requires extensive part-replacements after covering considerable distances.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 4th September 2012 at 19:30.
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