BEHIND THE WHEEL: Mini Cooper S

SUNDAY APRIL 20, 2014
Shiang
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PRO

Striking looks

Gunpowder exhaust system

Class leading interior

CON

One stiff ride

Ageing transmission

SPECIFICATION

2-litre inline-4
192hp 280Nm
6-speed Aisin
0-100 km/h: 6.7s
Top speed: 233 km/h

RM 228,888 or

RM 248,888

When the Cooper S was previewed over a month ago, I had my fingers crossed in hopes that it will come with adaptive dampers or at least let buyer have the choice at a cost since our roads aren’t getting any better. As usual hope and dreams are often left shattered, I didn’t pay much attention that is until.. A conversation over coffee sparked an itch to find out just how loud the new Cooper S is.

 

Gone is its charming looks and metal clank door close. It now looks oddly long from A pillar forward before it reaches its cosmetic bonnet scoop. Despite all that, I knew the new look will eventually grow on me especially one in volcanic orange. It is also more of an everyday car than ever since there is more space and most importantly more power. It must be said that the quality on the insides has been vastly improved but I wish there were more soft touch panels preventing me from brushing against my knees and elbows.

cooper s side

The Cooper S has always been one of my babies and it is no different this time. The new car looks like it got it all with larger dimensions and a whole lot of gadgets like head-up display and adaptive headlamps which we will never get here. At least it appears to be a bargain at 228 thousand where it is cheaper by a whole 12 thousand than the R56 but the one that you truly want is one with the Wired trim at a 20 thousand premium which comes with a larger screen, satellite navigation, Harman Kardon speakers and some three years warranty.

cooper s interior

These people really know the colours that I adore since the Cooper S I received was painted in chilli red. The first kink I encountered was that the keyless go feature does not allow its user to unlock the car without having to take the key out which to me doesn't at all serve its purpose. What's more is that the beeps and bongs that Mini produces is fun at first but got annoying as time goes but I might be the only one.

The seat are still not electric powered where I would like to look at it positively as a measure to save weight. That aside, my hands really like the S' heavily bolstered steering wheel that possesses a well-judged weightage and quick ratio. As I gave it some poke, the carried over Aisin 6-speed transmission showed it age where it is nothing close to what BMW's 8-speed ZF can offer. Despite its 0-100 km/h sprint of 6.7 seconds, it just doesn't feel the part. What's what is that the Cooper S doesn’t put down power as well as a Golf GTi.

cooper s f56

I then got some helpful friends to drive me about town where I soon discover life in the back isn't at all that bad and is roomier than before. One thing is for sure, I'd rather be in the back of one of these than a 911 any day. With a longer wheelbase and growth of over four inches, the Cooper is now better riding than what it replaces.

 " Downshift for pop, bangs

and crackles "

Ignore all that, wind the window down a little and just listen to the exhaust as the engine nudges 6000 rpm before the transmission grabs the next gear. Lift offs in sport mode will grant you plentiful of comical overrun. The Cooper S' exhaust is never shy of firing away pops and burbles which I just couldn’t refrain myself laughing. If you want one, don't wish for any discounts and hopefully you'll get your shipment sometime in August. For about the same money, you could get yourself a used Porsche Boxster which takes you into driving nirvana. However, the Mini will cost much less to run and free from maintenance for a while.

cooper s start button
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