Test-Drove a Cooper S and Cooper S Convert

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#1
Hey,

So I test-drove a MINI Cooper S and a MINI Cooper S Convertible today, both of them 6-speed manual (you can get auto on the S models now), and holy crap, what a pair of cars !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Acceleration
The cars aren't FAST, but they are so quick and the torque of the engine makes the acceleration feel great. Acceleration is so linear, the supercharger whine and exhaust note are great. I think the supercharger kicks in at like 1,500 rpm's so when engaging and the first half-second of acceleration, the engine has no power, but then the SC kicks in hard and fast and there is no lag. Transmission shifts are quick and short, the clutch is super light and has decently good feel, but a bit too light for my taste.

-Brakes and petals
The brakes are great and the petals feel nice (although the brake and clutch petals are a bit TOO small for my preference). Accelerator is only OKAY....it doesn't respond well at all to quick blips, it seems like the setup of the petals (like a BMW, for heel-and-toe shifting), it's better to rev-match by holding the accelerator as opposed to doing "blips"....I drove for a while and just could not get the car to blip hard and fast enough for a well-matched 3-2 downshift.
I suspect a lot of it has to do with the programming of the drive-by-wire throttle. My G's drive-by-wire throttle is much more direct and doesn't change the response of the petal...the MINI seemed to be calculating and adjusting; Big mistake!!!!!!

-Handling/Steering
Handling feels like a 3-Series with no weight! The ride quality is premium and firm and is just like a BMW! Body roll is minimal, but there is a decent amount, and the car feels sooo well-planted to the road. The handling at the limit is not as predictable as a typical BMW, though. Steering is superb, the power steering weight was a bit on the heavy side, just a bit heavier than I would like for such a small, light, and nimble car, and my G has always had very heavy power steering. Steering communication was great.

-Practicality Comments
The build quality of the car is really great, I can see why the car is so expensive (mainly once you start putting on options). Rear seat legroom is minimal in both cars, you can't have anyone big back there, and it's only for short trips. The convertible's rear seatbacks were angled pretty far forward (I guess to maximize room for the top), which makes it decently uncomfortable for back seat passengers...again, short distances only.

-Some personal thoughts
In all honesty, the Convertible looks so much more feminin to me, but I would definitely shell out the extra $$$ for that, along with some aftermarket equipment like the BBS wheels and driving lights, and whatever else to make it look more sporty and more masculin. I drove with the top down and it lets in sooo much of the engine sound and the overall experience was just so much more fun! I read in reviews that the handling difference in minimal, but I have to say, the Convertible felt like it had some more body roll and a bit less rigidity then the Cooper S. I also felt the acceleration difference...it's not much, but when you drive them both back-to-back, you can feel and see the difference.

-Summary
Overall, the Cooper S was more the "serious sports car", more practical, and more refined. The Cooper S Convertible was more about pure fun and driving pleasure. I was so thoroughly impressed with the driving experience, as well as the practicality they offer on a daily basis (assuming you are well aware you are getting a small car, hehe).

Thanks,
MrElussive
 
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#2
Thanks for the review Emile! I like the Minis. They are unbeatable for autocross, they handle like a go-cart.
 
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#3
The salesman was telling me that

Kirby, btw, I actually had a really bad "craving" today, but handled it by wasting my afternoon just driving some MINI's. [wiggle]
 
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#9
Nice review Emile! I have like the Mini since it debuted. I think it's an awesome little car, and I am very impressed with the build quality, reliability and posted ease of ownership. I have considered it many times, but everytime I really think about it, I realize what I am missing, that most Mini drivers have. A Vagina [:)] Ha ha. Seriously, it's just too much of a girls car, even though I think the car looks aggressive...it's just too "cute".

Great review though!!
 
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#11
deutsch100 said:
Nice review Emile! I have like the Mini since it debuted. I think it's an awesome little car, and I am very impressed with the build quality, reliability and posted ease of ownership. I have considered it many times, but everytime I really think about it, I realize what I am missing, that most Mini drivers have. A Vagina [:)] Ha ha. Seriously, it's just too much of a girls car, even though I think the car looks aggressive...it's just too "cute".

Great review though!!
You hit the nail on the head, my man. It's a great car, and a really great sports car, but it's just a total bitch car and I refuse to ever own one.
 
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#12
Saw the Convert. on the road the other day...I immediately pointed out how girly it looked, and how funny the middle-aged man driving it appeared.

My mom though thought he looked sexy in it, as well as the car...lol!

I love the Mini, but I'd take the Cooper S non-convert. in black/silver... [burnout]
 
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#15
we got a couple of the new GP minis a few days ago [rolleyes] but 31K for a mini is jus a little too much in my opinion.
[idea] granted u get what u pay for since money is only relative. i think you can still build a faster and cheaper standard S than buy a GP version but it does look sweet [pray] .
 
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#16
The GP is a cracking little car...

Limited edition and expensive, YES... but I would love one if I had the money spare...

I have been in #GP0001 (BMW's own car - not for sale) and met the owner's of #GP0002 and #GP0318.












 
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#19
good luck in your car search.

as much as i like to test drive, picking out a new car is a pain the butt!
 


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