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Mini Cooper S Convertible

Driven January 2012

Mini Cooper S Convertible

The people’s car is here. But at a price of Rs 29.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it isn’t exactly people-centric. But you get the drift. You know Mini? Made by the Brits for the common man Brit. Then it becomes legendary, iconic and in it’s latest avatar is a posh supermini. To tell you the truth, while it is a posh supermini on paper, it’s not really. I mean would you call the bulldog a lapdog just because it’s small?

The Mini Cooper S is powered by a 1.6-litre four cylinder engine. Something like this would make… what do you think? 120? 140bhp? 160 maybe? Even with turbos. Well, the Cooper S makes 184. Which pales when you compare it to the John Cooper Works version of the Mini that puts out 211 horses. But that seems like what it is. An engine wringed to the edge of its life and it’s ride it too hard. Even for a sportscar.

Trust us. Get yourself the Mini Cooper. It’s a proper pocket rocket. The steering feels sensational because it doesn’t have one those new electronically digitized servotromaticated liquid assistance things that ruin steering feel. The gearbox is a simple, six-speed, short throw affair. The interiors are full of toggles and knobs rather than boring buttons. The cabin is rather simple and cheerful.

Which is how even the car drives. It scurries and slithers about. On the outside it looks like a pup happily waddling about. But inside, it gives such a sense of control that you can’t believe this car’s origins go back to the idea of an economical runabout. It’s not mid-engine, it’s not rear wheel drive, it doesn’t have even six cylinders forget a V8 or a V12 – all pre-requisites for a fun, fast car. Yet, the Mini is just that, a fun, fast car.



Sriram Narayanan

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