You know the rules. You want the hot petrol version; you settle for the diesel because, hey, it costs far less to run and, hey, it’s not that much worse to drive.
Not with the Mini Coupe. Yes, the only diesel version of Mini’s two-seater, with a 2.0-litre, 143bhp turbodiesel up front, is indeed more efficient than the petrol JCW Coupe we tested a couple of months ago (114g/km of CO2 vs 165). But – and here’s the strange bit – it’s actually a nicer drive, too.
When we drove the Viagra-stiff JCW on moorland roads, we found it skittish and unsettled, near-impossible to keep in a straight line. The SD, with its softer chassis set-up, is far more planted and secure, working with you rather than fighting petulantly. The SD’s engine, closely related to the BMW 118d’s, is a lovely thing, bolting from 0-100kmph in under eight seconds with a hoofing kick of torque.
Still, the Coupe’s packaging frustrates. That odd ‘helmet’ roof makes it impossible to get a decent view of the road behind through the rear mirror if you’re over 5ft 6in tall, cutting straight through your field of vision. Still, this is a car that should appeal to both head and heart. If not eyes.
The numbers: 1995cc, 143bhp, 225lb ft, 18.7kmpl, 114g/km CO2, 0-100kmph in 7.9secs, 215kmph, 1250kg
The verdict: Makes considerably more financial sense than the JCW Coupe, and drives better, too. Win and win!