A facelifted Mini may be due later this year, but BMW isn’t sitting on its hands
The outgoing Cooper S was hardly slow, but this latest version is noticeably brisker
You can feel the steering wheel writhing with torque under power or on uneven surfaces
he engine has urgent throttle response and musters strong low-down grunt
The interior is what we've come to expect from Mini
What is it?
A facelifted Mini may be due later this year, but BMW isn’t sitting on its hands. The current Cooper S has just been given a mild engine upgrade that not only yields a 10 per cent drop in CO2 but also generates a useful power hike, boosting output from 173bhp to 182bhp.
This revised 1.6-litre engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and fully variable valve control. A more even torque spread means the S can now bag 62mph in 7.0sec dead, compared with 7.4sec previously. Economy improves from 45.6 to 48.7mpg, while CO2 emissions fall by an impressive 13g/km to 136g/km.
What's it like?
The outgoing Cooper S was hardly slow, but this latest version is noticeably brisker — so much so that you can feel the steering wheel writhing with torque under power or on uneven surfaces.
It’s a little unruly but mildly exciting. The engine has urgent throttle response and musters strong low-down grunt; you’ll probably not want for more go.
The Mini’s chassis doesn’t deliver the finesse of a Renaultsport Clio despite its nominally more sophisticated suspension, and the ride gets a bit turbulent on the same roads that generate torque steer. But despite these failings, this is a quick and entertaining car point to point.
Should I buy one?
Further upgrades are due in late summer when the Mini hatch gets a facelift – including minor styling changes and interior improvements. But this revised engine – superior to the one it replaces – is a useful step forward, making an excellent car even better.