We've driven the next Mini - and it's clear from the first few miles that the second generation of BMW's take on the car is a real step forward.
A test at the former Formula One circuit at Zandvoort in Holland was enough to convince us that the new car is considerably more refined that its predecessor, itself enough of a sales phenomenon to surprise even BMW. In our First Drive of the car, we conclude that it 'exudes a sense of polish and precision that the original just didn't have'. In particular, the switchgear and seats are much better than those of the first BMW Mini.
It's not all good news, though. The new Cooper S features a freshly-developed powerplant, produced in conjunction with Peugeot-Citroen. It's an all-aluminium 1.6-litre unit, using a twin-scroll turbocharger instead of the current supercharger, and producing 175bhp and 177lb ft of torque at just 1600rpm. But while the new engine is more refined, the car does lose some of the buzz of the supercharged model as a result. More sporting drivers might find the (electrically-assisted) steering a little too light for their liking, too.
Does the quality override these concerns? Click here for our first drive to find out.
Plus check out our exclusive pictures of the new Mini here.