What is it?
A range-topping diesel model for BMW’s third-generation Mini three-door hatchback. First seen in the new five-door Mini, this potent 2.0-litre turbodiesel is now offered in the smaller model badged as Cooper SD.
And with a badge like that, Mini would have you believe this is a performance diesel hatchback. You get the looks, chassis and a similar kind of performance as the Cooper S, but with better economy. That’s the theory, anyway.
What's it like?
A very un-Mini-like driving experience, one that’s a long way from the Cooper S. Not that it’s a bad car, mind. The engine is strong and exceptionally refined, doing its best work on motorway cruises. It’s a nice match for the automatic gearbox, which is slick and unobtrusive.
Economy in the mid-50mpg range is also easily achievable, making this a very nice little car for covering great distances in, especially when you’re sitting in such a desirable interior.
The drivetrain makes this Mini feel every bit the baby BMW, but sporty it is not. Yes, the performance is impressive, but the urgency and turn of pace from the Cooper S model is lacking.
The dynamics also take a hit from having a bigger, heavier engine providing power. The ride and handling balance is still tidy, but the sharpness and poise from the petrol powered-Minis is left behind.
Should I buy one?
Don’t be taken in by that badge. This is a Mini that’s more GT than GTI. If you’re sold on the way the new Mini looks and undertake a serious amount of miles, making refinement and motorway performance the overriding factor, then Mini has made the model for you.
But that of course is going to be an incredibly small amount of people and at odds with the Mini’s mission statement. It is not a bad car – far from it, in fact – but it is a very niche product, and a very expensive one at that.
With every new Mini we drive, our original verdict that this is a car where less most definitely is more is reinforced, the sweet spot of the range being right back with the 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol-powered One model.