From £17,540
Revised engine brings useful performance and economy gains

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.

See all the latest Mini reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Add a comment…
The Apprentice 30 June 2010

Re: Mini Cooper S

Diesel has its attractions... No ones is going to mess with this at the lights.

beachland2 28 June 2010

Re: Mini Cooper S

so PSA RCZ engine with 200bhp and 275NM is better than BMW's cooper S version.

HiltonH 27 June 2010

Re: Mini Cooper S

yes, sorry, go back to my earlier answer. This Cooper S petrol engine is a BMW/PSA block and new BMW top-end and turbo. The facelift Mini (this autumn) gets the 1.6-litre BMW diesel engine. It's also in the Countryman. I've seen the diesel in the metal and discussed it with the BMW engineers.