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.