The range of engines, and thus the performance offered in the Mini, is wider than ever. There’s a 74bhp 1.6 petrol version for the First, a 97bhp 1.6 unit for the One, a 121bhp 1.6 for the Cooper, a 181bhp 1.6 for the Cooper S and a 208bhp 1.6 for the JCW.
On the diesel side, the One gets an 89bhp 1.6 and the Cooper a 110bhp 1.6, while the potent Cooper SD breaks ranks by offering a larger 141bhp 2.0-litre BMW unit.
In the mid-range Cooper, the engine is much smoother than that of the old Mk1 Cooper and far better on economy and emissions, but power and torque are only marginally improved. As before, the Cooper is no fireball – the engine needs to be revved hard and the slick new six-speed gearbox stirred frequently – but its feisty character makes up for any shortcomings in outright pace.
Fast. That sums up your initial impression of the Cooper S, and for two clear reasons. Firstly, this is a commendably responsive turbo engine, with immediate and serious shove available virtually from tickover. That means whenever you press that accelerator pedal, even at walking pace around town, the Cooper S darts forward with unabated enthusiasm. Secondly, the boost is held constant all the way to the upper reaches of the rev range.