Change to Sport and the three-cylinder engine comes alive, without ever sounding like a typical three-pot. The engine note is surprisingly pleasant, with a roaring sporty sound.
Press the accelerator and the One feels more rapid than the 0-62mph figure of 9.9sec might suggest. The torque curve starts to rise from very low revs and delivers a convincingly swift response across a wide range of engine speed.
The gear change is a true joy for the keen driver. This new six-speed manual performs great automatic rev matching on downshifts, which the driver can override if they apply some well-judged heel and toeing. Fifth- and sixth-gear ratios are a little long, to save fuel when driving on the motorway, where wind noise is not as low as it could be.
And we come back to those skinny tyres. True, city driving is not affected by them and motorway fuel consumption actually benefits. But turn onto a B-road to exploit that famous go-kart-like Mini handling and soon the tyres start to come up short in terms of road holding and precision. Tyre degradation even becomes an issue, when the tyres start to bend, under heavy cornering.
One thing is true, if you get your driving back to eight-tenths the balance between available power and grip highlights the new Mini’s excellent dynamics, which are better savoured with the stability control off.
Sliding the front or the rear (or both) is just a question of how much lock you apply to the steering wheel and how deeply you nail the accelerator or how quickly you release it.
This is not exactly akin to Cristiano Ronaldo playing in high heels but it seems a good idea to order your Mini One with upgraded tyres: you would lose something in fuel economy but not much in comfort, because the ride on the standard tyres is not that supple anyway.