The engine is a belter. It sounds good, has strong in-gear acceleration, and feels quicker off the line than the 0-62mph time of 9.9sec suggests. It’s mated to a sweet six-speed manual gearbox, which is slick shifting and pleasurable to use both in town and when attacking your favourite B-road.
Economy falls short of the claimed 61.4mpg combined; we achieved just above 45mpg on our test route. With our experiences of a Cooper with more miles on the clock, we’d expect 50mpg to be achievable when the engine is properly run in.
All good so far, then, and there’s more good news on the dynamics front. Our test car was not fitted with the optional adaptive dampers the new Minis we’ve tested have typically come specced with, but it still had a nice ride. Firm, but never uncomfortable.
As with other Minis, we’re finding the Michelin Energy Saver tyres to be quite noisy, something we’ve experienced on 16-inch alloys on a Cooper and now 15-inch alloys on this One.
The handling is also a joy; the front end is very pointy and the car feels light, agile and alive when changing direction, helped by tactile and well-weighted steering.
This was true of the previous generation Mini also, but where this new one scores extra points in its ability to be more civilised in everyday situations. It doesn’t feel as ‘on it’ when you’re popping to the shops, which is welcome and far less tiring than previous Minis.