Exterior styling deliberately echoes that of the original 41-year-old Austin Mini with the large oval headlamps and the trademark grille, but it is now larger, sleeker and more powerful than its predecessor. This time last year, we took the Cooper S through its paces on the mountain roads of the Sierra Nevada in Southern Spain and then through the busy tight streets of the old town of Marbella for a review in the Costa del Sol edition of WEB EXPRESS GUIDE.
This was purely from a - 'how does it perform in relation to the older model' - stand point. It did, very simply put, impress - a fun drive, sporty yet smoother with it and lovely interior features - a roomy but snug fit offering great driver appeal. The engine had to be pushed hard to get the most out of it, but what 1.6 engines don't? We decided to test it again this year, as last year's hype was revitalised by the remake of 'The Italian Job' movie, boosting sales yet again. Instead of the twisty, turny, cornering on rails road test, we removed the fingerless leather gloves and adopted a more practical point of view with family safety in mind tooÂ…
Surprisingly roomy for front passengers with excellent head and leg room. Superb build quality. Obvious BMW intervention - quiet, smooth, punchy and reliable engine - doors that close with the thud of a 5 series.
You can personalise your Mini when buying from new with very reasonably priced, optional extras.
An engaging drive and reminiscent of the original while far more refined and sophisticated.
Sharp steering with plenty of feedback.
Having seen the film remakeÂ…. a must have!
Rear seat bench is a little hard and un-supportive.
Short on storage space. (5 shopping carriers).
Replacement tyres - a bit pricey at approx. Â£90.
No spare tyre - but instead a very effective repair kit.
Strong body with driver, passenger and side airbags, standard ABS with electronic braking distribution (EBD) with optional traction control. EURO NCAP gave it a 74% scoring in crash tests, which under their justifiably very strict and harsh testing conditions is very encouraging.
Standard immobiliser and remote central locking; an alarm is an extra cost option, but one worth adding along with a tracker system.
Value for money 10/10
Overall rating 9/10
Price Mini Cooper S
23,000 Â€ on the road.