It is always a challenge to evolve and build upon an already established and successful model in your lineup. This will be the challenge facing Mini as it attempts to ride on the success of the Mini Cooper. Fans of the car are spoilt for choice now that there are a series of individual bodystyles and models to choose from its current lineup.
One such model is the Mini Cooper S Coupé which will appeal to those seeking a strictly 2 seater Coupé. The design of the car will probably raise a few eyebrows as it is quite a departure from what you would expect a Mini to look like. At the front, from a straight line view, there is little to suggest that this is like any other Mini. However, things get interesting when you turn to the rear.
With a sloping rear roofline, this is unlike any other hatchback Mini which conventionally has a straighter downward line from the roof at the rear. The first spoiler connects at the rear end of the roof. There is a secondary spoiler close to the third brake light. This is electronically controlled and will pop out when you hit 80km/h. Having a rear end that juts out slightly completes this entire twist of a design.
Viewing the car from the side or from a ¾ view would probably yield the greatest impact. As with other Minis the roof is of a different colour as a contrast to the main body colour of the car. To add to the sportiness, this test car came with dual stripes that run from the front, right through the roof and all the way to the back.
I noted that in other overseas markets, there are actually 3 variants of the Coupé, ie the standard Cooper Coupé, the Cooper S Coupé and the John Cooper Works Coupé. In Malaysia, Mini Malaysia is offering the Mini Cooper S Coupé variant. Currently the test model’s closest sibling, the Roadster is not available in Malaysia.
The key features for this test model comprise the usual standard items which you would get in a Mini Cooper S. These include cloth/leather combination seats, sports suspension settings, sport leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, park distance control, fog lights, lights package, dynamic traction control, sport button and a cute sounding acoustic seat-belt warning.
The cabin is a cosy place for two, and with a narrow rear window, is slightly darker than usual even during the day. Once inside you will note that it is the typical Mini feature set with toggle switches located at unconventional places, an oversized central speedometer and the retro décor. Driving position is good with the only setback being the compressed rear views.
With no rear passengers, there is plenty to play around if you wish to manually adjust your seats. There is a bit of space just behind the seats, adequate to fit smaller baggage such as a briefcase, knapsack, camera bag etc. There is an opening right at the centre which is to allow longer cargo to fit from the boot into the cabin.
Boot space is quite generous for this compact car at 260 litres. In fact this should be more than adequate to fit in the typical baggage for two and even the weekly groceries. Opening the rear boot take some effort as this is a singular large ’door’ which includes the rear window.
This Mini Cooper S Coupé is not a car for those who prefer to be quiet and discreet. Once you fire up the engine, the whole works come to life. The combination of the engine rumble, vibration and the cute sounding seat belt warning tone are all part of the Cooper S driving experience, and those waiting at home will find it easy to detect your impending arrival even from a distance.
Floor the throttle and there is an immediate surge of power from the 1.6 litre turbocharged engine. The car is well engineered as it enables the driver to have a close connection to the car’s performance. There is a very direct feel and the greater your inputs, the more ‘life’ you can extract from it. Particularly appealing is when the overboost kicks in as the car surges forward a standstill position.
Unlike the previous Mini Cooper S hatchback which I had tested in 4 years ago, torque steer during hard acceleration is more or less eliminated from this Mini Cooper S Coupé. The steering though electric powered is fairly accurate and is able to transmit useful feedback to the driver. The 4 cylinder 1,598cc engine with twin scroll turbocharger is capable of producing a max output of 184hp @ 5,500 rpm and a max torque of 240Nm @ 1,600-5000rpm (with overboost at 260Nm @ 1,730-4,500rpm).
Ride quality is on the firm side. It is better than the standard Mini Cooper but a lot harsher than most cars on the road. Its best to avoid road imperfections as this will be clearly transmitted into the cabin, leading to a bone shaking ride. A not so pleasing aspect of this test car was the rattling noise coming out near the seatbelt retractor which occurred occasionally. Noise levels in the cabin are above average, in part due to the prominent engine note, but its all in good fun.
Throughout the test drive, the average fuel consumption was on the high side at 9.3 liters per 100 km (as per on board computer). Since the mannerism of the car encourages spirited driving, it is quite safe to predict that most would find it difficult to reach the stated 6.7 liters per 100 km stated in its spec sheet. With a modest fuel tank of 50 litres, you would also be expecting frequent pit stops at the gas station.
Once you hit 80km/h and above, the secondary rear spoiler pops out discreetly. Once this happens, coupled with the narrow rear window, you will get more or less a blocked rear view. Usually, what you could see is just the front bumper of the car behind you. This secondary rear spoiler can be manually activated via a toggle switch next to the other interior lights switches.
On the freeway, the Mini Cooper S Coupé is a well balanced car and is better planted on the road compared to the standard Mini Cooper hatchback. The 6 speed automatic transmission shifts cleanly and rapidly during hard acceleration. During Sports mode the shifts are delayed while the car idles in slightly higher rpms. Generally I avoided driving on Sports mode to conserve fuel and had little reason to do so since the response of the car in its default mode was already excellent.
For in car entertainment, the car is equipped with the Radio MINI Boost CD system. Generally, I found the sound quality at the default setting to be a bit thin and flat. You will need to manually boost the treble and bass to add some weight to the sound. According to the brochure, there is an option to add the Mini Connected package which has an onboard monitor on the oversized speedometer to receive RSS news feeds, Twitter posts and listen to web radio.
Overall the driving experience in this Mini Cooper S Coupé was much closer to what I had experienced about 4 years ago in the Mini Cooper S hatchback. There is more excitement and involvement here compared to the Cooper S Countryman, and should appeal to those who are seeking Cooper S performance with a bodystyle that stands out from the crowd.
In the days after returning this car, I then had the realization that the design of the Mini Cooper S Coupé, in some ways mirrored the BMW X6. Both shared a radical design that is different compared to its siblings and offered a very different perspective from the norm.
|Full Tank:||50 litres @ RM95 (Ron 95)|
|Road Tax:||RM90 per annum|
|Standard Service:||Free service for first 3 years|
|Warranty:||3 Years or 60,000km whichever is earlier|
These are estimated costs applicable to Malaysia only which are subject to change without notice. Road Tax is for private registration in Peninsular Malaysia. Standard/scheduled service excludes additional or specific service/repairs requested. Please reconfirm these terms and costs with an authorized Mini dealer.
|Engine:||In-line 4 cylinder 16v 1.6L twin scroll turbocharged|
|Max Output:||135 kW (184hp) @ 5,500 rpm|
|Max Torque:||240 Nm @ 1,600-5,000 rpm|
|260 Nm @ 1,730-4,500 rpm (Overboost)|
|Top Speed:||224 km/h|
|Acceleration 0-100km:||7.1 sec|
|Fuel Consumption:||6.7 litres per 100 km|
Source: Mini Brochure
Note: Please reconfirm the above specifications with an authorized Mini dealer
Click on these to sample sounds from the car!