- Dazzling and modern design
- High performance
- More practical than the 3-door version
- Precise handling
What can you say about a latter-day icon like the MINI Cooper S? Well, quite a lot, actually.
Now in its third incarnation, and still just as individual and noticeable as the rally winning phenomena of the Swinging Sixties, the little front drive skateboard naturally faces a lot more competition these days.
The slightly longer 5-door wins the popularity stakes, but sacrifices – in my view – the purer proportions of the 3-door in favour of greater practicality.
Engines and Performance
Forgetting the space race for a moment, the Cooper S still has all the fizz and brio of a sports car with a punchy 2.0-litre engine that races through the revs with gusto, disposing of the 0 to 62mph dash in less than seven seconds and feeling razor sharp on its journey there.
Better still, the steering and handling is more precise and communicative than many sports cars. And with such compact dimensions it can be squeezed into tiny spaces unavailable to many saloons.
The twin-clutch auto 7-speed gearbox with steering wheel paddles fits the Cooper S like a proverbial glove. Changes are superfast and silky smooth – definitely slicker than the manual 6-speed in our view.
The ride is a rather different matter. Satisfying and rewarding over short distances such as cross-country dashes or around town, it is a tad fidgety and harsh on motorways or the very many poorly surfaced B-roads that litter the UK.
Unless you are travelling at absurd speeds, it is unlikely you will unstick the MINI around bends – at least on public roads.
Despite being swift and sporty, thirst for fuel is meagre. We regularly bettered the 40mpg mark, with an impressive best of 50mpg-plus.
Design and Practicality
It did remain extremely compact for anything more than a couple with a bit of luggage and, maybe, a couple of small children. Boot space at 278 litres is a bit lower than that of a Ford Fiesta or a Vauxhall Corsa, but 20 percent larger than the 3-door MINI.
Room up front is more than reasonable, but a long-legged driver will struggle a bit without moving the seats around.
The cabin of the Resolute version also needs special mention. Seriously stylised with a massive circular dial-screen taking central stage, it all works well and reaches the right balance between tech and user-friendly old-school switches and knobs. Retro check seating trim and the exterior Rebel green paintwork with cream roof add to the striking image.
Attention to detail is impressive. The switches are beautifully finished and the materials used are from a class above. The test car also came with a glass panoramic opening sunroof, which added to the sporty experience.
This special addition Resolute Edition is likely to put a big smile on the faces of onlookers, and an even bigger one on the driver's face.
With plenty of features, speedy performance and incredible design throughout, what more could you want from a special edition MINI?