Activity Rocket For The Pocket
The vanilla Cooper model features a smaller 1.5 litre three-cylinder engine, pumping 136bhp. The S model on the other hand gets their higher-powered 2.0, pumping out 192bhp, and delivers a fantastic 280Nm of torque from as low as 1,350rpm.
On the road, the Cooper S delivers well, with straight line acceleration of 100km/h within a respectable 7.4 seconds.
Taking the Countryman onto the Malaysian B roads reveals a car trying hard to disguise itself as something smaller. The longer wheelbase does help with the ride comfort. The Cooper S model delivers this even better than the non-S model, thanks to the adjustable dampers (provided you do drive it in “Comfort” mode).
While it is an “S” model, snap the car around a few tight corners, or do an overtaking manoeuvre and, be quick to realise that the car’s higher centre of gravity will not be afraid to reveal itself, by way of a little more upper body tilt, and a little more rear-end sway, as compared to the lower to the ground MINIs we have become so accustomed to. Since it is front-driven, you will deal with a little more understeer, but thanks to its better suspension and tyres, it still handles way better than the less powerful Cooper model.
Gearshifts are quick, with the Cooper S punching through eight cogs. Excellent for (very) high speed cruising on the highway…. Very good yes… But very good no… when you plant the Cooper S around a series of tight corners, you might just find yourself dropping two cogs (instead of one, when utilising the older six-speed transmission). With closer ratios, intended for better fuel efficiency, the Cooper S engine/transmission combo might have lost some of that edge, as compared to its Cooper S model equivalent cars in the range still with the six-speeder.
Steering feel though is very good, and we do love the driving position. Little touches like the head-up display, makes things easier for the serious driver, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road.
In a market that is rather saturated with compact luxury SUVs, even for those competing with the higher-powered Countryman Cooper S, there is the element of fun which the MINI brand leaves with each of the cars they produce.
While it behaves the least MINI-like on the road, what it gives you in terms of quality, quirks and customisation delivers plenty of fun for a car in this segment.