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Take everything you know about the Mini Cooper....

Lick-able blue paintwork, white stripes across the bonnet and racing white rims. Designer wheels for speed demonites. Don't buy this if you don't have a private garage - your in laws, neighbours and pets will, rest assured, NOT budge from the proximity of your Mini.
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
05 Apr 2007


The suspension layout follows the struts up front and multilink in the rear configuration while this car gets 205/45 profile 17” tyres.

There is an increased amount of wheel travel while the lighter rear trailing arms are made of aluminum instead of steel, thus reducing the unsprung weight, allowing greater freedom with damper settings.

The steering has received a quicker ratio, as if the previous ones weren’t quick enough. It’s good, and doesn’t feel excessively twitchy, but rest assured a strong sneeze will send you flying into someone else’s lane if you’re not careful.

Yes it still eats corners for breakfast thanks to the BMW derived suspension and spring rates that must be firmer than a standard Ferrari. It is also, a huge improvement over the previous Cooper S.

No more kicking and screaming, and certainly no more choppiness. Even through the wildest, bumpiest of corners, the lack of body roll, dive, or squat is amazing. We measured a g-forces of more than 0.85 at times – the suggested maximum G rating on paper.

At the edge of it’s grip capacities this front driven hatch does become understeer happy, especially when you put the power on, and we don’t blame it with its meaty torque delivery and slippery Dunlops.

If it were up to me, I’d specify this Mini with softer compounds up front, while leaving the rears as they are, but that’s a little too wild for your average daily driver!

The brakes don't exactly display any signs of fade either. They're strong, modulate well, and they stop the car full on in dry weather without the ABS having to interfere much. Compared to a Ferrari 355 or previous model year Porsche 911s, we'd say this one does 100-0 in about the same distance, or BETTER.

As with the normally aspirated cooper, the six-speed manual we tested came with improved synchros, and that includes reverse. This is one of the fastest shifting gearboxes around, although I have my gripes about downshifting from third to 2nd, as the reverse gate also happens to be towards the left.

Throw it too hard towards that direction and you might just get stuck! How's that for mucking your time attack up?

That aside…

When it comes to the crunch, you have to realize that the Cooper S offers you one hell of an exciting driving experience. It might not be as fast as a WRX or an Evo, but that’s missing the point entirely.

These cars, as with the Golf GTi and the Focus ST, are all about driving pleasure. They feel GOOD to drive, and at any given time of day, will put a smile on your face.

Perhaps the biggest joy about the S is that it never ever gets caught off guard, off boost and neither does it run out of breath in tight city situations or out on the open highway.

You decide then, whether this car is worth the $126 odd Gs that by the way, also gives you a pleasant exhaust burble, a designer grade interior that you either love or hate, and a decent sound system to play that CD or two. Now you have the stuff that, err, well, THE stuff!

Credits: Amery Reuben

Cars in this article
MINI Cooper S 1.6 2007

MINI Cooper S 1.6 2007

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