MINI Cooper S 1.6 Review
Take everything you know about the Mini Cooper....

Amery Reuben
5 Apr 2007
 

including ride comfort and performance qualities, and apply it to the Cooper S. Then, multiply the performance factor by a tenfold. In a less than perfect world where Clinton and Saddam Hussein should have reached many a peaceful pact, this might be one of those memorable day-to-day drives that I'd dread parting with.

I used to think of the Mini as being a car for the eloquent, ahem, man, if you know what I mean. The old Supercharged Cooper S left a few things to be desired for a car priced in it’s range. It had nothing below 3000rpm, was kind of choppy to sit in over harsh roads, and was indeed, not that easy to tune.

Following the 2007 Mini Cooper that we had reviewed HERE, this one too, had its engine redesigned and built from the ground up.

Power

Where the supercharged S had an output of 163hp and a torque figure of 218nm that felt handy above 5000rpm, this new one houses a twin scroll turbocharger, and it is, one hell of a new design. 240nm of torque happens at just 1600rpm, and continues to happen until over 5000rpm. Then, you get 173 horses at 5500rpm.

Direct injection allows for a high, 10.5:1 compression ratio. The Valvetronic variable valve timing and lift replaces a traditional throttle butterfly altogether. The major bits of this engine are all made from aluminum, making it lighter.

That’s not just on paper either.

Launched with the DSC off, well you can’t really turn it off permanently; popping the clutch at just 2500rpm will invoke serious amounts of wheelspin that hauls you down the road the whole 9 yards.

This happens before the silly safety cutoff device chips in, automatically turning the stability program on again. Like all automotive purists who loves a thrilling drive, I hate that!

The engine is close to perfection as far as my driving habits are concerned. I’m a fan of power that is available low down in the rev range, which automatically qualifies me for the Golf GTi, and this car vividly reminds me of the way the GTi performs across it’s power band.

There isn’t any turbo lag, and neither is there boost lag (the time it takes for your revs to get into the boost range).

Prod the loud pedal slightly at any rpm, and you instantly get a gratifying push that accelerates the car with a meaty grunt. The car grabs you by the collar and drags you along whatever the situation might be, and in any gear.

100km/h happens in 7.6 seconds given my sloppy shifting technique, but it did feel a little faster given the terrific “low endedness” of it all. 200 km/h was a breeze, and while that linear sensation of acceleration tends to trail off around 210km/h, we were able to reach speeds in excess of 230km/h on flat land - 10 km/h MORE than the Cooper S’ claimed top speed.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1598cc Supercharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Power 175bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 240Nm @ 1600rpm
Power to Weight 144 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 220 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.0 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Manual
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type 3 Door Hatch
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(3655 x 1925 x 1416) mm
Wheelbase 2477 mm
Kerb Weight 1215 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs