MINI Cooper S 1.6, Volkswagen Scirocco Sport 2.0 TSI (DSG) Review

Story by Jeremy R. Chua, pictures by Azfar Hashim
30 Sep 2009

One is young, funky and playful while the other is older, sleeker and more refined.  It's decision time again...

MINI Cooper S, Volkswagen Scirocco

If we related to women the way we related to cars, we'd be the worst boyfriends/husbands ever. Each road test is like taking a new girl out (and we have those several times a week). After analyzing the performance of each car we've driven, we'll then go and share those experiences at events with our fellow writers.

We'll forget cars that didn't make an impression on us, even expensive ones with all the luxury features that pampered us. We won't stop ogling and fantasizing about cars we like, even if we're supposed to be paying attention to the car we're driving at the moment.

And worst of all, even after we've bought (read: committed) to a car, it won't stop us from lusting after other, erm, models anyway. By our own admission, we've got roving eyes and a difficulty with commitment. In our world, every car has a purpose, an occasion even.

This explains the wish list of cars we dream of owning one day. It also explains the dilemma we face each time two very desirable cars are placed in front of us - and at the end of the drive, are required to choose one over the other.


It's tough not to fall in love with the MINI Cooper S, especially when it's equipped with the John Cooper Works (JCW) kit. Despite essentially retaining the same look as the Mark I version, the MINI doesn't look like its age one bit. The round headlamps and short bonnet are as perky as ever, and the bonnet scoop adds a sporty touch without threatening to become the front fascia's centerpiece.

The JCW kit adds two cute little fog lamps on either side of the grille. Rather than look like cheap add-ons, they offer a glimpse of the MINI's rallying heritage. Over at the pert rear end is a pair of combination tail lamps trimmed with chrome. You'll need a sharp pair of eyes to spot that subtle roof lip spoiler, but it is hard to miss the dual polished tips of the car's centrally stacked exhaust - with the JCW badge, no less.

Even when it's standing still, the MINI looks like it's ready to tackle whatever corners might be coming its way. With all four tyres pushed into their respective corners, there's barely any overhang to speak of - a trait that aids a car's handling.

In contrast to the MINI's playful and youthful good looks is the Scirocco's sleeker, more mature design. The wide front end with its thin grille, along with the elongated design of its headlights give the Scirocco a meaner, more hunkered down stance. Its bonnet is flat and wide, and the honeycombed air dam hints at the car's sporting potential.

The Scirocco's shoulder lines run from its front fenders towards the rear, where the quarter panels flare out to give this car a pair of "hips". The belt line is high, while the roofline is low, swoopy and tapers off towards the rear - where you'll also find a hint of a roof spoiler. The rear end may be decidedly squat looking (to complete the "hunkered down" look), but it also boasts some really clean lines... in fact, you can't even see the rear hatch's bottom shut line.

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Engine Capacity 1598cc Supercharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 170bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 220Nm @ 4000rpm
Power to Weight 138.2 bhp per ton


Acceleration 7.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 223 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.0 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 5 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF


Body Type 3 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(3655 x 1925 x 1416) mm
Wheelbase 2477 mm
Kerb Weight 1230 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs


Engine Capacity 1984cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 11.1:1
Bore x Stroke (76.5 x 75.6)mm
Power 210bhp @ 5300rpm
Torque 280Nm @ 1700rpm
Power to Weight 161.8 bhp per ton


Acceleration 6.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 233 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF


Body Type Coupe
(L x W x H)
(4256 x 1810 x 1404) mm
Wheelbase 2578 mm
Kerb Weight 1298 kg
Boot Capacity 292 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs