A sen­si­ble Mini … what are the odds?

Car (South Africa) - - TEST -

R475 000

A9,41 sec 110 kw/330 N.m 208 km/h LTHOUGH purists have be­moaned the fact that the new Coun­try­man’s larger di­men­sions have quite lit­er­ally stretched Mini’s pre­vi­ously pint-sized ap­proach to its very seams, the CAR team was still very much taken with the mid-ta­ble S model that we tested in our July 2017 is­sue.

We were also of the opin­ion that, while the Coun­try­man’s added practicality has suc­ceeded in net­ting cus­tomers oth­er­wise headed to­wards more con­ser­va­tive op­tions, surely those look­ing for a diesel engine were slip­ping through Mini’s ngers. It makes sense, then, that the most prag­mat­i­cally pack­aged Mini has also be­come the rst lo­cal re­cip­i­ent of one the mar­que’s sen­si­ble en­gines. But has ma­tu­rity blunted the fun fac­tor that’s the back­bone of Mini’s cars?

Aes­thet­i­cally, the an­swer is no, as it’s ba­si­cally some “D” badg­ing that dif­fer­en­ti­ates this model from its peers. Oth­er­wise, the chunky ex­te­rior and fun – if some­what fuss­ily de­tailed – in­te­rior does nothing to hint at the de­cep­tively close me­chan­i­cal re­la­tion­ship be­tween this car and the grown-up BMW X1. While there’s a good deal of over­lap be­tween their un­der­pin­nings (they share the same plat­form and sus­pen­sion setup), in many re­spects they feel worlds apart.

We were pleas­antly sur­prised by just how sup­ple and ab­sorbent the ride qual­ity was of the 19-inch-rimmed S we tested (bet­ter than any X1 we’ve as­sessed), and this Cooper D con­tin­ues that trend. Shod with even plumper 50-pro le tyres on 18-inch rims, it served to

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