Friday - - Motoring - Cooper S 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo Six-speed auto, FWD 192bhp @ 4,700rpm 280Nm @ 1,250rpm 230kph 6.8 secs Dh174,000 (as tested) Ex­tra weight doesn’t take away from driv­ing fun Costs a packet if you’re not care­ful

egardless, get go­ing and the mo­tor proves it­self to be a smooth op­er­a­tor and, thank­fully, the ex­tra doors and weight don’t de­ter from the now cus­tom­ary sporty ride.

Keep­ing up with traf­fic isn’t a prob­lem and in Sport, you’ll be leav­ing them at the lights. It’s fun to throw about and it changes di­rec­tion like a fly buzzing over a plate of fries. Again, it feels nim­ble (it has sin­gle­joint spring strut front axle and mul­ti­link rear axle) and much like the three-door. The six-speed au­to­matic, send­ing 192 horses to the front, is snappy and al­ways in the right gear, how­ever, there is a fair amount of torque steer to con­tend with.

The pad­dle shifters add to the driv­ing fun, while the steer­ing is sharp and pre­cise and wants you to at­tack the cor­ners. Since there’s lots of grip here, you’ll no doubt oblige. Go over the top and the gen­er­ally un­in­tru­sive sta­bil­ity con­trol will keep you safe. If not, at least it’s com­fort­ing to know it has front, side and win­dow airbags. Curb­ing those fancy 16in wheels would be a shame, as would nick­ing the beau­ti­ful blue paint­work our tester came with (the bon­net stripes set it off nicely, but they’ll cost you). In fact, go crazy on the spec sheet and you could have a head-up dis­play, satel­lite-nav­i­ga­tion, Blue­tooth hands-free phone con­nec­tion, a dig­i­tal ra­dio and a USB socket, but you’ll need deep pock­ets for the ex­tra bits and bobs.

Pre­vi­ously, if you wanted all the style, qual­ity and quirk­i­ness of a Mini but needed the prac­ti­cal­ity and space to go with it, your only op­tion was the bloated Coun­try­man.

Now, this more grown-up five­door hatch is here and although it’s big­ger, deep down it’s still a cheeky lit­tle run­about. Noth­ing of­fers a sense of fun and character quite like this does, but you have to break the bank for the priv­i­lege.

It’s fun to throw about and it changes di­rec­tion like a fly buzzing over a plate of fries. It feels nim­ble

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