Mini Ur­ban Drive

We come to grips with MINI’s leg­endary go-kart ex­pe­ri­ence

Car India - - CONTENTS - Story: Anosh Khum­batta Pho­tog­ra­phy: MINI

Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the go-kart like han­dling and agility of the iconic Bri­tish car

The MINI Ur­ban Drive is an event de­signed to get more peo­ple be­hind the wheel of a MINI to ex­pe­ri­ence first-hand the han­dling and agility that the pop­u­lar Bri­tish car is known for. This event was held at dif­fer­ent venues in seven In­dian cities be­tween Au­gust and Oc­to­ber this year. We were present at the Pune edi­tion along with sev­eral ex­ist­ing and prospec­tive MINI cus­tomers.

Apart from a fleet of cars, MINI had also brought along two pro­fes­sional race car driv­ers from Malaysia to brief the par­tic­i­pants on safety, what was ex­pected of them be­hind the wheel, and to take us through the drills that we were sup­posed to com­plete. The drills in­cluded a tight slalom course where we had to get the cars through and around sev­eral small plas­tic cones in the quick­est time pos­si­ble, high­light­ing the nim­ble na­ture and pre­cise steer­ing of the MINI. One-way

com­mu­ni­ca­tors in all the cars al­lowed the train­ers to give us feed­back and cues in real time or cor­rect us if nec­es­sary.

Af­ter a ses­sion of slid­ing the cars through the course, it was time to take on the brak­ing drills. Here the in­struc­tors had us go­ing pro­gres­sively faster, be­fore ask­ing us to slam on the brakes at a pre­de­ter­mined mark; they even had us do it with hands raised, away from the steer­ing wheel, to high­light the car’s sta­bil­ity un­der hard brak­ing.

The ob­sta­cle avoid­ance drill came next, where we were once again asked to slam on the brakes, but this time there were strate­gi­cally placed cones in our way, with an im­pos­si­bly nar­row es­cape route. I was pleas­antly sur­prised when the MINI Club­man that I was driv­ing re­sponded per­fectly to my in­put and made it through with­out touch­ing a sin­gle cone, even when hard on the brakes.

Af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the MINI Ur­ban Drive, it is clear to me that this is a much bet­ter way to in­tro­duce prospec­tive buy­ers to these cars than a test-drive through crowded city streets where you would hardly get out of first gear. This event al­lowed us to push these cars and ex­plore their ca­pa­bil­i­ties in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment, re­mind­ing us that these MINIs are such fun to drive.

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