A little car with a big punch
MINI COOPER: FAST AND ZIPPY, BUT NOT FOR FAMILIES OR MONTHLY GROCERY SHOPPING
In the traditional style of the original car, the round display remains.
My first glimpse of the Mini Cooper’s performance capabilities was in the 2003 movie The
Charlize Theron’s character was given the red Mini to drive and her skill, albeit with the assistance of a stunt driver, awakened a tiny race car driver in me that just wanted to drive a Mini in all sorts of illegal ways.
My dream was recently realised when the keys to a Mini One 1.5 three-cylinder auto were delivered to me.
Just like Theron’s model, mine was chilli red. This uber cute three door model is the stuff chase sequences are made of. It’s fast, zippy and packs a miniature punch (by that I’m referring to the take-off).
It’s understandable why it could be the car of choice in chase scenes. At no point will you be disappointed.
I heard before that previous models had disappointed some serious petrolheads by having a frustrating turbo lag. This was a few years ago and I’m confident that the current models have been improved in that regard.
At no point did the car linger or take too long to get to a comfortable boiling point where the turbo kicked in. The launch was immediate.
It takes corners sharply and distributes weight evenly, especially for a front wheel drive. You never get the impression that it may tip over.
The seven-speed double clutch transmission is the one on the simpler model.
Looking at the interior, everything on the dashboard is round, adding a touch of delightful character to this made-for-fun vehicle.
Connection to the infotainment system is extremely easy and the dial lights up like the lights in a night club.
The dial is designed like an airplane cockpit and can get a bit tricky if you aren’t used to that sort of set-up.
Mini has allowed for the driver to customise the system, with colour changes for every setting around the LCD.
In the traditional style of the original car, the round display remains, which is a touch of nostalgia perhaps for those loyal mini drivers.
I wouldn’t describe this as a family car, simply because of the size and space ... it is a one to two-person car.
A baby seat can be fitted into the back but it’s better to look at the larger models if you’re looking to expand your family.
If you’re looking for boot space after a shopping spree, forget it. This isn’t the car for that either.
I won’t address fuel consumption because it really wasn’t much of an issue – a full tank took me through a week of roaming around Joburg.
The Mini is a speedy, great looking, great to drive vehicle with a hefty price of R 432 682.50.
James Dean once said “live fast, die young” but the price says otherwise.
But I would grit my teeth and buy this car anyway. Everything about it speaks to me.