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Mini Cooper S

Broadcast dates : 16th January 2005
20th January 2005

To get a handle on what was both wrong and right with the previous Mini Cooper S, you really need to drive the new one.

The action is immediate from the moment you release the clutch in first gear. Then thereís that glorious whine from the supercharger. And the thrust from the engine is non-stop all the way through to sixth gear.

The shortening of the first gear ratio has made an amazing difference to the way the car pulls away and all the intermediate ratios have also been moved closer together.

By reconfiguring the supercharger internals, power has been raised to a hundred and-twenty-five kilowatts, and torque to two-hundred-and-twenty Newton metres.

More than anything else, the Mini is about negotiating tight, twisty situations. Whether itís an underground parking lot, a series of twisty bends, a city street or on an open road, this is where the Cooper S is at its best.

The test car was fitted with gorgeous sixteen-inch alloys and run flat tyres. Of course with a boot as small as a Miniís, a spare wheel is not really an option.

Aesthetically too there have been slight improvements. The rather odd-looking rear tail-lights have been given a more modern clear-glass look.

The front lights have also been given a new look and Xenon headlights are optional.

The optional chrono pack instrument pod moves the speedometer to the dual pod ahead of the driver. In non-chrono models the speedo is still situated in the centre of the dashboard.

The Mini is still not perfect inside, with rather flimsy indicator stalks and switchgear.

But if itís style and sheer fun youíre after, the Mini Cooper S takes some beating.

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