The multi-link suspension is unique within this vehicle segment and is designed so that the wheels always adjust to the best possible angle, ensuring that the tyres are always in full contact with the road.
The multi-link suspension is unique within this vehicle segment and is designed so that the wheels always adjust to the best possible angle, ensuring that the tyres are always in full contact with the road. Therefore, changes in road camber have minimal effect on the MINI's steering or traction.
As an option our safety conscious MINI Cooper test car featured ASC+T (automatic stability control with traction control). This system effectively prevents front wheel spin and guarantees stability (within safe driving parameters). However, it will break grip if pushed to the limit of its stability although, under normal driving conditions this would not present a problem. This electronic system uses ABS sensors to detect any wheel slippage and when it does it automatically cuts the power to the spinning wheel until it grips again - It also works when decelerating. A warning light flashes when the system is activated and remains permanently lit when the system is switched off.
The steering is superbly weighted and direct with a kart-like driving feel - consistently giving the correct amount of feedback to the driver keeping you composed and in tune with the road.
Ease of Use
The MINI Cooper couldn't be easier to drive and manoeuvre visibility is excellent and parking is a breeze. Our test car was equipped with optional Rear Park Distance Control which in my opinion was unnecessary for a car of this size.
The cabin is both simple and uncluttered; the retro-speedometer is situated between the driver and the front passenger in the classic MINI position. The rev counter is located on the steering column in front of the driver this certainly required a little time to get used to as you find yourself looking slightly to the left to check your speed - but you do get used to it. Ideally, a digital readout on the rev-counter along with the central speedometer would be helpful. If satellite navigation is specified on the MINI Cooper and Cooper S the speedometer will be moved to the steering column next to the rev counter.
The clock is positioned in the headlining and was a little difficult to find especially when on the move. However, MINI has addressed this and from July 2004 the clock will be repositioned from the headlining to the central instrument panel.
MINI Cooper Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||MINI Cooper|
|Body Type||3 Door Hatchback|
|Colour||INDI Blue Metallic With Contrasting Black Roof and Wing Mirrors|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||9.2 Seconds|
|Top Speed||124 mph|
|Fuel Type||Petrol - Unleaded|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||53.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||4|
|Warranty||3-year/unlimited mileage warranty|
6-year/unlimited mileage anti-corrosion guarantee
3-year Pan-European roadside assistance package
|Price (when tested on the 29/04/04)||£ 12,100|