CSL takes this cool little beauty out on the windy roads of Northern Puerto Rico for an unforgettable road trip
THE CAR The German engineered new Mini Cooper S has gotten a makeover and I couldn’t be happier. The first thing that strikes me about the new Mini is the sporty look – hexagonal radiator grill, LED headlamps, rear light clusters with wide chrome surround, and the eye catching paint finish (available in five finishes). Although the car is perceived as small, there is a tremendous amount of leg room, it feels roomier with a with an extra 1.1 inches added to the wheelbase, plus 4.5 inches and 1.7 inches in overall length and width (great for the over six foot tall crowd). Though it took a while to get used to, the futuristic key insertion is located in the middle of the centre console and activated by a toggle start/stop button. This lifestyle vehicle would be spacious and comfortable enough for a road trip with two passengers, even allowing for space for small luggage in the back.
THE ROAD I took the Mini Cooper S through the windy and pothole ridden mountainous roads of Puerto Rico’s North Coast from Dorado to Gasolina Beach (hey, why not test the car’s mettle in rugged terrain?). With oncoming vehicles rushing at me, I was relieved by the superb handling of the Mini Cooper S care of the revised suspension technology. This also came in handy when trying to avoid the numerous stray dogs roaming the streets. The struts on the Mini Cooper S have been altered too, for less impact on the body – small pebbles hitting the sides of the car – and outside noise was kept to a minimum. Though the highways in Puerto Rico weren’t particularly busy, the 6-speed automatic transmission allowed for seamless acceleration after passing numerous school zones. The MINI Cooper S’ four-cylinder TwinPower turbo technology is enhanced by three distinct driving modes – mid, sport and green-allowing drivers to alter their driving style according to preference. Case in point? Green mode allows for improved driving performance and reduced fuel consumption.
WOW FACTOR Sometimes it’s the small things that really make an impact. I loved the jukebox like 4-line TFT screen (8.8 inches) for navigation, entertainment, telephone and vehicle functions and the large MINI controller in the centre console was fun to toy with. Some of the highend options are a must for cold climes (heated windscreen, seat heating, anyone?). There are also some cool functions including: emergency call and MINI teleservices with use of a SIM card; MINI connected XL journey mate with real time traffic information, and social networking; parking assistant, rear-view camera and road sign detection.
BOTTOM LINE Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by the premium small car’s agility driving the roads of Puerto Rico, a testament to the ‘go-kart’ feeling the company proudly touts. It seemed like I had driven the car all my life because it was extremely comfortable, had intuitive handling, and innovative tweaks to the interior and exterior of the vehicle and clever engineering made it a pleasure to drive.
In Partnership with MINI
Read More about The Mini Cooper S in the Spring 2014 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.