Launch Drive: Mini Cooper

cars  /   /  By Nafisa Akabor

The updated Mini Cooper received new tweaks on the visual and technology side, which I got to drive at the media launch in Cape Town this week. Not gonna lie, I love my Mini Cooper S so it was a treat getting to drive the facelift updated Mini Coopers.

Mini is still a much-loved brand wherever you go with its urban youthful appeal, which stands out from the crowd. I didn’t realise how much attention it attracts until I got one, and the fact that it’s red definitely stands out. If you love a hatch and want to go on the premium side, this is the car for you.

I’ve always been clear about this – the 3 door is my favourite, so I’m not a big fan of the 5 door version, for purely superficial reasons; it just does not have that same appeal. The new range is available as a 3 door, 5 door, and convertible in both automatic and manual.

The power on the 2L turbocharged engines on the Cooper (100kW) and Cooper S (141kW) remains the same, except it’s revised to be more economical. However, the Mini One is now powered by a 1.5L engine with 75kW and 190Nm. Top speed on the Mini One is 195km/h (3 door) and 192km/h (5 door); Cooper is 210km/h (3 door) and 207km/h (5 door); and Cooper S 235km/h on both. The Convertibles are 208km/h and S 230km/h.

I enjoyed the drive on both cars, more so on the Cooper S with the whole go-kart feel. The gear has new design, and switching between driving modes has moved to a button form, it does not sit at the base of the gears anymore.

Mini Connected has been updated with a new design and unfortunately I didn’t get to try CarPlay this time around – but I think it’s opting for this as an extra is recommended (Mini Connected XL). The navigation shows where you are going in white lines which I think is difficult to see while driving because it looks like a regular map. I think it should have been in a bright colour so its easy to spot while driving.

So, what’s new?

The most noticeable change on the updated Mini is the Union Jack taillights, which I absolutely love. It seems Mini wants to remind everyone about its heritage by scattering the Union Jack across the inside of the car.

LED headlights are now standard; there’s a new Mini logo; more options to customise the insides; the 6.5-inch colour screen with USB and Bluetooth is standard; and the projection of the Mini logo from the outside mirrors on the driver’s side. Optional features are Mini Connected XL with a bigger screen that is touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay, and wireless charging.

New metallic colours include emerald grey, starlight blue, and solaris orange. For those who want to custom build a min, you can go also choose the “Piano Black” exterior.

Mini Yours Customised

Yours Customised allows customers to get personalised side scuttles, decorative strips for the cockpit, LED door sill finishers and door projectors. One can choose colours, patterns, surface structures, and adding your own text. Very cool if you’re obsessed with having a one-of-a-kind car.

Prices

One – From R302 200
Cooper – From R370 300
Cooper S – From 428 300
JCW – From R487 300
Convertible – From R423 200
Convertible S – From R493 800

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