A perfect combination of versatility and luxury, crafted immaculately, the Mini Cooper took by storm the imaginations of car lovers at a recent expo in Madurai
Just seeing four plush Mini Coopers parked at the Fortune Pandiyan Hotel put me on an instant high. It is not difficult to soak in the beauty of the car with posh exteriors, sporty design, edgy bumpers, funky headlights and an irresistible visual punch that the Cooper packs in its looks. I am awed at this pint sized dynamite that set foot in town. The newly opened BMW showroom at Thoppur will now feature the Mini Cooper for car aficionados.
“With more than 200 options available, Mini offers customization to suit the user’s look, feel and personality and every single car is imported as a pre-assembled unit. You can tweak every detail inside and out to make your Mini one in a million,” says sales manager Reuben Pacheco.
I take the Mini Cooper S petrol version for a drive. “Welcome aboard,” greets V. Sivakumar, my navigator. Getting into the car is not easy given the car’s low ground clearance. But once inside the car, you are inside a world with posh interiors right from the instrument panel to the seat ergonomics. It feels generations ahead. The seat hugs you from all sides to make you feel comfortable. The curves on the door give a real sense of acceleration and exhilaration within, and are available in a choice of themes.
“Push the start-stop button,” alerts Sivakumar. The ignition brings the car to life. I touch the gear shift to bring the car from parking to driving mode. There is no clutch pedal as it is an automatic version. “All our cars come with automatic transmission and you have the choice of choosing manual mode also,” says Sivakumar.
It’s purely a city car with options aplenty to negotiate tricky traffic. For those who love Jack Rabbit style of driving (which involves driving fast, braking hard and driving fast again) this vehicle is definitely a God send.
As I press the acceleration pedal, the car zips without any fuss. Capable of accelerating 0-100 km in a blistering 6-7 seconds, it can pick on the bigger cars. The first thing that strikes you is the overall level of refinement. There are different modes in the vehicle. It’s easy and fun to ride once you get accustom to the options available in the car. From normal driving mode I move on to sports mode and immediately feel the punch. The engine is more responsive. “Switch on the John Cooper Works tuning kit and feel the difference. It enhances the BHP of the car. It’s much like AMG kit in Mercedes and M-Sport in BMW,” says Sivakumar.
The car takes off with a Vroom noise and I am convinced why Mini Cooper is termed as a sports car. The vehicle negotiates curves with ease even at speeds. The Cornering Brake Control in the car improves the stability on cornering at speed while Brake Assist minimises the braking distance.
Though the ground clearance is low, because of its shorter wheel base it clears speed breakers with relative ease. The car coasts over bumps and broken roads smoothly, flattening out even the largest of potholes. Since it’s a sports car, the stiffer suspension soaks up everything that’s thrown at it adding to the sense of comfort.
As you drive along, you can’t miss the go-kart feeling. The car boasts a whole new set of safety features. From optimum tyre pressure to driving speed to get better mileage, the central console acts as a guide to the driver.
Given its size, I never thought Mini as a car that could scorch the tarmac but in reality, it is a small car with a big foot print.
BAGGING THE MINI
Mini Cooper (three door, Petrol, 1998 CC, 192 Bhp) : Rs.32,30,000 (ex showroom, Chennai)
Mini Cooper S (Petrol, Convertible sunroof): Rs. 36,10,000 (ex showroom, Chennai)
Mini Cooper D (Diesel, 1500cc, 120 Bhp): Rs.29,00,000
Mini Clubman (six door, Petrol): Rs.39,40,000
JCW kit: Rs. 2,80,000.