Try the Mini Cooper S: is it still beautiful without a chip?

Try the Mini Cooper S: is it still beautiful without a chip?

Try the Mini Cooper S

We know how hard it is to buy a new car today, not only because of the above-average waiting times which, in some cases, can go beyond the year, but also because the lack of chips does not still resolved, it forces many manufacturers to limit the equipment on board, taking a small step back in time. I spent the month of August in the company of a 5-door Mini Cooper S, almost full-optional, however lacking some accessories and comforts we were used to. I do not know which and how many of these waivers are given by the lack of chips, or if some are the result of choices made by the manufacturer, but it was an opportunity to ask myself how many comforts or technologies are really indispensable today.

The Mini tested was the Cooper S version, with a 2-liter, four-cylinder Turbo petrol engine capable of delivering 178 HP, alongside the usual seven-speed dual-clutch electronic gearbox, the only choice available . The Mini was in “Yours” version, a basic package from 3300 euros, mainly aesthetic that includes leather interiors and 18 ”wheels (in our case the choice of paint and wheels has raised the price to 4200 euros). Beyond this point I had a bit of difficulty in understanding the real technological equipment, since on the Mini website there are two packages, a "Premium Package" and a "Premium Package Plus", the first included while the second requires a additional outlay of 4800 euros. However, considering the equipment of comfort and technology actually on board, it seems a mix between the two packages.| ); }
Cooper S is always able to give back the Mini driving experience, even on this five-door, thus a stiff go-kart feeling, without however becoming too harsh on bumps and bumps on the road surface. The trunk is limited to just under 300 liters, but it is possible to triple the capacity by folding down the rear seats. The two additional doors offer a little extra comfort when traveling up to four people, and actually represent an advantage even when you want to load something more easily in the rear seats. Behind you can travel comfortably up to about 1.80 meters high or a little more.

ADAS equipment was limited to a (non-adaptive) cruise control with emergency braking. A little bit by current standards, especially considering the price of about 40 thousand euros, enough to expect something more, at least the adaptive part of the speed control.

The daily experience

I climb aboard the Mini, fasten my seat belt and start the engine, with the classic lever in the center of the dashboard, a very special gesture on Cooper S which is always a pleasure to do. The roar of the engine and the exhausts, if it can be defined as such, is now limited by European regulations, and we have to get over it. It is not like any other car, but it is far from the wishes of those who want a car with a truly sporty sound.

I engage the gear and in standard driving mode, the Mini Cooper S is soft but progressive and always with a good start in the city streets. For most of the trips I have set the Eco mode, which makes everything less reactive, but for a straight and busy road it makes little sense to continue accelerating and braking. In this mode it is possible to reach even 18 kilometers per liter, although a value of about 16 is more normal. Arriving on a road outside the city it is nice to enter the Sport mode which makes all the cavalry available but above all keeps the engine at high revs for a more sudden recovery. Acceleration is certainly good, but it is never extreme and never jerks, on the contrary there is a lack of a little more aggression, which is obtained by switching to the sequential gearbox. It is in these moments that you feel the lack of paddles behind the wheel, since using the gear lever is far from optimal, precisely because of its lowered position that forces me to take a less sporty driving position.

I reach the entrance to the motorway in "normal" mode, but once on the road they enter Eco mode again, and this is where you want some more automation. The classic cruise control is no longer sufficient on the motorway, I at least want to maintain speed, and I find myself switching the cruise control on and off continuously, sometimes making a mistake by pressing the steering wheel control and inserting the speed limiter. If for some reason you are not interested in Apple CarPlay, unfortunately you have to keep your smartphone always at hand, unless you are still used to listening only to the radio and are satisfied with the integrated navigator.

The rear doors are comfortable, and do not “spoil” the Mini 3-door line. Perhaps it is a little less "Mini", but after all the larger versions there are now other elements that define the Cooper.


Cooper S 5-door embodies the whole spirit of Min i, offering a little extra comfort. You will not have a more spacious trunk, which is limited to city use or a weekend away. The Mini driving experience is always the same, the car is stiff at the right point and allows you to be snappy in the corners, without truly becoming a sports car with which to go over the limit. The lack of advanced ADAS is felt above all in the case of long journeys and on the motorway, while it goes practically unnoticed in the city. The absence of a better infotainment system, on the other hand, is always felt, unless it is still "old-fashioned", that is, you are satisfied with the car radio or bluetooth.

The price of around 40 thousand euros is difficult to digest given some shortcomings in terms of technology and comfort, although in reality they do not really impact the driving experience and daily usability. We recommend that you double-check the equipment with the dealer before purchasing.

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