A NEW MINIi is scheduled for launch early next year and there’s no doubt it will be a runaway success.
The iconic little car with kart-like handling and cute looks has been an outstanding money-spinner for BMW with sales at home and in 70 markets around the world.
More than 500,000 have been built at the German company’s UK plant in Oxford since 2001 and production has already begun on the latest version.
With a few months remaining before the new MINI hits the showrooms, maybe it’s worth considering buying the existing model.
It has been around for some time so any problems there may have been have surely been ironed out.
It’s doubtful that you will get a discount, even on a run-out model, so popular is the MINI, but you never know.
I’ve just had some fun with a cracking Cooper S complete with chequered roof and bonnet stripes which proved to be a real head-turner.
I hadn’t driven a MINI for some time and the experience reminded me just how brilliant it is to drive.
It isn’t a practical motor, with a small boot and rear seats that are suitable only for children or extra storage space, but it is a joy to drive.
It’s got stacks of power, offers great acceleration and handles better than any other super-mini around.
Outstanding grip, sharp handling and quick and accurate steering are its main attributes.
The ride is firm without rattling your teeth and although it can feel a bit heavy around town at low speed it makes up for it when you plant your foot on the gas.
The Cooper S, with its 170 bhp, 1.5-litre engine returned around 30 mpg, which for a car this size isn't exactly frugal. But anyone buying the Cooper S is going for performance, not economy.
And performance is what you get. It has a zero to 62 mph sprint time of 7.2 seconds and BMW claim it’s top speed is 138 mph.
The interior of the MINI is without doubt one of the funkiest around. It is ultra-modern, yet has reminders of the original Mini such as the round central speedometer and toggle switches for the electric windows, fog lamps and central locking.
The rev counter is positioned on the steering column ahead of the driver.
Seats up front are tight-fitting sporty affairs with good side support and are height adjustable as is the three-spoke steering wheel.
As you would expect from a BMW product, the fit and finish are of the highest order. The build quality is excellent with everything having that solid, substantial feel.
At £15,495 the Cooper S isn’t a cheap motor but you do get a very substantial amount of kit as standard.
Included are anti-lock brakes, traction control, automatic stability control, central locking, 50/50 split folding rear seats, electronic brake distribution, immobiliser and alarm, remote central locking, front and side airbags, tinted glass, single CD and radio, electric door mirrors and windows, tyre run flat indicator, twin chrome exhaust pipe, roof spoiler and much more.
I find it hard to believe that the new MINI can be an improvement on the existing one, but I’ll probably be proved wrong.
BMW Mini Cooper S
Mechanical: 170 bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 138mph
0-62mph: 7.2 secs
Combined mpg: 32.8
Insurance group: 15A
CO2 emissions: 207g/km
BiK rating: 28%
Warranty: 3 yrs/ unlimited mileage; 6 yrs paint; 6 yrs anti-rust.