Mini Cooper Automatic, motoring review: The latest mini is fun to drive, fun to be in - and a credit to its heritage
PRICE £16,570 (£24,210 as tested)
ENGINE CAPACITY1.5 litre petrol
POWER OUTPUT 136@4,000-5,000rpm
TOP SPEED 130mph
FUEL ECONOMY 60mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS 112g/km
It's at about this juncture in any review I write about the Mini – that is, at the very start – that I point out that the so-called new Mini, or new new new Mini (now that the BMW version is in its third generation), is anything but a "real" Mini in conception; is an insult to the design integrity of the 1959 original; and has spawned a shameful, appallingly bloated "cross-over" four-wheel drive version made in Austria and called the Countryman. Irritatingly, the latter is selling in unbelievable numbers. Grrrr.
I really ought to stop moaning and move on. After all, new Minis are a lot more common on our roads than classic ones. And so I have – moved on, that is – and I am happy to declare that this most attractive confection of the modern Mini is a perfect town car, and a more or less perfect performance car, too.
This is not the first time that an automatic option has been available on a Mini: the original had the choice from 1965. They didn't sell many, though, presumably because the option was expensive in relation to the price of the car. So it remains. An auto box adds 9.2 per cent to the price of a basic Mini One, and 8.3 per cent on a Mini Cooper, or £1,270.
Is it worth it? Depends on how much time you spend in traffic jams, but it does underline the "fashion"-based nature of the Mini's appeal; there are more economical, better value cars, but to many that is pretty irrelevant, because they haven't got much in the way of style. Someone, somewhere will pay the £24,000 that our automatic test car, resplendent in Volcanic Orange, will cost.
That said, I stress that this is a fine car. The Mini is fitted with a proper (six-speed) automatic box, not a semi-automatic or "automated manual" affair, so it doesn't jerk. Set the performance button to economy and you have the ideal car for crawling through town; set it to performance and you max out on the traditional Mini Cooper go-kart appeal, and more so because you don't have to bother with the gearstick.
So the Mini Cooper automatic actually makes a fine case for itself as a superbly well-engineered, well-finished, British-made car that is a credit to its heritage. That it is fun to drive, fun to be in and fun to own merely adds to the case. I told you I'd moved on.
Life & Style blogs
The psychology of flirtation: how to know when someone's interested
YouTube star Loey Lane hits back at hateful comments about ‘fat girls in bikinis’ and how plus-size women promote obesity
Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year, says study
The age of inactivity: How laziness is killing us
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 E.L James's #AskELJames Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...
£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...
£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...