Charming Mini is nimble and fun

BMW reinvented small-car cool when it brought back the Mini in 2001, says Chris Chilton in Car magazine. This Cooper S model is the top of the Mini’s new range. It may just look like a facelift. But underneath the slightly tweaked styling, the Mini really is “all-new”.

It is longer, to the advantage of the handling and the cabin and luggage space, and under the bonnet there’s now a 1,998cc turbo to replace the old 1,600.

BMW has done a really great job on this upgrade, retaining all the old charm of the old model, but putting some real effort in to make it “faster, quieter, greener, roomier” and “fun to drive”. The Mini is “still the default choice for those who want more from a small car than mere transport”.

The sporting nature is noticeable from the moment you fire the engine, says Greg Kable in Autocar. The added performance and responsive nature of the engine and the satisfyingly direct handling make this new model fast and nimble.

“If you cherish driving or are an existing Cooper S owner, the chances are that you’re going to love this third-generation model. It has been improved in every key area and is undeniably more fun to drive.”

Price: £18,650
Engine: 1,998cc, 16v, 4-cylinder
Power: 189bhp at 4,700-6,000rpm
Torque: 206lb ft at 1,250-4,750rpm
Top speed: 146mph
0-62mph: 6.8 seconds
Fuel consumption: 49.6mpg
Carbon: 133g/km