Mini is on fire and so are the sales figures for the ever-growing line of pocket rockets. This car brand is sort of like Apple's iPod products: you get the classic, the touch, the nano and the shuffle. It's the same thing — but different. And different was definitely the reaction we got as we drove our Chili Red and silver-striped Mini Cooper S Coup around trendy LA. "Does the roof come off?" was the number one question. And yes, the roof does come off in the roadster version. Forget about the practicality of the car. This is a fun ride, period. But for a single person wanting to keep life simple, this could be the perfect car. It's easy to drive even with a 6-speed manual setup.
We're not always in love with the Mini interiors but somehow this was our favorite. We really liked the integration of the electronics, as well, including the pictograms and the navigation map display. The roof line, as you can see, is a bit low, but once inside you still get decent headroom. The looks portend a sporty model and it is. Suspension is tight but still won't require you to get an adjustment from your chiropractor at the end of your commute. The French-made 16-valve inline turbocharged motor propels the Mini effortlessly with a decent MPG rating. Don't forget to engage the Sport Button for enhanced throttle and steering response. You can certainly pack a few grocery bags in the back, and thanks to a heavy hatch, you won't need to go lift weights.
BMW, the Mini Cooper S Coupe's mother company, has loaded it with a sweet navigation system including real-time traffic info, complete iPhone integration, Sirius satellite radio, remote keyless entry and all sorts or modern-day safety features. Many options were added to our tester, including a Harman-Kardon sound system, Chrome-lined interior, 17" alloy wheels, xenon headlights, leather seats and more, which upped the base price by a staggering 40 per cent. The sporty coupe is still made in Oxford, England, and and all this heritage comes at a price.
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