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2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe Review

Luxury Go-Kart

A three-quarter front view of a red 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe

In short: A sleek and sporty Mini coupe.

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.

An interior view of the 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe

The 1.6-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine of the 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe

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.

A three-quarter rear view of a red 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe

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Warranty/Service: four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty; three-year/36,000-mile maintenance program; twelve-year rust perforation limited warranty; four-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance.

Base Price: $24,600 / As tested: $32,150

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe

Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine with direct injection
Horsepower: 181 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque:192 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual with paddle shifters

Curb weight: 2,730 lbs
Wheelbase: 97.1 in
Length/Width/Height: 147/66.3/54.5 in
Turning circle: 38.1 ft

4-wheel disc brakes with ABS; electronic brakeforce distribution; cornering brake control
Suspension: MacPherson strut front with equal-length driveshafts; multi-link rear with aluminum alloy longitudinal arms

Traction: dynamic stability control with traction control; electronic differential lock control

Top Speed: 139 mph
0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds

EPA City:
27 mpg
EPA Highway: 35 mpg

Safety: driver and passenger front airbags; seat-mounted side-impact airbags

Likes: cute; sporty; electronics

Dislikes: heavy hatch door; price


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Photography: AlphaMedia

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