TheTruthAboutCars.com’s Jonny Lieberman took a current 2006 MINI Cooper S out for a quick spin around the block, in preparation for a comparison against the ’07 model:
>Other than sipping cheap wine next to the trio of stunt cars used in the third Austin Powers movie, IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢d never had a chance to get up close and personal with a MINI.
>After caning the MINI through California hill and dale, I can proclaim here and now that the MINI Cooper S is indeed the worldÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s fattest go-cart. The initial turn-in is awesome: tight, accurate and eager. Right until the apex of a turn, the MINI lives up to the hype, steering and responding with the kind of rapid fire, laser-guidedconfidence that makes motorized dinner trays such a kick in the ass. From the turning point on, the go-cart analogy drives straight into the metaphorical tire wall.
[ 2006 MINI Cooper S ] Truth About Cars
MF Analysis: It’s unclear whether Jonny really means “fastest” when he calls the MINI “the world’s _fattest_ go-cart”, but it’s obvious his attention to detail is somewhat lacking. He claims the chrono pack has a boost gauge for the supercharger (it doesn’t), and his nearly-libelous comment that “[while] cute, the MINI is not a track-day option” will likely get him lynched by those who regularly track their MINI (Cooper and S alike).
Maybe itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s because he’s used to driving performance rear-wheel drive cars, but the MINI rocks on the track. Then again, he has been spending a lot of time in trucks, lately. At a recent BMWCCA school, I had no problem getting around the car-shaped obstacles like E46 M3s, Porsches, and the occasional Gallardo. Let the car settle into the corner and then bury your foot into the carpet and itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll haul out of the turn hard enough to give you whiplash. Get it drifting a bit, and you can induce under- or over-steer with a nudge of the throttle. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s supremely controllable, and a helluva lot of fun. Especially with the optional limited-slip diff.
Perhaps the interior is a bit brash, but thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s one of it’s defining characteristics, and something I feel is being lost a bit in the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“07 redesign. The brashness sets it apart from all of the other cars that make you think about nappytime, instead of putting a big grin on your face when you settle behind the wheel. But this carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s really about driving, and if you know what youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re doing, the understeerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s not as bad as he intimates.
But at least he remembered to properly capitalize “MINI”.