What sets this review apart from all the others we’ve read recently is the fact that they were able to directly compare the R56 to a late model R53 during the test. It makes for a fascinating read for those of us who own the previous generation MINI. Here are a couple excerpts:

> Both cars rack through the gears with bouncy efficiency, the new Mini feeling so strong right the way to the 7,500rpm redline that the old engine starts to feel a bit grumpy by comparison.

>In fact, the new car feels like it has a good 20bhp over the old because it’s sweeter to rev and is capable of a short-term ‘overboost’ when you really stand on the throttle, bumping the 177lb ft of torque on offer to 192lb ft. It makes a big difference on a tight and twisty road.

>Luckily, the noise of the new car changes when you’re on the move. You lose the ‘charger whine from the old car, but that allows you to listen more keenly to the woofling of the exhaust and the pops and grumbles that it produces on the overrun. The old car’s engine feels just as characterful as it ever did, and produces great results (as well as the same pops and bangs), but again, it just feels half a generation behind in terms of technology and driveability.

>…The new Mini rides and handles superbly, soaking up both small and long amplitude bumps and lumps like a car with twice the wheelbase, even with the sports suspension fitted to our test car. The engineers have lengthened the suspension travel to help mitigate the harsh excesses of the run-flat tyres, and, by God, it’s worked.

You can read the entire article (including the interesting conclusion) below:

[ Tail of two Minis ] Top Gear