Yet another in the seemingly endless stream of reviews of the R56. This time, Fifthgear gives us their take.

>For BMW, the hardest thing to deal with the launch of the new Mini has been trying to manage people’s runaway expectations.

>The first “new” Mini, engineered during the Rover-BMW split, was one of the automotive smash hits of the last five years. The original plan was to build 80,000 a year for worldwide consumption – yet last year the Cowley factory in Oxford turned out a scarcely feasible 200,000 of ’em.

This is one of the more comprehensive reviews we’ve seen so far.

>Bigger changes have taken place inside the cabin, which has been pretty much entirely redesigned. As before, the primary design theme is one of interlocking circles – which feature on everything from the insides of the doors to the enormous central speedometer.

>Onto our test route near Barcelona, it’s clear that the new engine has lost the aural character that the supercharger whine gave to the previous Cooper S. The exhaust soundtrack is still rorty enough, but the engine’s mid-range urge comes at the expense of its enthusiasm for revs – there’s little point going beyond about 5750 rpm. It’s still fast, powering past slower moving traffic and giving a nice, solid shove in the back under hard acceleration. But the more hushed progress means it doesn’t feel as

>On the dry, sticky tarmac of our test route the Cooper S felt almost over-tyred – with so much grip as to make it borderline irresponsible to push as hard as the car was clearly capable of going on public roads. But the end result is a car that should be capable of covering country as quickly as any significant rival.

[ First Drives ] Fifthgear.five.tv