World Car Fans drives the R56

They hated the Italian Job, but loved the R56.

It was hardly broke on the outside anyway, the new MINI is every bit as popular, cute and non-threatening as the original, and there’s only so much they could do without being accused of fiddling for its own sake.

This is BMW at work, the quiet maestro that marks this car apart from French and Far Eastern competition. But they made it fun, too, the interior is light, airy and dotted with adjustable lighting for boys and girls and toggle switches that undoubtedly proved costly yet added so much to the overall experience. Then it all went wrong, everyone got carried away with this cray-zee English funcar and they went and made that speedo…

They even had some nice words about the R56 Cooper.

The base model’s 1.6-litre, normally aspirated engine has barely any more torque or horsepower than the last model with 160lb/ft and 118bhp respectively, so inevitably it feels like its straining at high motorway speeds. But it is more refined than its predecessor and always feels like it’s got something left to give when you floor the throttle.

The engine comes mated to a sweet shifting six-speed gearbox too, which, stirred well and often, helps conceal most of the engine’s shortcomings and help it to 60mph in 9.1s and on to 126mph. Now that’s still not record-breaking pace, but this is the base model.

[ WCF Test Drive: New MINI Cooper ] WorldCarfans.com
  • I thought this paragraph was particularly encouraging in terms of the cars “go-kart-like” handling.

    This is a go-kart that can be encouraged to oversteer with a dramatic lift and then planted round the bend at preposterous speeds with a simple dose of opposite lock and all the throttle the car can muster. It just hangs on, against the odds, and is a stupid amount of fun for what should be a little tin box on wheels. It’s one of those cars that makes you fling it into bends that little bit faster, and that alone makes it great.

    Its good to hear that the new new MINI is still capable of stupid amounts of fun.

  • That lift-off oversteer is absolutely addicting on the track. The R56 is actually easier to rotate in the corners than the R53 (based on my track time in both).

  • DB

    mmmmmm….lift-off oversteer…..mmmmmm

  • Vanwall

    Don’t know if I like the trailing-throttle oversteer being easier to induce – for a car that makes you want to go faster into corners, many people without practical knowledge of the correct use of that technique will find themselves out of control – seen this happen on the original many times. I’m thinkin’ MINI might want to invest in a way for even those least inclined to act like John Rhodes to get some learnin’, or things could ugly.

          BCNU,
        Rob in Dago
    
  • Don’t know if I like the trailing-throttle oversteer being easier to induce – for a car that makes you want to go faster into corners, many people without practical knowledge of the correct use of that technique will find themselves out of control – seen this happen on the original many times.

    It’s not that easy to induce.

  • msh441

    Interesting that the speedo was mentioned… but not the odd switchgear under it. In pictures, I hated both. In person, I actually kindof liked the speedo (especially the effect of the radio buttons suspended in the glass)… and the center console didn’t leap out at me like it had in the pics. Very suprising. Not so suprising was that the thing was still a ton-o-fun to drive. I’m now really excited about picking mine up in another month!

  • Fun Review; I like how they give props to the fun suspension and chassis setup.

    lol, leave it to Vanwall to put a negative spin on a positive handling attribute. Lighten up man.