XCar Drives and Reviews the F56 Cooper S


XCar, a UK based video review program found solely on Youtube had a chance to drive the new F56 Cooper S manual – something we have yet to do. Results seem positive – with quality, engine responsiveness and shifting being called out specifically.

While they don’t believe it’s as focused (no pun intended) as the Fiesta ST, it’s clearly a better car in their eyes. We haven’t driven the ST yet but we’d expect it to out sport the new Cooper S by the nature of what the Cooper S is and what the ST is trying to be. And after all that’s what the JCW will be for.

Check out the full video after the break.

Written By: Gabe

  • lawrothegreat

    This seems like a fair review. I’m not expecting the Cooper S to be the most track focussed car, but I am expecting it to be fun, quick and comfortable. The classic mini was not originally designed to be a sports car, so in terms of differentiation it is right the Cooper S is a little softer, with forthcoming JCW and no doubt GP models filling that gap. Of course the competitive side of me wants the car to be the sharpest on the market, but in reality when I drive home I’ll be glad to have the big car stuff: LED headlights illuminating the road, the cruise control, setting my adaptive suspension to a comfortable setting and having the sat nav directions in my heads up display. What we don’t know is what suspension set up this car had – as a press car it probably had the variable damper control not the stiffer single sports set up.

    • r.burns

      The Fiesta ST is not track focussed ! it’s just sharper on the road than the Mini Cooper S, although we don’t know like you say, whether this Cooper S has the sport suspension or not

      • carcrazed

        it’s also an inferior car in many ways even IF it is a better track car

        • wetwolf

          true but the price points are WAY different. One you are paying for a hot hatch, the other you are paying for hot hatch with BMW gadget$. When talking tossability, the Fiesta ST is the hot hatch du jour. You have to be willing to spend an additional ~$8k on the Cooper S. Or more depending on you wants and needs from the options. The JCW may become the hot hatch but I bet most will moan about the price when discussed.

        • Mike Hostutler

          The Fiesta and MINI are aimed at 2 entirely different market groups. As he said in the video, the MINI is something that folks in Gen Y will aspire to, and when their tastes have grown up, so will their selection in cars. The Fiesta ST represents good cheap fun that is appropriate for a younger generations tastes and income, but will ultimately lack refinement that folks with more patina will appreciate.

      • lawrothegreat

        The fiesta is lighter (let’s face it this makes everything better) and has been designed to be a dynamically involving hot hatch. Ford has done a great job with achieving this. I don’t think comfort over a 1,000 mile drive would have been the highest priority on the design brief for ford however, and I suspect the F56 would be a better companion over a long drive – perhaps up the West coast of the US or across continental Europe. Since the R56 generation I’ve viewed standard Cooper S models more as the grand tourers of the hot hatch world – good everyday companions that always leave a smile on your face whether it’s a Sunday morning blast or the Monday morning commute etc. It would be good to know how a stock Cooper S (no options) running on 16″ alloys and with sports suspension would compare however.

  • R.O

    I enjoyed this review. Two thoughts, 1. If I was getting a manual, I don’t care for the gear shifter, neither the style or look. 2. I don’t understand why the paddle shifters are offered for the non S Auto. On the R56 it was, why not for the F56 non S? Gabe?

    • Mike Hostutler

      In order to get paddle shifters on either the F56 Cooper or Cooper S you have to have the Sport Automatic transmission. The regular automatic will not have paddle shifters.

  • R.O

    “…the Cooper S is and what the ST is trying to be. And after all that’s what the JCW will be for.”

    Yeah except the ST fully loaded (without sunroof) costs $23-1/2 K. While the JCW will most likely cost (fully loaded) way over $30K, likely around 36 to 40K. Sure the F56 JCW interior materials will be somewhat better, but 40K, is a lot of money for a MINI. You can almost get an M235i Coupe for that (base 43K).

  • lavardera

    Fiesta ST in the US?

    • ulrichd

      Yes, but 5-door only.

      • lavardera

        Huh. Thought they’d never do it. How does it go? I’m sure they are able to throw HP at it, but how does it handle?

        • gwman

          I test drove one about a month ago. Enjoyed the drive, Recaros are super comfortable, has lots of interior tech included that you pay for with a MINI ($500 for heated seats ticks me off every time I play with the configurator). I didn’t like the driving position, too high, and the shifter and the clutch pedal were too light. But, considering it’s significantly cheaper, gets great mileage on regular fuel, and is cheaper to service, it’s still a possibility for me, at least until I try out the new MINI and either love it or hate it.

        • lavardera

          Hmm. Too bad no two door hatch.

        • Head Honcho

          I also test drove it two weeks ago when I was in the U.S.. I actually really liked the driving position but I prefer to be up a bit higher if possible as long as my head isn’t in the top of the windshield. The pedals are placed perfect. The recaro seats feel good but hard to say how the bottom cushion will be on a long drive. I am not crazy how the outside of it looks but the inside is nice enough and for $23,000. It makes me feel guilty thinking about a JCW at $40,000 or even an S at $35,000.

  • lavardera

    I am curious if Ford’s turbo chargers are using some technique similar to BMW’s dual scroll design, to give the turbo boost at a range of rpms. Or is it the turbo of yesteryear that comes crazy when you hit the sweet spot.

    • Head Honcho

      The power felt pretty smooth to me.

      • lavardera

        But no insight on what the tech they are using is?

        • The Copi

          You can see a dyno of the Focus ST & Fiesta ST compared here: http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/track-tests/2014-ford-fiesta-st-dyno-tested.html. You’ll notice the Fiesta ST makes over 200 ft-lb of torque by 2000 RPM,so it should be linear much like an R56. I’ve seen elsewhere Ford is using a twin scroll turbocharger.

        • lavardera

          Thanks for that link. Googling around now I see that yes, Ford is using dual scroll turbos much like BMW. Also looks like they’ve gone to a 3cyl turbo charged motor in the base fiesta, turning out 120ish HP from 1.0l. That’s an interesting powerplant.

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