The MINI Cooper S Wins Autocar’s Hot Hatch Special


Autocar has historically been held up by many as the best weekly car magazine in the world. Between their excellent reviews and industry leading news it’s an excellent source with always valuable opinions.

It all stands to make Autocar’s annual hot hatch award something to take note of. Especially this year with the F56 and Audi S1 vying for the win. How did MINI do? Read on for the results and the full story.


The Cooper S is not a perfect specimen – as its instant relegation below the Fiesta attests to – but it’s decidedly good value considering the greater refinement, comfort, build quality and maturity now in evidence. Add in the impish grin factor that BMW purposefully makes it easy to find, and there’s no contest.

It’s not all roses for the MINI through. Autocar calls out the new MINI for being very good at everything but not quite as fun as the Fiesta ST at times or refined as the all wheel drive Audi. But ultimately it’s a combination of joy behind the wheel and abundance of sophistication throughout the car that wins the day for the MINI.

Read the full report here.

Written By: Gabe

  • 4realz

    I wouldn’t really call this a win, as the A1/S1 is built on an aged platform and that the S1 won on the driving aspects. Just wait until the new S1/A1 is released soon. And, for this money you could easily just go for the Mk7 Golf GTI or SEAT Leon Cupra – which the Cooper S cannot even begin to try and catch up with.

    • r.burns

      Not the same size neither category

      • J B

        hot hatches, so yeah they are.

      • DurhamUk

        Dude, that’s like saying a CLA doesn’t compete with the more established cheaper and larger rivals like the Accord, Mondeo, Passat, etc… just because of it’s size. Price and intended buyer are the same crowd. The Audi and MINI compete against the VW GOLF GTI in every market. Similar pricing, features, and intended purpose. The size has nothing to do with it. Why does a Porsche 911 (<100″ wheelbase) compete with a Corvette? Same intended audience different size.

        • r.burns

          When you have kids you can’t buy a hatch Mini, you have no choice other than take big Golf, 4-door etc. That’s the point.

        • Bradley

          The F-gen MINI will soon be available in a 5 door…. So in fact you do have a choice.

        • r.burns

          Good luck with kids and all their stuff…

          Furthermore the much longer wheelbase of Golf and other compact cars, leads to less road feeling, in the benefit of more comfort. That’s another point. I don’t tell one is better than another but ii’s nothing to…

        • Grodie

          Less road feeling? If you want the least road feeling drive a Toyota iQ – it’s much smaller and has no feel. The F56 doesn’t have any feel either. The Golf is loaded with feel. According to your logic, all sports cars that are full of feel only have short wheelbases? Why does the F-Type, Corvette, Astons, Ferrari’s, etc… All have much longer wheelbases than the MINI if they are after feel?

        • r.burns

          The R56 doesn’t have much road feeling (normal/sport suspension), instead of the F56 in sport suspension

        • Grodie

          The F56 isn’t much smaller than the Golf and it’s so much slower than the Golf in straight line speed and agility tests. Not what I would call a hot hatch at all.

        • Grodie

          The Golf comes in a 2-door style last 7 generations.

  • Brian

    Shouldn’t the S1 be compared to the JCW? (I know its not out yet but seems logical)

    • kellywp

      I believe RS is equivalent M/JCW in BMW parlance. They are factory tuned by quattro/M/JCW instead of Audi/BMW/MINI.

    • DurhamUK

      No, the S line is like the S version of MINI. RS is Like jcw. What they really should’ve done was put the Golf GTI against the Cooper S. It would’ve lost by a huge margin. I hate the F56’s performance. It doesn’t even pull respectable performance data from any magazine – yes on summer tires – or does any magazine place the Cooper S above the Golf GTI or Fiesta ST or Focus ST.

  • lawrothegreat

    Motoringfile, you have missed a bigger scoop. The F56 MINI has been named car of the year 2014 by Autoexpress in the UK, one of Autocar’s competing publications.

  • TheBigNewt

    Ford Fiesta ST and Focus ST are good performers but quality-wise the should have a Santa Claus in the front seat. They’re sleds. The Audi is more in line with the MCS.

  • Holger P

    The new mini, combination of joy behind the wheel and abundance of sophistication throughout the car, mini is cult…

  • Grodie

    Did anyone else see how freaking slow the F56 was 0-62? Almost 7.0 secs. The R56 ran 6.6 0-62 all day.


      You seem to have a way of putting the most negative tilt toward the F56 on your 0-62 comparison. You give the R56 0-62 6.6 secs. Then you say the F56 is ‘almost’ 7.0 secs as being ‘freaking slow’! I see ‘almost 7.0 secs as somewhere around 6.7 to 6.9 sec. or only .1 to .3 secs slower….not an end of the world difference. The F56 does have a bit more HP but also is a bit heavier.

    • jbkone

      The F56 is FASTER than the R56. Here’s a direct comparison:


      0-60mph: R56 – 7.1s, F56 – 6.9s

Sort by MINI model

MotoringFile on Instagram

MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

Advertise with MotoringFile

If you or your company are interested in advertising on the most influential MINI website in the world, please visit our Advertising section. If you have further questions about becoming a sponsor or would like to see our rate sheet please feel free to contact us directly.
mini mini
Translate MotoringFile with Google: 
2015 F56 JCW

MotoringFile Buyers Guides

R50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide



MotoringFile Reviews

'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range