The PDF based car magazine, Winding Road, has a MINI related comparison in it’s most recent issue. Pitted against the MINI are two very different cars, the Ford Mustang GT and the Nissan 300ZX. Here’s an excerpt from the PDF magazine:
Part of the Mini secret is that is has quick steering and a suspension tuned for flat,
linear handling. The quick steering amplifies the sense of agility that the short wheelbase provides automatically. Not only that, but you get a good sense of what the contact patches are doing. The flat handling inspires confidence, which is helped along by the uncanny feeling that the Mini wants to ove-steer. This is a front-driver after all, and everyone knows that front drivers under-steer. But BMW has built in a subtle initial move at the rear that communicates the desire of the car to rotate. This would be a risky strategy if the car couldn’t cash the check written by this tuning, but the front just tracks away up to some pretty high limits.
The Mini can pull off some seemingly miraculous moves, in part because it carries
a good 500-lb less weight around than either the 350Z or the Mustang. Which is a
good thing, because the Cooper S has a lot less power than either of its rivals in this test. Even with the weight difference accounted for, the Mini is down on power and torque, with only 121 lb-ft/ton. Still, there is enough on tap the make the car feel quick. The supercharged engine is quite responsive, and the shifter is light and easy to use. When working through the twisty bits, the engine provides enough torque to cover for being in the wrong gear, and the sound generally makes the car feel very willing to do you bidding. On longer, more open roads, the car isn’t in the same league with the Mustang or the 350Z on power, but you might be having enough fun winding it out and whipping though traffic that you wouldn’t notice. Actually, we’d bet on it.
…the Mini Cooper S isn’t just good, it is one of the best driver’s cars for sale. It feels connected, responsive, and quick, something relatively few cars manage to combine, not to mention at this price. And the Mini can pull off this impres- sion under a variety of real world conditions. Which is probably the key to the car: It does not try to do an impression of a supercar or an expensive GT. Instead, it works at speeds that are commonplace and provides feed-back that normal drivers will love.
You can download Winding Road with the above article via Windingroad.com