Car Magazine takes the R56 Cooper out for a test drive with mixed results:

>So does it drive just like the old one?

>No. And this is a good news/bad news story. The new engine is quieter as well as more powerful and economical, and the Cooper now gets a six-speed ‘box and taller ratios. So it’s a more relaxing drive, better able to whisk along the motorway in reasonable comfort.

>The downside is that some of the outgoing Mini’s verve has been lost. The longer gearing (to help give better fuel consumption) blunts some of the hyperactivity that has always been a hallmark of the Cooper. At times, the car feels downright slothful. Also, the new electric steering, though quick-geared, lacks the feel and sharpness of the old hydraulic rack-and-pinion set up.

And here’s something we haven’t heard about the R56 before:

>Keen drivers now really need to save up and pay extra for the substantially more entertaining Cooper S.

[ MINI Cooper – First Drives ]