I’m just back from spending three plus hours at the track and four hours on the road with the R56 Cooper and Cooper S. We had time on the track at Thunderhill Raceway, at the auto-cross course and even at the drag strip. Earlier in the day we drove out into the mountains on some “Dragon-esque” roads with incredible twists and turns (not to mention a 100ft drop off or two).

So if there was any chance to find the dynamic limits of the new R56, today was the day. I’m happy to say that the R56 is still a MINI – in the tradition of the R50 and R53. It’s every bit as much fun as the previous car on the track and easier to live with on the road. Yes there are a few small changes that some MINI enthusiasts may be dissapointed about, but in general this is an exceptional car.

I’ll have much more in the coming days. Until then check out photos from the press event:

[ MINI USA R56 Launch ] Flickr