When the NYT reviews a car, it’s typically very different than any other publication. And living up to expectations the newspaper has produced one of the more thorough reviews yet of the 2014 Cooper S aimed at a non-car loving audience. That last bit is an important note as it gives us a chance to look at these cars at arms length a bit more than we are used to.



>It’s still easy to focus on fun in the Mini, whose go-kart spirit is undimmed by newfound practicality. The thick-rimmed steering wheel is lovely, the driving position naturally upright. The sport seats are firm and well-bolstered, including a thigh extension.

>I spent a week in each of two Cooper S’s, one with a 6-speed automatic (and the S’s more-aggressive, $1,500 Sport transmission with paddle shifters), and one with a 6-speed manual.

>I’m cringing as I write this, but I prefer the automatic. The manual shifter offers nifty rev-matching on downshifts, but it’s still loosey-goosey, leading to the odd blown shift. The discreet automatic made short work of snarled Manhattan traffic and paddled through gears with dependable precision on spirited drives.

See what we mean?

>But beneath its familiar skin, the new Mini is now a BMW to its core. Good luck finding a Bimmer that starts at barely $20,000 — or that, sensibly equipped, stays below $30,000. If you just tell yourself that this British coupe is really a baby BMW, the Mini may come off as a fair deal.

Read the entire review at NYT.com.