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Ah, the original Mini. We all know Alec Issigonis' landmark 1959 design – ADO 15 was the first car with a transversely-mounted engine (powering the front wheels), allowing as much as 60% of the car's length to b...
The new F55 5 door and it's 3 door in my books are the best revisions of the MINI lineup, besides the previous R56 generation. The first BMW-Mini was a bit confused looking for me, and the spinoffs, well have been a hit or miss for me, like the MINI Coupe which well... err... This little car just looks perfect, some complain saying the Mini has become too big, but honestly, I don't mind. The 5 door design has a less upright C pillar compared to the 3 door, and loses the frameless doors, a bit of a disappointment, but in the long term, one less point of failure.
The hero blue colour is not really the best colour in pictures, but in real life it is not too bad. The red instead is my pick though. It's a pity in Malaysia we all get the stickers and can't opt to not have them at all, the thing is in my old Countryman, the stickers got pretty nasty in a few months, mainly cause I don't have covered parking.
The interior is the best form of a Mini yet. Finally, the Mini get's an interior that fits the price. Everything is so much simpler to use and is more logical than ever. However don't think this is a sign the Mini is getting German and losing the British humour - in fact far from it. The interior mood lighting is nice, but the another thing that really caught my eye the first time I got in, was the throbbing Start/Stop button. The "pulsing" red is just like a heart beat, kinda reminds me of the lyrics of the song "Take Over Control" by Afrojack - the part which goes "plug me in and turn me on". But the thing that takes the cake is the little LCD in the speedo area, which at the end of a journey, when you turn off the car, you get a picture of a little Cooper, which "winks" with it's little headlight - that really made me fall head over heels for it.
The new engine, is a shocking revelation, BMW's N20 engine, of which this engine in the Cooper S is inspired from, the B48 is just miles miles better than the older Prince PSA engine used in the older MINI and in the Countryman. While the PSA Prince THP was a good sounding engine, the main issue was the turbo boost was not very effortless, more often than not, you could catch the turbo not ready. On the other hand, the new B48 is very German. When I collected it, the first time I started it and drove it out of the showroom, I was surprised by the startup sound which sounded 100% like how my N20 powered BMW sounds when it starts. The PSA Prince had a different sound, which a blowoff "piuuuu" sound (very difficult to emulate on a keyboard, but it is that typical french engine sound). When pulling away, the power is really really addictive, it just pulls like no tomorrow. And it keeps getting even better.
The transmission, probably the main reason why I gave up on my Countryman, is finally sorted out. The shifts are perfect, almost DSG like/ZF8HP like without the jerkiness of a DSG in low speeds. In SPORT, it even does the exhaust "braaaap" burping noise, which just completes the whole fun nature of the car. Handling is also spot on, pretty go-kart still although it is definitely softer..... but that's not really a bad thing.
The old Mini in Sport suspension, was just hopelessly unusable in our poor roads. It was bumpy and crashy, though it helped in handling. The new one just is miles improved and surprisingly even though mine is a sport tune one (all Cooper S 5 doors in MY are with this setup), it is still compliant. In fact, it's softer than say the Clio RS, but not as soft as the Golf TSI. Body roll is very controlled, even on very twisty country back roads which I tackled at about 70-80kmh. It does roll a bit but not like it is going to fall over or float.
Finally, while the old MINI was just a fun car, the new one is a fun AND sensible car. When you just want to potter in traffic, leave it in Green mode, it is still pretty responsive. Or if you are in a rush for a meeting, just flick the left paddle, and it will go.
First off, the interior space. I was actually very disappointed initially when I first sat in it, I was expecting significantly more space than the 3 door, considering things like the Axia and Myvi have more space than this! The rear door is large, but the actual opening for the door is very tiny, not sure how they did it.
The boot is not that big too, again another place where the Countryman was better. I'm not a fan of the interior choice for our Malaysian ones, it would be better to actually have a lighter colour headliner, and instead of the Cross Punch Leather (which feels a bit meh), they should bring the beautiful grey fabric seats available elsewhere.
Also, a bit sad there is no electronic damper control, or HUD heads up display or even keyless entry considering the price. The biggest issue is the price though, for 240k, with only 2 years of warranty and the small cabin, suddenly the 1 series makes more sense since it is larger, especially the 125i. Mini MY should also seriously consider bringing the 1.5 in, cause the 1.5 engine would probably suit our market better.
Pricing and warranty, seriously BMW Malaysia.
Also, bring in the electronic damper control and HUD with Keyless Entry. And 1.5 please!
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