There have always been cars that define countries. The sportscar madness of the 90s defines Japan, a big massive Mercedes-Benz defines Germany and the humble Maruti 800 defines what motoring has always been in India. The French have the 2CV, the Italians have the Fiat 500 and Americans have their muscle cars to fall back upon. And the British, well, they have the pokey little Mini! And while the new generation of the Mini Cooper has grown in size, it still is a lovely little small car. And now, the latest generation has some updates and a bit of a facelift. So, what is new? And is it a lot better? Well, let's find out.
Well, from the looks of it, there isn't much that has changed. But look closer and there are a few subtle differences. And if you are wondering why we have decided to shoot this car in the middle of the night... well... it's because of all the new lighting elements in the car. You get a set of new LED daytime running lights with new headlamps in general and although not immediately recognisable, the full halo does make the car look a lot nicer. And then of course, there are the absolutely super sexy union jack tail lamps. Makes me stand in attention and sing 'God Save The Queen' every time I see them!
The other distinct Mini design bits continue of course. The compact dimensions, those lovely 17-inch alloy wheels and of course, in this particular case, the soft top roof. As with the previous car, the roof can be put down or up while on the move in under 20 seconds and can even be customised. In fact (while this particular car does not have much in terms of custom bits) you can now customise your Mini extensively - yes, even more than before, with 3D printed bits, optional roof fabrics and little accent pieces on the interior and exterior too. And then of course, there is a magnitude of wheel options too.
And the cool bits continue on the inside too. The Mini Cooper S Cabriolet now gets a new touchscreen infotainment system that is much better than the last one and it also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - at a cost of course. And just like on the Oxford Edition we showed you a few months ago, this Mini also has the option of getting the custom lit up dashboard trim in the shape of the Union Jack too. That is an option I would most certainly tick! That said, in general, the car has remained unchanged as it is after all, just a facelift and not a major generation change.
Under the bonnet, the fun 2-litre turbocharged engine continues to do its duty with 189 bhp and 280 Nm on tap. And as before, it just is a gem of an engine. And with the roof down, you can really hear all the mechanical bits do its deeds too. the sound of the turbo spooling, the wastegate chirping away and of course, that raspy exhaust. But I do wish it was louder - like the older JCW ones with all the pops, bangs and crackles. The car in general though is great to drive with the power to weight ratio advantage and goes like stink too.
And it's not just a hoot in a straight line because of that quick engine. The same can be said about when you reach a corner too. Of course, the Mini is known to have one of the best handling chassis in the world and that pretty much continues. The new Mini Cooper S Cabriolet is most certainly one of the most fun front wheel drive cars in existence today and there is not a single time that it won't give you a massive smile on your face every time you get in it and drive it.
At a whopping Rs 37.0 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the Cooper S isn't cheap. Oh no, it isn't. But it certainly is special. It turns heads, opens doors and most importantly gives me a giant smile on my face. You don't really need 600 horsepower to have fun, this car proves time and again that about 190 horses and a droptop are enough to make you feel alive!