Coast on the legendary dream machine

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first_imgOriginally designed as an efficient and practical runabout, the Mini Cooper has evolved as the embodiment of the fun of motoringIf you’ve drooled over the final scenes of the 2003 remake of The Italian Job then you’re already sold on the Mini Cooper. The movie ends with a thrilling chase,Originally designed as an efficient and practical runabout, the Mini Cooper has evolved as the embodiment of the fun of motoringIf you’ve drooled over the final scenes of the 2003 remake of The Italian Job then you’re already sold on the Mini Cooper. The movie ends with a thrilling chase in brightly painted Mini Coopers through subways, sewers, staircases and streets of Los Angeles. The choice of car was no doubt inspired by the fact that the original 1969 British movie, The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine, used the original Mini Cooper as the getaway car of choice.Having seen the light of day in 1959, the Mini was only a decade old then but had already won the hearts and minds of generations, with a devoted fan following across all strata of society, from the hip housewife to the hippie roadtripper. In fact, in 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century after the Ford Model T.The Mini was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis. It stood out as a fresh new automotive design because it had a front wheel drive layout (not the norm then as it is today) which eliminated the need for a propeller shaft and a rear differential; hence the floor of the passenger cabin could be flat which meant more room for baggage and passengers.Its simplistic design and practicality ensured the car was an immediate hit. From easy transport for grannies to winning Monte Carlo rallies, the car performed every role with equal panache and soon became an icon of British motoring in the 1960’s.The ‘Cooper’ attachment came in 1961 when John Newton Cooper, a Britisher who tinkered about with cars to make them race and rally worthy, souped up the humble Mini to make it the Mini Cooper; a race and rally car to reckon with-a sort of Clarke Kent to superman.The Mini Cooper convertible does sport four seats but there will always be a scramble for the front seats Today, Cooper Car Company that John Cooper coowned with his father Charles Cooper, has been rechristened John Cooper works, and like the Mini, is now a wholly-owned sub brand of BMW working exclusively for Mini. Hence the name Mini Cooper.Like its contemporary the Volkswagen Beetle which was the only good thing to come out of Nazi Germany, the Mini too has been rejuvenated in a new avatar. Which means, like the latest model of Volkswagen Beetle, the new Mini Cooper is a modern car that still carries the characteristic design lines that leave no room for doubt about its heritage and lineage.While the Beetle was launched in India two years ago, the Mini Cooper arrived in India this January. It was launched at the annual Auto Expo in four variants-Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S, Mini Cooper Convertible and Mini Cooper S Countryman. The old-new look cars are priced between Rs 25 and 32 lakh.But let’s face it, the Mini Cooper S is a car that you will buy more for passion than purpose and the Mini Cooper convertible even more so. While these cars do serve the purpose of being handy city runabouts that are small and easy to park as the original Mini was conceived; the new Mini Cooper has been built and designed to cater to the ardour of motoring. This is why its 1.6l engine pumps out 184 bhp at 6000 rpm and the car attacks corners with such enthusiasm that you can feel its glee radiating through the steering wheel. It feels planted on straight roads and wraps itself around corners with confidence. It is then that you realise the reason behind big bucks for a small car; simply, more bang for buck. It’s a car that loves to be driven and driven hard at that.The Mini Cooper countryman can easily take on the role of a weekend tourerIn the Mini Cooper Convertible (which is more expensive than the Mini Cooper S) the exhaust burble is a beautiful accompaniment to the drive. The most expensive of the lot is the Mini Cooper S Countryman. When the Countryman was revealed to the world many purists considered it sacrilege. First of all it’s more like a miniature SUV than a little runabout (read higher ride height hence more ground clearance), secondly it was the first Mini to feature four doors and also a four wheel drive (optional).While the four wheel drive option is not likely to make it to India in the first stage, the Mini Cooper S Countryman is a good option for those who lust after a Mini Cooper but can’t get past having to pay so much for just two doors and essentially two seats. The Countryman will seat four in comfort and five at a squeeze. The company also claims that the boot space between the hatch and the rear seats is generous and that its rear space will give the BMW X1 a run for its money.The best bit: even with these proportions it doesn’t compromise on the fun to drive characteristic. And let’s not forget, you’re finally in the league of legends that brag ageless sensibilities and timeless appeal. Under the hoodThe S variants feature engines that are tuned to deliver 184bhp at 6000 rpm. The standard Mini Cooper engine turns out 124 bhp at 6000rpm.The Mini Cooper S will do 0 to 100kph in 7.2sec while the Mini Cooper will do the same in 10.4. The figures would be marginally higher for the Countryman given the extra weight.Price: Mini Cooper: Rs 24.9 lakhs; Mini Cooper S: Rs. 27.9 lakh; Mini Cooper Convertible: Rs. 29.9 lakh; Mini Cooper S Countryman: Rs. 31.9 lakh (all prices are ex-showroom Delhi)advertisementadvertisementlast_img

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