The Mini phenomenon continues unabated. Who’d have thought that so many people would be willing to put up with a tiny boot and even less rear legroom in return for a cheeky sense of style and a fun-to-drive experience? The funny thing is that, despite the fact that the brand trades on individualism, the bloody things are everywhere and the second-generation model is already selling well. Sure to boost these sales is the arrival of a new diesel model, the Cooper D. If you ever had the misfortune to drive the Mini One D, you may be tempted to turn the page in disgust at Mini’s ﬂagrant disregard for the Cooper name, but bear with me – the Cooper D is ﬁtted with a much better engine than that used in the old car. In fact, it’s a 1.6-litre Peugeot HDi unit, putting out a modest 110hp and up to 260Nm of torque – when the engine’s brain decides to let you have an ‘overboost’.
That peak power ﬁgure and the benchmark 0-100km/h time may be down a tad on the regular petrol Cooper, but in reality the Cooper D is a quicker real world car, offering plenty of performance for most situations, including safe overtaking, without really needing to stir the six-speed ‘box. That’s a pity, as the shift is deliciously slick and the ratios are well suited to the characteristics of the engine. In particular, the high sixth gear is perfect for cruising, enabling the engine to sit happily at about 2,000rpm at the motorway speed limit, while saving fuel. Ah yes, fuel consumption. This is where the diesel scores over the regular Cooper. Mini quotes 4.4 l/100km on the combined cycle, though we didn’t quite match that ﬁgure in our time with the car. Low CO2 emissions will endear the car to the environmentally conscious buyer, too. There’s a ‘but’.
Take a look at the car we tested. It is ﬁtted with the (excellent value) CHILI Pack. Amongst the extensive features included are a set of tasty 17-inch ‘Flame-Spoke’ alloys. I think you’ll agree that they look the business? The way they ﬁll the arches is spot on, but a few hours at the wheel, away from the motorway, revealed a serious downside – a deterioration of the car’s ride. Now, I know that Minis are not renowned for ﬂoating over bumps, with a chassis that is biased towards sportier handling, and we’re all for that, but this Cooper D was the most uncomfortable Mini I’ve ever driven, bouncing over any little imperfection, threatening to loosen not just your ﬁllings, but all your healthy teeth too! If it wasn’t for the generous headroom (and my less generous stature), it’s likely that I’d have knocked myself out on the header rail. Now, thankfully, you don’t have to specify this wheel/tyre combination, but if you do, perhaps save some of your budget for the extra trip to the dentist...
Mini Cooper D
Engine 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel, 110hp, 260Nm torque
Transmission 6-speed manual
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 9.9 seconds
Top speed 195 km/h
Economy 4.4 litres/100km
CO2 Emissions 118 g/km
Weight 1,185 kg
Boot Capacity 160 litres
Base Price €26,400