This story began, as these stories often do, with a promising promenade by the sea, a cold and grey and drab and inland destination a few hundred miles away, a stoic and relentless sunshine and the keys to a brand new, fully fuelled MINI. Except the fuel won’t last.
It is. Here we are. Yet again, another MINI. The third intepretation, after the R50/53 in 2000 and the R56 in 2006, of the modern MINI Hatch. The newly born, and when I say newly born I mean it is the already 14 year old nephew to the Grandma: THE MINI. The Original MINI of 1959. Or the real Mini as people who own one like to call it. Or the old MINI, like most people call it. But the car you see in the pictures, is not the Countryman or the Paceman or the Clubman or the 5-door. This is the m.y. 2014 MINI Cooper S.
It’s brand new, but they still make it in Cowley, Oxfordshire. And it is it. The fly in the hatchbacks and city-cars ointment. Because it is neither, but possesses the quality and bare faced cheek to disturb both.
The F56 (project name for the new MINI) is, rather unsurprisingly, everything the current MINI had already passionately convinced us it should be. Fast, expensive, rigid, confident, vaguely impractical but stubbornly form-over-function built. Did I say fast? The F56 Cooper S is effing fast. Theoretically, it has a new BMW 2.0 litre petrol engine with 192 hp; in reality, it simply goes like a bastard. And it is cool. Effortlessly, irremediably cool. It oozes coolness and you have to phisically hold yourself from buying one. Although, to make the people who allowed me to drive this car happy, I have to say you should. And you really should. This is the casual and fresh suit and tie with an Orange and Thymus cologne to match, it is an event in search of an excuse to also be a car.
Of course, it does everything you’d expect a car to do. It hauls goods, carries people, sucks fuel and your wallet dry and, if you’re in the mood, sets good lap times, but it still does its best when it’s parked outside the coolest bar in the poshest part of your city. Especially moments after you’ve climbed down in it, or walked out of it. You get in, it stays. Or rather SHE stays.
Because the MINI is unquestionably a woman. The new Cooper S doesn’t actually need a facts-and-figures test drive or introduction any more than a film with Jackie Chan requires a synopsis.
It is what it is. A very very good car, but a brilliant accessory for your night out and a dashing thing to look at and covet and fall in love with.
In front of your garage, and out of your bedroom window.
Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany, Italy
words & pics: Ale Renesis
MINI F56 Cooper S Model Year 2014
Starting price: $24,395 in U.S.A. €24,950 in Italy, £18,650 in U.K.
Colour of choice: British Racing Green or Thunder Grey Metallic