2007 Mini Cooper S: Turbocharged versus Supercharged
February 19, 2008
As you Mini Cooper buffs know, the previous-generation S was supercharged while the current one is turbocharged. Before this version debuted and I had heard that Mini was switching from super- to turbocharging, it struck me odd. Granted, Toyota had done this with the MR2 -- the first gen had a supercharged version, while the second-gen went to turbocharging. But isn't supercharging usually better in terms of a no-lag, right-now boost in performance?
While old common wisdom might've held that viewpoint, the fact is that today's turbochargers have virtually no lag. And I can vouch for that, having enjoyed our Cooper S over the long weekend. Of course, the power builds as the revs climb, and it's a thrilling rush that can make the steering wheel wiggle around some as the tires eagerly scrabble for grip. Yet down low, it never feels flat. Just for kicks, I compared the performance of our Cooper S versus the previous generation:
2006 Cooper S (Supercharged 1.6 liter I4, 168 hp):
0-60: 7.4 seconds. Quarter Mile: 15.6 seconds.
2007 Cooper S (Turbocharged 1.6 liter I4, 172 hp):
0-60: 6.5 seconds. Quarter Mile: 14.9 seconds.
Furthermore, the current-gen Cooper S has such a full-bodied powerband that passing on the freeway doesn't require a down change to fifth, just lean into it and it moves out with plenty of gusto to blast by those dawdling trucks and SUVs.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 11,770 miles.