2014 Mini Cooper: Performance Testing
September 30, 2014
It's been a while since we've had a long-term vehicle so perfectly suited for performance testing at our test track as the 2014 Mini Cooper. The miniscule footprint and low weight of past Minis made them a joy to send bombing down our slalom course. But this new one's longer, wider, heavier and has a three-cylinder motor. Does this new Hardtop live up to the expectations set by its predecessors? Read ahead to find out.
Vehicle: 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Drive Type: Front-Wheel Drive
Transmission Type: six-speed automatic
Engine Type: turbocharged inline-3
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,499 / 91
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 134 @ 4,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 162 @ 1,250
Brake Type (front): One-piece ventilated with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): One-piece solid with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink
Tire Size (front): 205/45R17 84W
Tire Size (rear): 205/45R17 84W
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiSportContact 3 SSR
Tire Type: Run Flat, Summer
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,807
0-30 (sec): 2.6 (w/ TC on 3.1)
0-45 (sec): 4.6 (w/ TC on 5.2)
0-60 (sec): 7.4 (w/TC on 8.3)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.1 (w/TC on 7.9)
0-75 (sec): 11.3 (w/TC on 12.3)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.6 @ 86.9 (w/TC on 16.1 @ 85.8)
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 114
Slalom (mph): 67.8 (66.7 w/ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.86 (0.85 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 2,400
Acceleration comments: Surprisingly, even the base Mini offers launch control which is activated by selecting Sport mode then wooding the brake and wooding the throttle. Though it still doesn't leave the line as quickly or efficiently as a manual transmission equipped car might, there's some punch out of the hole. Shifts are aggressive enough to spin the tires going into second gear which is both surprising and unusual. Rapid boost response gives a big surge of acceleration as it builds but then leaves the little three-cylinder fairly dead in the high reaches of the rev range. Still, this is a big improvement in performance over the old base engine. Sounds cool, too.
Braking comments: Solid, consistent pedal with minimal idle stroke stop after stop. Good directional stability considering wheelbase. Some distance fade, but nothing to be concerned about.
Slalom: Though it's not as frenetic as previous Minis, this is still a remarkably quick responding car. Impressive steering response coupled with good stability makes it fairly easy to drive through the slalom. Also, the Mini's good sightlines, thin pillars and upright position make it an easy car to place in the slalom. As FWD cars go, it's fun and easy. Stability control is modest in its interruption.
Skidpad: Modest limits and only OK balance. Surprised to see such conservative chassis tuning on a car with such obvious sporting intentions. Refuses to rotate off throttle but communicates well enough up to those limits. Relatively heavy steering weight and good feel. I can tell what's going on at the front tires. I don't necessarily like it, but at least I can tell.
Cameron Rogers, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 2,410 miles