2014 Mini Cooper: Still Got It
July 15, 2015
I thought for sure that my first post on our long-term 2014 Mini Cooper would be about its unacceptably bulbous nose. To my eye, the original R50/R53 generation had a perfectly sleek and clipped front end, the R56 swelled up a bit but still looked cool, and the current F56 just went off the rails with that ungainly, overinflated schnoz.
But now that I've driven the thing a few times, my stance has softened.
Why? Because even though the F56 is bigger and rolls on a new modular BMW platform and so forth, it's still got that rambunctious, fully-caffeinated character that has made every modern Mini feel special. I'm relieved that BMW cares enough to maintain the Mini's personality, even as its own cars arguably veer toward soullessness. You don't have to look at it when you're driving it, as the saying goes, and provided you're in Sport mode, this Cooper is exceptionally engaging from behind the wheel.
I'm not totally over that nose, though. What a honker. European pedestrian impact standards, I'm guessing. Oh well. I'd buy one anyway now that I know how it drives. In fact, I might rather have a Cooper S than a GTI, which I certainly wouldn't have said a generation ago. I'll get back to you on that one.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor @ 16,886 miles