Long term tests

MINI Cooper S Works

I've been wearing a groove in the A14, M11, M25 and M23 this month, with four trips to Gatwick. My heart always sinks when a launch invite mentions the place, for it's about the furthest airport from Meaden Towers, and invariably requires a hideously early start, the most sadistic of which had me setting my alarm for 3:30am.

I've been wearing a groove in the A14, M11, M25 and M23 this month, with four trips to Gatwick. My heart always sinks when a launch invite mentions the place, for it's about the furthest airport from Meaden Towers, and invariably requires a hideously early start, the most sadistic of which had me setting my alarm for 3:30am.

Still, the early starts mean empty motorways, and the S Works is surprisingly adept at eating miles. The tall gearing that feels overly long for B-road blasts is just right on the motorway, with a little over 3000rpm in sixth enough to mope along nicely. Obviously, the novelty of a clear motorway means that a 3000rpm cruise soon becomes 4000rpm, at which point the Works is tearing along demonically. Driven thus the Mini also guzzles fuel, using more than half a tank to do the 120-mile journey. That equates to little more than 20mpg, which is pretty terrible for a small car.

All this nocturnal driving has also compounded my opinion that the Xenon lights are set too low on dipped beam, a view shared by Cooper S-owning Neville Contractor who e-mailed fastfleet@evo.co.uk to bemoan the expensive headlights' stunted spread of light. I've also taken a passionate dislike to the door bins, which are absolutely useless at carrying anything more than old sweet wrappers. There's no glovebox either, so CD cases, maps and the like end up scattered messily in the passenger footwell or clattering around in the boot. It's a failing that's beginning to drive me absolutely bonkers.

Gripes aside, the Mini is wearing well. The interior is proving mercifully rattle- and squeak-free, thanks, I believe, to not ordering the car with a sunroof, while the paintwork and wheels respond well to a good scrub.

Running Costs

Date acquiredJanuary 2004
Total mileage13,927
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month1055
MPG this month23.2

Recommended

Mini Cooper S review
MINI

Mini Cooper S review

11 Feb 2020

Most Popular

2021 BMW iX revealed – the next big leap towards BMW’s BEV future
BMW

2021 BMW iX revealed – the next big leap towards BMW’s BEV future

500bhp all-electric SUV leads the charge for BMW’s EV range expansion
11 Nov 2020
BMW M550i 2020 review – the M Performance 5-series has arrived, was it worth the wait?
BMW 5 Series

BMW M550i 2020 review – the M Performance 5-series has arrived, was it worth the wait?

A desirable balance of performance and control, beautifully built and charismatic. One of BMW’s best
12 Nov 2020
Cheap BMW M3? E46, E92 and F80 go head-to-head
BMW M3 saloon

Cheap BMW M3? E46, E92 and F80 go head-to-head

You might require a second mortgage to buy an E30 BMW M3, but fear not, as there are equally appealing M Power options that won’t test your credit sco…
14 Nov 2020
Renault Megane RS Trophy-R 2020 review - is Renault's record breaker worth its price tag?
Renault Megane RS

Renault Megane RS Trophy-R 2020 review - is Renault's record breaker worth its price tag?

The Trophy R is arguably the most focused, and extreme hot hatch ever made, albeit at a eye-wateringly high price.
17 Nov 2020