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In-depth reviews

Mini Cooper S review – design

Nothing else looks like a Mini, for better or worse. Huge range of personalisation means few Minis are ever alike

Evo rating

Well, it’s a Mini, isn’t it? The proportions and details might have twisted and inflated over the years but you could never mistake the Cooper S for anything else, particularly if you tick the right boxes for colours and options for the suitable rally replica or 1960s touring car look.

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The Mini’s latest update has cleaned up the front and rear fascias on standard body car, but you can specify a Sports model that adopts the JCW’s much more aggressive styling. The look regardless is a little chintzy, and doesn’t really portray premium in quite the same way older generations did. 

More generally, Minis are looking a little bulbous these days, the five-door is quite ungainly, and it’s slightly cheeky that Mini still puts a vent in the bonnet as it did with the original supercharged cars – the current turbocharged models don’t need it, and the vent is closed off. The available Union Jack tail lights are an acquired taste too, perhaps leaning too heavily on the swingin’ ’60s/Britpop vibe for a company that’s been owned by BMW since the 1990s.

More positively, the unique shape does have some benefits beyond its retro appeal. The short overhangs and compact dimensions make manoeuvring and parking a doddle – not to mention squeezing down B-roads

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