2019 Mini Cooper review - retro supermini as polished as ever - Mini Cooper engine, gearbox and tech specs

The latest Mini Cooper is a very different hatchback to the original R50, but remains fun to drive and is more polished than ever

Evo rating
Price
from £17,630
  • Excellent body control, polished dynamics, well judged ride and lots of big-car tech
  • Outright handling lacks the edge of previous models, larger than it should be, challenging-looking five-door

Engine, gearbox and technical specs

Unsurprisingly, both the three- and five-door models share the same engine and gearbox choices. All are front-wheel drive, driven through either a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The manual is preferable, its shift quick and pleasingly accurate, while Mini’s pedal spacing is such that heel-and-toe accelerator-blipped downshifts are easy to master. The automatic’s swift enough, even if it’s prone to the odd bout of confusion, though you can always take over via wheel-mounted paddles if you want to get more involved.

> Read our Mini John Cooper Works review here

The new Mini One now utilises the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine as the rest of the range, replacing the older 1.2-litre PSA-derived unit that underpinned the old Mini One. Despite the rise in capacity, the new engine’s lack of a turbocharger does soften mid-range performance slightly, not that the previous Mini One was a particularly high-performance model anyway.

The Cooper’s three-cylinder is a much more effective unit, but works best in the mid-range, as so many modern petrols do. This is not a powerplant that relishes revs, a fact compounded by the Cooper’s impressive refinement, but still makes decent enough progress when hustled. Vibrations are impressively suppressed, and the standard six-speed manual transmission is fast and accurate, even if the throw is a little long.

The four-cylinder in the Cooper S is substantially more powerful, producing 192bhp with 208lb ft of torque. In this application, the Mini’s thick spread of torque makes light work of the Cooper S’ 1235kg weight figure, although again, the engine’s lack of top-end pizzazz means the Cooper S is no longer the stand-out supermini hot hatch it used to be.

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