The 2021 Mini Cooper is the most recent iteration of a car that manages to be equal components whimsy and practicality. It faucets retro styling to draw customers who wish to stand out from the standard horde of compact crossovers. The Cooper presents each a hardtop and convertible, could be had with two doorways or 4, and features a spectrum of powertrains to select from.
The large information for 2021 is the return of the 6-speed handbook. On the very prime of the Mini Cooper lineup is a brand new, limited-edition John Cooper Works GP. The GP is to the JCW what the Z06 is to the Corvette: the final word expression of an already potent car. Within the case of the JCW GP, this implies a 301-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4, no again seat, and big grafted-on fender flares and a wild spoiler. Regardless of solely being supplied with an 8-speed computerized it stays one of many gnarliest front-drive sports activities automobiles round.
Most fashions are a bit tamer than that. The bottom Mini Cooper works with a 1.5-liter turbo-3 making 134 hp; a 189-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 is used within the Cooper S. The JCW features a 228 hp turbo-4, which is tuned as much as 301 hp within the aforementioned JCW GP.
A 7-speed dual-clutch computerized is obtainable with the bottom car, whereas the remainder use an 8-speed computerized. A 6-speed handbook is now standard with all fashions however the JCW GP.
Essentially the most environment friendly alternative is the 1.5-liter turbo-3, which returns an EPA-rated 28 mpg metropolis, 37 freeway, 31 mixed in each convertible or hardtop type. The 189-hp turbo-4 will get 26/35/30 mpg. A manual-transmission JCW is sweet for at 23/33/27 mpg; the auto-only JCW GP is a contact worse at 26/24/30 mpg.
Additionally on supply: an all-electric SE that makes use of a single 184-hp electric motor. It returns solely 110 miles of range, a far cry from the 250 or so miles of range out there in electrics just like the Chevrolet Bolt EV or Hyundai Kona Electrical.
The federal government solely gave the Mini Cooper 4 stars out of 5 for total crashworthiness, however the IIHS was extra beneficiant, bestowing their “Good” ranking for every of their assessments. Computerized emergency braking comes with every Cooper, however you’ll pay additional for adaptive cruise management and parking sensors.
The Cooper household splits into powertrains and by Traditional, Signature, or Iconic trim—in addition to by physique fashion. Most variations can be found as a two-door hardtop, four-door, or convertible.
In an fascinating twist, the most affordable mannequin isn’t essentially the most sparsely geared up. The $20,000 or so Oxford Version, which was initially designed as an incentive particular for college students and members of the army, is actually a Signature-trimmed mannequin with an enormous manufacturing facility low cost. Its notable features embrace a 6.5-inch touchscreen, 17-inch wheels, heated seats, and a panoramic sunroof.
The actual base mannequin is the Cooper Traditional, which comes with features equivalent to artificial leather-based, 15-inch wheels, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen. Pricing for the Traditional trim ranges from about $22,000 to $32,000.
The Signature trim provides dual-zone local weather management, keyless entry, and a panoramic roof, amongst different issues. Pricing spans $25,000 to $34,000.
The fanciest is the Iconic, which ups the ante with an 8.8-inch touchscreen, leather-based upholstery, 12-speaker audio, and wi-fi machine charging. Count on to pay $29,000 to $36,000 for one.
For a treasured few there’s the practically $50,000 John Cooper Works GP. It’s targeted on efficiency, going as far as to delete the rear seat. Facilities are roughly equal to the Signature trim, however there’s no panoramic roof right here. Patrons may also discover simulated leather-based/suede upholstery, heated and power-adjustable entrance seats, and distant begin.
Retro, when finished proper, will really feel extra like a homage than a rip-off. Most such automobiles miss the mark on this; not the Mini. It manages to honor the unique Nineteen Sixties icon with out feeling kitschy or overly nostalgic.
The throwback intention of the design is evident, but it surely’s been interpreted in a contemporary manner. Particulars just like the spherical headlights, two-box physique, and nonexistent overhangs ape the unique. The stance, the centrally-exiting rear exhaust, and the extra nuanced and sophisticated physique stampings are reminders this Mini is a twenty first century job. But all these up to date tweaks can’t dilute its faithfulness to the unique.
The interior leans retro as nicely: throwback touches embrace toggle switches for switchgear and a near-nonexistent console harboring a distinguished upright gearshift.
Not does Mini insist on mounting an enormous round speedometer large smack-dab in the midst of the sprint. The round motif of the sprint stays, however a touchscreen now resides inside its chrome-ringed diameter. The decrease two trims use a 6.5-inch display; the higher trims an 8.8-inch unit. Sadly, Apple CarPlay nonetheless isn’t standard, however not less than Mini now presents it on the smaller display as nicely; final yr it was solely out there with the 8.8-inch unit.
With a lot glass area and an upright seating place, the driving place is commanding regardless of the low-slung, diminutive nature of the car. It without delay feels each giant and comfy, however by no means feels tiny, cramped, or unwieldy.
The again seats, nevertheless, are a special story. Leg room is simply 30 inches on two-door fashions; four-door fashions add lower than two inches to that determine. Basically, the Cooper’s second row is about as comfy as the everyday third-row of a medium-sized crossover. A minimum of the large home windows afford a great outward view.
Although the again seat is small, cargo house is a brilliant spot: 34 cubic ft of house with the rear seats down. Preserve the seats up and also you’ll should work with simply 8.7 cubic ft.
The unique Mini turned an icon as a lot for its styling and practicality as for its playfulness. Immediately’s Cooper lives as much as the heritage. The small size—in two-door type it weighs lower than 3,000 kilos and is shorter than a Miata—lends it a sure agility that may’t be denied. That is current no matter what engine is underneath the hood.
Even the turbo-3, which sounds underwhelming, can nonetheless play good with the sunshine, tossable chassis. Regardless of solely making 134 hp, the entertainment issue is excessive. Low-cost thrills don’t come way more cheaper or thrilling than this, Miata however.
Our favourite engine is the two.0-liter turbo-4 within the S. It sings to the tune of 189 hp, and in a car of this size and weight we think that determine is nearly excellent. You don’t want the John Cooper Works to really feel quick in a Cooper; this engine pulls it off simply high-quality. It’s responsive, snappy, and snaps off 6.5-second 0-60 mph runs with out blinking. Aside from the JCW and JCW GP, the Mini consists however agency when driving over unhealthy asphalt.
The JCW ups the ante with a 228-hp turbo-4 and a few trick features like Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential. It’s enjoyable and all, however we are saying stick to the considerably cheaper S or go for the all-out JCW GP, a 301-hp observe monster that’s monstrously quick, back-breaking stiff, and loud as a compressor room. It sacrifices consolation on the altar of efficiency and feels (*32*) fitted to the observe.
The Mini Cooper is sensible but enjoyable. It brims with character. Our favourite mannequin is the Cooper S in Signature trim, however we could possibly be offered on an Oxford Version for its unbeatable worth.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Automobile Connection
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