30 May 2009

mini cooper S is pants

bits of it, anyway.

gf took one for a test drive the other night, and naturally loved the way it drove. however, we were both a bit dismayed with how cheap and plastic-y the interior was, along with the somewhat bizarre design for the controls. many functions were activated via toggle switches, separated by metallic loops. inappropriate and unnecessary, and it made me feel old. am i not in this car's target demographic?

but the most disappointing thing i didn't discover until i got home and did a little research. the S no longer has a supercharger; they've outfitted it with a turbo now. and placed the intercooler towards the front of the engine. no great surprise there, but: that means the hood scoop is now purely decorative.

i call shenanigans on the fake hood scoop. and i'm actually kind of surprised how much it being fake disappoints me.


maxcat said...

Too bad you cannot get the supercharged version any longer. The Mrs loves hers! As a car to drive around town, to work, cannot beat it. We have driven ours to the coast with the Heir and beagle crammed in the back. Not a lot of space but a lot of fun. We are not the target buyer but who cares, fun is wasted on the young. IF you do a redo test drive, insist on the high performance suspension, flappy paddle gearbox and a convertable. These change the overall ride and make the other perceived shortcomings tolerable. Not bad for a 3rd car.

pyker said...

3rd car? What are the first 2? We barely use our 1 car.

Disappointed to hear it's a bit pants. To date I've been vastly impressed with the interior quality of small German cars, from your beetle to my A2 and a few others I've been in as well.

So.. have you test-driven a subaru wrx sti yet?

maxcat said...

The Mini S is car #3 soon to move up to Mrs car #1. We are retiring one of the Rx300s to someone else's driveway. Since we live in mass transit hell, we have no practical alternative to driving. I don't mind, would prefer to bike to work but driving gives me a chance to sing loudly out of tune. I still torment the family with the annual summer road trip.

The Mini is fantastic even in poor weather. Unless the snow is not over 3 inches, it plugs along. I agree the smaller germans are great, our Audi 4000, A4 were fab.

The new VWs, GTI and Rabbit are pretty zippy. If a sedan was in the future (very possible here with driver #3 almost) the Passat w/manual trans does bring a smile. Our local roadbuilders are on a roundabout high so we have plenty of fun cornering opportunities.

zim said...

have not driven the subaru yet. we did stop by the Hyundai dealership after the mini, as i wanted to look at the Genesis Coupe, which looked good in the commercials plus seemed to have some promise. that, and the other Genesis won car of the year (however big of a deal that really is).

the Coupe is, well, gigantic, i thought. and the interiors of both were maddeningly disappointing.

yes, i very much like the interior of my bug, even after 10+ years. why is that so hard?

gf really like the Rabbit, is wanting to try out the Polo which seems to be headed state-side.

pyker said...

maxcat: see, I wouldn't call the Audi A4 to be a "small" car. That's very American of you!

zim: please drive the impreza wrx sti! I need to live vicariously.

pyker said...

Is the rabbit just a version of the golf? If the Polo is not yet stateside, I guess the Fox (sold in UK, smaller than the Polo) will never be? Interesting they went with the "Fox" name. My aunt had an Audi Fox in the mid-70s on which that my cousins and I spent 2 weeks every summer repairing all the rust spots.

zim said...

yes, i think the Rabbit is just a rebadged Golf. there are rumors that the Polo is headed here, but i've heard no rumors of anything smaller.

i remember those Audi Foxes -- i really liked those. didn't cousin Bill tell a story about the horn trying to "honk the entire the car?"

zim said...

stopped by the dealer today to take care of a brakelight switch recall.

the sales manager was unable to verify the Polo rumor ("we hope they do"), but one salesman did claim that the Rabbit badge will revert to Golf this fall, and that VW is bringing a diesel Golf to the states.

we shall see.

Matt said...

In general... Turbo > Supercharger IMO.

The fake scoop is kinda hokie, but the old top-mount intercooler on the S is very prone to heat soak. A common mod is a air/water IC system to alleviate that. Moving the IC to the front is likely an significant improvement.

And like Pyker said, test drive an STi. I'm not a fan of the 5-door-only design, but it is a nice car. With a $300 downpipe and a file I could email you and a cable I could lend you to reflash it, it would be approaching 300awhp.

zim said...

i've settled down a bit vis a vis my disappointment in the fake hood scoop, only because i realized someone *could* make it functional.

i will have to get to a subaru dealership, though i am also unexcited by the 4-door. and that shape just doesn't do it for me, at all. still, i haven't really examined it up close.