Road Test: 2017 Mini Cooper S

Road Test: 2017 Mini Cooper S

2017 Mini Cooper SStory by Jordan Allan, photos courtesy of Mini Canada,

After you experience the type of winter we just went through here in B.C. you find yourself longing for just about any type of outdoor experience, a good example being a nice, long top-down drive in a convertible car. Luckily to cure our winter blues, we were able to do just that in the ultra-fun 2017 Mini Cooper S Convertible. Albeit, the word ‘fun’ in this case is truly an understatement as the latest iteration the Cooper S is an absolute blast in terms of both looks and drivability. Powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that pushes out 189 horsepower and 201 lb-ft of torque and featuring the quirky styling cues the brand has been known for, the Cooper S provides an experience unlike any other car on the road.

The exterior of the Cooper S Convertible stays true to the design language of the entire Mini lineup with a simple yet distinguishing design. Having said that, the combination of the dark grey exterior colour with the black soft top tastefully featuring a white UK flag on top was enough to garner some looks and, to me, is one of the best looks I’ve seen on this car.

2017 Mini Cooper SThe interior of the Mini is probably best described as quirky yet functional, with its steering wheel mounted gauge cluster consisting of a tachometer, speedometer and light-up fuel gauge. A standard 6.5” full colour display with the MINI connected infotainment system comes standard and is situated inside of the center instrument LED ring that changes colours in association with the driving mode your currently in, and acts as a secondary tachometer. The sport-inspired front seats hold you firmly in place, while the low driving position allows even tall drivers to sit comfortably behind the wheel… even for those fantastically long drives.

The aforementioned turbocharged 4-cylinder puts power to the wheels through an addicting 6-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matching capabilities that keep those RPMs up through the process of downshifting and add to the overall performance feel of this car. Also adding to that feel is a stiffer chassis, and a Dynamic Damper Control system with normal, sport and eco modes available – all of which (although obviously lead by sport) provides you with the signature go-kart like feel that Mini’s have been known for.

Having driven a Cooper S in the past, I pretty much knew what to expect when getting behind the wheel, or at least, so I thought. A decent amount of time had passed since I had last had the pleasure of doing so, and in that time I seemed to have forgotten just how much fun the experience truly is. Once you get your bearings, and locate all of the important stuff throughout the cockpit, you find yourself experiencing a vehicle unlike most others on the road.

2017 Mini Cooper SWhen you hear any discussion regarding Mini’s, the phrase handles like a go-kart is often thrown around and at first you think yeah right, they say that about a lot of cars. In this case it’s the perfect description. The combination of its small stature, torquey engine, stiff suspension, and overall nimbleness provides you with a driving experience that is best described this way. In fact, Mini is obviously aware of this moniker themselves, as an image of a go-kart and checkered flag pops up on your screen when entering sport mode.

Another thing that wasn’t lost on me between my Cooper S experiences was the temptation to accelerate quickly and bang gears at the first glimpse of open road. The smooth shifting transmission and lightweight nature of the car allow you to accelerate quite quickly and if you’re not careful, can easily land you in some trouble. In sport mode, which I often (if not always) found myself in, when it comes time to slow and downshift, the car automatically rev matches for you, providing) a much smoother experience then if simply letting the clutch out, as you might in another car.

The Cooper S’s cornering ability, quick acceleration, exhaust backfire and overall fun-factor made my time behind the wheel an enjoyable one, and left me wanting more seat time in this beauty. Although the price point may be a little higher than you’d hope for in a car of this nature (our tester had an MSRP of $32,740) you have to remember that you are paying for both a unique experience, and borrowed technology/performance from Big Brother BMW,  as they’ve parented the little car company since 1994. With all of that being said, the Mini Cooper S Convertible is something any car enthusiast should experience –  as it really is unlike anything else.

Specifications:

  • Type: Four passenger, FWD convertible
  • Price (MSRP): $32,740
  • Engine: 2.0L Twin Power Turbocharged DOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Power: 189 hp @ 5,000 rpm
  • Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1,350 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Fuel Consumption (L / 100km):  City – 10.2; Hwy – 7.3
Categories: Driver Plus, Road Tests
Tags: 2017, Cooper, Mini