MINI Cooper S

Resolute Edition

MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition, 2023, front
MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition, 2023, rear
MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition, 2023, front, detail
MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition, 2023, side
MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition, 2023, trim
MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition, 2023, dashboard
MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition, 2023, steering wheel
MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition, 2023, sill

WHAT can you say about a latter-day icon like the MINI Cooper S? Well, quite a lot actually.

Now in its third incarnation, and still just as individual and noticeable as the rally winning phenomena of the Swinging Sixties, the little front drive skateboard naturally faces a lot more competition these days.

The slightly longer five-door wins the popularity stakes, but sacrifices - in my view - the purer proportions of the three-door in favour of greater practicality.

It does, however, remain extremely compact for anything more than a couple with a bit luggage and, maybe, a couple of small children. Boot space at 278 litres is down on say a Fiesta or a Corsa, but 20 per cent larger than a standard MINI.

Room up front is more than reasonable, but a long-legged driver means those in the rear face folding up somewhat.

Forgetting the space race for a moment, the Cooper S still has all the fizz and brio of a sports car with a punchy two-litre engine that races through the revs with gusto, disposing of the 62mph dash in less than seven seconds and feeling razor sharp on its journey there.

Better still the steering and handling is more precise and communicative than many sports cars. And with such compact dimensions it can be squeezed into tiny spaces unavailable to many saloons.

The twin-clutch auto seven-speed gearbox with steering wheel paddles fits the Cooper S like a proverbial glove. Changes are super-fast and silky smooth - definitely slicker than the manual six-speed in our view.

The ride is a rather different matter. Satisfying and rewarding over short distances such as cross country dashes or around town, it is a tad fidgety and harsh on motorways or the very many poorly surfaced B-roads that litter UK.

Unless travelling at absurd speed it's unlikely you'll unstick the MINI around bends - at least on public roads, such is its high limits of adhesion. A hugely satisfying drive with little to remind you of its front drive format.

Despite being swift and sporty, thirst for fuel is meagre. We regularly bettered the 40mpg mark with an impressive best of 50mpg-plus.

The cabin of the Resolute version needs special mention. Seriously stylised with a massive circular dial-cum-screen taking central stage it all works well and reaches the right balance between tech and user friendly old-school switches and knobs. Retro check seating trim and the exterior Rebel green paintwork with cream roof add to the striking image.

Attention to detail is impressive. The switches are beautifully finished and the materials used are from a class above. The test car also came with a glass panoramic opening sunroof which added to the sporty experience.

We were a little less happy with the narrow door pockets and the fairly modest storage space in the front. There's a small central armrest which can accommodate a mobile phone but today's fat sunglasses cases remained homeless.

FAST FACTS

MINI Cooper S Resolute Edition

Price: £28,800

Mechanical: 2.0-litre, 178bhp, 4 cyl engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 146mph

0-62mph: 6.7sec

Combined MPG: 48.7

Insurance Group: 141g/km

C02 emissions: 26

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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