One captivating Coupé
What do you look for in a car? This is one question that has many answers, but I for one look for practicality and value for money.
But if I had a bank account as fat as Julius Malema's I would splash out on a car without looking at what I was getting out of it as long as it performed well and had the right badge.
A case in point is Mini's new Coupé. It is good-looking, has all the modern technology and drives superbly.
But what is the point of it? This has been the question throughout my week-long relationship with the Mini Coupé Cooper S.
The answer is fun and more fun. How many people can afford to pay close to R340000 for a two-seater as their only car? Not many, I bet.
But this issue aside, the Coupé Cooper S is a thrill and a fun car to drive.
The Coupé is the new addition to the popular Mini range following on from the Clubman and the Countryman introduced in recent years.
It is Mini's first model to adopt a three-box body structure with a strikingly stepped rear end.
It's distinctive and exceptionally sporty characteristics are also reflected in a low-slung silhouette and expressively styled roof.
When the Mini Coupé was first unveiled, Mini fans around the world welcomed its arrival. Young and old alike, gazed at this car in admiration. Driving the Coupé Cooper S, powered by the 1.6-litre turbo, was fun and the Mini was fast and precise.
What I found totally awesome was its handling - so precise and I found myself falling in love as I drove it. But, then, reality bit when I had to transport my son and niece. I just couldn't get them both into the car!
If you are family orientated, the Coupé is a no-go area; unless, of course, it is a second car for your fun days. Those of us with children are condemned to admire it from a distance.
A friend dubbed it "my girlfriend and I" and we all agreed it would be the Mini Coupé's street name. On the brighter side "my girlfriend and I" has adequate boot space that can swallow more than two large suitcases; but I couldn't help wondering why boot space wasn't sacrificed for extra seats.
Then again, this car was created exactly for what it is - an individualistic car placed in a niche
for those who can afford more than one car or for those who just don't care about anybody else. This car is everything a modern car should be, with all the latest gadgets and safety features - and the Mini's extraordinary design has won it a lot of younger fans.
Engine: 1598 cc, four-cylinder
Power: 135kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 240Nm at 1600-5000rpm
0-100km/h: 7.5 seconds (achieved)
Top speed: 230km/h
Fuel consumption: 7.0l/100km (achieved)
Price: R335 100
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