2014 Mini Cooper S: Around the Block

Patrick M Hoey

Flip the rocket-red start-stop switch on the 2014 Mini Cooper S, and the glowing center console will read “Be Mini” in imperative digital script. To us, that once meant fun and funky, at the expense of functionality. The latest Mini brings more maturity to the table, but we wanted to see just how much of its adolescent impishness was left on the cutting room floor.

Grown up in more ways than one

No doubt the 2014 Mini Cooper S has grown, but it's done so in a way that goes beyond improved interior space and better materials. Mini also made changes that make the Cooper S more practical for everyday use. The throwback center speedometer migrates to a more reasonable place above the steering wheel, the door locks sensibly relocate to their proper place near the door handles, and there's even a handy storage box hidden behind the faux carbon-fiber dash panel on the passenger's side.

Where's the fire?

Previous Mini Cooper S buyers were willing to accept chintzier digs and toddler-sized rear seats because they valued the hot hatch's lively driving dynamics and ebullient character. With the 2014 Mini Cooper S, the larger 2.0-liter engine sadly lacks some of its predecessor's zip, even though the new car is faster and more powerful. “I miss the 1.6-liter's eagerness and high-revving nature,” said associate web editor Joey Capparella. However, the 2.0-liter's greater low-end torque makes for less tiresome city driving. Plus, the Cooper S boasts an automatic rev-matching function that eases the pain of driving a stick in traffic.

Still Young at Heart

That's not to say the wizened 2014 Mini Cooper S has sapped its soul of fun. There's more than enough get-up-and-go to squeal the front tires, and the chassis will carve up the twisties like a Christmas ham. And in a sea of compact crossovers and sedans, the Mini continues to excite all who see it.

Five minutes into my drive, a six-year old grinned at me out the back window of her mother's RAV4 while we were stopped at a red light. She opened her mouth and widened her big eyes, mimicking the Mini's cartoonish headlights and gaping front grille. I couldn't help myself—I wound out the engine in neutral and made my goofiest face back at her. The Mini can (still) do that to you.

2014 Mini Cooper S

Base Price: $24.395
As tested: $27,595
Engine: 2.0L turbocharged I-4
Power: 189 hp @ 4700 – 6000 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm (221 lb-ft with overboost)
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel
Cargo: 8.7/38.0 cu ft (rear seats up/down)
Fuel Economy: 25/38 mpg (city/highway)
Dane
I think it was a good move to increase the size on the Mini,  it is now a more practical car especially the Countryman.
Wolf47
That's pretty mediocre power from a two liter engine.  It doesn't seem to have offered much for the almost $28k price tag.  
Martin Pretorius
It's a fun car, but the Cooper triple is a hoot. Light on its feet, quick enough, and sounds like half-a-911... 455.5?
Andrei Robos
It's become too big & porky looking.:/
Jacob Jones
Nope. I love my 04 & 05. But too many trips to the shop and a couple of buffet trips later make this MINI more MEDI.
Palash Panchal
Amzing....car
Sushmitha Padidala
ya..in its out look
Rachelle Nassif
Id rather drive a Wrangler
Smail Bash
Khatima
Roy J. Adams
IMO its lost some of its charm/appeal.
Jayant Dhruw
Fadddu hai boss
Mahesh Shastrakar
Amazing car.
Lee Klein
Maxi.
Fahad Gaonkhadkar
nice car
Gerhard Rehm
No
Ron Thigpen
Power figures are useless without accompanying weight figures.  A special concern with a auto that made it's bones by being light and tossable, but has now grown.
Amazigh Amazigh
Jolie
Tim Lucas
Yes!
Shane A. Force
Not so much...
OldSalt
It just too bad that the car was driven, yet they can't post observed fuel economy!! Too busy making goofy faces I guess!!!
AP
Too bad such a fun car has proven to be such an incredible pile of crap over the years.  Long term reliability is just one of the worst around.  No Thanks.
johncarync
@OldSalt  Automobile is trying a new type of article called "Around the Block." It's not an in-depth article--just a quick impression by someone who took a short drive in the car. This is one of those articles.
Eric Weiner
@OldSalt I was getting about 30 mpg doing mostly spirited driving on back roads and in city traffic.
Eric Weiner
@johncarync @OldSalt Thanks for pointing that out, johncarnyc. While the Around the Block articles are definitely shorter than a full-on review (which we have previously done for the Cooper and Cooper S), it doesn't necessarily mean the time spent with the car was short. I spent a whole weekend driving this Mini, for example. Thanks for reading!

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