Our cars: Mini Coupe - July
Week ending July 27
Total mileage 14,634
Driven this week 300 miles
Mini Coupe review
My John Cooper Works is the range-topping version of the Mini Coupe range, but I recently had a go in the entry-level car, the humble Cooper. I absolutely loved it.
The 120bhp engine is capable of surprisingly handy pace if you keep the revs high, and there's enough low-down pull to keep life easy if you don't.
It's still great fun to fling around corners, too, thanks to its crisp steering, neutral balance and strong body control. The ride is a little on the firm side, but it's a bit more forgiving than the JCW.
What I love most about it, though, is the price. At £16,640, it's a lot of style for not that much cash.
Ivan's Mini Coupe on video
Week ending July 20
Total mileage 14,334
Driven this week 208 miles
I borrowed Ivan's Mini Coupe to get to the launch of the new BMW M6 Convertible and X6 M50d, but actually had more fun in the Mini than in either of these expensive performance models.
The BMWs might be faster and easier to live with, but they're rather remote and uninvolving compared with the light and nimble Mini. Besides, the Mini is hardly slow, and the way you can have fun in it at speeds that don't threaten your driving licence is all part of the appeal.
Week ending July 13
Driven this week: 224 miles
Channelling more than 200bhp through the front wheels of any car presents its problems, so it's no surprise our 208bhp Mini Coupe JCW is a bit unruly at times.
Stand on the throttle when the wheels are pointing straight ahead and the steering wheel squirms about in your hands a bit, but at least this doesn't happen in a violent or unpredictable manner.
Unfortunately, the same isn't true when you're powering out of corners. The front wheels follow every camber on the road's surface, which often means you veer off line suddenly – hardly confidence-inspiring when you're driving hard.
I'm hoping the softer Cooper S version we'll be driving soon will be better suited to the UK's rutted roads.
Week ending July 6
Driven this week: 402 miles
When I first decided to get one of the new two-seater Minis, I was torn – should I go for the Coupe, or should I wait a few months and have the Roadster instead? I’ve been itching to drive the Roadster ever since, to see if I made the right choice.
I finally got the chance on Wednesday night, and thankfully, I’m very happy I went for the Coupe. The Roadster looks great, but because it’s so similar to Mini’s established four-seat Convertible, it doesn’t get anywhere near as much attention as the Coupe.
It’s nowhere near as good to drive as the Coupe, either. There’s lots of flex to be felt through the Roadster’s body, and that means it doesn’t ride bumps as well as my Coupe, despite having softer suspension. The drop-top doesn’t handle as sweetly as the hardcore JCW, either, and that’s the thing I love most about my car. I'm feeling very smug right now.