Our cars: Mini Coupe - March 2012

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Mini Coupe John Cooper Works

Week ending March 30
Mileage 10,300
Driven this week 200 miles


Mini Coupe review

There’s a crazy amount of new car launches going on at the moment, and that’s meant our Mini has been doing its fair share of airport runs.

It’s pretty good in the role, too, because the car’s whizz-bang speed means there’s little chance of you being late for your flight. Curiously, the jittery ride and poor refinement also help in this instance – it really helps wake you up after an early start.

The downside, though, is that the Mini has to spend 72 hours at a time languishing motionless in an airport car park. When a car is this much fun to drive, it should really be spending its time where it’s at its best – on the road.

Ivan.Aistrop@whatcar.com

Week ending March 23
Current mileage 10,100
Driven this week 200 miles


There’s one thing about having a car that’s so much fun to fling about – everything inside gets flung about, too. Unless, that is, you drive a Mini Coupe JCW.

The well-bolstered sports seats are on hand to keep my passenger and I snugly in place under hard cornering, while the more inanimate contents of the car can be stashed in the wide variety of cubbies and storage spaces to stop them being thrown around. The luggage net in the boot has been a godsend, too, because on more than one occasion, it’s saved my laptop bag (and as a result, my laptop) from a battering inside the boot cavity.

Ivan.Aistrop@whatcar.com

Week ending March 16
Current mileage 9900
Driven this week: 100 miles


If you remember cult 1980s comedy series ‘Allo Allo’, you might recall a character called Monsieur Alfonse, who was constantly complaining about his ‘dicky ticker’. Well, I know how he feels.

Thankfully, I don’t have the heart problems to which he was referring, but I do have a malfunctioning ticker.

Flick on the JCW’s indicators, and all the lights behave as they should, but for the last few days, there’s no ticking noise to accompany the flashes. Something’s obviously gone wrong, so I’ll be visiting my dealer to get it sorted.

Ivan.Aistrop@whatcar.com

Week ending March 9
Current mileage 9800
Driven this week: 300 miles


My job involves driving a lot of different cars, so when I roll up at a petrol station, I'm often left wondering which side the fuel filler cap is located. Thing is, with all this change going on, I can't always remember which side the Mini's is on, either.

Most cars have a little arrow painted on the fuel gauge to give you a clue, but the Mini doesn't. What it does have, though, is a little lip on the filler cover, which allows you to get your fingertips underneath when opening it.

Thankfully, it's visible from the door mirror (left side, if you're interested), so one glance and you instantly know which side of the pump to park on.

Ivan.Aistrop@whatcar.com

Week ending March 2
Current mileage 9500
Driven this week: 400 miles


Minis aren’t seen as the most practical cars, so it'd fit that a Mini with only two seats would be about as impractical as it gets. Think again.

Fewer seats means there’s more room for luggage, and at 280 litres, the Coupe’s boot is a decent size. In fact, that’s 20 litres more than you get in the Clubman, and that’s meant to be an estate car.

The huge opening also makes it easy to load, and there’s a hatch in the bulkhead that allows you to retrieve items from the boot without getting out of your seat. However, the boot’s uneven floor can be a bit of a pain.

Ivan.Aistrop@whatcar.com

Our cars: Mini Coupe - February 2012

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