We’ve driven cars with the Mini Driving Modes fitted, which brings three variable driving settings.
In default normal mode, the steering is well-weighted and feels quick off the dead-ahead, giving it the trademark darty Mini handling; a tight turning circle also helps with around-town manoeuvring. However, the steering can feel slightly nervous on the motorway, and can self-centre a bit aggressively as you exit tight, low-speed corners, while the Sport setting is unnecessarily heavy.
It handles corners just like you’d expect a Mini to, with sharp turn-in and loads of grip. The smaller-engined Cooper and Cooper D actually feel a touch more nimble than the hot Cooper S – a benefit of their lighter engines – but all will wash wide through a fast corner sooner than some might expect given the Mini’s sporting pretensions. An Audi A1, for instance, actually has slightly more grip at the front, and so will resist scrubbing wide through a corner for longer than the Mini.