We all know that Minis arent so mini any more. It isnt just the cars themselves, either; the new Cooper SD has the largest-capacity engine yet to be squeezed under a Minis bonnet.
This is the first high-performance diesel Mini. Power comes from a new 2.0-litre engine, which has 141bhp; almost 28% more than the Cooper D. Theres 225lb ft of torque, too, which tops even the petrol-powered John Cooper Works models.
Anyone expecting tyre-shredding pace is likely to be disappointed, though.
Theres no doubt the SD is swift, but its not as urgent as the Cooper S, as a 0-62mph time of 8.1 rather than 7.0 seconds suggests. Although itll pull happily from low revs, you need to work the gearbox and the accelerator fairly hard to get anything like proper hot hatch pace. The downside is that it becomes a bit loud when you rev it. The engine is at its most refined and relaxed at motorway speed.
Economy and emissions
The SD returns an average of 65.7mpg, so it isnt quite as frugal as the Cooper D, but returns 17.0mpg more than the Cooper S. CO2 emissions of 114 g/km put it in the lowest company car tax bracket for diesels, too provided you stick with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. Go for the optional six-speed automatic and CO2 emissions rise to 139 g/km.
As for handling, the Cooper SD is just like any other Mini: it grips and changes direction well, but you pay for it with the overly firm ride.
In standard hatchback form, the SD costs £735 more than its petrol equivalent, or £1280 more than the Cooper D. We cant help thinking that, in this case, less is more; the Cooper D or Cooper S are better bets.
Take a closer look
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What Car? says
Quick, frugal, but not our favourite Mini