Speaking of blast from the past it was forty years ago that a diminutive Mini took on the fastest, the biggest and the baddest cars and won the Monte Carlo Rally for 1964. It was a definite case of David slaying Goliath as the Mini had to have been one of the smallest and lightest cars that ever entered the race; and against some very serious competition.
To celebrate Mini has put together a package with Chili Red painted body, white roof, and anthracite colored spider pattern wheels. A truly handsome little bugger based on a loaded-to-the-gills and then some supercharged Mini Cooper S. Distinguishing features include a special one of a thousand badge, Monte Carlo decals and a carbon fiber dash, along with special red and black trimmed seats,
A high roof line makes entering the car a breeze, the seats are comfortable and quite supportive. The shift, gauges, heater and radio controls are within easy reach and simple to understand. The interior design and materials used are well thought out, handsome and well executed with nicely curved and shaped parts that have consistently tight fit out of soft touch plastics that wear well.
It takes a little to get used to the light clutch and the soft gas pedal. You only need the first ½ inch of pedal travel to keep the car moving along with traffic ~ in any gear. There have been and still are plenty of high performance cars that can pull zero to sixty in less than the six and one half seconds that this Cooper S based car can pull. But the truth is that you have to wring the snot out of them to get the cars to go that quickly, and frankly that gets boring very fast if you are in stop and go commuter traffic in a car that does not hit its power band until three or four thousand rpm. Pick a gear, any gear, stomp on it, that hole in the next lane is yours, and with well enough power to meld into the traffic at speed without annoying anyone, slick! Want to take a corner fast? Bring it up to speed and hold the line, zoom, gone, done, enormous grip without a hint of complaint. Switchbacks on a country road, no problem, how quickly did you want to go madame/sir?
Gas mileage, in spite of playtime, was between twenty-five and twenty-eight. The interior was amazingly accommodating for a smallish car. At least one could stand up while putting the child safety seats in the back and there was plenty of room for the "peanut gallery" who really loved the car. "This is fun," was heard from both five year old Sam and four year old Arielle. The car proved popular with everyone in the day care contingency and elicited questions of utility from the parental types. "Yes," Costco and Trader Joe runs are quite feasible, six bags in the back. Well yes, the ride is a bit choppy, it's like the Porsche Carrera, the BMW M3 or the Lotus Elise, but it also holds the road like each of them and goes like stink in any gear.
You have to change your mindset when looking at this car. Family or lots of stuff to carry, scratch off those two-seaters, budget of under thirty-thousand for a performance car, now the options get a much smaller, want something with panache? Fewer still.
This is an incredible car, at two thousand seven hundred pounds it is far heavier than the pocket rockets of old, but it is faster, safer, holds the road better and gets higher gas mileage that the old cars offered ~ and I have room for the kids and some of their gear. Is the MC40 Mini Cooper worth $27,449 when a base model supercharged Mini Cooper S starts at an extraordinarily reasonable $20,449?
If you usually take every option on a car then the premium is not out of line, but it may already be a moot point. Dealers don't seen to be getting three to five thousand over sticker anymore, but that doesn't mean that this isn't one hot selling car and with only one thousand cars, they may all be spoken for. Is this the car for the former Miss Autobahn, the "peanut galley" and myself? While not practical as the primary vehicle due to limited storage capacity, with it's strong gas mileage and fun factor it is a very tempting for second car/commuter scooter duties. As far as is proven ~ you only live once ~ and that in itself is a very strong case for the Mini Cooper MC40!