Living with a Mini R56 John Cooper Works

Published on 11 June 2023 at 11:21

I knew I would miss the Porsche. I miss the all electric seats, the heated seats, the heated steering wheel, the ruinous running costs - actually forget that last one.

The mini is totally different in every way imaginable, it's low, it's loud, it's basic. It's also incredibly nippy, handles superbly and just puts a smile on my face as it pops and bangs it's way down the road and farts every time the bypass valve kicks in. There are no words to describe how well it goes round corners - biblical would come close though. If Moses had come down the hill in this instead of his Triumph he would have got the job done a lot quicker, I can tell you.

While cruising at 50 in 6th gear the computer was telling me I was doing 60 mpg on the flat, that falls to sub 10 MPG when you let the turbo do what it does so well but you can only do that for a few seconds before the national speed limit is reached. So far our average is in the 40's, which is more than impressive, given the performance. I would not be surprised to see nearly 50 on a motorway cruise. Bear in mind this little rocket will do 0-60 in under 6 and will storm on to a top of something like 155. OK, the Porsche did the 0-60 dash 1 second faster than that and topped out at 180 but in the real world the Mini has plenty. There are no dual carriageways or motorways anywhere near where I live and it's nipping around town and twisty bits where the Mini comes alive. The ride is compromised by the appalling excuses for roads that we have, Lincoln county council have an allergic reaction every time they have to spend money outside of Lincoln.

Noddy - he's not tall Noddy any more as he is now back on standard springs - still needs a few jobs doing. There are some light faults to sort - I have new fog lights, which will clear one of them, I have another 2 that I have not investigated yet. It's a source of some annoyance that the built in bulb monitor tells you a circuit is faulty but it just gives a code rather than saying which light is faulty, you have to look that up. It's annoying because there is no reason for it to be that way other than to deter the home mechanic. WRT the springs, it handles just as well on the taller springs than it did on the Vogtland shorter springs - it doesn't look quite so good but it is a lot more practical.

Another source of annoyance is in a similar area - the tyre pressure monitor system or, more specifically, the resetting of said monitor. The error came up on the dash and would not clear, rather stupidly I had not checked the tyre pressures when we got it, both fronts were a little low, the offside rear was down at 22psi from it's recommended 35. I don't know when it was last pumped up but I need too keep an eye on it. Anyway I put them all to the correct pressure and tried to reset the  monitor by following instructions I had found on the interweb. Although that didn't work I managed to do it in the end although I am not quite sure how. I have done about 20 miles since and it hasn't come back so touch wood that will be ok. I understand the earlier versions had a reset button, I wish they had kept that.

The air conditioning is still inoperative, I am pretty certain it's the condenser that has gone, I can hear gas escaping when I try to charge it - it's a big leak so no amount of sealant will fix that. I will get some soapy water out and see if I can identify where the problem is, I will then fix it and take it to a specialist to get it regassed.

Driving the thing makes any problems disappear quite rapidly, it's not the fastest car I have ever driven but it is definitely one of the most fun. The way it turns in to corners is nothing short of remarkable. It's 220 BHP is enough, the 318NM torque is what really gets the job done though. It's only got half the Porsche's 450 brake but then the Porsche weighs in at 2.2 tonnes, the Mini is about 1.2 so power to weight ratio is sort of similar, albeit in the Porsche's favour. Very much in the Mini's favour is that I don't find myself worrying about fuel costs any more, even with spirited driving we get twice as many miles per gallon and about 4 times as many smiles to the gallon. I'm sure once winter comes I will wish I still had a 4x4 but for now, I am loving every minute of it, Wife loves it even more than I do so everything in the world is good. 


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