We went to “Meet the Coopers” at Morrison MINI in Cahir, Co. Tipperary last weekend.
Meeting family can be a daunting and stressful experience. But not such was it meeting the MINI Cooper family last Saturday at Morrison MINI in Cahir, Co. Tipperary. On first impressions they are practical but eclectic (Countryman), fun-loving (Hatch), sporty (Paceman), and just a little bit crazy (John Cooper Works GP)!
The MINI showroom had a party-like atmosphere at the test drive event on Saturday morning last, but away from the boom boom music the cars were waiting outside on the red carpet to be driven by a bunch of enthusiastic MINI punters. It was time to get up close and personal with the celebrity MINIs that Morrison MINI had assembled for our driving pleasure.
First up for me was MINI’s new “Sports Activity Coupé” and the latest translation of MINI’s unique style. The MINI Paceman is a cool-looking car in the metal. This one was a Cooper D with a 1.6-litre diesel engine. What really impressed me about this car was the lack of body roll despite its SUV-like stance, but the sports suspension might be too firm for some. Inside it is trademark MINI style with the same retro touches from across the range.
A cherry red MINI Cooper SD Hatch was next up and I felt much more at home in this. You sit lower to the ground than in the Paceman and I like that. A spin in this proved that the famed MINI handling is not a myth; it handles superbly with superglue-like grip. With a 0-100km/h time of 8.1 seconds it doesn’t hang about either. I could have taken this one home.
Next up was the practical and eclectic Countryman. I’m not a fan of the Countryman’s looks but I know lots who are. This one had the same 2.0-litre diesel engine as the Hatch I drove earlier but the optional automatic transmission fitted to the car took a little bit of the fun out of driving it.
Before it was time to leave, I sniffed out the John Cooper Works GP. Wow! I won’t forget that car in a hurry. The 218bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre engine in this thing goes from house cat to full on tiger mode in an instant. And the noise! Even when idling there is a pleasant rumble. Press the accelerator and the engine responds with an appropriate growl – I even heard some pops and crackles which put a smile on my face! (Wheelsforwomen Editor, Geraldine Herbert road tested this pocket rocket back in March, read the full review here).
It’s a special car, one of only 2000 in the world, and one of only 200 right hand drive models produced. If you are looking for a thug, the JCW GP could be it. Not a bad accomplice to have for €47,000. No back seats and a mighty-looking red strut brace in the back indicates that this car means business. I loved it.
Thank you to the team at Morrison MINI for a great day out!
27th June, 2013