Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Throttle without the Thirst

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Throttle without the Thirst

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Keenan

IT'S often the case with cars that frugality comes at the expense of fun - well, not any more, as the MINI Cooper SD combines both with aplomb.

The key to this is a beauty of a diesel engine combined with a host of fuel-saving ideas which means it sips rather than slurps.

The beast under the bonnet produces almost 28% more power than the standard Cooper D and a huge 60% above the entry-level One D. This helps to power the hatch from 0-62mph in a shade over eight seconds on its way to a top speed of 134mph.

There is masses of torque available from even the lower end of the revs scale and, such is the mid-range output from the engine, it delivers more grunt than that of the highly-tuned John Cooper Works MINIs.

Torque steer - often a problem with powerful front-wheel-drive cars - is controlled by some clever electronics, so the handling is first class.

It is tremendous to drive on twisty roads thanks to go-kart handling and steering that gives the driver great feedback. It's equally at home in the urban jungle and, although the ride is firm, it's never uncomfortable.

Lots of power normally means lots of fuel - but the MINI SD range has "Minimalism" technology, which includes brake energy generation, automatic start/stop, shift indicator for optimum gear changes and electric power steering.

The result is the ideal marriage of stunning performance and fuel consumption north of 60mpg on the combined cycle. The environment is protected as well with carbon dioxide emissions of just 114g/km thrown into the mix.

The Cooper SD is equipped with a new super light six-speed manual gearbox offering well-matched ratios and a precise, short-shift gear lever action.

It is based on the Cooper S, so comes with the characteristic bulging air intake on the bonnet, twin exhausts mounted centrally in the rear, and a spoiler running off the back of the roof. …

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