The 2022 Mini Cooper S convertible is the next in a long line of the British racing legacy brand Mini Cooper. Mini has more of a cute and fun reputation than something like BMW or Jaguar when the little Coopers are just as serious of sports cars as any brand the world has ever known. Don’t let the circular gauges and Union Jacks fool you; the 2022 Mini Cooper S is a full-blown sports car, full stop.
What is a sports car, and does the 2022 Mini Cooper S count as one?
“Sports car” is a fairly nebulous term. The term represents a general classification of cars that tends to mean smaller, faster, purpose-built cars that often are fairly impractical and roofless. However, there isn’t really a hard and fast definition for the term. To prove the vagueness of the term, I present to you the Jeep Wrangler. Its roof comes off, it’s horribly impractical, purpose-built to really only do one thing, and they (at least used to be) are pretty small. And, now, with the 392 Hemi Wrangler coming in hot, the Jeep Wrangler will finally be fast. The point is, sports cars aren’t just Porsches and Ferraris.
Are Mini Coopers fast cars?
The 2022 Mini Cooper S is a screaming little devil. The tiny package packs 189 horsepower. While that doesn’t sound like all that much, once the boost from the S designation kicks in, the Mini Cooper gets quick in a hurry.
The standard Cooper comes with the underwhelming 134-hp, naturally-aspirated three-cylinder. Avoid this motor. As Car and Driver also mentions, the good stuff lies with the turbocharged four-cylinder Mini Cooper S models. This little engine is an absolute ripper. It is super approachable and friendly while still having plenty enough power to scare you if you push it.
What makes the Mini such a fun sports car is that Mini didn’t feel the need to give it tire melting power. This car is for real drivers. The power lives in the top-end of the rev range. Once the turbo kicks in, there is a snap of real speed that will excite any driver.
The real Mini magic lives in the corners
Much like the Mazda Miata, the 2022 Mini Cooper S only really gets quick in twisties. This FWD buggy eats corners with ease. The steering is so tight and provides the driver with more feedback than an intro to creative writing teacher.
It is here that the Cooper S goes from a car with a little power snap to a true-blue, white-knuckle sports car. Although the suspension may send your spinal column through the floorboards if you hit so much as a crack in the asphalt, this taught suspension keeps everything tucked in a flat through the sharpest corners. After a series of corners taken at speed, there is simply no denying the grace and aggression that the 2022 Mini Cooper S has at its disposal.
Long live Mini Cooper
This is one of the most fun cars I’ve ever driven. So much so that I began getting a little angry that the modern Minis are talked about as serious sports cars. They are on the Miata’s level but don’t seem to get the same respect.
The truth is, the 2022 Mini Cooper S, or if you can swing it, the JCW Mini Coopers are serious cars built for serious drivers. It also doesn’t hurt that they are cute as hell.