If you've been following this blog for the past month or so, you're probably aware that I'm a huge fan of Mini Coopers. It's true. I love everything about them. They look cool, they're small, they come fully loaded with all sorts of neat stuff. I have yet to find something I don't like about them. Up until yesterday, however, there was one problem I had encountered with the Mini: I had never driven one.
At long last, fortune has smiled in my direction, and yesterday I was granted the opportunity to test-drive not one, but two Minis. The first one I drove was the regular Mini Cooper, which is the base model.
Before going on the drive, I sat in one of the brand new souped-up John Cooper models, which is intense (and which you're not allowed to test-drive). I was amazed at how comfortable the car is, and it even had enough space for me to sit comfortably. I stand six feet tall, but have long legs, which makes finding a suitable car a challenge sometimes, and I was worried that the Mini might be too small. Thankfully, however, this was not the case.
I sat in the car for a solid ten minutes, simply taking it all in. It's pretty amazing, the way it's put together, and I took the time to attempt to familiarize myself with it.
After looking at the car, and talking to the salesman, talks got around to driving one. The salesman was not about to let me get away with one test-drive, however.
And so we began in the Mini Cooper, the base model. I was at first extremely nervous, given that this was the nicest car I'd ever had the opportunity to drive, and also that the pedals are small and I have big feet. Getting going, it took some getting used to the clutch, but other than an awkward pedal, it shifted very smoothly.
I drove it around quite a bit, and then we headed back to the dealership. The salesman then switched cars, and we climbed into the Mini Cooper S: the supercharged Mini, pushing 168 horse power. The car only weighs 2500 lbs, so that's a lot of horses.
I ended up having to take off my shoes, because the pedals were even smaller. This was a special precaution, because recently someone had driven an S with shoes, and his shoe got caught between the clutch and brake on the underside. Unable to stop the car, it was totaled, and he had to pay for the whole thing.
Being savvy, I decided not to take any chances, and the salesman agreed. But man, what a way to make a guy feel comfortable about driving an amazing car. "Oooh, it's awesome, and you can open it up and drive the shit out of it. Just don't wreck it." Uh huh. That did wonders to boost my confidence.
I got it out on the road, and was immediately infatuated. The second you hit the gas pedal, the car jumps forward, and off you go. You're literally pushed back into your seat as the car pulls forward. As you rapidly accelerate, you don't even realize that you've hit 50mph, and you're barely (if at all) out of second gear. Turns and curvy roads are a breeze, even at high speed, as the car hugs the road, thriving on the speed.
Tight spots are no problem. The Mini is small enough to squeeze through just about everything, and you'll never in your life make an easier u-turn.
For quite some time, I have liked Minis, and I always dreamed that they would be a spectacular ride. At times, it did cross my mind that they wouldn't be altogether that great, which while it wasn't a great thought, seemed to be a realistic one. However, I was not disappointed.
And so it would seem that, every now and again, dreams do come true. Now if only I could buy one.