Monday, September 19, 2011

Pug Ugly Or Interestingly Different


The Telegraph in the UK can't decide in its review of the MINI Coupé. It says, in part:
Turn off the stability control and the rear gets fidgety at very high side loads, but this is a sound and safe chassis, although the electronically assisted steering is almost too direct, inert and the weighting changes according to side loads.
To compensate for the aerodynamic lift caused by the fastback roof, there’s a lifting spoiler (police note, it rises at 50mph and sinks at 37mph) and you can feel that extra downforce in fast corners as well as the enhanced body stiffness of the boxed-in rear bodywork and strengthened sills.
Then we tried the diesel. It is the car you don’t want – even if it does deliver 65.7mpg with 114g/km Band C CO2 emissions. The engine is heavy and that affects the dynamics, it vibrates strongly through the major controls and even on smaller wheels and taller tyres the ride is little short of atrocious – and that’s on German roads, which are like a cherub’s bottom compared to ours.
In JCW trim, this is a very fast car, rewarding to drive hard, with a hardcore but just-tolerable ride compromise. Renault’s hot Clio models have a handling edge and Citroën’s DS4 is more practical, but the MINI Coupé is a classy if pricey alternative which, if past performance is any guide, should hold its value well.
My only doubts are about those looks. I just can’t decide whether it’s pug ugly or interestingly different. What do you think?

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