The test vehicle was fitted with an optional six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission ($2350) which added a new dimension to the sporting nature of the Coupe. Gears were selected manually using the shift lever, or steering wheel-mounted paddles. The paddles weren’t as easy to use as in most others, but if it was our money we would go for the manual any day.
Having said that, the auto produced a relaxed drive, even in stressful heavy traffic.
In the automatic Mini JCW we tested fuel consumption was in the five to six litres per hundred kilometres range on the open road, but fanging the car around our interesting mountain route saw it leap to the nine to ten litre range.
Much has been done to match engine performance with handling qualities. Agility of the sort found in a go-kart, was the catchword. There was no denying steering and stability were of the highest order for a car of this segment.
The ride which was harsh and skittish on at times on uneven surfaces, to the extent it could upset some passengers. On smooth blacktop the minor discomforts were soon forgotten in the sheer joy of driving the new exotic Mini.