MINI front

2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop Review

MINI front
2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop Review
Very fun to drive
Improved ride and interior
Tons of customization options
Options quickly make car expensive
Love-it or hate-it styling
Sport suspension not for everyone

MINI is growing up and the new 2014 MINI Cooper has been redesigned, is all-new with more refinement, and gets bigger while still retaining its classic looks and dynamic handling characteristics. At first glance the new MINI Cooper looks the same, but it grows in length and width and the result is more interior room and a more comfortable ride. This week we’ll be looking at the sportier 2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop model.

What’s New for 2014?

The 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop is redesigned and grows in size. The new hatchback gets a pair of new engines, a redesigned interior and new features such as LED headlights and an adaptive suspension. MINI Hardtop is 4.5 inches longer, 1.7 inches wider and rides on a wheelbase that’s more than an inch longer.

2014 MINI Cooper S options

Dozens of packages and options are available for MINI with more than 10 million combinations available.

This MINI Cooper S ($23,600) came with a boat load of options. A Cold Weather Package ($600) added power folding mirrors and heated front seats, the Fully Loaded Package ($4,500) with navigation and enhanced BT and USB, panoramic moonroof, auto climate control and premium sound. Sport Package ($750) included 18-inch spoke silver wheels, LED headlights and white turn signal lights, Sport Automatic transmission ($1,500), Head-up display ($500) Park distance Control ($500) and others. Total MSRP $37,395 including destination.

MINI Cooper S features

Standard features on the base MINI Cooper S hardtop include sport seats, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel with multi-function controls, on-board computer, Bluetooth, 6-speaker audio system with CD player, HD radio, satellite radio capability, USB/iPod interface and auxiliary jack and split-folding rear seats. MINI Cooper S also adds, fog lights, a different sport-tuned suspension and 16-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires.

2014 MINI Cooper S cabin

Interior features

The first time we climbed aboard the new MINI S, we could tell the cabin grew in size. The MINI is still a compact car, but it feels bigger than its dimensions. There’s an upscale feel to the interior materials that fits its personality perfectly. The first thing we noticed was that the speedometer has been moved from the center stack back in front of the driver. This is a welcome change and makes it easier for the driver to see all functions from behind the wheel.

A large round display screen now sits where the speedo was located and houses the radio and climate control. Upon start up, the ring surrounding the display screen glows red. Three’s a new analog-style switch in the center stack when pushed, starts the engine’s keyless ignition.

The seats in the new MINI are comfortable and will fit a tall person better than the previous model. There’s an extra 1.5 inches of headroom upfront while the rear seats picked up an inch of legroom. The MINI is still tight in back for adults, but will be adequate for short trips. Cargo space has increased measuring 8.7 cubic feet compared with 5.7 cubic feet in the outgoing model. If you need more storage, the rear seats fold flat.

Engine and fuel mileage specs

The MINI Cooper S is powered by a 2.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged engine producing 189 hp and 207 lb-ft. of torque. This tester came mated to an optional Sport automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. EPA fuel mileage estimates are 27/38 city/highway with the 6-speed automatic. Premium gasoline is recommended for the best performance.

2014 MINI Cooper S side

Driving dynamics

The 2014 MINI Cooper S absolutely pegs the fun-to-drive meter. MINI says the S can sprint from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds with the automatic. We definitely had fun this week darting through slower traffic. The S is very responsive to driver inputs and was even more fun on the tight mountain curves west of Denver. The TwinPower turbo 2.0-liter’s 189 hp doesn’t sound like much, but in the MINI’s 2605 lb. frame it has all the power needed to get you in serious trouble with the local law enforcement.

The ride and handling in the new MINI has been improved and now includes three adjustable driving modes that includes Mid, Sport and Green. They adjust throttle mapping, steering response and engine acoustics from conservative to aggressive. Cooper S comes with larger front brakes for greater stopping power and worked well on the tight mountain corners leading down from Evergreen.

The tuned sport suspension in the S is designed for maximum driving dynamics and is stiffer than the standard model. For those looking for a cushy ride, the S may not be the best choice. We were impressed with the Hardtop’s new Sport automatic transmission that is very responsive to driver inputs when in Manual mode using the paddle shifters. It also has smoother shifts than the old model. The ride in the new MINI is improved though due to the one-inch longer wheelbase.

2014 MINI Cooper S Rear


The 2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop is tops on the fun-to-drive meter and when coupled with the Sport automatic, its a good choice as an urban commuter. The new MINI now features more refinement, more cargo carrying ability and even though it grows in size, MINI Cooper Hardtop retains its classic looks and dynamic handling characteristics. MINI offers tons of options for individualization but they can add up quickly.

  1. I think you’re right about the ‘love it or hate it style’, I definitely love it but I can see why people would dislike it.

    Also, is it a score of 4.6/10 or 4.6/5?


    1. Good question Ivan, thanks for pointing that out. It’s a 4.6/5 – I’ll work on getting that fixed.

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