MINI Cooper 2010 50 mayfair, MINI Cooper 2010 s camden

MINI Cooper Mayfair, Cooper S Camden Review

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50 years on, not even Sir Alec himself could have predicted the popularity of his iconic design

MINI Cooper Mayfair, Cooper S Camden Review & Road Test

50 years on, not even Sir Alec himself could have predicted the popularity of his iconic design

Models Tested:

  • 2010 MINI Cooper Mayfair; 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, petrol; six-speed manual: $37,000*
  • 2010 MINI Cooper S Camden; 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol; six-speed manual: $43,900*

Punchy performance; tenacious handling; retro-styling; fuel economy Rear leg room; a little pricey

Words by Matt Brogan | Photos by Brendan Nish & BMW Australia

The original MINI was born out of necessity in the late 1950s as the UK suffered through crippling fuel restrictions, the result of military action over the Suez Canal. Annoyed at the rise in popularity of German 'bubble' cars, the head of BMC (British Motor Corporation) commissioned designer Sir Alec Issigonis to formulate a "proper miniature car" that was small in size, basic of design, and most importantly, cheap to run. 50 years on, not even Sir Alec himself could have predicted how popular his iconic design would become.

After production of the original Mini finally ceased in 2000, the fourth-longest production run of any car in history, the brand's new owner, Germany's BMW, decided the popularity of the Mini was such that its nameplate deserved a future place on our roads, and with other brands including Volkswagen and Chrysler enjoying success with their own retro-styled newcomers (the New Beetle and PT Cruiser), the first new MINI (now all in CAPS) hit the streets in April 2001.

Although the styling cues of the new MINI are self-evident in origin, the new model is bigger and heavier than its classic forebear (550mm longer, 300mm wider & 400kg heavier). It also features all the mod cons and safety features the original model so sorely lacked. But perhaps even more importantly for nostalgic and style-conscious buyers, the modern day MINI Cooper and Cooper S models retain that cheeky character made famous by the original, and it's a hoot to drive. Before long, the fun-filled recipe meant new MINI was nearly as common a sight as its predecessor had been many decades earlier.

Fast forward to 2010, MINI celebrates its long and colourful heritage with the release of two 50th Anniversary models, the Cooper Mayfair (pictured top in Hot Chocolate) and sporty Cooper S Camden (pictured top in White Silver). Named after distinguished boroughs of London, both models are full to the brim with stylish added extras.

The MINI 50th Anniversary Cooper Mayfair adds 17-inch alloy wheels, grille-mounted driving lamps, custom mirror caps and discrete "Mayfair" logos to the already well-kitted Cooper package, and inside, gains sports seats, steering wheel and gear shift knob, all finished in tan leather. While it's turbo-charged sibling, the MINI 50th Anniversary Cooper S Camden, picks up exclusive White Silver metallic paintwork coupled with three-dimensional silver bonnet stripes, 18-inch alloy wheels, subtle "Camden" logos and, on the inside, Carbon Black and Tech White upholstery, sports seats, a pumping Harmon/Kardon sound system and a bizarre new in-car entertainment system MINI refer to as "Mission Control".

Put simply, Mission Control is like having your car's thoughts and feelings converse with you as you drive, and if you've ever wondered what it might be like for the voice-over team from Thomas the Tank Engine to possess your car's inner workings, then you might just find the answer here. It's a novel idea, and the kids will love it, but for the sake of your sanity, it does come with an off switch.

Click on this link to hear a sample of MINI Mission Control

Fortunately the remainder of MINI's interior is comfortable and commonsense, in that retro-chic kind of way. Cute toggle switches, an over-sized centre speedo (a digital repeater is also feature in the steering-column mounted rev counter) and a pair of well contoured front seats make getting around town in a MINI a lot more fun than the average hatchback.

The boot provides just enough room for a couple of overnight bags, or the weekly shop, and offers the flexibility of 50:50 split fold rear seats to expand the area to 680-litres, should you need the space.

Staying up back, rear seat passengers will find the accommodation a little tight on longer trips, and even with average-sized adults up front, rear leg room is rather economy class.

But the true heart of MINI is not found in the back seat, it's under the bonnet, and as any MINI driver will tell you, the performance of the new-generation models is properly grin inspiring.

Both 50th Anniversary models tested feature a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which is turbocharged on the Cooper S Camden for added oopmh (the special editions are also available with a turbo-diesel engine, available from $39,650* for the MINI D Mayfair and $38,750* for the MINI D Camden).

As you'd probably expect from MINI, the drive is smooth and sporty with a sweet six-speed manual transmission allowing you to make the most of the free-revving twin-cam unit.

The responsive throttle, tactile clutch and progressive brake pedal are an absolute delight, easily superior to any car in this class in terms of feel and feedback. Steering too is wonderfully sharp with a well-weighted wheel encouraging fast-paced cornering, just the thing for making the most of MINI's sporty, all-strut suspension.

In Cooper S Camden, the lowered ride height (9mm lower than Cooper Mayfair) enhances that zippy feeling even further with a drive that's involved, sporty and really enjoyable, injecting a lot of fun in to the day-to-day commute - or weekend canter down your favourite stretch of road.

The ride is a little on the firm side, but not to the point where it's uncomfortable, and with a quiet cabin offering a very generous level of standard equipment, you'll soon find yourself looking for any excuse to take a drive.

Of course all that fun isn't worth a penny if safety is let fall by the wayside. Good thing then MINI's 50th Anniversary models boast a five-star ANCAP safety rating, thorough list of electronic driver aids and full compliment of SRS airbags.

It may also come as a surprise to learn that despite MINI's performance-orientated driving style, fuel economy is incredibly impressive with our week in MINI Cooper Mayfair returning a combined figure of 7.2L/100km and in MINI Cooper S Camden, 8.5L/100km.

Proving just how popular the models are, BMW Australia said the pair currently account for 30 per cent of all hardtop MINI sales. The 50th Anniversary MINI models are in showrooms now and will remain available until September.

The MINI 50th Anniversary models are a great way to stand out from the crowd and enjoy the very best a modern classic has to offer. The funky, retro styling and planted, road-hugging drive makes even the most mundane trip a joy. So as Mission Control would say: "Leeeettttt's MINI!"

Ratings - Mini Cooper Mayfair:

CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:

Ratings - Mini Cooper S Camden:

CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:

Specifications - Mini Cooper Mayfair:

  • Engine: 1598cc DOHC four-cylinder (16 valve)
  • Power: 88kW @ 6000rpm
  • Torque: 160Nm @ 4250rpm
  • Induction: Multipoint
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Driven Wheels: Front
  • Brakes: 280mm Disc (F) / 259mm Disc (R)
  • Top Speed: 203km/h (Claimed)
  • 0-100km/h: 9.1 seconds
  • CO2 Emissions: 139g/km
  • Fuel Consumption: 5.8L/100km (ADR)
  • Fuel Consumption: 7.2L/100km (As Tested)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 40L
  • Fuel Type: 95-98RON Premium Unleaded
  • ANCAP Rating: Five-star
  • Airbags: Front, Side & Curtain
  • Safety: ABS with CBC, EBA & EBD; ESC with HSA & Traction Control
  • Spare Wheel: N/A
  • Suspension: Strut (F) / Strut (R)
  • Ground Clearance: 139mm
  • Cargo Capacity: 160/680L
  • Tow Capacity: 750kg (Braked)
  • Turning Circle: 10.7m
  • Warranty: 36 month / 100,000km
  • Weight: 1065kg (Tare)
  • Wheels: Alloy 17-inch

Specifications - Mini Cooper S Camden:

  • Engine: 1598cc DOHC four-cylinder (16 valve)
  • Power: 128kW @ 5500rpm
  • Torque: 260Nm @ 1700-4500rpm (Overboost)
  • Induction: Multipoint & Turbocharged
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Driven Wheels: Front
  • Brakes: 294mm Disc (F) / 259mm Disc (R)
  • Top Speed: 225km/h (Claimed)
  • 0-100km/h: 7.1 seconds
  • CO2 Emissions: 164g/km
  • Fuel Consumption: 6.9L/100km (ADR)
  • Fuel Consumption: 8.5L/100km (As Tested)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 50L
  • Fuel Type: 95-98RON Premium Unleaded
  • ANCAP Rating: Five-star
  • Airbags: Front, Side & Curtain
  • Safety: ABS with CBC, EBA & EBD; ESC with HSA & Traction Control
  • Spare Wheel: N/A
  • Suspension: Strut (F) / Strut (R)
  • Ground Clearance: 130mm
  • Cargo Capacity: 160/680L
  • Tow Capacity: N/A
  • Turning Circle: 10.7m
  • Warranty: 36 month / 100,000km
  • Weight: 1130kg (Tare)
  • Wheels: Alloy 18-inch

*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer and does not include dealer delivery, on-road or statutory charges.

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