Frankly, though, I couldn’t care less what other people think, because I’m loving this car. It looks superb, it’s very compact, I’m a fan of the Zesty Yellow (painting fun cars dull colours is criminal) and it has agile handling to match its thrilling performance.
That’s because it’s the Cooper S, which sits above the healthy Cooper and below the scorching John Cooper Works. It uses a 176bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine related to those found in everything from the BMW X1 to the Toyota GR Supra. Driving the front wheels, it comes with either a six-speed manual gearbox or, as in our car, a sevenspeed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters behind the wheel.
The Cooper S starts at £25,080 in Classic trim, or you can step up to Sport or Exclusive, which cost from £27,330 and £27,665. We went for Exclusive, which is aimed at the driver who is “a connoisseur of the finer details and lover of luxury”, whereas Sport “brings a taste of the track to your everyday drive”.
What it means in practical terms is that this particular connoisseur (ahem) benefits from additional air intakes in the front bumper, a bonnet air scoop and a central twin exhaust, which give the Convertible a subtly purposeful look. Then inside there’s a nappa leather steering wheel, electronically adjustable leather sports seats, aluminium trim and multicoloured ambient lighting.
We’ve then ladled on £6275 worth of options, most coming in packs. Navigation Plus brings a head-up display, connected services, wireless smartphone charging and sat-nav for the standard 8.8in touchscreen.
Comfort Plus contributes electrically folding mirrors, a rearview camera, a front centre armrest, heated front seats, automatic air-con, parking assistance and parking sensors front and rear. This is one that I reckon few would pass over.
Driving Assistant adds active cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance (which, once turned off, has actually stayed off, so kudos to Mini for that). We’ve also added a heated steering wheel and the 360W, 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, which sounds absolutely superb. Music is one of my greatest passions in life, so this pleases me no end.