MINIs, like BMWs, are designed to be driven hard. They are not cars for the masses, serving as an appliance of transportation. They rise above the realm of compact cars to deliver compact thrills. They truly are driver’s cars.

Rear-wheel drive snobbery aside, I thoroughly enjoy driving MINIs – mostly for their lightweight, highly reactive chassis. When you drive a MINI, you feel very much a part of the driving experience: dialed in as part of the car. Steering feel is also excellent, with truck-loads of feedback from the road surface – particularly impressive since MINIs are now featuring Electronic Power Steering (EPS) Systems. We wish MINI would teach BMW a few lessons in this department, as the EPS does not seem to detract from the naked and direct steering feel.

We’ve established that MINI’s are proper driving machines, but with great power comes great responsibility. If you want to be safe behind the wheel, and have a raging good time, it’s advisable you sharpen your skills before powering off in a high-performance machine – that includes MINIs.

Recognizing a hole in their driver training program, BMW Group decided to launch a new MINI driver training school. BMWBLOG attended the inaugural Winter Driver Training school held near Montreal, Quebec, and we were blown away by the quality of the program. It didn’t hurt that the father of rally, Rauno Aaltonen attended the event, but even that aside, the school was exciting and full of quality seat time. Overall, the school offered up a great time while studying car control.

Driving at the limit – whether for pleasure at the racetrack or while avoiding a collision – requires completely different driving techniques behind the wheel depending on the type of car you are driving, be it front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel driven. You may be handy in a rear-wheel drive car – but out of shape in something front-wheel driven. All-wheel drive blends driving techniques from fwd and rwd skill sets, and requires a skill set all its own. If you own a MINI, or any front-wheel or all-wheel drive car and feel less than 100% confident driving your car through a slide – this course is for you. It could mean your personal safety, or at the very least, extracting far more enjoyment from you MINI on a daily basis. At the end of the day: MINIs are about good times behind the wheel.

If you’re anything like us, you may become hooked on performance driving after attending MINI’s school. Taking this course could forever alter the way you look at and drive your MINI. You may long to autocross or track your MINI, in which case let us know – we’ll put you in the right direction to attend local driving events.

Enjoy an inside look at MINI’s Winter Driver Training school by watching the video below.