In our opinion, the MINI Cooper S is the best-buy of the MINI hardtop range. Sure, the John Cooper Works model is the top of range bad boy and the most desirable one, but the Cooper S brings perfect balance to the table, when you take into account the price. The Volkswagen Polo GTI is a potential rival for the aforementioned MINI, but they are not exactly direct competitors.

While they may be similar in size on the outside and have similarly powerful engines under the hood, the Polo is cheaper than the MINI and not exactly a premium car. Look a bit closer and you’ll notice less attention is being paid to the fit and finish and the materials used inside the Volkswagen compared to the MINI. Furthermore, the British brand is offering an extensive list of options you can get for your Cooper S to truly make it yours.

On the specs side of things, as the video will show, the Cooper S and the GTI are close. The Veedub comes with a 2-liter 4-cylinder TSI engine good for 200 HP and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque, all of which being sent to the front wheels. This is done thanks to a 6-speed automatic gearbox otherwise known under the DSG acronym. The dual clutch gearbox allows it to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) from standstill in 6.7 seconds, a tad faster than the MINI.

The Brit, on the other hand, has lower specs. Its own 2-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine comes with 192 HP and 280 Nm (206 lb-ft) of torque. That’s also sent to the front wheels and, depending on the model, it will do that using either a 6-speed conventional automatic gearbox or a 7-speed dual-clutch one. The one in the video below seems to be the facelifted model which means it comes with the DCT box. And while the MINI may be slower than the Polo, at least it’s available for purchase in the US.