The MINI Cooper S has a hard life these days, some would argue harder than ever. As surprising as it may sound, the Cooper S now has to face a couple of interesting rivals it didn’t even know about some time ago. The Cooper S has been setting benchmarks in its segment and even in rally events since the 60s but now it has to face cars like the Ford Fiesta ST and a Toyota that has more power than it and is lighter.
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What makes all of this surprising though is the fact that everyone is focused on SUVs and crossovers these days, not small hatches. Nevertheless, as popular as those big, heavy cars may be, these small bundles of joy are a lot of fun mostly because they have way too much power and weight way too little. The guys from Autocar decided to see which is best and this was the time for the MINI Cooper S to shine, after getting beaten by a Fiesta ST in a drag race earlier this year.
The spec sheet says a lot about these three cars too. The MINI is the least powerful car at 189 HP and weighs the most at 1,265 kg so it does start things off at a disadvantage. The Fiesta ST comes in second with 197 HP and 214 lb-ft of torque while the Toyota has the most power at 209 HP and weighs the least with 1,135 kg. Therefore, from the get go, things don’t look particularly good for the MINI, which might’ve had a better chance at winning were it in JCW guise.
Another interesting tidbit working against the MINI are the tires. The one in the video uses the standard Pirelli Cinturato runflat tires that simply aren’t good enough on track compared to what the other two are running on. The Fiesta is especially at an advantage as it comes equipped with Michelin Super Sport tires and they are far superior. In the end though, that was the differentiating factor as the guys all agree.