Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Just been Cooper’D … by a diesel

Just been Cooper’D … by a diesel - BMW Mini gives driving a diesel a whole new meaning

Enough torque to throw you back into your seat. A quirky style to turn plenty of heads. How would you know? When the 1.6 diesel engine under the bonnet is disguised with the new and improved looks of the standard Cooper S. The SD takes diesel driving to a new level.

The standard Cooper D has been overtaken on its journey to impress, as a luxury diesel; the new powerful Cooper SD, is brought into production. Sensible and stylish, yet completely insane, I was both shocked and inspired by the new little car.

Diesel has always been regarded as an alternative, cheaper way of transport and not a classy or powerful method. Could this be the chance for diesel to regain some respect? The first diesel ‘sportscar’ on the roads? We’ve Touring Car champion Jason Plato take the Seat Leon Cupra Diesel to third in the British Touring Car Championship standings – could the Mini SD be the next diesel race car? The Countryman has begun a motorsport adventure already into the World Rally Championship, but it’s not a diesel.

You certainly won’t be embarrassed to fill up at the pumps with its seductive, playful looks. Piercing headlights, a simple yet satisfying shape, the dominant look is still -as it always has been- open for personalisation. Plus the added luxury of knowing your full tank will do 65.7mpg combined: not bad for a sporty hatchback, when its petrol partner, Cooper S will do only 48.7mpg. Producing only 114g/km CO2 emissions, road tax certainly won’t be an issue either.

As a Mini driver myself, I was inspired by the SD. Achieving 0-62 in 8.1 seconds and reaching a top speed of 134mph - only 1.1seconds slower than the petrol S that will reach 142mph, and a substantial amount faster than the standard Cooper D – I was thrown back into my seat after touching the accelerator pedal just slightly. In fourth gear at 50mph, the engine response is remarkable due to the amount of torque. Not forgetting the little power button when it’s needed. Where speed is concerned, control and handling is essential. And the SD stood its ground. Gentle and responsive steering, I felt completely in control. When you need it, the secret racer within can easily be unleashed, along with huge amounts of pleasure. For those sensible days, the SD offers a smooth comfortable journey, along with an added luxury option of cruise control and heated seats.

Like all the members of the Mini family, spacing isn’t enormous but practical. Plenty of leg room along with many storage compartments and as a whole surprisingly spacious. Full of technology, air conditioning is automatically included in the price along with other extras such as, a radio with CD player and a USB connection. Casual but sophisticated, the SD is full of funky design and the latest gadgets. And all this from a price of £19,945.

Although it may not look any different, the SD is in disguise – Guaranteed to put a smile on your face – the SD is a sensation to drive. Full of surprises. Full of character. Full of diesel!

By Sophie Williamson

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