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Old 03-02-2010, 03:38 AM   #1
gogti
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Mini Cooper S vs GTI: Driving Dynamics

Hello everyone,

First post here...

I was considering buying GTI MK6. I like the way it looks, the interior is first class and I am pretty sure it drives well too. I haven't driven it yet.

I currently own a 2006 MINI Cooper S (Supercharger engine) and although I love that car I want something which is more practical but at the same time I don't want to give on the fun factor of the driving. I think GTI fits that description perfectly.

My question to all folks who have driven both cars is:
How does driving dynamics of GTI compare to MINI Cooper S? Handling, Cornering, low end torque, ride quality?

From my experience I can say that MCS is fantastic in terms of handling and cornering. Its an absolute blast to drive. MCS does not do well in the low end torque category. It really responds well after 3000 RPMS. The ride quality is a bit harsh at times especially if you drive on the pothole-infested roads of NJ/NY.

How do compare the braking of the two? I was checking out the Consumer reports and they had shorter distance braking for the MINI Cooper S compared to the GTI.

Thanks in advance for any responses.

Cheers.
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:03 AM   #2
Awry
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I have a Cooper S as well although it's the turbo charged one and that one has torque low down like the GTI. I'd say the Mini is more fun to drive and the design is a lot more exciting. The GTI is fun too but the MCS puts an even bigger smile on my face when I drive or look at it. It's also insanely agile and quick. The biggest difference to the Golf GTI is that you get at car that is a lot more comfortable. The ride quality and cabin noise is significantly better. Also the interior quality is better on the GTI but a bit boring. The Mini wins on fun factor and cool looks but for everything else the GTI is better. I love both of them though.

Last edited by Awry; 03-02-2010 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:53 AM   #3
boofer
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just for your reading pleasure...

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/mini.html

http://newmini.wordpress.com/2008/01...sion-problems/

i'd pass on the mini, regardless of it being go-kart fun. also, if you're a guy, i think it looks too girly/euro, but to each his own. it's also a pain in the butt for mechanics to work on, and many of them do not even have adequate training to begin with.

go test drive a GTI and form an opinion for yourself. i think it handles extremely well and is very fun to drive with DSG.
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:08 AM   #4
toady
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Tough call

I don't own the Mini, but I also test drove the turbo charged S hardtop in the same day I drove the GTI (both cars are manuals). The Mini I drove did not have the sport package and lacked the limited slip diff. The GIT is the one I now own with the 18 inchers. I found both cars a compelling drive and here are my basic impression:

1. I had some torque steer in the mini, none in the GTI.
2. While the Mini was fast, the old adage about no subsitute for cubic inches held true for me and the GTI felt more powerful throughout.
3. I wasn't able to take enough corners to really put them through their paces, but both cars felt about equal to me.
4. Interior trim in the mini (seats, door panels, dash) was better than the GTI, but the GTI radio and gauge clusters were MUCH better than Mini's strange set-up.
5. Because of the lighter weight or possibly better brakes, I agree that braking felt better in the mini.

At the end of the day, the price with all the options I got on the GTI was better for me than the Mini and something about the overall ride quality talked to me more than in the GIT than in the mini. As an Audi owner and someone who has used APR upgrades before, looking down the line I have more tuning options available for the German car as well.

Please drive a GTI and tell us your thoughts!
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:18 PM   #5
ExplodingBrain
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I test drove both a Cooper S and the GTI.

I disliked the Mini interior, especially the dashboard layout. I didn't like the use of run-flat tires instead of a spare. The car is too small to be practical.

In terms of driving, both are lots of fun. The Mini is perhaps a bit better in the corners, but it was not a fair comparison because I drove a Mini with summer, and a GTI with all-season tires. The Mini's gearbox is very good, but I liked the GTI DSG even better.

I like VW's simple option list for the GTI -- you can get sunroof, leather, 18" wheels, upgraded radio, and that's it. The Mini seems to have about 300 option combinations. Once I decoded the option list and compared similarly-optioned cars, the Cooper S was actually more expensive than a GTI.

Eventually I bought the GTI.
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:57 PM   #6
MrClean
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To me, the Mini Cooper is like a circus.

Fun to experience, but hard to take seriously.
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrClean View Post
To me, the Mini Cooper is like a circus.

Fun to experience, but hard to take seriously.
Well put
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:37 PM   #8
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I dont think I could ever get past the weird interior (guages). And the fact that I need/want 4 doors (4 real doors). Just messing around on the mini site, I built one....and when I was done, I was over $43,000 hahahahaha. I'll keep the GTI thank you very much.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:19 PM   #9
quarantine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awry View Post
I have a Cooper S as well although it's the turbo charged one and that one has torque low down like the GTI. I'd say the Mini is more fun to drive and the design is a lot more exciting. The GTI is fun too but the MCS puts an even bigger smile on my face when I drive or look at it. It's also insanely agile and quick. The biggest difference to the Golf GTI is that you get at car that is a lot more comfortable. The ride quality and cabin noise is significantly better. Also the interior quality is better on the GTI but a bit boring. The Mini wins on fun factor and cool looks but for everything else the GTI is better. I love both of them though.
I would like to echo what Awry said here. I also own the Turbo Mini S. It just more fun to drive and very exciting to be in. But the GTI wins in quality, road noise, comfort, space.......etc.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:44 PM   #10
Biff
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One of the car mags did a Volvo, Mini, GTI comparison. The GTI ran circles around both on a road course. Search a bit for the 3way comparison.
I like the Mini too, but prefer the size of the first series (new Mini), and the performance (power, and mileage) of the second series (2007 on) so no go for me.

Last edited by Biff; 03-02-2010 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:25 PM   #11
Volksfan46
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Thumbs up

Here is the article http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...son/index.html
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:55 PM   #12
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I've owned 5 MINI's over the past 8 years. I currently have an '02 Cooper S that is used as my track-day toy [all spherical bearing, race coilovers and brakes, rollcage & seats/belts]. I almost never see VW's at HPDEs or open days but you always see MINI's along with Lotus, Corvette, Porsche, Miata, //M3's and the like. Between the MINI gen's, the R53 generation is much better as a drivers car, but it's not as quick in terms of lap times as the R56. Despite outsiders' general disgust with the MINI's cheeky and fun attitude, it's a real weapon on the track and a pleasure to drive. When I run with the Mustang groups, I can hear the snickering at the beginning of the weekend. After the first session though, after I've gotten point-bys by most all of them, they're forced to show respect.

All that said, the MINI and GTI are hardly competitors in the real world. I bought my GTI as a luxo-barge daily driver, and it simply will never be able to compete with the MINI as a soldered-to-my-brain track car. The GTI is comfortable and relaxing and makes a fantastic gran turismo, but it's no hot hatch. I can feel the 700 pounds of difference between my MINI and the GTI like a fat chick eating fried chicken, but the GTI isn't for tossing into corners or carving on-ramps, it's for sport-ish cruising.

Bottom line: you'll never find a new-car that will be able to replace the R53 MINI. The R56 is quicker on-track but between the terrible ergonomics of the center stack and the awful steering feel [think 1 and 3 series BMW bad], and the R56 MINI should be off your list ASAP. You'll have to compromise somehow. More practical? The GTI does it but gives up some handling and steering precision for quiet comfort. You'll need to go drive one to see if you don't mind the steering feel and general bulk versus the MINI, so don't expect it to feel like another MINI. The Corvette is also practical [with its massive trunk] and with snow tires not bad in winter either. It's much wider feeling than the MINI and obviously carries old-people-w/-tiny-penis disorder, despite being a good car to drive. More Fun while still being practical-ish? Porsche Cayman. Most fun at the expense of all practicality or comfort? Lotus Elise!

Good luck!
Ryan
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:57 PM   #13
Biff
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That's the article. That would be a MKV I guess, but it tells the story all the same.

gogti, if I had an R53 and all was going well I don't think I'd give it up.

Last edited by Biff; 03-02-2010 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:13 PM   #14
Biff
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Good review Ryephile. If they'd only left the size and other things alone (R53), but gave us the more powerful/better mileage motor (R56), they might have had me.
I too have been tempted by the Elise (still am) .

Last edited by Biff; 03-02-2010 at 06:47 PM.
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