2012 BMW mimi cooper herhighway

2012 BMW Mini Cooper It’s Big on Handling! >

When you see a Mini Cooper tooling down the highway, your first impression might be: “wow…that’s a cute and zippy little economy car.”  But that simplistic view changes real fast — once you get behind the wheel and press your cute designer shoe into the gas pedal.

Now that the Mini Cooper’s are part of the BMW line, you would expect a sport tuned suspension and go-cart like steering.  The female auto experts at Her Highway experienced all that…and more.  You see…we didn’t test drive just any Mini; we drove the monster of all Mini models — the  208 horsepower twin-scroll turbo powered John Cooper Works edition!

Holy handbags, Batman!  This muscular little machine is so much fun to drive, we started wondering whether it should be street legal.  No doubt it is…and the best (and only) way to harness all that horsepower is the manual, do-it-yourself transmission (plus it makes it easer to burn-out off the line, shhhh).  Braking, cornering, accelerating…there’s nothing mini about the John Cooper Works edition. Oh wait, there’s a small cargo space issue, but we found a way to get around it. Just put the rear seat down and your mall-madness storage space zooms from 5.7 cubic feet to an impressive 24 cubic feet (that’s lot of shoe boxes!).

Adding to this Mini’s sports-appeal is a leather-wrapped steering wheel that hosts easy-touch cruise and audio controls. Trust us, you’re not going to want to take your hands off the wheel.  Other nice techno touches include push-button start, a potent 6-speaker stereo system, Bluetooth and USB connections and navigation. We loved the character of the retro-inspired interior and huge speed-O in the center of the dashboard.

It may be small, but this Mini comes with impressive safety features, including driver and passenger air bags, side head air bag, rear head air bag, side air bag, four-wheel ABS, grippy 4-wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control and traction control.  All of these add up to greater confidence and peace of mind for you and your white knuckled passengers.

By now, you’re probably thinking to yourself:  yes, this sounds like a fun car…but I want great MPG.   We’ve got good news for you, here too. The base Mini with its 1.6 liter four-cylinder serves up an estimated 29 city and 37 highway MPG. You won’t do quite that well with the 208 horsepower twin-scroll turbo engine, which is rated for 25 city and 33 highway mpg.  But there’s more to life than great fuel economy.  Compare all the different Mini models and trims by clicking here.

Written by: HerHighway Staff Contributor and Editor Christina Selter