Let the debate begin.
The humble Mini Cooper started off life as a working-class hero, driving children to school and pigs to market, but over the years this British icon has morphed into a premium city car with a price tag to match; a John Cooper Works GP can easily surpass the $50k mark. But what if you wanted the premium experience of a modern Mini with the thrill and charm of the original classic? Enter Gildred Racing. This specialist car builder has produced some of the wildest classic Minis we've ever seen, including a 500-horsepower rocket ship named the Super Cooper Type S, and its latest Super Cooper, the Bruce Wayne Mini, is a more subtle example of how a classic Mini can be modernized. In a recently posted YouTube video by The Smoking Tire, Matt Farah and Zack Klapman attempt to find out if it can live up to the title of 'luxury performance car.'
The blacked-out exterior of this little Mini echoes the modern trend of "murdering out" big luxury sedans and SUVs. It's a cool touch that brings it in line with contemporary luxury cars. The smooth exterior hides a few tasty secrets, both inside the cabin and underneath the hood. This classic Mini, like so many others in this scene, is powered by a Honda engine. In this case, it's a single overhead cam B16 engine out of a 1990s Honda Civic that has been tuned to produce in the region of 150 horsepower. Power is sent to the front wheels via a short-shifting Honda five-speed manual transmission. In a car that weighs only 1,600 pounds, this level of power is more than sufficient for most.
The interior sports all-black leather upholstery, modern switchgear, keyless entry, a power sunroof, a large touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an overall clean design that finds a great balance between old school and cutting edge. Unfortunately for the two big boys doing the review, finding a comfortable driving position seems almost impossible, but once on the go, the driving experience is far superior to anything a modern Cooper S can offer. Farah and Klapman both note that the lack of power steering and high-performance brakes lets the car down, but its raw character and screaming Honda engine make up for it. Is it a luxury performance car? Not exactly. Is it worth the $100k asking price? That's debatable. Does it matter when you're behind the wheel? Not at all.