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Mini Cooper Special Edition 7 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7
The Mini has always been a fun car, to look at and to drive, but it hasn't been particularly affordable since BMW took the reins. The limited-edition Seven version might be the Mini to change that.

Looking for something a bit special? Well Minis are certainly that. Not only does the brand have iconic British roots (greying slightly by now) but under the scalp they are prestige cars, made by BMW. They also  offer quirky, cutesy styling that is probably not going to be everybody’s cup of Earl Grey. They truly are a bit special, in several sense of the word.

What's even more special is this limited-edition Mini, which is part of a run of just 400 produced specifically for Australia. The Mini Seven package is available for the Mini 3-Door Hatch and 5-Door Hatch and at the time of publishing only a handful of cars were left at dealerships.

Explore the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Mini Cooper range

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Mini Cooper S 2014 review

Mini Cooper Hatch 2014 review

Mini Cooper 2015 review

Mini Cooper S 2015 review

Mini Cooper 5-Door 2015 review

Mini Cooper S 5-Door 2015 review

Mini John Cooper Works hatch 2016 review

Mini Cooper Convertible 2016 review

Mini Cooper S Convertible 2016 review

Mini Cabrio John Cooper Works auto convertible 2016 review

Mini Cabrio John Cooper Works manual convertible 2016 review

So, what is a Mini Cooper Seven? And what’s the ‘Seven’ part all about? Is it worth the extra money? And just how special is it? We found out after piloting the 3-Door Mini Cooper Seven for a week.

Mini Cooper 2017: ONE 5D HATCH
Safety rating
Engine Type1.2L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency5.1L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$15,840

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

That original Austin Seven Mini was 3277mm long and 1346mm tall, while this third generation new 3-Door Mini is more than half a metre longer at 3821mm end to end, and 1414mm tall. Still, the new Mini 3-Door is well and truly small, a Corolla hatchback is 4330mm long and 1475mm tall in comparison, although not many prospective Mini buyers would also be considering Corollas. To be honest, a Mini is pretty much the antithesis of a Corolla.

There's cool, quirky nostalgic styling on the outside, with that upright windscreen, short wheelbase and bug headlights. (image credit: Richard Berry) There's cool, quirky nostalgic styling on the outside, with that upright windscreen, short wheelbase and bug headlights. (image credit: Richard Berry)

I’m not referring to the price difference either – it may surprise you to know that that the 3-Door Cooper Seven and the Corolla ZR are close in price (psst, the Corolla costs more), but it’s more about how the Mini’s designers seem to have won the war with the engineers in a victory of form over function. We’re talking cool, quirky nostalgic styling on the outside, with that upright windscreen, short wheelbase and bug headlights, and equal retro kookiness in the cabin, with the central, dash-mounted speedo and aircraft style switches everywhere.

The Seven pack brings cool stripes and the silver roof and nicer upholstery plus front sports seats. And just so everybody knows you have the special edition (well, Mini Cooper owners anyway)  there’s the 7 badging as well.

The space up front is great, with excellent head, leg and shoulder room. (image credit: Richard Berry) The space up front is great, with excellent head, leg and shoulder room. (image credit: Richard Berry)

If you’re thinking about a Mini Seven Cooper or any 3-Door Mini, you should also take a look at the Fiat 500 or an Audi A1.

How practical is the space inside?   6/10

The good news first. Even at 191cm tall I don’t feel too big at all behind the wheel of the Mini Cooper Seven. The space up front is great, with excellent head, leg and shoulder room.

It’s in the back seat where taller people will discover the bad news – I couldn’t sit behind my driving position, I tried and I’d have to have my legs hanging over the shoulders of the driver so survive back there. It’s no consolation, but headroom is excellent in the second row, thanks to the high roofline. Smaller folks and kids shouldn’t have any issues, unless they want to put the window down, which they won’t be able to because it’s fixed.

Even at 191cm tall, I don’t feel too big at all behind the wheel of the Mini Cooper Seven. (image credit: Richard Berry) Even at 191cm tall, I don’t feel too big at all behind the wheel of the Mini Cooper Seven. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The Cooper Seven is a four-seater with three giant cup holders in the back and two more up front, which is excellent , but there’s not much in the way of cabin storage apart from the glovebox. The boot is small at 211 litres – the Fiat 500’s is smaller at 185 litres but the Audi A1’s is bigger at 270 litres.

Still you’re going to struggle getting a proper-sized pram into any of those, so let’s be honest, none of these are going to be perfect for a small family with kids. The 5-Door Mini and the Countryman (which I brought my own newborn baby home from hospital in) are far more practical.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

The Cooper 3-Door Hatch Seven lists for $29,400, which is $2000 more than the regular Cooper 3-Door it’s based on, but Mini says you’re getting $7000 worth of extra features. That includes things like sports seats and upgraded upholstery, sat nav, a reversing camera, bonnet stripes, a silver roof, 17-inch alloy wheels and piano black interior trim.

That’s on top of the Cooper’s regular standard features, which include the centre display, digital radio, halogen auto headlights, auto wipers and LED interior lighting.

It’s in the back seat where taller people will discover the bad news – I couldn’t sit behind my driving position. (image credit: Richard Berry) It’s in the back seat where taller people will discover the bad news – I couldn’t sit behind my driving position. (image credit: Richard Berry)

Is it good value? Yes but not overly, and only because of the special deal, which gives you $7K of extras for $2K more. I’d buy this version over the regular Cooper, which isn’t great value at $27,400 and doesn’t come with much in the way of standard features.

To be fair, it has a stack of features compared to the original 1959 Austin Seven ‘Mini’, which the limited edition Seven package references, but then again that car only came with indicators, headlights, wipers, a (probably quite hopeless) heater and a speedo.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

The 3-Door Cooper Seven has the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine as the regular Cooper and offers the same 100kW/220Nm output. This engine is also in the BMW 1 Series and it’s an excellent unit that feels sporty and grunty.

The Mini’s designers seem to have won the war with the engineers in a victory of form over function. (image credit: Richard Berry) The Mini’s designers seem to have won the war with the engineers in a victory of form over function. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The six-speed automatic is very good, the shifts are decisive and the manual mode is good for connecting yourself more to what’s happening.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Mini says you should expect the 3-Door Cooper Seven to need 4.9L/100km if it’s driven on a combination of country, urban and city roads. Our time was spent on more urban adventures and the trip computer was telling me our test car averaged 10.1L/100km.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

Special doesn't cover it, because I truly loved driving this Mini. A small wheelbase with short overhangs, a great engine and suspension from BMW, sharp steering, decent brakes and excellent handling make the Cooper Seven so much fun to drive.

The boot is small at 211 litres – the Audi A1’s is bigger at 270 litres. (image credit: Richard Berry) The boot is small at 211 litres – the Audi A1’s is bigger at 270 litres. (image credit: Richard Berry)

This thing is light (1115kg) and chuckable, but if you push it a bit too hard it’ll get a bit twitchy. I like a car that has attitude and ‘answers back’ occasionally, though, and if you like driving you will too.

The sports seats that come with the Seven package are excellent. Comfy and supportive, they’re also pretty snug, with serious side bolstering. The base has an extendable section for longer legs like mine.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   6/10

This limited edition may be new but the third gen Mini first arrived in 2014 and scored a four out of five star safety rating – letting things down was the ”marginal” side-impact protection for the driver.

There’s traction and stability control, but a bit of a fail is the lack of standard advanced safety equipment. The Control pack can be optioned and adds AEB, adaptive cruise control and LED headlights.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

Minis are covered by a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Mini has a five-year/80,000 kilometre servicing plan for $1240 in total. As is the BMW way, Mini has condition-based servicing – the car will tell you when it needs a service.

Verdict

Minis have cool, brave styling and they’re great to steer, but they tend to be a bit overpriced and under featured. What the 3-Door Hatch Cooper Seven does is add better value for money to what is already a fun to drive package.

Is the Mini 3-Door Cooper Seven the best-value Mini ever, or is there a better way to spend $30K?

Pricing Guides

$33,480
Based on 47 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$24,995
Highest Price
$47,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $28,888 – 29,990 2017 MINI COOPER 2017 (base) Pricing and Specs
3D HATCH 1.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $18,810 – 23,760 2017 MINI COOPER 2017 3D HATCH Pricing and Specs
3D HATCH JOHN COOPER WORKS 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $31,020 – 37,400 2017 MINI COOPER 2017 3D HATCH JOHN COOPER WORKS Pricing and Specs
5D HATCH 1.5L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $24,995 – 30,990 2017 MINI COOPER 2017 5D HATCH Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Design8
Practicality6
Price and features7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety6
Ownership6
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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