MINI Cooper London Olympics 2012 Review: Hands-on

We test out MINI's latest contribution to road kit - the London Olympics 2012 D Hatch

What is a hands on review?
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When it comes to MINIs they say size doesn’t matter and true to form, despite its compact frame, the MINI Cooper D Hatch London Olympics 2012 edition is solid and smooth.

The D Hatch, one of the BMW-owned brand’s most popular offerings, has just received a stylish makeover in celebration of the London 2012 Olympics, including a new roof emblazoned with the London 2012 logo, an uber-cool dashboard donning an etching of the London skyline and a hint of Union Jack for the patriotic motoring nut.

It may be a winner in the style stakes, but does it have the tech credentials to take on the likes of the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4? We find out…

MINI Cooper London Olympics 2012: Tech

Disappointingly, there’s not much kit to shout about. Of course, you have your bog standard in-car tech, from USB and wireless Bluetooth connectivity to DAB radio, but nothing really for the hardcore tech heads.

MINI Cooper D Hatch London Olympics 2012 Tech

Given the price of the standard version of the car (a whopping £17,980k+), we would’ve liked to have seen a built-in sat nav and multimedia-friendly system on-board, such as MINI Connected, the brand’s social media-friendly app-based system.

That’s not to say it’s not packing some punch, though. MINImalist tech seems to be the overall concept here: there is a large central circular speedometer (a stylish focal point), radio BOOST with single CD for bashing out tracks and DAB radio.

To start the car you simply have to push the circular key into the slot and press the start button. Simple.

MINI Cooper London Olympics 2012: Specs

DAB Radio
Aux-In connection (3.5mm)
Central locking, automatic at 10 mph
Cruise Control
MINI mobility system
Radio BOOST with single CD

MINI Cooper D Hatch London Olympics 2012 seats

MINI Cooper London Olympics 2012: Performance

It may be MINI but the D Hatch is a beast of a car. It’s fast (0-62mph in 9.7 seconds) and sturdy, and comes complete with go-kart steering so tackling tricky corners is more or less effortless.

On the design front, it’s decked head-to-toe in Olympics attire, from Union Jack etched armour to a gorgeous white roof donning the Olympics 2012 logo, which adds an extra hint of Britishness to a four-wheeler that boasts a rich heritage.

Despite being a MINI, it feels spacious and comfortable to drive. Back seat passengers on the other hand don’t have it so good.

With so little inside space, leg room is a luxury reserved solely for those lucky enough to call dibs on the front seat. And unlike the MINI Cooper Roadster, the boot is also missing some much-needed junk in the trunk.

MINI Cooper London Olympics 2012: Verdict

MINI Cooper D Hatch London Olympics 2012 roof

Overall, it’s a good effort. The Olympics décor adds a hint of class and cool to an otherwise bland exterior and despite being smaller than your average motor, it manages to feel spacious (well, only if you’re sitting at the front).

Tech-wise, there’s not much to get excited about. Yes, it has all your usual offerings, from a DAB radio and wireless connectivity for a truly hands-free experience, but as far as in-car kit goes, that’s about it.

On the performance front, however, the MINI Cooper D Hatch is super-fast and drives like a dream. It may be rough around the edges, but one thing is clear: a great deal of effort has been put into this car. To put it quite simply: it’s British manufacturing at its best.

MINI Cooper London Olympics 2012 Availabilty: At showrooms now

MINI Cooper London Olympics 2012 Price: From £17,980.

MINI has released 2012 special, limited edition models to celebrate its partnership with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

www.mini.co.uk

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.