Quick and easy

The new Mini Cooper S Convertible is quick, agile and well-balanced.
The new Mini Cooper S Convertible is quick, agile and well-balanced.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The new Mini Cooper S Convertible is quick, agile and well-balanced.
The new Mini Cooper S Convertible is quick, agile and well-balanced.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Mini's new Convertible lets you zip around effortlessly and joyously

The words "quick" and "fast" are often used interchangeably. But in the world of cars, they have different meanings.

A fast car is not necessarily quick and vice versa. A quick car may well lose out to a fast car when the road is long, wide and unpopulated.

But in the real world, where the tarmac is mayhem on a good day and a war zone on others, a quick car survives. Nay, it thrives.

A quick car has a throttle that responds to the softest touch, a transmission that is well acquainted with the engine as well as your right foot, and it affords you agility, promptness and derring-do.

A fast car looks fast, but you will not be able to tell a quick car from its looks alone.

A fast car is geared towards numerical nirvana on the speedometer. It promises to take you to the moon on a clear night and a clearer runway.

A quick car takes you out of your neighbourhood and back - effortlessly and joyously. Because it is usually endowed with quick, taut and error-free steering, which incidentally contributes to its overall quickness.

  • MINI COOPER S CONVERTIBLE

  • Price: $169,300 with COE

    Engine: 1,998cc 16-valve inline-4 turbocharged

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic with manual select

    Power: 192bhp at 5,000rpm

    Torque: 280Nm at 1,250-4,600rpm

    0-100kmh: 7.1 seconds

    Top speed: 228kmh

    Fuel consumption: 5.8 litres/ 100km

    Agent: Eurokars Habitat

Its chassis is not necessarily rigid or light. Nor is it always aerodynamic. But it is always well balanced and it enjoys a natural affinity with the road by virtue of its low, low centre of gravity.

A quick car is usually - but not always - a small car. With compactness comes better visibility, manoeuvrability and centredness. And with those qualities comes ease of driving.

A fast car sometimes takes you out of your comfort zone. It can be unwieldy in tight, twisty and tormented stretches of bitumen.

It propels you to heights of ecstasy, but it also demands something in return (not uncommonly, your driving licence). In a quick car, you do not have to be Rocket Man, you do not have to miss Earth, or your wife.

Because in a quick car, your wife can come along for the ride. And she would want to come along, because she does not have to suffer the indignities associated with clambering into and out of a sunken tub in her tight skirt and high heels.

Quick and fast cars have to sound good. But not infrequently, a fast car requires you to hit those high revs to get your reward. A quick car is more generous when it comes to dishing out aural delights.

And if the quick car in question is a convertible, those delights become especially delectable.

Remember, a quick car is compact, which means you are closer to the exhaust - a wind instrument with the repertoire of a percussion. It puts on an intimate performance to be enjoyed by a small audience, not the neighbourhood.

A quick car is essentially a more accessible car to the average driver. It allows him to merge, switch lanes and fill gaps with little effort and lots of flair. While doing so, it fills him with a sense of well-being that comes with unshakeable confidence.

A quick car is not always flawless. It may suffer from a squeaky cabin or an idiosyncratic design that impairs rear visibility. And its compactness might prove too compact for four to be seated comfortably.

These pale in comparison to the joy it brings. Indeed, in Singapore, driving enthusiasts would no doubt appreciate a quick car more than a fast one. Unless they want to show off.

The new Mini Convertible is a quick car. And that is all you need to know about it.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'Quick and easy'. Print Edition | Subscribe