2013 Mini Cooper S Coupe Long-Term Update 2
The Startup Sequence
The Mini Coupe has no shortage of quirks, and yet the car's plucky attitude seems to shine through all the oddities and maybe even tie some together. I've quickly adapted: It only took a few mornings to establish a proper startup ritual.
As cars gain more and more settings (the BMW M5's 125 or so different possible combinations come to mind), the three button presses it takes to get the Mini set up properly feels refreshing. I hit the Sport and traction control buttons between the shifter and the dash with sort of an upside-down peace symbol just after the engine fires. The third is a press on the stalk just in front of the shifter to accept the infotainment's legalese. (Fortunately, the message disappears after a few seconds if you ignore it.)
Now, the Coupe's in Dynamic Traction Control mode, a necessary setting that lessens stability control intervention, but limits excessive wheelspin. This is crucial because this 1.6-liter makes a decent amount of torque. When the traction system is full on, applying throttle mid-corner either means annoying intervention, or when it's off, one-wheel-peel city, population: MINI Cooper S Coupe. Dynamic mode is imperative to fun and your wallet, then.
More enjoyable is the Sport mode. It quickens the throttle response and steering, and it also makes the exhaust burp and backfire delightfully when you lift at around 3700 rpm. The staccato pops and burbles are hilarious, making rush hour commuting slightly more tolerable. But there's a stranger effect: When I drive some of the more powerful and expensive sports cars that make their way into the MT garage, I'm disappointed when they don't make those noises. And that makes the Mini Coupe even more endearing.