apples & pears, there... one (Miata) is a small sportscar, inspired by the Lotus Elite, the other, the next generation of a true autmotive icon, with unique handling, for a small 2-door coupe, maybe for anything of that size & weight
I have a \'94 Miata (MX-5) which has been \"Tweeked\" so performs more like a recent model. It makes about 145hp, has lowered/stiffened (slightly) suspension and runs 195/50-15 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres.
I have also given a Cooper Chilli a \"good thrashing\" in a reasonably long test drive (cheers Matt at Victoria M-K).
First noticable difference is that the Cooper feels much stiffer in the body and suspension than the Miata. Much less \"rock & roll\". But it doesn\'t crash over bumps or into pot-holes as much as you would expect considering its general \"taughtness\".
The brakes are initially very fierce on the Cooper, but ultimately not much better.
The steering on the Cooper is faster and has slightly more feel.
The Cooper doesn\'t have the ultimate grip of my Miata and does understeer if pushed (with the DSC turned-off)but a bit of a lift on the throttle tucks the nose in well without any drama.
The Cooper is significantly slower in a straight line than my Miata (mine is the stripped-out 900kg version) but that\'s not the point of a MINI is it?
I agree with the earlier post - they are very different cars, both great fun in their own way.
Yes, thanks. I currently drive a \'99 (MX-5) with the Sports package (Bilstein shocks, front antisway bar
and cosmeticl body add-ons - rear spoiler on the trunk and front chin-spoiler). Anyway it\'s a lot of fun
to drive - very responsive in both steering and throttle, etc. etc. So ultimately, I\'ll need to decide - go
for the Cooper S, which is admittedly more of a \"practical\" car, in a way, or drop a Jackson Racing
supercharger into the old Miata and keep it for the foreseeable future ? Well it looks like I\'ll have
plenty of time to think about it, anyway.
I Driven both a '96' 1.8i MX5 and a '99' 1.8i MX5, Ok they look diferent but the driving experience bar the 6 speed in the '99' is very similar in terms of handling and performance the 10 bhp or so difference was hardly noticalble.
Like has already been mentioned the two cars are in different worlds but strangly when driven give the same enjoyment. I would say that the MX5 was a bit more responsive than the Cooper but there isnt a load of difference. I would say the main difference is it feels a lot faster in the MX5 due to it being a soft top (the wind noise) And it being a fair bit lighter then the MINI.
The handling I would say is better in the MINI but that maybe due to the greater sense of control and safety you feel down to the ASC+T etc the MX5's I drove didn't have but thats what makes the MX5 so much of a 'raw' drive.
If I had to pick either a MX5 or a MINI Cooper I would go for the Cooper, as much as I like the MX5 and there is no doubting its ability and driver satisfaction, it just doesn't quite match the 'complete package' the MINI offers.
But the thing is I probably wouldn't consider a MX5 for everyday use, as with the MINI.
Living with the car on a day to day basis was fine, never a problem, not even one rattle in 4.5 years!. Boot small but enough (sounds familiar) even got a ladder and a Christams tree in mine (roof off of course)!
Low depreciation was a bonus and owners usually popped up their lights at each other!
Tobes, I wasn't refering to build quality just the fact of practicaltiy and refinement. It is deliberate by Mazda that the MX5 is like it is because it is a sports car. I would say the MINI is more of a every day use kind of car but with fun as an extra bonus
We traded our 2000 SE Miata (MX-5) for the Cooper.
As other posters have said, they are very different cars, but I'd say the Mini is more fun to drive. You don't get the feeling of sitting between the rear wheels like you do with the Miata, but if anything that makes it feel more like a go-kart. I certainly don't miss the feeling of being dwarfed that I used to get in the Miata. Camry's never looked so big as they did from down there..! The Mini is still rare enough on the roads that everyone notices it, even if they still choose to ignore your presence..! (Boston drivers anyway).
The Mini seems to have sharper steering - I think due to the electromechanical system used. It still corners like the classic Mini and while it may feel different to a Miata going into corners, it still raises a huge grin by the way it goes around them. I haven't driven the S and our Cooper is still running in, so I haven't pushed it hard yet, but Id say the accelleration was not quite as punchy as the Miata. Not surprising when it's a smaller engine in a heavier car. To blue-cook I'd say try the Mini, you'll probably be very happy with the way it handles.
It's quite ironic really. The guy we bought our classic Mini from back in the UK was selling it to get an MX-5. Now it seems several Miata/MX-5 owners are selling them to move on to the new Mini...!
I have a 1991 MX-5 which I drive as well as the mini. They are both great. I think the MX-5 feels faster and goes areount corners quicker (or I havge more faith in it to get round them )
Either way they are both a hoot and I am glad I have the mini, especially in the cold weather. But nothing, not even out sacred MINI beats an MX-5 in the country on a baking hot day with the roof down and a hot girl in the passenger seat!
Blue-cook, My 10th Anniversary (re: sport package/6 speed) just left my driveway last night with a new owner. I even took a pretty big hit on it regretebly. I've autocrossed that car for awhile and more recently autocrossed the MINI Cooper several times.
I put A LOT of time dialing my car in for handling and I'll miss it dearly. There is not a single car out there I would have been willing to get rid of my Miata for before the MINI. Once I autocrossed the Cooper, I decided I'd even get rid of my Miata for a standard Cooper.
The MINI is definitely a lot of fun, especially if you know how to dial in the handling. I love having lift-throttle-oversteer as my means to bringing the rear around, and then being able to get back on the gas to straighten it out (NOT the way to straighten the Miata out).
My Miata was a 3rd car and the MINI will be as well, but I'm still getting the MINI for a little more space for passenger to have fun with me (family).
I'll be autocrossing a Cooper S this weekend (Don't RAIN!) but I'm so sold on the car that I'm simply using my no.1 spot to take a stripped pre-spec instead of waiting a couple of months for my exact order (thanks for screwin' me on that one MINI).
I'm a Miataholic...I've got three...all quite different but I'm selling two to get a Cooper. I had a 67 Cooper S, TRs and a bug eye when younger and I love the new MINI Cooper but....it does not handle like a decently dialed in Miata. The Cooper rolls a lot more, giving me less confidence and certainly lacks the power of my Miatas (Supercharged and turbocharged.) They feel different and they behave different but they are both a bunch of fun. The Miata may have the edge over the Cooper in that it can be made a lot more powerful than the Cooper because of the limits that the 5 speed tranny will put on power (150hp.) The S tranny will handle more power but it doesn't look as good as the Cooper. The feeling that you get when the top is down is irreplacable even with the huge sunroof that will be in my MINI. The MINI may be faster in the slalom but it will take more time behind the wheel to feel as confident as I do in my Miatae. The Cooper became a necessity when we rescued a second greyhound as I take them to work daily. One grey in a Miata, OK, but two greys no way! You will have to find your own excuse for getting your MINI as this one is already taken.
I've raced the Miata for several years now, got it dialed in EXACTLY the way I'd want it (slight understeer for quicker transitions), and couldn't love the car more. BUT, the Cooper rolls more?!?! I don't think so. The Miata has a lower center of gravity, but a silly putty chassis compared to the Cooper. If you drove a Cooper with the 175/65's on it, I can see your point. I've now run a Cooper with 205/50R15 Kumho Victoracer V700's and a Cooper with 205/45R16 Kumho Ecsta V700s on it. BOTH had less roll and stiffer chassis dynamics than my 10AE, which I've run at Nationals on both the Kumhos and Hoosiers. All I need to do is dig up the pictures of both cars around turns (if I can find my Miata pics).
Why would you compare a Cooper to a Turbo or Supercharged Miata?? Compare a base Cooper to a base Miata, or a Cooper S to a 10AE, but not a normally aspirated Cooper to a forced induction Miata.
I could've agreed with the FWD vs. RWD idea, but not after I autocrossed the Cooper. The most fun I've ever had squaring of the corners . Now, going around a sharp 90 degree turn and squeezing on the throttle doesn't give you that fish-tale-fun. But I was in the Cooper for five minutes before I went into a U-turn and had the car completely sideways.
They are two completely different feeling cars and it's certainly an opinion issue. But, having driven both cars to their limit on R Compounds, I'm confident I made the right decision.
The reason to compare a Cooper to a forced induction Miata is to point out that if you are going to look for more power from your Cooper you are limited to 150 hp...ask BMW. The 5 speed would have to be replaced as it isn't just the clutch which won't support the power. The Miata is not limited in that manner. Yes, the S can be tweaked more than the Cooper but the comparison was for the Cooper. The Cooper is bound to have a tighter feel because of the rigidity of the roof. My Miatas are braced to prevent as much flex as possible.
The comparison is flawed because they are such different cars but they both appeal to the same type of people and those people like to squeeze everything out of their car that they can. By the way, I am getting the Cooper in spite of it's limitations. Hopefully they will offer the six speed tranny as an option on the Cooper in the future.