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Short-geared S?

924 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  RickB
Almost all of the commentary on the S gearing has concerned how tall it is. I was reading a review in a European rag that commented both on how short the gearing is, and that it is necessary because the car is so heavy!
I know from looking through specs, that the Cooper S will be heavier than only two cars on the U.S. market, so to what is the rag comparing it? What are these light cars that are available elsewhere?
Is the gearing tall, or short???? Is it relative? European-market cars tend to be geared taller than U.S.-market cars?
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The point is that in Europe small cars of the MINI´s size are very common. But most of these cars do not have the technical, safety and luxury equipment of the MINI. Many of these cars are lighter than 2.200 US lbs. So referring to cars of its size the MINI is quite heavy, compared with cars of its performance level the weight is rather low.

The gearing is quite tall even for a European car but it´s not extremely tall when looking on the overall gearing. Most cars here won´t touch 60 mph in 2nd gear, the S even hits 70 mph. When you speak of taller gearings in Europe these comments mostly refer to the top gears which are designed as overdrive in many family cars. The first two or three gears are often quite short to improve acceleration during city traffic (remember many subcompact cars here have 1.0-1.4l displacement with fairly under 100 bhp). And some manufacturers also keep the top gears short enough to limit the top speed only via the rev limiter (BMW for example). One should also keep in mind the relative high rev level with a maximum of nearly 7k in the S which is about 15% above most family cars. That gives the opportunity to choose shorter gears but BMW/MINI didn´t take that chance.

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Tall gearing=Short ratio

All the test reports I have read, without exception, concluded that the Cooper S has tall gearing. I think that this is merely confusion over the tall gear=short ratio or short gear=tall ratio equations. Especially if the road test was translated from a European language to English, it could easily have mistook a comment about short gearbox ratios to mean short gearing.

Karmine------apologies to the MOODY BLUES
I took a ride in a Cooper S
I took a road I've never been
Drivin' in a slide zone
I could be motorin' thru a time zone
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The context of the comment related to getting the car's weight moving, so I would take that to mean they thought the gearing was necessarily short, ie high numerically.
I had a car that would exceed 60mph in second, and do approx. 130 in fifth, and its gearing didn't seem especially tall.
I'm test-driving an S tomorrow; short or tall gearing? We'll soon see.
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