- the heft is certainly felt in both handling and acceleration. It isn't as tossable as the base MKVII GTI.
- the clutch is extremely light. This is going to take time to get used to.
- shifter reminds me of our R53. Definitely not as precise as my FR-S
- this could be due to just bombing around on Pittsburgh roads, but there is a little more road noise than I'd expect.
- the infotainment system is really unintuitive. Maybe it is because I've used Toyota systems for so long, but this is going to take a bit to acclimate.
- I don't like the tiny push button on the handles to lock and unlock. This is apparently a MINI/BMW idiosyncrasy.
+ everything you touch feels very high quality (for the segment). Doors shut with a solid thud, handles and armrests don't flex when you tug the door shut or lean your weight on them. It really feels like a near premium product even with the leatherette seats and no option interior.
+ toggle start switch is a very charming way to implement push button start and electronic parking brake works well.
+ handling is predictable and generally well sorted. I'd like to have test driven the adjustable suspension, but I didn't want to deal with potential issues down the road. Not sure if this is placebo or the AWD, but exiting a corner on throttle is much less pushy than I remember her R53 (LSD) or my MKV GTI.
+ h&k stereo sounds very crisp. It doesn't overpower conversation at "listening level".
+ engine feels very linear if just a small delay in throttle response (maybe a drive mode thing?). The exhaust popping in sport mode and rev match downshifting is a nice touch.
+ ride is shockingly good over broken pavement on the 18" run flats. Hopefully this doesn't mean that the suspension feels floppy when we go to traditional tires.
+ space saver spare option is a huge plus.
+ I really like the barn doors so far. The auto open/kick feature doesn't take long to master.
+ back seat legroom/comfort is great for 5'8" tall adults like myself and my wife. The Chicco Nextfit car seat easy locked in and the kiddo has plenty of space in the back
+ the cockpit fits well. It was easy to find a comfortable position on the manual seats. The pull out thigh support on the seat bottom will be very welcome on longer drives. Seat back bolstering is light years beyond the R53 (base S seats). It isn't so aggressive like my FR-S where I occasionally have to drag myself out, though.
+ the car looks stunning, IMO. The color combo stands out but isn't obnoxious. It walks that line between looking sporty but also looking premium. Definitely no awkward boy racer feelings heading down the road.
+ the little details that mini added to the lighting and gauges is appropriately charming. The little MINI face in the speedometer winks at you when you get in. The light ring around the screen changes colors with the revs, mode, and music.
+ the reflector headlights look a lot better than I was expecting. They don't look as nice as the LED lights, obviously, but they don't look as cheap as "reflector lights" sounds.
+ rain sensing wipers, headlights, auto climate control, etc are standard.
+ rear view camera is crisp and has a very useful field of view.
Overall: this clearly isn't a direct GTI, ST, R, or RS competitor. It is more likely to attract Volvo V40/C30 intenders that want a little funk in their ride. Expensive, yes. But it definitely errs more on the premium side than the other hot hatches and you feel that every time you sit in it. For our needs (small family with only 1 child), it will be the perfect runabout.
Sent from Tandy 400