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Following giving up motorcycling last year for a variety of reasons I decided that I needed a car other than the family runaround that I could lavish attention on and have a bit of admittedly selfish driving fun. So last June I bought a new 2020 Mini Cooper and a very fine car it is to, except I just have not gelled with it, why, well it is just not fun, it actually feels a bit heavy and stodgy which is no doubt due to the level of build and equipment. It's also a bit on the thirsty side as driven as one should 30 mpg is about the norm. Another bike?, don't think so, enter the UP Gti. Now on paper, it is a tad slower than the Mini bur as we know that does not tell the whole story as it's the smile that a car can put on your face that counts. Obviously I will be searching out a test drive once we get through this very challenging period but if there is anyone on here that has experience of both the "modern" Mini and the Gti their views would be greatly appreciated.

Geoff.
 

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Hi macmx...welcome to the forum. I have had several BMW Mini Cooper S's from the early Tritec Motors Chrysler Brazil Supercharged engine version to the PSA 1.6 engined one of 2016. The first thing you notice is the weight.We have a weighbridge at work which is accurate and calibrated every six months.The S weighed 1200ks and the Up Gti shows 990ks which is lighter than VW claim. Autocar Mag in UK in their 2018 test saw 995Ks on the weighbridge they use. So the car is light and it feels it.The Mini S devours front tyre edges as it turns due to the weight and the front overhang. My Gti is on Mich PS4 205-40/17s now which are great! I just love the car.I don't use it every day as i have a 23yo Twingo Mk1 for this task, but use it for a 250ks round-trip to drive to my work every Saturday at 6am returning the night of the Sunday.The trip involves 140ks of Motorway and the rest on one of the twistyist roads in Spain from Marbella to Ronda in Southern Spain.The Jurnos love the road for car-testing!! The car is fun and you smile a lot. What more can i say!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi macmx...welcome to the forum. I have had several BMW Mini Cooper S's from the early Tritec Motors Chrysler Brazil Supercharged engine version to the PSA 1.6 engined one of 2016. The first thing you notice is the weight.We have a weighbridge at work which is accurate and calibrated every six months.The S weighed 1200ks and the Up Gti shows 990ks which is lighter than VW claim. Autocar Mag in UK in their 2018 test saw 995Ks on the weighbridge they use. So the car is light and it feels it.The Mini S devours front tyre edges as it turns due to the weight and the front overhang. My Gti is on Mich PS4 205-40/17s now which are great! I just love the car.I don't use it every day as i have a 23yo Twingo Mk1 for this task, but use it for a 250ks round-trip to drive to my work every Saturday at 6am returning the night of the Sunday.The trip involves 140ks of Motorway and the rest on one of the twistyist roads in Spain from Marbella to Ronda in Southern Spain.The Jurnos love the road for car-testing!! The car is fun and you smile a lot. What more can i say!
Thank you for that Ascari, I can certainly attest to your comment regarding the front tyres, mine are nearly done @ 7,000 miles. Your last sentence is just the sort of "gut feeling" impression that I was looking for.

Geoff.
 

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Hi macmx...welcome to the forum. I have had several BMW Mini Cooper S's from the early Tritec Motors Chrysler Brazil Supercharged engine version to the PSA 1.6 engined one of 2016. The first thing you notice is the weight.We have a weighbridge at work which is accurate and calibrated every six months.The S weighed 1200ks and the Up Gti shows 990ks which is lighter than VW claim. Autocar Mag in UK in their 2018 test saw 995Ks on the weighbridge they use. So the car is light and it feels it.The Mini S devours front tyre edges as it turns due to the weight and the front overhang. My Gti is on Mich PS4 205-40/17s now which are great! I just love the car.I don't use it every day as i have a 23yo Twingo Mk1 for this task, but use it for a 250ks round-trip to drive to my work every Saturday at 6am returning the night of the Sunday.The trip involves 140ks of Motorway and the rest on one of the twistyist roads in Spain from Marbella to Ronda in Southern Spain.The Jurnos love the road for car-testing!! The car is fun and you smile a lot. What more can i say!
I love that road from San Pedro upto Ronda . Spent a full day just riding up and down it on my CBR 600 many years ago . A must do road to ride / drive before you die.
I found all the roads from Almeria to Gibraltar a joy to ride on.
 

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I love that road from San Pedro upto Ronda . Spent a full day just riding up and down it on my CBR 600 many years ago . A must do road to ride / drive before you die.
I found all the roads from Almeria to Gibraltar a joy to ride on.
I love that road from San Pedro upto Ronda . Spent a full day just riding up and down it on my CBR 600 many years ago . A must do road to ride / drive before you die.
I found all the roads from Almeria to Gibraltar a joy to ride on.
 

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That went wrong!! Software! Yep a great road Sean66.Love Bikes but no longer ride.The road is V dangerous for bikes.In 16 years of going up and down it i have seen the aftermath of many accidents. Almeria to Gibraltar is now all Motorway unless you find the old coast road from Almeria to Motril and then to Malaga. Malaga to Gibraltar is now very boring due to Cameras and traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That went wrong!! Software! Yep a great road Sean66.Love Bikes but no longer ride.The road is V dangerous for bikes.In 16 years of going up and down it i have seen the aftermath of many accidents. Almeria to Gibraltar is now all Motorway unless you find the old coast road from Almeria to Motril and then to Malaga. Malaga to Gibraltar is now very boring due to Cameras and traffic.
Just a point about bikes, I had been riding 50 years but the two main reasons I decided to stop were the decline in driving standards in the UK and the desperately poor state of the roads. Such a shame.

Geoff.
 

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That went wrong!! Software! Yep a great road Sean66.Love Bikes but no longer ride.The road is V dangerous for bikes.In 16 years of going up and down it i have seen the aftermath of many accidents. Almeria to Gibraltar is now all Motorway unless you find the old coast road from Almeria to Motril and then to Malaga. Malaga to Gibraltar is now very boring due to Cameras and traffic.
I found the autovia to be great fun with very fast buttock clenching bends and scary concrete central barriers.
We don’t have anything like that on our motorways.
I was camping in Nerja when I visited on the bike and the back roads around the area were excellent especially going around Sierra nevada .
Also camped in Benidorm when I was on the Suzuki TL1000 ‘s .
Had great memories of my Spanish trips even when stoped by the police heading home on the motorway near Madrid at a steady 100 mph and was told to slow down a little before being waved on.
 

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Hi macamx I really liked the mk1/2 new Mini Cooper as a fun mobile but guess they may have evolved to be stodgier. The mk2 I drove was well into 40+ mpg although I guess that’s variable. You’ll lose refinement in the up gti vs new mini, eg on motorway cabin noise, and interior materials too no doubt, but the gti is still a quality item. Huge fun though and I’d guess of the type you were hoping for from a mini. One bit of advice from me though, can’t overemphasise this point...a test drive on the wrong tyres (ie standard fit Goodyear eco grip) esp at the wrong pressures (above 30-ish psi) isn’t indicative of the real car in terms of ride refinement and grip. If you like a car on the standard tyres / pressures though, you’ll love it on the right tyres and pressures! Good luck in your search my gut is it’ll be the car you are looking for you from what you’re saying.
 

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You could save yourself a heap more depreciation by buying something like a mint standard Clio 172/182 though ...a similar lightweight - I get similar enjoyment driving them back to back. Zero depreciation, reliable, much smaller outlay (yr1 depreciation on a new/newish gti would pay for a properly nice Clio) although obvs hard to compare on many non- fun levels!

(just thinking because you’ll already have suffered depreciation on a new mini!)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi macamx I really liked the mk1/2 new Mini Cooper as a fun mobile but guess they may have evolved to be stodgier. The mk2 I drove was well into 40+ mpg although I guess that’s variable. You’ll lose refinement in the up gti vs new mini, eg on motorway cabin noise, and interior materials too no doubt, but the gti is still a quality item. Huge fun though and I’d guess of the type you were hoping for from a mini. One bit of advice from me though, can’t overemphasise this point...a test drive on the wrong tyres (ie standard fit Goodyear eco grip) esp at the wrong pressures (above 30-ish psi) isn’t indicative of the real car in terms of ride quality or grip. If you like a car on the standard tyres / pressures though, you’ll love it on the right tyres and pressures! Good luck in your search my gut is it’ll be the car you are looking for you from what you’re saying.
Thanks for that, I take your point about the tyres as I have come across many times on bikes with the machines being transformed with a better tyre. To go a bit further with the Mini it really is a"top-notch/quality" car but just not what I am looking for. A good example is my wife has a new Suzuki Ignis and in every measurable way the Mini is a superior car except one, WEIGHT, and believe it or not the Ignis is more fun. It is worth noting that we are fortunate to live in the North Pennines in the Tees Valley so we only use a Motorway or the like maybe once a year at best, we are mainly on A and B roads with loads of fun potential.

Geoff.
 

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You could save yourself a heap more depreciation by buying something like a mint standard Clio 172/182 though ...a similar ethos - I get similar enjoyment driving them back to back. Zero depreciation, reliable, much smaller outlay (yr1 depreciation on a new/newish gti would pay for a properly nice Clio) although obvs hard to compare on many non- fun levels!

(just thinking because you’ll already have suffered depreciation on a new mini!)
Too right, going to take a right old slap depreciation wise on the Mini.

Geoff.
 

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Hi mate i test drove a 19 plate cooper s before opting for the up gti. The cooper was quicker but much thirstier. I had it for a weekend and must have been for petrol twice. The gti is much more frugal. I liked the start switch in the cooper but thought the car felt small Inside (the interior door handle being halfway up my forearm made me think i was too big for the interior) . Weirdly the up feels bigger inside and smaller outside. Get a testdrive when you can. The up feels like you are going 250mph when you are not and is a real laugh. Gutted im not driving anywhere at the moment. Steve
 

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Hi there. I’ve driven quite a few minis as a former longtime BMW owner (they always break and you’re usually given a mini as a courtesy lol) and have driven my parents’ minis on numerous occasions; one 1.5l petrol which was my mums and both a Cooper S and a Clubman S which were/are my dads. IMO Minis are good cars for what you get: good build quality and specs with good handling and decent enough performance on the sporty ones I’ve driven (drove a JCW once which was great fun). All I can say is that none of the Minis I’ve driven have put a smile on my face like the Up GTI. They usually feel much more wallowy and heavy, with even with the sportiest handling JCW not quite matching the GTI’s lightweight, stripped back feel. The GTI has more soul to it. I’ve even forgotten my love of I6’s (temporarily I reckon). It’s not a perfect car and you might want to fix a few issues aftermarket, but once you get to know it I’m sure you’ll love it and will find yourself quickly forgetting minis. I thought I would miss my 1 series (dropping 200+bhp and RWD et al) but realise now it was kinda like comparing apples and pears :) I even prefer the Up to my old mk7 golf GTI. hope that helped and I hope to see you here soon with a pocket rocket!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for that, I think you have "hit the nail on the head" and have confirmed my thinking. Once we get through this mess the definitely the way to go(y).
 

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Ours has just had its first birthday macamx, and we are absolutely smitten with it.

It’s my wife’s daily driver and my weekend (read currently also more or less daily driver) car.

Putting tyres and handling aside, what I would say to a prospective buyer would be that if your prerequesite for driving fun is ringing the neck out of every last RPM then the UP! GTI is not the car for you and I would suggest you look elsewhere. It isn’t about that. You would be forgiven for thinking that it was, simply because of the GTI badge, but it really isn’t.

No doubt many of those who have had theirs modified, maybe even just a stage 1 remap would disagree with me, but I am referring to the car in standard form and after all, any car can be modified to be something significantly different from the standard version.

Having got that out of the way, as I started by saying, we are absolutely smitten with it, for many reasons. In no particular order, it really is a rare car, has almost timeless looks, has VW build quality, a simple, yet gorgeous interior with a deceptively spacious up-front cabin and at the same time, with it’s standard wheels, looks almost like something from a kids cartoon book, which I mean as a complement for all the right reasons ... It just looks like fun, and feels like fun, in a world where that can often be so much needed, and whilst more than capable, just doesn’t take itself too seriously. Whether we are an on just a short trip to the local shop, DIY store, supermarket or whatever, we are never short of not only admiring glances, but even find ourselves being approached with comments and questions after closing the door and walking away.

From a driving perspective, the key attribute that makes the car so much fun, and it really is fun, is the astonishing amount of low to mid range torque and drivability. Just squeeze the throttle in third, fourth or even fifth gear from little more than a fast idle, and the car just effortlessly hurtles you along as if you’re being pulled into a vacuum with the kind of sensation that you would only expect from an engine at least three times it’s size, to the sound of nothing less than a gurgling Porsche 911 ‘esque soundtrack. It’s certainly nothing even close to brutal or aggressive, but the amount of grunt and fun just belies it’s tiny 1.0 engine !

The steering is a little lighter than would be my preference, but it turns in well and remains well-balanced when pushed, although when pushed hard, it does have the tendancy to err towards progressive understeer, particularly on uneven surfaces, although I don’t doubt that it’s overall handling will be improved somewhat once the front tyres have reached their end of life, and are replaced by some from an alternative brand.

I thoroughly recommend you test drive one as soon as you are able, but do bear my first point in mind as for many, the GTI brand may well conjure up preconceived ideas of chasing every last drop of RPM before hitting the rev limiter, and as capable, lovable, fun, and everything else that the fantastic Up! GTI is, it isn’t that. But then again, nor does it try, or even want to be.

Just my thoughts about 7000 miles in ...

Hope this helps !
 

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I would agree with everything Jacara wrote above. Having owned & enjoyed Golf Gti's Mks 1, several Mk2, 3 & 4, The Up Gti stands up to be counted, and in almost every way is better.
I've just turned 9500 miles at almost 11 months old and it's most definitely the rarest, best value for money, best smiles per £££ VW I've ever owned. Not one issue so far, even with the tyres. If you do get one, drop the ridiculously hard recommended tyre pressures to 30/28 and even the tyres become much better.
Been on a 120 mile trip today on North Yorkshire's best driving roads and I'm still smiling.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. Pretty much decided that this is the way to go subject to a test drive. I will, however, be holding off for a few months due to our current circumstances with this virus as I believe the motor industry will be vastly different post virus than what it was pre virus.
 
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