“Why are you driving this? It’s really not a guy’s car.” Sometimes women say that.
During the recent Mini Racescapade event, I got to spend about 15 hours driving the car, almost continuously, to accomplish various tasks among cities. For the first time, I had to admit, the Mini Cooper Cabriolet is a “better” car than my previous “best” car, a Z4 Roadster. The Roadster may be faster. It maybe cooler. I may look 50% more handsome in it and 8 years younger. But the Mini gets the jobs done. I’ve lost count of the number of times I sighed in relief, thank goodness I’m in a Mini. The Roadster could probably do it too, but it’d be just plain awkward —
Let’s say you’re gonna rob a bank of its gold bullion, and you’re going to do it in a Z4. First, you’ll find problem loading the loot, because you have so little boot space. You have to let go of USD10 million worth of gold simply because it wouldn’t fit. If you have a Mini, you can fold the rear seats down to get more space. If it’s a cabriolet, you can even open the top to facilitate loading.
Then comes the getaway part. You gotta navigate through a labyrinth of tunnels. The long nose of the Z4 will pose a challenge to the driver’s spatial judgment, especially when taking tight 90 degree corners. In the Mini, it’ll be much easier. Furthermore, it has TWO steering devices – the steering wheel and the steering stick, a.k.a the handbrake. Because the Mini is front-wheel-drive, you can pull the handbrake without worrying about depressing the clutch, making handbrake turns more intuitive. 90 degree turn? No problem. 180? Even better.
Then, the police cars are after you. You can weave in and out of the traffic easily with the compact Mini. Dart into alleys. Dart out of alleys. Dart into the sea of other Minis on the road. If you’re driving a Z4, you’re probably the only one on the road. There maybe as many Z4s as Minis, but they are all sleeping in the garages waiting for Sunday. Minis are the cars that actually get used. If the police shouts into the radio: “Block that Z4!” every officer in the vicinity locks on to you.
But if he yells “Block that Mini!” Then somebody would yell back, “What color?” “Black!” “The one with spoiler or without?” “Without!” “The cabriolet or the hardtop?” “Hardtop!” “One, Clubman, Cooper or Cooper S?” “Cooper!” “With racing stripes? What’s the interior color?” “Dammit number plate WTF9996!” By then, you should’ve gotten away.
Now that you’ve all the money in the world, you want to go out for a vacation with your girlfriend. Both the Z4 and Mini work well getting there with style, but getting back will be an issue. You see, now that you are the richest Mini driver in the world, your girlfriend will shop. You have a better chance of shipping all those stuff back in a Mini, 670 liter of boot space vs 240 in the Z4. If you’re driving a Z4, you’ll probably be stranded at the hotel as she drives home with all her stuff overflowed from the boot to the passenger’s seat. You’d be asked to take the plane, and then the immigration officer recognizes you, and you end up in jail. All because of the Z4.
When you eventually have kids, it will be the merriest experience having the whole family on board of the Mini. Even merrier if you have a cabriolet. Because the Mini is small, the rear seats are closer to the front compared to other makes of cars. Your kids feel closer, and you can talk to them without shouting. And if you do shout, it’s guaranteed that they’d hear.
Chances are you’re not a gold bullion robber. I’m not. The Mini is just as good to a regular, down-to-earth guy as to Mark Wahlberg. When I’m in traffic, I’m glad I have an automatic Mini. It maybe a little laggy sometimes, but most of the time, it’s more convenient than my manual sports car. When I find a tight parking spot, I’m glad I’m in a Mini. When I need to make a tight and swift U-turn, I’m glad it’s a Mini. When I need to fetch more than 1 person, Mini does the job. When I want to “tapau” nasi lemak at the roadside, I drive the Mini. When I am meeting new people and don’t want to appear intimidating, I drive the Mini.
When I don’t want too much attention, I drive the Mini. When I DO want attention, I drive it too — with the top down.
“Why are you driving this? It’s really not a guy’s car.” Sometimes women say that. But it doesn’t really matter, you know, because they hop in anyway, even more willingly.