Reverend Dave Rally Report #4
This headline is misleading. There's no reason for me to match these two vehicles other than I had the cool photo of the Mini in the sideview mirror and the fact that the two cars are routinely purchased by guys that take them to the track. Neither one would be my choice.
I hopped into the MX-5 after driving the M4 Roadster. Not a good idea. I love the MX-5 as a fun car for the road. On the track, the engine sounded so stressed from energetic revving that I thought it was gonna blow. On the first corner the back end got so squirrelly I decided then and there that this would be a cautious circuit around the track. That sucked. I fell out of love with the MX-5 right there. But I still like it for zipping around town with the top down.
The Mini Cooper available at the track was the John Cooper Works Edition with larger wheels, tweaked exhaust and the supercharger. Oh that supercharger! While the engine didn't strain like the MX-5, it made the loudest whine I've ever heard. It sounded like there was a tiny speaker underneath the steering wheel blaring out the whine. There was no way it could've been a natural, engine noise. I should have recorded it. I've never heard anything like that before.
The Mini had nice grip and felt well planted considering it weighs so much less than the VW GTI. But I did have some stability problems. It's not what you think. The body lean of the Mini got me on a couple of corners making the car feel top heavy, a very strange feeling. Otherwise, I don't love the shifter and springy clutch but those are personal preferences. I liked it, but there's no way I would choose one over the GTI. But it did beat out the Civic Si thoroughly...oh and the MX-5.