Automakers no longer make small cars in bulk, but we still have models like the Toyota GR86 and Mazda MX-5 Miata. They’re less practical enthusiast vehicles, but that’s where cars like the three-door Mini Cooper SE can come into play. It’s small but a little more functional, thanks to the hatch. But can it compete with two custom sports cars? A new video from The Fast Lane Car trying to find out.
The Toyota GR86 has a power advantage over the other two. It sports a Subaru 2.4-liter boxer engine that pumps out 228 horsepower (170 kilowatts) and 184 pound-feet (249 Newton-meters) of torque. That’s more than the MX-5 Miata RF, a direct competitor. Mazda has a smaller 2.0-liter inline-four engine that produces 181 hp (134 kW) and 151 lb-ft (204 Nm).
The Mini Cooper SE finds itself in some sort of middle ground between the two. That produces the same amount of horsepower as the Miata, but makes more torque than the Toyota – 199 lb-ft (269 KW) of the electric motor driving the front wheels, which gives the Mini a small advantage over the other two.
The Mini is the underdog in this race, a three-door hatch between two affordable rear-wheel-drive sports cars. However, the Mini was the fastest of the three through the quarter mile. It finished the race ahead of the other two in 15.67 seconds at 91.0 miles per hour (146 kilometers per hour). Toyota was second in 16.14 seconds at 92.1 mph (148 kph). Mazda took third, but it wasn’t far behind Toyota, finishing at 86.8 mph (139 kph) in 16.4 seconds.
The Mini Cooper SE may not be a direct competitor to the Toyota GR86 and Mazda MX-5 Miata, but its electric powertrain is powerful enough to put it ahead of the other two on the drag strip. Starting off well helps Mini too. It will be interesting to see how the Mini will compare to the other two on the race track, where the suspension and weight tuning might emphasize their differences more than in a straight-line drag race.