Modern Cars Are Gaining An Extra Spare Tyre

The subject of modern cars gaining weight through the evolution of safety and performance has been touched upon here before, the main angle focused upon power-to-weight ratios and whether older cars are more fun to drive than their more powerful yet heavier counterparts.

However, this time around the angle is focused upon actual weight and the sheer glutinous nature of modern design and technology. Did you ever think the quintessentially British Mini Cooper would outweigh a BMW sedan?


I read an article on the 2015 Mini Cooper S in bed this morning and noticed a familiar bhp figure: (189). That’s a horse shy of my BMW E36 325i, I thought.

Descending further through the Cooper S spec sheet I made a note of the curb weight (1495-Kg).


Wow, I said out-loud, the 3 Series of yesteryear is 35-Kg lighter – and that’s with a larger 2.5-L in-line 6 lump.


BMW took over and manufactured Minis in 2000, but even back then the relatively large new concept compared to its Rover predecessor was nearly 300-Kg lighter than the 2015 model. As for its Austin grandaddy, the German sibling is over double the Kgs…

Despite being a horse under power and 35-Kgs heavier, the Cooper S performs well.

Or does it?

Two decades or so separate the E36 and Cooper S, and despite the modern technology, the Mini only manages to knock half a second off the E36 0-60 time.

I do wonder how the Minis of 2030 will fare. Will they weigh in heavier than the BMW F30s of today? Will they need twin turbos just to make it out of the garage. Will a rocket and parachute be required to make a run to the shops?

What do you think? Can manufacturers continue to increase power whilst the added weight of safety and handling software and devices continue to hamper genuine performance gains?


Give me a 236-hp per ton featherweight any day.