A great little car with plenty of quirks, but the exterior styling may not be to everyone's taste
Right rear brake caliper fell off! Whoever replaced the pads last didn't use any thread locking compound, and the two bolts shook loose and fell off. The only thing holding the caliper was the brake hose and handbrake cable
I just love driving this car. The suspension is hard, it has no body-roll, it corners as if on rails, and the turbo kicks in at low revs (2000) and really gives it a push.
The interior is quirky with the big centre-mounted console and rows of switches, the nav sat system is finicky to program, the radio took me ages to work out and tune, and the "sport" button didn't seem to do anything.
Now that I have worked it all out, the sat nav is good (but a bit dated), the Bluetooth phone is excellent with the controls on the steering wheel, the stereo is brilliant, now that I have tuned it into my favourite stations, and the voice command mostly works now that I understand the menu. The iPod connectivity is a disappointment, not being able to connect to my iPhone 4 either with the cable or via Bluetooth (I can phone using Bluetooth and my iPhone 4). The iPod connectivity will only accept a nano (4GB) or less (I would assume that on later models that this has been updated).
The cruise control works well, keeping spot on whatever speed I set it at, going uphill or down dale. The sport button instantly makes the steering slightly heavier (don't know why that is considered sporty) and apparently changes the mapping on the throttle response, although I really haven't noticed.
Other things; the heated seats are really nice, although winter in Adelaide rarely gets that cold, and by the time the seat has warmed, the engine has warmed and the heater is blowing plenty of hot air.
The bi-xenon headlights are brilliant (pun intended) and the headlight washer was a nice surprise.
The change-colour interior lights are a nice touch; change them to red and pretend that you are in a darkened command centre!
Other nice touches are the sun roof, the three flash indicators for lane-changing, auto lock doors, auto on headlights, auto windscreen wipers, iPhone holder in the centre console (although it does get in the way of the handbrake), keyless entry with push-button engine on/off, height adjustable driver's and passenger's seats, traction control, ABS brakes, reverse sensors and a display on the centre-mount console. It has a high-flow air filter box and high-flow stainless exhaust (both part of the JCW package) with a deep rumbling burble at idle and occasional pops from the exhaust when changing gears, and a loud-enough-to-be-noticed blow-off valve, but not overly noisy
Did I mention that the original owner ordered it with all of the options?
Negatives are that me being 183cm (6 ft), there is absolutely no room between the back of the driver's seat and the rear seat, so if I carry three passengers I have to cramp up a bit. The turbo seems to run out of puff above 5000 RPM, even with the "Sport" button pushed. The pedals are a bit cramped, and with my size 11 shoes on, it is sometimes difficult to avoid hitting the brake and accelerator together (fortunately the on-board computer is smart enough to recognise this and cuts the engine power).
I'm planning to fit a bigger turbo in the near future. In "Standard" trim this car outputs 141Kw from the 1600 cc four. A bigger turbo easily puts out 200+ with no problems on reliability and with minimal ECU retuning.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 17th June, 2013