MINI Cooper S Checkmate Inverness

Based on the flagship Cooper S, the Checkmate concentrates on improving the MINI's aesthetics rather than its performance. Outside, it gets unique (and very smart) Space Blue metallic paint, dubious chequered stickers on the front wings, Checkmate badges on the B-pillar, bonnet stripes and new 17-inch alloys.

Corrie Motors
01463 226000
52 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Delmore Cars Ltd
01463 231214
Inverness

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Charter Flights Ltd
01463 230430
66 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Top Car
01463 713880
1 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Dicksons Of Inverness Ltd
01463 712800
28-34 Carsegate Road
Inverness

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John R Weir
01463 238008
Longman Road
Inverness

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Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd
01463 230885
46 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Bannerman Seat
01463 222841
44 Harbour Road
Inverness

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Alistair Macpherson
01463 714448
21 Seafield Road
Inverness

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Calterdon Ltd
01463 236566
Harbour Road
Inverness

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MINI Cooper S Checkmate

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It's no secret that the current MINI's days are numbered! Development of its replacement is well underway, and the wraps are due to come off a new model next year. As a result, BMW is aiming to shift as much of the remaining stock as possible, ensuring the MINI's final year is its best ever for sales, which are already up 12 per cent in 2005.

With such demand, the Oxford-based company doesn't need a discount model to keep interest in the marque alive - which is why three fully loaded special-edition cars have arrived. We took the wheel of the first, the Cooper S Check-mate, to see how it shapes up.

Based on the flagship Cooper S, the Checkmate concentrates on improving the MINI's aesthetics rather than its performance. Outside, it gets unique (and very smart) Space Blue metallic paint, dubious chequered stickers on the front wings, Checkmate badges on the B-pillar, bonnet stripes and new 17-inch alloys.

Step inside and there's more Check-mate branding on the kick plates - but most noticeable is the new upholstery. Bold blue and silver leather covers the seats and steering wheel, while the dash is an identical colour to the exterior and the headlining gets a swanky metallic grey finish. It's all very swish and trendy.

Other extras over the standard car include air-con, an on-board computer, front foglights and xenon headlamps, an interior lighting pack and a limited slip dif-ferential - to help put the supercharged 1.6's 170bhp on to the road. These toys add a hefty £2,450 to the Cooper S price, though, bringing it to £17,635.

And while MINI points out that all the Checkmate options would cost 25 per cent more if bought individually, a Cooper S with the Chili Pack would get virtually the same additions - apart from the bespoke exterior and interior - for £1,600. Since the Checkmate drives no differently to the standard car - and, as such, is one of the finest hot hatches on sale, with well weighted steering, great agility and storming acceleration - it seems an expensive way of standing out from the crowd.

As the Checkmate will be relatively rare, buyers are paying for exclusivity. But then MINI customers love to personalise their cars - so the firm should have no trouble selling the newcomer.

Author: Sam Hardy

MINI Cooper S Checkmate