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In the exotic island of Bali, Indonesia - from twisting mountain roads to the vibrant town of Seminyak - a gang of MINIs prove to be petite but fun and feisty.

06 Oct 2016

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When most 'laymen' think of MINI - the British automotive marque owned by BMW - rarely do 'razor-sharp dynamics' and 'performance' come to mind. Instead, most car buyers nowadays imagine a MINI as a car for those who listen religiously to Mumford & Sons, hang out at Drinks & Co, are fond of photography, fashion and cute cats on Instagram.

The new MINI generation elevates the brand while staying true to its vision: to capture and drive the spirit of the time
As our fellow writer Desmond describes, a MINI is a motoring cum lifestyle statement for the young and hip.

But the latest generation of MINI cars are now presented in a far more sophisticated style thanks to the introduction of the company's new premium and comprehensive brand identity. While they remain superbly stylish and sporty, two symbols of MINI's refined brand philosophy - the new MINI Cooper Clubman and the new MINI Cooper Convertible - boast extra maturity, and demand to be a taken a bit more seriously.

As we've already experienced from local test drives, any MINI is a ton of fun to drive but to properly enjoy one, we wandered to the exotic island paradise known as Bali for a couple of days for the MINI Adventure 2016.

Space

For cars bearing the MINI moniker, it's surprising to know just how spacious the cars are. On the trip was a mix of the Convertible, Clubman and the respective S variants. There is a stigma, which dictates cars such as the Convertible aren't 'practical' but the belongings of my co-driver and I - a number of camera bags, laptop bags and backpacks et cetera - fit snugly in the 215-litre trunk. There's also enough space and comfort for two more in the second row. In the Clubman, there's 360 litres, enough stowage for a company of four.

Pace

Whisking around snaking tarmac is the strong suit of any MINI
Our first day in Bali saw us driving the cars from Tanjung Benoa, famous for water sports and wonderful sunrise views to our first stop in Secret Garden, Baturiti, about an hour away. Just like the design of a MINI, the amazing design of the Secret Garden is made up of traditional structures and modern geometrical shapes.

The place is home to mini beauty factory and store and a fancy restaurant, which towers over a beautiful rice field. As I enjoyed a hot cup of Balinese kopi, staring at the beautiful landscape, I was pleased and strangely at ease.

The roads from Baturiti to our next destination, Krisna beach, meant jaunting our MINI up twisty, demanding Balinese mountain roads. And while the up-slopes and sharp apexes would've troubled many a car, our MINI was performing surely, dancing around the tarmac and exiting each corner valorously, like a go-kart on steroids. On such snaking roads, the playful dynamics of a MINI truly come to shine.
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