I’ve had Sarah for almost a year now and I am still often not getting it right when I pull away in first gear. The Cooper has a high torque engine and it doesn’t really respond until you get above 3000 rpm. So I try to get the rpms up before I bring the clutch up but what happens quite often is that it’s about 1500 rpm when the clutch engages and the first thing that happens is the revs go down to about 1000, its like the accelerator has fallen into a hole. Then it picks up and we’re off.
Its annoying because I get challenged quite a bit, either implicitly or explicitly. I’ll roll up to a stop light and the car (usually a pickup of a Neon) behind will pull alongside me. 9 times out of 10 I should have no trouble leaving the car in my dust but when I get that first gear wrong, it takes a few seconds to catch them up – leaving the wrong impression about the might of the MINI!