Can you believe that BMW’s MINI is now 18 years old? It may seem like not too long ago that the cute little hatchback made a big splash in the car market, but time flies and it’s now of legal age! The MINI Hatch has since grown in size, and a couple of bodystyles have been introduced, but the essence of the playful brand has remained intact. Most importantly, it’s still cool.

We have here the MINI in its most original (modern) form, the three-door hatchback in Cooper S guise, painted in a lovely shade of green with white on the stripes and roof. If you want a MINI, you want to look cool and want the car to look cute – so, surely this dinky 3 Door has to be only and right choice? We think so, but clearly many don’t, and BMW provides the 5 Door for the cop-outs.

Just joking. The F56 third-generation MINI surfaced at the tail end of 2013 and was launched in Malaysia in March 2014. The Cooper S is powered by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo engine with 192 hp and 280 Nm of torque. That’s one pot more than the Cooper’s three-cylinder 1.5L engine, and bigger in capacity compared to the turbo engines of the Peugeot 208 GTi and Ford Fiesta ST.

The 0-100 km/h sprint is completed in 6.7 seconds before a 233 km/h top speed is reached. To compare, the previous-gen Cooper S did 184 hp, 240 Nm, 7.2 seconds and 223 km/h. The 1.5L Cooper has 136 hp and 220 Nm, and does 0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds.

The F56 comes with a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, but this gearbox will soon be replaced with a seven-speed (wet) dual-clutch transmission. If you’re not a fan of DCTs, consider this a last call. Steering paddle shifters are standard in the Cooper S.

Also standard are full LED headlamps and foglights, 17-inch Tentacle Spoke Silver wheels, leather sports seats (manual), dual-zone air con, MINI Radio Visual Boost (with a 6.5-inch screen and iDrive-style controller), Black Checkered interior trim, black headlining and a John Cooper Works steering wheel. Comfort Access keyless entry and start was added in mid-2017 (previously keyless start without entry).

It’s very easy to distinguish a Cooper S from the Cooper. The more powerful car’s chin has two extra ducts and the bonnet gets a vent. At the back, there are twin central tailpipes framed by a sportier lower bumper design. The 17-inch wheels are an inch larger than the rims on the Cooper.

If you have RM229,888 to spend on a new set of wheels, there are no shortage of options, whether you’re shopping for a premium runabout or a hot hatch. Objectively, the MINI is poor value for money, but you know that already – those seeking the most metal for their money won’t even come close. But as a fashion accessory, it’s right up there, and style comes at a price.

Of course, the MINI is also a fun car with a really unique character, dynamically. There’s nothing else quite like it to drive out there, hot hatch or not. It’s a funny little thing, and rather endearing, not unlike a playful pet. It isn’t a car for everyone, though. At RM230k, is it for you? Watch our walk-around video and decide.

GALLERY: MINI Cooper S 3 Door