This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest MINI Cooper S (06-16) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The Chrysler-developed engine is not the most refined unit but it delivers the goods and the supercharger sounds reminiscent of the original Mini’s gear whine (which we reckon is a good thing). A six-speed gearbox replaces the five-speeder fitted to lesser models. An official John Cooper ‘Works’ conversion ups power to 200bhp making it extremely fast.

The original Cooper S model had 163bhp which was lifted to 170bhp in 2004 when the Convertible was launched.

The MINI is blessed with great handling and it seems to delight in being chucked into the corners with gusto. Big wheel upgrades add extra grip but we prefer its adjustability on the standard wheels and the ride is better too. Steering is quick and full of feedback – you’ll have to watch your shopping in the boot.