- Strong performance
- Retro styling
- Great fun to drive
- Funky interior
- Few bargains for the used buyer
- Air con wasn't standard on earlier models
The MINI Cooper S has an historic name stretching all the way back to the early days of the small car’s history. However, there is nothing old fashioned about the latest Cooper S, offering both petrol and diesel engines with strong performance.
This is allied to economy and emissions that are bang up to date, while the interior of the MINI continues to offer a unique style that has helped make it a sales hit from the moment BMW first relaunched the MINI brand in 2001.
Style and substance
While some may mumble and grumble the new MINI is not anywhere nears as small and compact as the original car that inspired it, there’s no doubt the modern MINI is a hugely appealing machine in its own right.
The styling pays its dues to the original but there are plenty of other flourishes that distinguish the current car from the crowd, especially when Fiat and Volkswagen both have their own retro models to tempt buyers away from the MINI. However, the Fiat 500 and Volkswagen Beetle cannot match the MINI for the way it drives, which is one element the new car keeps entirely intact from the original. With its squat, square stance, the MINI is great fun to drive and the Cooper S models back this up with the power and performance you’d expect of a car bearing this badge.
Since the first modern MINI rolled off the line in 2001, and following on with the second generation of BMW MINI in 2006, the company has offered a bewildering array of options and equipment to help make your car your own. There are three basic packs to choose from, comprising Salt, Chili and Pepper, that group together some essential and desirable options.
Beyond that, however, there’s a plethora of accessories and options, from spotlights and alloy wheels all the way to different roof decals and interior finishes. All of this helps make the MINI tailor itself to the exact tastes of its first owner, but it also means used buyers need to be specific and careful to choose a car with a specification that matches their needs and wants. For the full MINI Cooper S review read on.