2003 BMW Mini Cooper S 1.6 16v Supercharged from UK and Ireland


My small car of choice


1. Cracked windscreen.

2. Loss of Power on accelarating at around 1500rpm in first gear.

3. MPG!

4. Hard ride.

General Comments:

I bought this car 2nd hand after getting rid of a Vauxhall VX220. I had a Mini Cooper before the VX and only got rid of that because I wanted a soft-top.

I have owned the Mini for 1 month now and found it to be just as reliable as my previous Mini.

I had to replace the Wiper blades and put a new Wheel nut on, but these were due to the previous keeper, not the car and were very well priced by BMW.

I have also had to have the Windscreen replaced as it was cracked when I bought the car. Fair play to BMW, they replaced it straight away on Warranty as they said it was a stress crack, fully cleaned the car and had the work finished on time.

There are only a few things I am unhappy with.

One is the way the car accelerates in 1st gear. Unless you are driving at 10/10ths, there is an annoying dip in power at 1500rpm which makes the driver look like they have no clutch control. This is not repeated in any other gear as the revs don't drop that low when driving normally. I am going to take this up with BMW and see what advise they can offer.

Second is the fuel consumption. I do not race my car, but I don't drive like Miss Daisy either, however I find that 26-27 MPG laughable for a small 1600cc car. I manage only 240 miles on a tank and find myself looking at petrol station pumps far to regularly.

Third is the hard ride. I have the 17" 8 spoke alloys fitted with run-flat tires and find the ride is very hard over most surfaces causing tram-lining on some surfaces.

Overall I am very happy with the car. I expect good resale values when I get rid of the car, which is one of the reasons I chose it. It puts a smile on my face when I use it and would recommend one to a friend.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th August, 2005

2003 BMW Mini Cooper 1.6 petrol, normally aspirated from UK and Ireland


Possibly the most fun you can have with your clothes on


Steering column and rack replaced under warranty, following recall.

Sticking rear caliper, fixed under warranty.

Airbag light on (twice) ; seat belt pretensioners & loom replaced under warranty.

General Comments:

As a person who's owned both the classic Mini and the 'new' MINI, I can say that new car shares many of the original cars basic ingredients. Cheeky looks, fun, handling and entertainment.

But, the new MINI is a totally new car, and not a remake of the classic motor - they are worlds apart in all, but name, with the new car having a few styling nods back to the classic.

My MINI handles like it's on rails, hugging every curve and corner, with fairly safe handling. On the limit, it will understeer first and then flick into oversteer. Many people won't get that far, unless that switch off the traction control.

Suspension, 'sports plus' as fitted to my car, is fairly stiff, and does make for a stiff ride. It's not horrible, but you'll start to avoid raised manhole covers and the bigger dents in our patchwork roads. Wafting cruiser it ain't...

The MINI is decently competent on the motorway - a daily 120 mile round trip commute was dispensed easily, with the MINI happily mixing it with the BMW's and Audi's in the outside lane.

Interior - retro and funky - you either love it or hate it, but most love it. My only complain was the seats: far too much lumbar 'support' even on minimum setting. I almost sold my MINI on that basis, but found a way around it by fitting race seats!

Performance is good. Even though the Cooper doesn't have the supercharged gusto of the 'S' model, it's still reasonably quick. The CVT box steals a certain amount of power, but not so much that you'd notice.

Driven well, a MINI can show a clean tail pipe too many larger and more powerful cars, thanks mostly to it's road holding, and the ability to turn in and carry faster corner speed.

Image - you get a *lot* of attention in a MINI. It seems that everyone loves them :)

The MINI is ripe for customising - be it a union jack on the roof, chrome mirror caps or 'viper' stripes, you can customise away and be sure that there is little chance of another MINI being identical to yours.

Don't believe that these cars are baby BMW's - they're not. Traces of the original Rover heritage are present, for example, the key and airbag connectors are identical to those on a Rover 75.

Whilst the MINI company is BMW owned, you do get good build quality, for cars that were built after the first year or so. There were numerous fixes for early cars, and I suspect that the decision was taken to have dealers fix niggles, rather than stop the production lines. Anyhow, later cars (including mine) are much better built - I've not had any issues other than things fixed under warranty. It's reassuring just how quickly you get used to getting in and knowing that the car will start first time, every time.

Dealer service, in my case, is first class. My dealer is primarily a BMW dealer, and they know how to look after you and your car. Excellent service and support, although you do pay for it.

Whilst the earlier cars are still getting their niggles ironed out, you may get to know your dealer on first name terms, but, as it's all under warranty, it's a pill that's easy to swallow.

That brings me to costs. Yes, the MINI is expensive for what it is... £15k for what is a small car is a lot of money, but you'll soon learn it's worth it for the sheer grin factor and satisfaction.

It's not just purchase price - don't expect excellent MPG from a MINI, expect around 25mpg (UK/imperial gallons that is). Whether that's down to the engine design, or the fact that the MINI has you driving like a loon all the time, I'm not sure ;)

I originally bought a Cooper because the 'S' wasn't available in auto. If it wasn't for a change in my circumstances (requiring a bigger car), I'd chop my Cooper for an automatic 'S'... Ah well, time to start saving I guess!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th November, 2004