My overall thought of the car is PURE LOVE! There really is nothing bad I can say.
Yes, I hear about the power and lack there of with the Cooper, but what do you expect when 116 horsepower is pushing 2500 pounds? I personally am impressed with the power that is available, especially if you keep the RPM’s above 3500. If you understand one thing about this engine, understand this; it produces 70 pounds of torque per liter of displacement, which is the same as the Z06 Corvette!
The gas mileage I have experienced (with a heavy right foot) is 29.8 MPG city, average speed 25 MPH, and 35 MPG highway, average speed 80 MPH.
Let's talk street legal go-kart, like it's on rails, accident avoiding handling. Sure, the ride is a little rough compared to a sedan, but have you ever ridden in one of those tuner cars before? (now that’s what I call rough). I have improved the ride some, with ditching the run-flats and stock wheels, and replaced them with 17” racing wheels and BF Goodrich G-Force Sport 215/40 ZR17 tires (which subsequently also improved the feel and handling of the car dramatically for the better).
The interior styling is stunning and very functional. I have the interior chrome package, and it all just POPS!
I have the Harmon/Kardon upgraded sound system, and I must say I am impressed with its performance (especially with its tonal balance and clarity). This is coming from an auto sound system enthusiast, who will eventually install an aftermarket system, and get back into competing in auto sound challenges.
The exterior styling is unmistakable MINI, and I have the pure silver with black top, and a center bonnet and boot racing stripe.
Now let's talk safety. I recently was in a collision that involved my friend's 2002 Cooper S (I was driving it) that involved some twisty roads, gravel and one unfortunate 2003 Nissan Frontier. I managed to get myself into a curve that tightened considerably in a blind section, started to lose the tire track in the road, and got into the gravel that was on the center line. I could not correct the situation (I doubt that any other car would have been able to) and clipped the truck at the driver's rear wheel with the driver's front corner of the Mini. Everyone was fine and no major injuries were sustained.
As for the Frontier, the truck did a 180 and the rear axle was turned 45 degrees. The wheel was gone, the suspension some 50’ away and the rear drive line was sitting 20’ feet away from the resting point of the truck.
The Mini however sustained localized damage to the driver’s front quarter section to include the front bumper, fender and filler (that small section between the fender and door), driver’s front wheel and suspension, air bag deployment and the driver’s side window (which was broken and removed by my left arm being launched from the air bag).
The combined speed of the impact was estimated at 75 MPH. I sustained only a few minor abrasions on my left arm as a result of going through the side window. Despite having the driver’s front wheel turned to the left from the impact, I was still able to control the car enough to avoid going over a 120’ embankment by steering the car to the right. I’m not sure I would be here today reviewing this wonderful little car if I was driving something other than a Mini.
Now after reading the other reviews, I have to comment on the service. Not only does the dealership treat me like I am driving up in a 7 series BMW, but they provide a rental car (at no charge) on repairs of the littlest things and service intervals. I have received no argument whatsoever from the service staff, and even received some freebies. So to rebut the previous reviews on service, I would suggest finding another service center that cares.