2007 BMW Mini Cooper S JCW 1.6 petrol turbo from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A great little car with plenty of quirks, but the exterior styling may not be to everyone's taste

Faults:

Right rear brake caliper fell off! Whoever replaced the pads last didn't use any thread locking compound, and the two bolts shook loose and fell off. The only thing holding the caliper was the brake hose and handbrake cable

General Comments:

I just love driving this car. The suspension is hard, it has no body-roll, it corners as if on rails, and the turbo kicks in at low revs (2000) and really gives it a push.

The interior is quirky with the big centre-mounted console and rows of switches, the nav sat system is finicky to program, the radio took me ages to work out and tune, and the "sport" button didn't seem to do anything.

Now that I have worked it all out, the sat nav is good (but a bit dated), the Bluetooth phone is excellent with the controls on the steering wheel, the stereo is brilliant, now that I have tuned it into my favourite stations, and the voice command mostly works now that I understand the menu. The iPod connectivity is a disappointment, not being able to connect to my iPhone 4 either with the cable or via Bluetooth (I can phone using Bluetooth and my iPhone 4). The iPod connectivity will only accept a nano (4GB) or less (I would assume that on later models that this has been updated).

The cruise control works well, keeping spot on whatever speed I set it at, going uphill or down dale. The sport button instantly makes the steering slightly heavier (don't know why that is considered sporty) and apparently changes the mapping on the throttle response, although I really haven't noticed.

Other things; the heated seats are really nice, although winter in Adelaide rarely gets that cold, and by the time the seat has warmed, the engine has warmed and the heater is blowing plenty of hot air.

The bi-xenon headlights are brilliant (pun intended) and the headlight washer was a nice surprise.

The change-colour interior lights are a nice touch; change them to red and pretend that you are in a darkened command centre!

Other nice touches are the sun roof, the three flash indicators for lane-changing, auto lock doors, auto on headlights, auto windscreen wipers, iPhone holder in the centre console (although it does get in the way of the handbrake), keyless entry with push-button engine on/off, height adjustable driver's and passenger's seats, traction control, ABS brakes, reverse sensors and a display on the centre-mount console. It has a high-flow air filter box and high-flow stainless exhaust (both part of the JCW package) with a deep rumbling burble at idle and occasional pops from the exhaust when changing gears, and a loud-enough-to-be-noticed blow-off valve, but not overly noisy

Did I mention that the original owner ordered it with all of the options?

Negatives are that me being 183cm (6 ft), there is absolutely no room between the back of the driver's seat and the rear seat, so if I carry three passengers I have to cramp up a bit. The turbo seems to run out of puff above 5000 RPM, even with the "Sport" button pushed. The pedals are a bit cramped, and with my size 11 shoes on, it is sometimes difficult to avoid hitting the brake and accelerator together (fortunately the on-board computer is smart enough to recognise this and cuts the engine power).

I'm planning to fit a bigger turbo in the near future. In "Standard" trim this car outputs 141Kw from the 1600 cc four. A bigger turbo easily puts out 200+ with no problems on reliability and with minimal ECU retuning.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 17th June, 2013

15th Dec 2014, 11:25

Turns out that the blow-off valve was kaput, hence the running out of puff at 5000 RPM. With the BOV replaced, the engine runs sweet and easily pulls to 7000 RPM. The "Sport" button changes the throttle "Map", so that with it "on", full open throttle is reached with the accelerator pedal only 1/2 way down, to make the throttle more "snappy". It also reduces the amount of power assist in the steering to make it feel more "sporty".

2007 BMW Mini Cooper S 1.6L DOHC 16v turbo from North America

Summary:

Has potential, but a long way to go in engineering and dealer support!

Faults:

In the winter of 2007/08, there was an intermittent cold start cam tappet clacking.

Cam timing jumped after 8 months in June of 2008, two dealers could not figure it out including a factory owned store, and it took them over 40+ days (no loaner either). After trying to charge me for diagnosis because of a few aftermarket items I had in the car, that had nothing to do with the problem, I asked for the car back. Within three hours of getting the car back to my employers office, aftermarket auto parts manufacturer, I had the problem diagnosed thanks to BMW's online factory manual resource site.

I told the dealers it sounded like cam timing, but they just kept pounding away that it was the ignition amplifier I had installed and because I spliced into the wiring. Needless to say it's been almost 6 months and the car runs flawlessly now, although I still get the intermittent cold start clacking, but I'm not going back to the dealers because they couldn't change a light bulb without a GPS.

The moonroof also sticks closed when the weather is hot.

General Comments:

It's a shame BMW/MINI's dealer network is so horrendous, because I think the car is a good baseline for what other manufacturers should offer. The problem is the pricing is way too high for what you get, and there are too many compromises in quality for the price being asked. BMW/MINI also fail to allow improvements to be added to earlier models like auto up window feature found in late 2008 models.

Traction control and stability control should not be in one button like it is now; all or nothing. Many times you want the stability without the traction.

The moonroof should have an auto open/close feature. And for goodness sake, how about a real sunroof shade.

The Cooper S is too high even with sport suspension, as it looks like a tiny SUV.

This is the last BMW/MINI product I will ever own. I've had two VW Jetta's, 2001 Wolfsburg and a 2006 GLI, and they kill the MINI in fit and finish, and for thousands less. And their performance is on par, if not better. Even my 2005 Legacy GT seemed a better overall package, except for the fuel economy!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th December, 2008

4th Oct 2010, 18:47

To be honest, after test driving a 2010 Mini Cooper S, I was disappointed with the performance. Despite being a brand new 1.6 DOHC turbo, it was noticeably slower than the 1091 SAAB 900 Aero I currently drive. What did you think of the Mini's power output/acceleration?