- Repair & Care
Even though the regular Mini Cooper performs energetically with its 115-horsepower engine, avid enthusiasts inevitably crave more power. For them, the company also offers the Mini Cooper S, which comes equipped with a supercharged 163-hp engine. With a six-speed-manual transmission, the high-performance Cooper S can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds.Late in the 2003 model year, Mini upped the ante with a John Cooper Works Tuning Kit, which boosts output to 200 hp. The 2004 models get only minor enhancements. BMW is noted for rear-wheel-drive automobiles, but the Cooper and Cooper S are front-wheel-drive cars. A Mini Cooper Convertible will go on sale in September 2004 as a 2005 model.
Defying its 115-hp output, the Cooper’s engine delivers plenty of zest, but response in the middle gears at low speeds occasionally falters. Only the most ardent enthusiasts need to consider the higher-powered Cooper S, whose impact is most noticeable at relatively high engine speeds. The Cooper S delivers its extra vigor with no significant penalty in ride comfort. The five-speed-manual transmission and clutch make a great team, and the Getrag six-speed in the Cooper S is even sweeter.Despite very short bottoms, the available sport seats are comfortable and supportive. The huge center speedometer is easy to read at a glance. The mirrors are a bit small, and the front seat lacks grab handles.