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    Thread: Cooper vs. Cooper S?

    1. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 09:05 PM #1
      would love to know what TCL thinks of the base Cooper engine, I know the mini is fairly light, how does the base engine feel compared to the S? will I miss the turbo if i go for a base cooper?
      im really looking at lease rates right now, Mini has fantastic residuals in case anyone was wondering, but that really only applies to the Cooper base, the S takes a dive in terms of residual (68% versus 60ish)

      give me some inspiration mini-lovers of TCL!

    2. Member Eightysixturbo's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 09:09 PM #2
      I had a standard cooper and loved it. The R56 has a charming little engine that putts around town nicely. It's a little harsh but not annoying or anything. Because it is a light car, you don't really feel like you need more power. Also works excellently on the highway.
      pardon my 'merican

    3. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 09:31 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Eightysixturbo View Post
      I had a standard cooper and loved it. The R56 has a charming little engine that putts around town nicely. It's a little harsh but not annoying or anything. Because it is a light car, you don't really feel like you need more power. Also works excellently on the highway.

      does the power band die off when you rev high? when you say harsh, it can't be worse than my subaru h-4 mated to the awd or does it feel underpowered?

    4. Moderator Harv's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 09:52 PM #4
      All depends on the level of use.

      If you need it for commuting and daily driving then the regular Cooper will suffice.

      If your looking for a spirited driver that is used for recreation then the S is a must..

    5. Member Eightysixturbo's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 10:07 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by dieselraver View Post
      does the power band die off when you rev high? when you say harsh, it can't be worse than my subaru h-4 mated to the awd or does it feel underpowered?
      It always felt like it had adequate power delivery and a wide rev range. I never expected much out of a 1.6 but I was very impressed.
      pardon my 'merican

    6. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 10:19 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by Harv View Post
      All depends on the level of use.

      If you need it for commuting and daily driving then the regular Cooper will suffice.

      If your looking for a spirited driver that is used for recreation then the S is a must..

      i need it for commuting, and thats it, however i want a car that will put a smile on my face... (kind of like my GTI when i drove it)

      will i leave with a grin?

    7. 04-06-2012 11:07 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by dieselraver View Post
      would love to know what TCL thinks of the base Cooper engine, I know the mini is fairly light, how does the base engine feel compared to the S? will I miss the turbo if i go for a base cooper?
      im really looking at lease rates right now, Mini has fantastic residuals in case anyone was wondering, but that really only applies to the Cooper base, the S takes a dive in terms of residual (68% versus 60ish)

      give me some inspiration mini-lovers of TCL!

      Why not try a back to back test drive? Of course, with the sport button pressed.

      As others have mentioned - I was surprised with the performance of the base or 'justa' MINI and thought that it was fine (great) for typical around town and highway driving. Plus that base is reported to have better reliability than the S along be being quite a bit cheaper. Granted, if you're planning to race your MINI - then one would assume that you would want an S with a manual trans.

      Also, with a lightly equiped base MINI - you're only spending a few grand more on the MINI than on some boring Honda or Toyota compact - and with the base MINI - you're getting a MUCH more fun car to drive. If you get an S, now the price starts to hit sports car territory. Of course, if you don't care about gas mileage - you can get a stripped down V6 Mustang for the price of a Justa MINI and go A LOT faster.

    8. Member NoLongerLow's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 11:13 PM #8
      I drive my gf's Mini Cooper all of the time. Its the base model, gets ridiculously good gas mileage and is an absolutely blast to drive. The car is very light and compact which makes it VERY tossable and entertaining in the corners. Its sort of like a Miata in that your speed comes from not having to brake as hard. The engine does not rev very fast. It's built more for economy. They are pretty comfortable cars and very pleasant on the highway, too.

      I had a Mini Cooper S. Its faster sure, but for a commuter I can't really say its worth the money.
      Last edited by NoLongerLow; 04-06-2012 at 11:15 PM.
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      04-06-2012 11:24 PM #9
      I have a Clubman S and have had a regular Clubman as a service loaner. There is less power obviously, but it's still a very fun car. The extra fuel economy and better reliability of the non-turbo car are pluses too.

    10. 04-06-2012 11:36 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by dieselraver View Post
      i need it for commuting, and thats it, however i want a car that will put a smile on my face... (kind of like my GTI when i drove it)

      will i leave with a grin?
      As a Cooper S owner, if you want that extra grin, definitely go with an S. I've driven a non-s and while it's nimble, you'll find yourself wanting more.

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      04-06-2012 11:43 PM #11
      The standard Cooper is fun for basic around town commuting. The Cooper S is a big step up in terms of grunt, and the additional torque is nice.

    12. Member johnny_p's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 11:44 PM #12
      A Cooper S will feel about as powerful as a GTI, but have the snappy handling and instant reflexes Minis are known for. They're fantastic cars.
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      04-06-2012 11:56 PM #13
      I've driven many versions of Mini's (Cooper, S, JCW, Clubman, and even the Countryman).

      I felt like the regular Cooper was still quicker and more fun than say a mk5 Rabbit with the 5 cylinder. It was definitely a good car in manual or automatic varieties, especially with the sport button pushed.

      That said, when I drove an S I knew I needed the extra power because of the extra grin it gave me.

      When I was looking to purchase, a standard Cooper would have been acceptable, but it would have left me wanting the S because the extra power and the sound was just intoxicating.

      I went with the end of the 1st gen because thats what I found and what is considered more reliable of the older Mini's. Plus I much preferred the interior layout and the whine of the supercharger.

      If you care more about fuel economy in a fun car, go with the Cooper. You'll see fantastic mileage.

      If you want more smiles per mile go with an S.

      My wife has an 09 Cooper S and loves every bit of it. She sees 25 mpg city out of it.

      I love every bit of my 06 Cooper S. I see 27-28 mpg city out of it.

      I've heard the Cooper can get up to about 10 mpg more than the S, but frankly I don't care.

      Go drive both and see which one you want to live with more. Most people drive the S and don't go back from what I've seen though.
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      04-07-2012 12:41 AM #14
      Last summer I was deciding between a Mini and a GTI and went to the mini dealership to test out both models. I was cautious of the S reliability since it wasn't going to be a lease and took into account the price difference between the 2 models, which was significant. On the test drive the non-S barely moved (there were 3 people in the car and the a/c was on), while the S was exactly what I expected from a Mini. I was ready to buy the S on the spot, but the dealer turned out to be full of ****. He low-balled my trade in by 50% of its actual trade in value and wouldn't go up at all. He called back two days later, and said he apologized but the car was actually sold before I even test drove it.
      (On a side note, I called the dealership from another phone number an hour after our chat and asked about the specific model and they said the car had a deposit on it already but if I pay msrp they will give it to me)

      Sorry for the long story but try to avoid this southern NJ Mini dealership. I'm not sure what the policy is on providing dealership names, but I don't think there are too many south NJ mini dealers.
      Last edited by audi0to60; 04-07-2012 at 12:53 AM.

    15. Member RzinDubs's Avatar
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      04-07-2012 01:07 AM #15
      If you are leasing and have the extra money go for the S. If you are buying for the long term than the Cooper is an excellent choice for the money. My base Cooper is a blast to drive. The only time I wished for more power was overtaking cars on mountainous 2 lane highways. The Mini chassis can handle 100mph+ highways trips effortlessly, the car is just planted to the road.

    16. Member horsty69's Avatar
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      04-07-2012 07:28 AM #16
      Love our non S...we started shopping fully intent on getting an S and drove a ton of configurations...we ended up driving a non s as for comparison and although slower than the s we found it has plenty of power and is a blast to drive...we decided against spending the extra money on the S and I think it was one of the smartest things we did, this car is so much fun to romp around on back roads with and our gas mileage is fantastic.

    17. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 09:52 AM #17
      im scared to test drive the base and then the S b/c i know whats going to happen...

    18. Member Eightysixturbo's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 09:54 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by dieselraver View Post
      im scared to test drive the base and then the S b/c i know whats going to happen...
      I never drove the S, ignorance is bliss
      pardon my 'merican

    19. 04-08-2012 10:29 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by dieselraver View Post
      im scared to test drive the base and then the S b/c i know whats going to happen...
      Yeah, that's why it's best to just pick up an S because you didn't just settle. Seeing an S in the road while in your non-s will eat at you.

    20. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 10:59 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by MFactor View Post
      Yeah, that's why it's best to just pick up an S because you didn't just settle. Seeing an S in the road while in your non-s will eat at you.

      its hard to justify though. lease rates for the Non-S have residual at a whopping 68% whereas the S is only about 60ish%. you're talking lease terms for a non-s with 15k/yr at around $175 with 0 due at signing including my state's tax!

      the S is like 325-350 a month!!

    21. 04-08-2012 11:02 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by dieselraver View Post
      im scared to test drive the base and then the S b/c i know whats going to happen...
      You might be surprised and prefer the base 'justa' during your test drive - I actually did - much to my surprise (and bought one). I forgot to mention that the base also has a less harsh ride than the S. If you have a long daily commute - the harsh ride of the S might be a little wearing.

      Also, If you can resist the urge to add (very expensive MINI) options - a stripped down base MINI is a great car for the money. An S with a just few options starts to get pricey surprisingly quickly and MINI dealers don't discount much. Be ready with your COSTCO card. Of course, S models with expensive options is how MINI makes their money. Granted, their are certain desirable colors that are only available on the S - such as eclipse gray - which may also impact your decision.

    22. 04-08-2012 11:25 AM #22
      I drove the electric MINI--the MINI E--for two years. When it was in for its routine data dump or whatever it was they did, they usually gave me a base automatic MINI as a loaner. Never an 'S' and sometimes a BMW 3 series (a whole other story).

      The loaners were always automatics, so take this for what it's worth. Coming from the exhilarating transmissionless full-torque-all-the-time MINI E, the base automatic MINI was:

      • Loud. Really loud. MINIs have very little sound-deadening insulation because, well, that's not what they are. Nevertheless, the electric MINI was quieter than a luxury car. So by comparison the loaner standard MINI sounded like a Smart Car. In other words: obnoxiously noisy, especially at low speeds where it was difficult to reconcile the racket with the low speed and only modest acceleration.
      • Hesitant. The automatic transmission in MINIs is pretty crap. But, coming from an electric car, any ICE feels laggy. The lack of responsiveness to input on the accelerator pedal frustrated me.
      • Twitchy at all the wrong times. The whole chassis would shake a bit during shifts. Okay, all transmissions do this, but it was really prominent in the MINI. Especially bothersome was all of the shaking when coming to a stop.

      All that said, once you got it up to speed, it was fine at cruising along.

      I am now an admitted electric car snob, so it's very possible that the things I didn't like would be things that don't bother you, or maybe even characteristics you enjoy. (I've heard many people here say they enjoy the loud engines of ICEs, for example.)

    23. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 12:01 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by dieselraver View Post
      its hard to justify though. lease rates for the Non-S have residual at a whopping 68% whereas the S is only about 60ish%. you're talking lease terms for a non-s with 15k/yr at around $175 with 0 due at signing including my state's tax!

      the S is like 325-350 a month!!
      Well that pretty much sums it up then. Your comparison is wrong. You should instead be asking what other car for $175/month will be as fun as a base Mini. I'd say no other car would. Go for the base Cooper.

    24. Member urbancynic's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 12:11 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      Well that pretty much sums it up then. Your comparison is wrong. You should instead be asking what other car for $175/month will be as fun as a base Mini. I'd say no other car would. Go for the base Cooper.
      I'm going to agree. If money is the motivation then stick with the cheaper base for lower payment and better fuel economy.
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      04-08-2012 12:31 PM #25
      For a commuter just do a Cooper. 10k residual is 68% where an S is 63% and $3k higher price. It's a fun car in either trim with a stick

    26. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 01:44 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by MAGICGTI View Post
      For a commuter just do a Cooper. 10k residual is 68% where an S is 63% and $3k higher price. It's a fun car in either trim with a stick
      yep. with 15k miles its actually 65% i'll take the 3% hit on that! money factor isnt bad either for a car with included maint. 0.00150

      looks like a base cooper is in my sights... although the wife is dying for a sunroof... sigh i have a feeling i will want a base, we'll walk out with a fully loaded S

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      04-08-2012 01:55 PM #27
      Sunroof is no problem' get heated seats too. Bluetooth and USB is nice especially for iPhone users.

    28. Member jtubes's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 02:05 PM #28
      I was in a similar situation recently. I decided on on a cooper s. The car has been a blast to drive and I have been averaging 31mpg in mixed conditions. Plus the cooper s makes a burble and a pop noise from the exhaust which always puts a smile on my face.

    29. Senior Member Aonarch's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 02:08 PM #29
      I'd get the Cooper, if this question came up, meaning if you aren't sure you even need the S, the Cooper is for you.
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    30. Member jtubes's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 02:09 PM #30
      Almost forgot about rule#1. Here is a pic of my car

    31. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 04:02 PM #31
      Here's my '11 Mini Cooper:



      6000 fun miles on it so far. Never really wanted more power in a daily driver. It's quite fun and the sport button changes throttle response so it feels quicker than it really is. Handling is exemplary for a FWD commuter, and I have the sport package so it has the better seats, as well. Just took it on a trip to CT from Baltimore (6 hours each way) and was comfortable and got mid-upper 30s for fuel mileage on the highway.

      No regrets, and I've driven the S many times before.
      I love cars, but the problem is they are like schroedinger's hobby. They're always in a quantum superstate of being both awesome and a huge waste of time and money... until observation momentarily forces them into one state or another.

    32. Member BetterByDesign's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 06:07 PM #32
      I test drove both and did not find a noticible difference; but it was a very light test drive, so I would agree for daily commuting there is not a lot of difference in the fun factor.

      I dont know when the turbo kicks in or what the torque curve on the S, but driven the same way, I could feel a noticible difference on the VW turbos even putting around town.

      Unlike VW through MINI does make more of a point in styling with the turbo...the car just seems larger...

    33. Member gsrroger's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 07:05 PM #33
      I had an '04 Cooper that I autocrossed and tracked regularly, until becoming a father. I also autocrossed my friend's Cooper S, and have test driven the newer "Peugeot" engined cars, as well.

      For daily driving and autocross, I think the Cooper is 95+% of the car that the Cooper S is. Track days are the only time that I really missed the extra power. For autocross, the S had more power than tire, so it really isn't all that much faster than the Cooper. And since the extra power is mostly spent smoking the front wheels coming out of corners, it isn't all that satisfying to use said extra power anyhow. On the track, where you can be deep into 3rd gear, the extra power actually does something fun.

      Anyhow, that's my take.

    34. Member johnny_p's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 07:15 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by jtubes View Post
      Almost forgot about rule#1. Here is a pic of my car
      When I was looking for cars, it was between the Cooper S and the GTI. I picked the Cooper S actually, but the dealership was entirely unwilling to talk on price, and I would have had to wait 6 weeks to order one. My current car was in the crapper and had to go ASAP, so I settled on the GTI.

      But this is almost exactly how mine would have looked. Black roof, black wheels, British racing green.
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    35. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      04-08-2012 10:29 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by jtubes View Post
      Almost forgot about rule#1. Here is a pic of my car
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris_V View Post
      Here's my '11 Mini Cooper:



      6000 fun miles on it so far. Never really wanted more power in a daily driver. It's quite fun and the sport button changes throttle response so it feels quicker than it really is. Handling is exemplary for a FWD commuter, and I have the sport package so it has the better seats, as well. Just took it on a trip to CT from Baltimore (6 hours each way) and was comfortable and got mid-upper 30s for fuel mileage on the highway.

      No regrets, and I've driven the S many times before.
      i must admit, those are two striking looking mini's Chris_V is yours a 6MT?

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