2009 MINI Cooper S Review

Tuesday September 8th, 2009 at 1:99 PM
Posted by: peter

>> Review by Peter N. >> Photographs by Derek Mau

Pros:

  • Small, zippy driving experience
  • Cool cockpit design
  • Good iPod integration
  • Low road noise

Cons:

  • Ultra-stiff suspension setup
  • Small trunk
  • No rear leg room

Introduction
I recall on one of my first trips to Europe coming across a Mini Cooper parked in the street. I was awestruck that anyone would sell, let alone buy, such a small car. We took photos of it to prove to our friends how small European cars were. It really lived up to name. This was back in the 80′s, so it was one of the “original” Mini Cooper designs. Ever since BMW re-launched the MINI Cooper line in 2000, I’ve always wanted to see how the brand that builds the ultimate driving machine would recreate an ultra-small British car. As it turns out, just about what you would expect: a small but very sporty car that is simple, but well done.

2009 MINI Cooper S
Driving Impressions
I drove the Cooper S Hardtop, which is only a few thousand more than the basic Cooper Hardtop, but offers a significant boost in horsepower from 118 to 172. Offered at about $22,000, the bill jumped almost 50% with all the nice extras such as leather seats, iPod integration, panoramic sunroof and the full aerodynamic kit. BMW is one of the best in the business with padding the price via the extras and they have continued that tradition with the MINI brand. Regardless, the extras do make ownership more enjoyable for those who can afford them and they are, by definition, optional. They do not improve on or diminish the fun driving experience of what can best be summarized as a zippy little go-kart on steroids.

Build
The Cooper S is a solid little car. The doors have a decent “thunk” and the materials used in the cockpit appeared of high quality. Nothing was overly fancy- even the upgraded leather seats came off feeling pretty basic. They were put together quite well, but with minimal adjustments or padding. The flimsy plastic knobs for the stereo system were the only item that seemed out of place in an otherwise robust interior made from high quality materials. The surprisingly low road noise suggested good design, sufficient noise dampening material, and good construction. The car body showed no imperfections or gaps. The MINI web site offers a virtual tour of the thoroughly modern Oxford, England factory where all MINI’s are built. The place is packed with automated robots spinning, welding, and joining the various body assemblies, as well as laser measuring station that supposedly checks the cars to meet measurement specifications to within the width of a human hair. With all the precision machines used to assemble these cars, I don’t expect many cars would fail that test.

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3 Responses to 2009 MINI Cooper S Review

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  2. Derek says:

    The MINI Cooper now has more competition. We review the Ford Fiesta and the Fiat 500.

    2011 Ford Fiesta expert reviews
    http://reviews.carreview.com/ford-fiesta-overview/#expert_reviews

    2012 Fiat 500 expert reviews
    http://reviews.carreview.com/fiat-500-overview/#expert_reviews

  3. 8gb sd card says:

    So far the MINI has been the only premium small car in America.But soon it will be joined by the Fiat 500 and Ford Fiesta.





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