In 1959, a new, boxy subcompact coupe emerged in England using a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel-drive layout. Within its tiny footprint it provided a surprising amount of usable space for people and packages. Because it was affordable, stylish, fun to drive and easy to park anywhere, the British Mini and sportier Mini Cooper quickly achieved icon status around the world.
The Mini Cooper returned to our shores in 2002 under BMW’s direction to resurrect the legend. New Minis have provided a unique blend of classic British mini-car heritage and charm with precise German engineering and construction.
Second Generation Mini Cooper Models
The Mini Cooper hatchback’s second generation spanned from model year 2007-2013. This second-generation hatchback and convertible were available as a base Cooper, turbocharged Cooper S and, starting for 2009, the high-output turbocharged Cooper John Cooper Works (JCW).
The goal in this redesign was an evolutionary one, as befitting an icon. The Mini Cooper’s mechanicals were updated and many shortcomings were addressed. Notably, the ride was improved, build quality strengthened and all-new engines boasted more refinement and better fuel economy.
Originally, the Cooper came with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produced 118 hp. The Cooper S featured a turbocharged version of the same engine that produced 172 hp. JCW versions were rated at 208 hp. For 2011, the base Cooper’s output rose to 121 hp and the turbocharged S to 181 hp. A six-speed manual transmission was standard and a six-speed automatic was available.
First Generation Mini Cooper Models
Mini sold the first generation of the modern Mini Cooper hatchback from 2002-’06. If you’re looking for a Cooper Convertible from this era, they were sold from 2005-’08, while a 207-hp John Cooper Works edition arrived for 2005.
Those interested in this generation should be aware of some of the key differences between it and the current car. For starters, the standard Cooper had just 115 hp. Secondly, Cooper S models were then supercharged (rather than today’s turbocharged cars) and we’d recommend these, as they weighed in with a more forceful 163 ponies (or 168 for ’05 on). The Cooper came standard with a five-speed manual. The Cooper S came standard with a six-speed manual, and starting in ’05, a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters was optional.
To keep things fresh and perky in 2005, Mini updated the Cooper’s front and rear fascias, though it wasn’t so significant that many should notice or care. More important to note are the addition of features for ’04, like a more comfortable three-spoke steering wheel and a digital speedometer mounted in the tachometer.