Beautiful examples of the R56 Mini with colour screen, upgraded speakers, sunroof and with a bit of searching one that comes with beautiful lounge seats could be had for over a hundred thousand. Prices are unfortunately strong because Minis tend to keep their value well. If one can tolerate a bumpy ride, the second generation Cooper S is seriously good fun. Since 2006, it’s got ambient lighting, something Mercedes Benz is bragging about today.
(260Nm on overboost)
0-100 km/h: 7.2s
Top speed: 228 km/h
From RM 70,000
In my eyes, it is the best looking of the three generations of BMW’s Mini. The door opens and closes with a ‘clank’ is a nice touch that adds to the retro experience. Yes, the new S has a 2-litre engine that pulls strong but it is not as exciting or zingy as the R56. Nor does it give the driver the sense of speed once the speedometer goes past 70 miles an hour. As for the steering, electric it might be but it’s of the better ones, light during parking while weighty as speed picks up. Select sport for a better sense of connection or shall I say an even more spirited drive as its 1.6 heart reaches for redline. Its exhaust? Spritely, loud enough to entertain the driver while keeping people around happy.
Some may complaint it is daft to have window switches on the bottom of the dash but I personally find it trivial especially so if it isn’t your daily driver. In all honesty, I cannot tolerate the rock hard suspension coupled to run flat tyres. So I would have normal ones to go with a handy sealant if things get punctured. The S’ brakes are a tad grabby for daily driving. That apart, gear shifts aren’t snappy but so is the one in the '17 Cooper S.
For being around for over a year now, the Cooper has only gone in for a regular service, swapped for a new battery as well as tyres changed. It is unlikely to go wrong with the hatch, just avoid the coupe (a thing with baseball cap worn backwards) as it is rare and a discontinued model.