• I know the mileage is disconcerting, but these must do well as the miles keep getting added on. When my step-daughter was in the market for a car I looked at numerous Mini Coopers and they all had higher mileage with the owners telling me the same story…. no issues at all and just simply a great car, etc. This one would be at the higher end of the mileage spectrum for me, but if you can find one with lower miles on it then I'd jump on it.

  • If I were a betting man, I'd wager that this car has a factory LSD, as the yellow windshield wiper fluid indicator on the stalk indicates that this car has the cold weather package dubbed the 'Chili Pack'. A VIN check will show that.

    It also looks to have a JCW exhaust, judging by how the tips are small-ish but slash-cut. I've owned two of these, currently driving an '06 JCW in this color. Fun for the money cannot be beat, and in 10 years when everyone is clamoring for the nostalgia that a port-injected, supercharged, manual, screen-less car provides, these will be a classic.

    • How has the reliability been? I almost pulled the trigger on one a few years back but it had a few issues that I wasn't prepared to dig that far into the car to fix.

    • A.K. — in 10 years…? I'm already clamoring for port-injected, supercharged, manual, screen-less stuff!! I thought I was a geezer, but I could be a trend setter.

    • @CMiller: Reliability for both was/is actually good. And not in a brand apologist kind of "good". The key is approaching them armed with knowledge of their common failure points that often go overlooked and unrepaired, just like any other 15 year old car. Mushroomed strut towers, leaky motor mount, and weeping coolant tanks are the common items. On my current tuned JCW, I've only replaced a Crank Sensor O-Ring ($6, 1 hour) and a T-Stat Housing Gasket ($80 Kit, 1.5 hours).

      @DailyTurismo: Same. Call me a Luddite, but at 38 years old and after owning 23 cars, I still refuse to adopt Direct Injection and any sort of developed 'In Car Entertainment' systems. My 2011 Fiesta has Sync Gen 1, which does everything I need and way more.

      Back on the R53 Mini, it's the only car I've bought twice, and my list of past rides includes a boosted Miata, built MR2 Turbo, WRX, 135i, multiple RX7's, various Mazdaspeed offerings, 6 SR20DET & DET rides, etc. I truly can't think of any car for the price point that better combines all the attributes of car that's fun to drive and own.

    • Shameless self-promotion photos of my current MINI:
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  • Such perfect little cars. Small, quick, 3 pedals. But maybe the ugliest dashboard of all time. The. Ugliest. Dashboard. Of. All. Time. Will prevent me from ever actually buying one. I wonder if a dashboard swap is a thing. On the other hand, the E30 is the best cockpit/dash of all time. So there, now you know my opinion.

    • Ya know, the dash grew on me. I hear this complaint a lot, but what I hear even more often is car enthusiasts asking for simple, analog dials that are driver-centric. Well, that's what you get here: An analog, standalone and center-mounted Tach, that provides MPH in the little tiny screen at the bottom. You can ignore the Flava Flav speedo entirely.

      What's even more fun, is that there are no less than 5 different colors that you can source the dash panels in, making what in most cars is uncustomizeable just that.

    • The problem is your spouse can't ignore that huge speedo 🙂 My wife would constantly tell me how fast I was going in mine, I told her I knew how fast I was going but for some reason it was always an issue.

  • I think i used to own that car, I sold it to a guy in Austin like 8 years ago who was from the Northeast! I mean, it's EXACT in every way to what I had. Down to the most minute detail 🙂

    • You're referring to the 'Prince' engine, that was used in the R56 Gen of the Cooper S, which is actually a direct-injected and turbocharged Peugeot engine. These had systemic issues with timing chain tensioners, carbon build-up, malfunctioning PCV issues, and detonation to boot.

      The R53 Gen engine, the 'Tritec', was actually overbuilt and there are loads of them with over 200k miles zipping about. Forged connecting rods, forged crankshaft, large main bearings, oil squirters, etc.

  • Just recently purchased a '12. Burned a coil pack the first week I owned it. Still has to be the funnest to drive car I have ever owned. I'm chomping at the bit for autocross season to start in Chicago. I researched them for a long time before deciding to pull the trigger on one. First gen cars were plagued with quite a few quality issues. Second gen cars were better, and got better as they went along. Third gen cars got quite a bit bigger and just a bit funky looking. Based on that, I went after the newest second gen car I could find under 10k. Happened onto a '12 with 78k that had been well maintained. It was the first one I actually test drove, and as soon as I did, I knew it was coming home with me. Fingers crossed that it doesn't give me too much trouble.

  • I can weigh-in after 12 years of ownership of an 05 Cooper S convertible. Really minimal issues over about 100k of miles. No drivetrain issues and only minor other items (one ball joint and power steering hoses). For those items, my local Mini dealer was very cost competitive on shop costs. Really has been a pleasure and to date, I have not been tempted enough to move on to something else.

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