It had been several years since we?d had a chance to test drive a Mini Cooper, and since that time the brand?s lineup has grown extensively. They now have a Hardtop 2 Door, Hardtop 4 Door, Countryman, Paceman, Convertible, Coupe and Roadster.
The same basic car that is now the Mini Cooper S Hardtop 2 Door was the original model that was introduced in 2001 after BMW bought the company. The one feature that always stood out throughout the 55 year history of the Mini, in addition to the demur size, was its outstanding go-cart-like handling characteristics and it?s still very much like that today. The Mini Cooper is pure driving fun, and especially in the ?S? models which have a turbocharged engine.
The third generation of the Mini Cooper debuted last year with the 2014 model. Ranked as a premium small car this all new rendition is about 4.5-inches longer, 1.7-inches wider and a dash taller, than generation two. The wheel base is about an inch longer and the front and rear track is more than an inch wider, too.
The unique boxy styling and small size stand out on the road and Mini owners seem to share an almost cult-like comradery with others who own a Mini. Obviously, the size is very convenient for parking and negotiating tight conditions. But don?t let the small size mislead, the front seats are roomy and comfortable, and the back seat is a great place to put things, and in a pinch you can even carry a couple of passengers, but that?s not the most desirable seat in the house. Like most two-doors, getting into the back and then back out again is the challenge.
Pricing for the 2015 model Mini Hardtop starts at $20,535 and $24,950 for the Mini Cooper S Hardtop. Our test car included $13,000 in extras, and that wasn?t all that is available. The Mini Cooper is an outstanding premium car, but it?s expensive when you pile on the features.