If you want stock class competitiveness, stick with the n/a MINI. I believe it stays in HS, where it dominated this year. The S gets bumped from GS to DS. Front runners in DS this year were an Integra Type R and BMW 330's. The MINI might be competitive, but I don't see any guarantees. The best bet for Cooper S is still STX.
Changes for the '05 S include 7 more hp, revised 3 and 4th gear ratios, and the availability of a LSD (thus the move to DS).
I don't understand the wording in your question regarding the convertible. Also, this might get more feedback in the "Racing Mini's" forum.
edit: I misread the December FasTrack- the Cooper S stays in GS for 2005. With a LSD, it will probably be the car to have for that class.
Last edited by nevr2qk; Nov 15th, 2004 at 02:02 PM.