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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2014, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Cooper or S

Hi all, I am new to this forum, but I am a regular on TMF, with the same username. I have a classic Mini Cooper S already and it is a great little car.

Anyway, I was just joking around the other day about selling my other two cars (a Focus and Rover 25) to fund a Mini Cooper. Not a problem - but now I keep looking at the Cooper S!

I've read up/still reading up on potential issues, but I know with any second hand car there are always risks. I am more interested to know, in the real world, is the S worth the extra cost? I know its faster, but in the long run will cost more with fuel, tax and insurance.

I am after something fun. I'm not so worried about the age of the car, but I want it to be relatively well specced. I don't have a huge budget, which is the main reason for being a little hesitant on an S - I realise I am more at the bottom end of the market. Ideally, I don't want to spend more than 2.5k.

What are peoples thoughts? I understand its a 50L fuel tank, which is the same as my Rover, so how many miles do people actually get out of a tank? I can do oil and filter changes myself, not a problem. Any other advice welcome.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2014, 10:53 PM
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Hi Black Ghost, welcome to Mini2!

If you have not seen it you may find this R50/53 MINI Buyers Guide liked below of interest, although USA based most of the info also applies to UK MINI's.
MotoringFile » MINI R50/R53 Buyers Guide
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2014, 10:57 PM
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You might also consider there's always the chance that the S will cost you more to maintain than the base Mini.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2014, 08:32 AM
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Yes its worth it as the Cooper S's extra performance will give you that bit more grin factor.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2014, 10:27 AM
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Cooper vs 'S' Running costs

If you opt for a cooper 'S' and you use its performance, you are not going to get great mpg, so fuel costs will be higher. Also the S tends to run better on the highest octane (most expensive) fuel like Vpower, Ultimate etc. Similarly, road tax (CO2 rating) and insurance are probably higher on an S.

The major repair/maintenance costs for the S will be similar to a Cooper and with the older higher mileage cars you are likely to have to replace things like the power steering pump, brake lines and exhaust components. With a high mileage S you might also start to get supercharger problems.

If the car is modified or highly spec'ed you need to watch out for higher than normal maintenance costs. If you have a modded S it ought to have bigger/better front brakes than standard. The cost of replacement discs and pads can also be far greater than standard items.

Obviously, an S might be more fun to drive, but I guess it depends on what sort of driving you do on a day to day basis.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2014, 05:12 PM
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R53 Cooper S has high road tax due to emissions and is linked to supercharger which is why later S changed to turbo. Most agree that the Mk1 supercharged S is worth the tax and fuel consumption penalty as it is so much fun to drive. It also has a fairly bullet proof 6-speed Getrag gearbox unlike the early R50 Cooper and One which have the troublesome Rover Midland 5-speed box.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2014, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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I am planning on having a look at a few on Sunday and going from there. Having looked at the specs, the Cooper seems perfectly fine for normal use, although the S would nail it for the track days (huge expense! - unfortunately I'm not that rich just yet). The Ss seem to be higher specced in terms of extras than the Coopers for the most part.

I also still have the GP for blasting around and having fun as well. Interestingly, it has the same quoted 0-60 time as the MINI Cooper.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 5th, 2014, 11:05 PM
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If you go for an early Cooper with Midland gearbox just check out the gearbox carefully and listern for any bearing noises. Once you find a good one or one that has been reconditioned just make sure you change the MTF94 gearbox oil asap and every couple of years from then on. The 'filled for life' policy of BMW with a Rover box is what killed many of these boxes early. They do have a nicer gearchange than the later Getrag though and my Midland box has been ok for 6 or 7 years hard use so far (with oil changes) !

Steering pumps are a fairly easy DIY job to swap.....recon pump about Ł200 from BBA-Reman and a couple of hours to fit......most ps pumps whine loudly when parking as a characteristic of the Mk1 MINI.
Make sure all electrical items work and all central locking, etc
Check the engine oil level......the long service intervals mean some owners don't check it for a couple of years until next TLC service!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 7th, 2014, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mab.

We sat down and did some calculations last night. The gf will be doing her test soon (UK, she has been driving in Colombia for years but needs to do a UK test). Online quotes (where you can't inform of past driving experience on a foreign license if you select she has a UK license) indicate the insurance will be really quite high. Its halved if we go for a Cooper, or a Clubman. I'd really rather have a Clubman to be honest, the extra practicality plus I think they look great means we are going to wait a little, save a bit more, sell off loads of stuff we don't need and hope the prices come down a bit more and bring them within reach of what we want to spend. A Clubman Cooper will be ideal I reckon.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2014, 07:52 AM
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Clubman is a good choice, you might also like the 'Clubman Register' for future research, there are a few others from TMF on there also:-
The Clubman Register ? Index page
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 9th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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I bought the hatch version because its based on the original MINI shape and the best looking in my mind, however there are sometimes I wish I had the Clubman for when you visit the DIY centre and the hatch isnt quite long enough to get the standard length 2.5m wood or whatever in it easily.
The normal hatch is fine as long as you never intend carrying anything except passangers in it.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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Go with the S.. You don't want to live in regret :P

But as people have said a standard cooper is still wicked fun, just not quite so quick
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 2014, 08:38 PM
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The reason that you should choose the S is simply because all drivers grow into their cars and grow as drivers.

With a Mini, even if you have no desire to grow into a racing driver of any sort, you will VERY QUICKLY outgrow the regular mini 100hp engine.

It's as simple as that. One day your shifting will be so tight even when you are tired that you will always be flooring the accelerator pedal all the time wondering if this is all that is possible.

Get an S if you can.
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