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Cooper or Cooper S?

2362 Views 23 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  buckeye
I along with many of you have been following this car for quite a while. Unfortunately I have yet to test drive the s, but have had the extreme pleasure of driving the cooper, and it was extraordinary. However, my name is down for an S, should I stay with my decision. Which car really is better in your opinion? Either way i can not wait till I get the car, allthough choosing color is going to be VERY difficult.

Mug51, Miami, Fl
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S, of course!:)
Post this on the One or Cooper forum and you'll probably get a different answer.
The S, IMHO, is the only way to go. More power, more torque, a nice grinning bull dog bonnet, etc.
Get the S.
Cape Cod MINI said:
S, of course!:)
Post this on the One or Cooper forum and you'll probably get a different answer.
The S, IMHO, is the only way to go. More power, more torque, a nice grinning bull dog bonnet, etc.
Get the S.
Speaking as a denizen of the Cooper forum...
IMHO the Cooper S is substantially more money for extra power that you will probably rarely use or need. The Cooper has been more thoroughly beta tested by our friends across the pond, who knows what flaws or problems might turn up in the new Cooper S. The one report on one we had from Kansas seemed to have left hand pull. Oh yeah, and the Cooper is much sleeker and aethestically appealing without that gaping hole in its "bonnet." :D

Since you've already driven the Cooper, I suggest you schedule a test drive in the 'S' and decide which one you like best.
I happen to think the S is somewhat of a bargain.

I paid £14,830 for my Cooper, yet by paying an extra £2,350 I get:
  1. MFSW- £160
  2. Xenon Lights- £350
  3. DSC- £210
  4. A 163bhp Supercharged Engine
  5. Six speed gearbox
  6. Twin throaty exhaust
  7. Chrome-Plated filler cap
  8. Body kit
  9. and the pleasure of owning one of the best drivers cars on the road today

    ..on top of what I had.

    All I can say if you have yet to buy a Mini, get an S. You can't afford not to.

    LMB :)
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I have test driven an S and now own my own (all of 4 days ! ) Canadian Launch Cooper. My impressions are that the S is awesome, but the Cooper delivers 95%+ of the overall New Mini experience. The overriding factor is handling...the Cooper delivers ALL that the S does in this department. For sure, more torque in the S and straight line speed by the clock, but the Cooper FEELS as good (just to declare my situation, I fully intend to trade in the Cooper after a year for an S - so no bias one way or another here.)

If finances are an issue, or gas (oops petrol you Brits) consumption, then take the will still get the "grin stapled on your face" syndrome at a lower price-point.

Which to buy?

I think it depends on the individual.
If you are a racer type, then buy the S.
I drove both and bought the Cooper.
From early July last year when I placed my name on the list until the end of March when I ordered my Cooper, I was sure I wanted the S. I changed my mind. I agree that the Cooper is 95% of the MINI experience.
Back and Forth

I was sure I needed the Cooper S. Then I test drove them both and started having doubts. I was thinking the price difference wasn't worth the little bit of power. I thought then that I'd go with a Cooper, and put down some money to get on a list (thankfully mixed list). After further thought I'm back to needing the S. Once you add some (what I consider) essential features to the Cooper, such as sport seats, chrome line, spoiler, etc., the difference in price is less than 10%.

It may just come down to style and vanity, but I expect that in the end the Cooper and the Cooper S will largely be selling at price points only about $1000 apart, as most Coopers will be sold with the CVT as time goes on. I don't want a car in a manual that most people would rather have in automatic for a number of reasons, including vanity, and residual value. Plus the styling of the S is just better (on the outside, I like the base Cooper interior more, oh well).
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Having owned a Cooper for two months and covering 2000 miles in the process I agree that the Cooper is 95% of the S.

But that 5% is an important 5%. My biggest criticism of the Cooper was its lack of mid-range power, and this is where the S comes in. It adds that missing 5% to make it the complete car.

And to me that is worth the extra money.

Cooper or Cooper S?!!!
I am on a waiting list for an S. After test driving a Cooper
I also got on the list for it. Dealer told me the S would be
10-12 months away!; Cooper only 120 days. So the wait is a factor.
The power & torgue of an S is attractive, especially since
I do most of my driving in San Francisco. More power on the hills really helps. But I was impressed with the Cooper on
my drive. It had more power than I expected & there were 4
people in the car!
Aesthetics?, I'm with you Sejanus.The Cooper is cleaner & the chrome accents are nice.
Will there be problems with S's blower etc.?
From my regular reading of MINI2 it seems that the S is
so new to all us (on both sides of the pond) it is just
early to tell.
Hope to test drive an S soon so I can see if it worth the
money & the wait.
If anyone out there has driven both; I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Hello mug51--Like MINIAC suggested, the only way to put your mind at rest is to drive the S and then decide. I thought the S had a definite performance advantage, but was it worth the money? Here was the deciding factor, as a LMB & PghArch mention. The step up from a basic Cooper to a basic S can seem rather steep. However, if you load the Cooper with options, you'll find when done that the difference in the US can be down to about $1000 or so extra for a similar spec S because of the way the option packages are structured. In my case, giving up the leather interior to accept a prespec'd S with all the other desired options brought it down to only $500 extra and made it an easy decision, with delivery at the end of May.
Mug 51 & all,
I test drove an S & a Cooper on Sat. so I could make up my mind. It took alot of phone calls to all the Bay Area dealers to find one that had both cars available.
But, anyway my mind is made up & I going for the Cooper.
Yes; the S is faster & the Gertag 6 speed is REAL nice but
I don't think it worth the extra money or wait.
I know the S is faster. But it simply did not feel "significantly" quicker to me. Gertag gearbox is smooth and easier to shift. Was doing fine @ 75mph in 5th gear. Do you really need 6th?
Suspension was nice & firm but on our lousy Calif. roads it
would too much.
Perhaps my opinion would change if I drove it more.
After doing a build sheet on both cars my S was only $2,000 more. So you have a good point Sealevel. To me the wait (10-12 months) is just too much. Will the demand for the S drive it's price up over that period of time?? I fear it may.
For now the Cooper is fine. I can trade up later for the S (or M!) if I need more power.
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For me it came down to personal economics. Insurance, additional 3K cost.

Would I rather have an S? Absolutely. Who wouldn't always want the best model of anything?

The S and it's improved versions will be around for quite some time in the future I would guess. Just getting into a mini and getting a good portion of the tremendous driving pleasure it will offer should be more than enough for me at this time.

Someday when I need more and I have less to worry about, an S or the best the mini has to offer will be sitting in my garage. Geez! (I don't even have my Cooper yet! Maybe it will be enough.....)
I am kind of in the same quandary. As of right now, I'm in line to get the Cooper before summer, but may ultimately trade up for the Cooper S as early as September. This is the perfect month anyway as my preferred color of Indi blue will be available (will be either that or DS), the full Cold Weather Package will be available (theoretically :rolleyes: ), any possible kinks will perhaps be ironed out by then, and it will be an '03 model. Actually, I probably should not be getting a new car at all as the finances may not be able to take it. I may end up living off 7-11 hot dogs for a while :eek: . But I don't think I can resist. The MINI has drawn me in like a moth to light, a bee to pollen, a fly to sh....well, you get my point. Seems weird to get a car only to sell it 4 or 5 months later, but as I've been waiting for over two years, I don't think I can wait much longer to get my MINI (either MINI), especially not 'till September. Who knows I may end up falling in love with the Cooper and decide to keep it.
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trade in / trade up value

so if many of y'all are planning on trading in the car in less than a year, has your dealer given you any idea of what sort of deal you'll get on an 'S'? in other words, how much depreciation will be bourne when you get the new car?
Go Cooper

I drove the S and bought a Cooper... mostly out of desire to "get one now" but after driving the Cooper around I am very very happy with it. A little basic tuning and that engine is really going to come alive.

Cosmetically I like the Cooper better than the S. The design is purer and cleaner...the big hood shorkle does little for me and I love the chrome grille on the Cooper.
1. Cosmetically superior....S nose is OK but the rear
is the pits.
2. Less expensive...even when you add stuff to equalize
3. Can get dark colors.
4. More chrome except gas filler.
5. Seems quicker in first two gears.
6. Get a spare replacement tires are more
affordable and ride more smoothly.
7. Silver interior plastic is better looking than alloy
pattern plastic.
8. More available at this time and for months ahead if you
don't have a low #. ( as if the US dealers use their
lists when selling Coopers )
9. Aftermarket power add ons may make a more noticable
S model:
1. Faster top end.
2. Eaton Superchargers work well...hold up well.
3. Better transmission.
4. Sounds better in stock form.
5. More fun to drive.
6. Can order Xenons at this time.

I am expecting a black Cooper in May. Need a MINI this summer in black or bright yellow. The MINI yellow is too pastel and you can't order a black S until 2003 model year. I just don't like the rear end on the S so a Cooper it is....aftermarket here I come.
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'De gustibus non est disputandum'

I happen to greatly prefer the S backend (particularly the driver's side 3/4 rear shot) to the standard Cooper. That is what is so great about this car, I'm hoping we'll rarely see two quite the same on the road for a long time to come, especially with the potential for them to get really dispersed over this huge country of ours.

I agree about the chrome grill in the Cooper though, although I do like the hood scoop and S bumper styling.

On this point I have to disagree: The Cooper is not faster through the first two gears, and I disagree that it seems it. At the peak of their respective torque curves the S is 10% faster in first and nearly identical in second (while at lower revs). The two cars are nearly identical in 3 through 5 at similar revs. This is all with their respective stock tires.

The big issue with the S seems to be the amount of slipping the clutch off the line to get it to perform. In my test drive the clutch on the Cooper seemed to have much more slip by design when engaging or changing gears, I wonder if this adds to the sense of a "smooth fast" start.
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The Cooper may not be faster in the first two gears but it feels like it is. I like the fact that you like different things in a MINI. Our differences will make going to MINI meets more interesting. I do have to disagree on one thing....your name...we all know THE ARCH is in St. Louis and not in Pittsburgh.:p
I agree that the S is going to be sweet, but in the US, we really don't have a choice, unless you're first on the list. (at least in my case) I went to the dealer last week and put my name down, and they already called. So I optied for the Cooper, just because I couldn't wait.

This is a very fine machine. With only 300 mini beings delievered to our dealer I thought I should GO FOR IT.
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