I have never heard of these problems as "typical", I think that is bad information.
I have an '02 MCS with 25,000 smiles on the clock and have had neither problem. Mechanically the car has been excellant. None of the "hic-cup", "stutter", "bucking", "yo-yoing". Just step on the gas and go. Thank you very much.
This includes several autoX days, some long trips, lots of daily commuting, and the occasional 300 mile Sunday morning blast.
There are lots of problems that I could characterize as typical, but overheating and power steering problems are not among them. Typical problems would be, or have been, as most have been fixed either with production-line upgrades or repair to existing cars: Yo-yo, Stumble, reluctant cold starting, heat-distorted roof, leaky coolant overflow bottle, leaky taillamp, steering pull to side, boot latch that won't latch, and others. I've had all of the above, except the steering pull and cold start, and all were fixed quickly under warranty (that is, quickly after the fix was found . . .). My car is a fairly early example, so I would expect later cars to demonstrate none of the listed problems. I just passed 24,000 miles of motoring, and would not hestitate to buy another Cooper S.
Here in the U.K. a motoring tv show and magazine called Top Gear has just completed a survey of all the cars on sale here where owners rate there cars on dealers, driving experience and reliability after 1 1/2 to 2 years driving. I thought the mini would fair quite badly given the problems people had with the early cars, but it placed 26 out of 142 finishing above the Porsche 911 and previous top 5 cars like the Suburu Impreza It finished 28th last year and this years winner? Honda S2000 and loser 142nd? Mercedes M class
I absolutely LOVE top gear (ex-patriot, living in US). I really wish that we could get it over here. People in the US don't know what they are missing in a show like this. When they see a crap car, they first say that it's crap, then go on to explain why it's crap, then continue to rant on as to the total crappiness of the car. No regard to advertisers feelings or any of that rubbish that would enter into the show over here in the US.
Even though we wouldn't get 50% of the cars reviewed on the show, it would be worth watching just for the entertainment factor.
I think I will shoot an email off to BBC America now...... I encourage everyone else to do the same.
EDIT: Hey, they even have it as a suggestion option on this page:
We've got over 30k miles racked up on our '02 MCS and the major problems have been in the software. Version 39 has really helped with yo-yo. The only other problem would be the coolant expansiont tank leaking which usually seals itself up again once it leaks a bit. We've never been down on coolant, though.
The power steering problem is caused by something that gets jammed up into the fan that cools the fluid. The fuse blows which is the fuse for the whole car cooling system. There have been isolated cases but it's not a likely event. Just carry an extra 5 amp fuse just in case.