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2008 MINI Cooper Base 2dr Coupe

2008 MINI Cooper
Trim Info:
Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Coupe, Minicompact
27 (Est) mpg city / 36 (Est) mpg hwy
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Expert Reviews

November 3, 2009 by Alison Lakin, Associate Editor

2008 MINI Cooper 1
2008 MINI Cooper

DriverSide Overview
The original Mini Cooper was conceived of in 1957 in England at a time when gas prices had begun to soar as a result of the Suez Canal Crisis, and people feared that fuel gulping cars would be a burden on their already tightening pocketbooks. Ironically, 2008's car buyers are being faced with the same worries, making the new rendition of the Mini Cooper all the more relevant in our changing economy. When it debuted in 2001, directly after production cessation of the original model, the Mini showed the U.S. market that small cars could still be fun and practical, especially in urban environments. Though it has been through some updates since then, with a moderate refresh for 2007, the Cooper remains a present-day icon with a sporty, go-kart-like drive, a unique exterior design and surprisingly roomy interior. Our needs for a small, fuel-sipping car will continue to grow, and the Mini will be there to answer our every demand.





What's to Like
The design, a modernized version of the well-loved original, is classic in its own right, blending new styling techniques with the recognizable features of the past. Its 3 years or 36,000 miles of free maintenance will help reduce the overhead cost of owning a new car, and its BMW build quality gives you reassurance about your Mini’s future.

What's Not to Like
The Mini’s über-customizable interior and exterior is wonderful, until you look at the price tag and realize that an armrest costs $250. The retro styling of the instrument panel chooses aesthetics over functionality, and button placement is unintuitive.

The Drive:
DriverSide Driving Impressions

The Cooper fires up gently after pushing the start button, engine humming quietly in anticipation of the drive. Its passive start belies the incredibly sporty nature of this hatchback, delivering the same Monte Carlo Rally winning performance of the past. A six-speed gearbox allows easy flicks through the gears and the car accelerates mightily considering its 1,150 pounds and 118 horsepower. Though it never feels underpowered, freeway passing might require dropping the Mini into a lower gear than normal to produce adequate pull. For an increased throttle response and quickened shifts, Sport mode, a button located next to the shift knob, does the trick. The Mini’s low “bulldog” stance makes up for its light weight and keeps the hatchback grounded as it corners around the tightest hairpins. Suspension can be a little rough around town as it’s suited for more aggressive driving, but get the Mini up to speed and you’ll feel how responsive it is, especially pared with the rigid body frame that reduces body roll around turns.

Engine and Drivetrain
The front-wheel drive Cooper is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 118 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Mini houses an electronic throttle, another bit of BMW technology, ensuring the correct amount of throttle opening is sent to the engine when your foot touches the accelerator.

Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
What isn’t an option on the Cooper? The brilliance of this car is that it is infinitely customizable. Options like a Union Jack roof or checkered floor mats can add up quickly, but you get both an interior and exterior that is exactly to your liking, however quirky that may be. For those who might feel claustrophobic in such a small car, the optional double-paned panoramic sunroof will make a huge difference. Optional run-flat tires will allow you to drive to that auto shop 80 miles away if you get a flat; and a navigation system, integrated into the centrally located speedometer, will provide you with directions to find that desperately needed auto shop.

Key Technology Evaluation
The hill assist system is primarily aimed toward city dwellers (especially San Franciscans!). Available with the stability control option, it provides ultimate usability around town by holding brake pressure for three seconds when on an incline to prevent rolling back. Speed sensitive windshield wipers come standard, and the ever-courteous Cooper will automatically start the rear wipers if you put the car into reverse while the front wipers are on. In the event of an accident, the doors will unlock and the hazards will turn on. If the airbags have also deployed, the Mini will cut off the fuel pump as well.

Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
This gas sipping city car gets a stellar 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway in the manual and 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway in the auto, beating quite a number of hybrids at their own fuel-saving game and achieving a ULEV-II emissions rating. With its long sixth gear and 13.2-gallon fuel tank, you shouldn’t have any problem squeezing out 400-mile or more trips after a jaunt to the pump.

A Closer Look:  Vehicle Details
Interior

It may be the second smallest car in American (the Smart now holds the number one spot), but this car is anything but tiny on the inside. 5.7 inches of cargo space with the seats up – enough for two medium sized suitcases - and 24 cubic feet with the seats down gives the Cooper owner plenty of usable storage. The telescoping steering wheel helps people of all sizes sit comfortably in the driver’s seat, and there is a large amount of headroom, even in the back.

Exterior
At just 145.6 inches long the Mini is, well, mini, naturally. After a minor refresh for the 2007 model, the headlamps, bumper and hood were all updated but the design is still very much reminiscent of the original Mini styling, from the oversized headlamps to the wide mouthed grille. The sporty looking hatchback comes in ten body colors and has optional black or white hood stripes.

Market Segment and Pricing
An $18,700 starting price, might be a little higher than other small hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Rabbit and the four-door Mazda 3, but the price hasn’t seemed to give Mini buyers pause, and rivals can’t match its size. A convertible Cooper is available starting at $22,600 and an S version comes in at $21,850. Options for all Minis can easily add a couple thousand dollars to the base price.

What We Think
With gas prices on the rise, the Mini is a perfect option for those who don’t want to compromise performance with a hybrid, but still want money saving practicality. Even more utilitarian than its predecessor, the Mini Cooper sports a winning design, inside and out. Under the hood, it’s every bit the go-karting hatch that we expect it to be, but technology options and top-of-the-line safety features keep you feeling comfortable and secure while driving this little firecracker.



Other Resources

Getting the Works: John Cooper Works versions of MINI Cooper and Clubman coming to Geneva show – MINI set to launch John Cooper Works versions of both the Cooper and Clubman S at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Source: www.motortrend.com

Digi-Tec MINI Cooper – Digi-Tec MINI Cooper Source: www.europeancarweb.com

Top 10 Fuel Efficient Cars – Here at About Cars, our philosophy is that a fuel-efficient car shouldn't requrie one to give up comfort, safety and enjoyment. That's why this isn't just a by-the-numbers list of cars with the best fuel economy. Instead, the About Cars test drivers Source: cars.about.com

MINI Cooper S - Little Car, Big Country – MINI Cooper S - Little Car, Big CountryPlato, Henry David Thoreau, Arthur Dent and Alton Brown all found enlightenment and self-discovery with the added perspective of distance provided by the open road. I know where I'm going, I have a basic schedul Source: www.europeancarweb.com

BMW To Build 500 Electric Mini Coopers For California: New IT Car for Celebs? – According to sources inside BMW, 500 Electric Mini Coopers will be built exclusively for use in California. These special Minis will be leased to a select group of customers—no word on how they’ll be picked–though our guess is every green Source: www.autofiends.com

Long Term Update 4: 2007 Mini Cooper S – This past spring, Truck Trend Web producer Melissa Spiering, owner of a first-generation Mini Cooper S, took our long-term second-gen Cooper S on a cross-country road trip to participate in "Minis on the Dragon," an annual event in which around 500 o Source: www.motortrend.com

First Drive: 2008 MINI Cooper S JCW – Filed under: Hatchbacks, MINI, First DriveClick above for a high resolution image We've had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a few MINI variants, including a 2007 Cooper S and more recently a 2008 Cooper Clubman. Despite some quirky interio Source: feeds.autoblog.com

2008 MINI Cooper S - R56 Stoptech Brake Upgrade - Web Exclusive – 2008 MINI Cooper S - R56 Stoptech Brake Upgrade - Web ExclusiveCheck out the R56 Stoptech Brake Upgrade on our long term 2008 MINI Cooper S.While the stock brakes on our long term MINI Cooper S were more than adequate for daily driving, we felt we co Source: www.europeancarweb.com

MINI Cooper Forums – Mini Cooper Forums is a Mini Cooper discussion forum & one stop resource for all Mini Cooper related discussions Source: www.minicooperforums.com

Comparison: 2008 Mini Cooper S - America's Best Handling Car Contender Video – We test the 2008 Mini Cooper S for America's Best Handling Car competition.... Source: www.motortrend.com

Quick test drive: 2008 MINI Cooper Convertible – MINI has a new converible version of the Cooper on the way next year. (The Cooper hardtop was all-new for 2007, but the '08 convertible is based on the original... Source: cars.about.com

Auto Express gets 50 mpg from John Cooper Works MINI – Filed under: MPG, MINI, UK Click above for more pictures of the 2008 John Cooper Works MINI If a Corvette Z06 with its monstrous 7.0-liter eight cylinder engine was able to achieve nearly 31 miles per gallon at the MPG Marathon, what were some other Source: feeds.feedburner.com

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