GOOD FOR: An engaging drive, distinctive looks.
LOOK OUT FOR: Crank sensor, seat mechanism.
It’s got iconic looks, it’s a hoot to drive and, as a used buy, it’s perhaps the most affordable and fun car around. It’s also a movie star, having played a role in many blockbusters – ‘The Italian Job’, for example. An older used Mini Cooper S will come for just under Rs 25 lakh, and if you are looking at a three- or four-year-old car, asking prices go higher still. Yes, it is a bit steep, but being so desirable keeps prices northward. The good bit is, at least now, it’s essentially the same as the one in the showroom.
Power comes from a fantastic 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine making 192hp and 300Nm of torque, and it’s mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. Performance numbers are impressive, 0-100kph takes just 6.4sec, with a 250kph top speed. So performance is sportscar-like, and it’s like a sportscar in other ways, too. It isn’t the most practical car, with a boot capacity of just 211 litres; and the Cooper S can only be had as a three-door, which means access to and room in the back is cramped. There are seats there, but only for kids. The ride quality too is firm and you are likely to notice the road conditions a lot more.
It isn’t a particularly feature-rich car either, as most of the stuff is an optional extra – which a little research will tell you, is like the pricey menu of a five-star restaurant. A basic rear-view camera feature that you would expect as standard is actually for Rs 50,000 extra. So look closely at the particular car in question. If it isn’t well-specced, you can easily haggle the price down.
Also, if you manage to find one of the rarer convertible models, the roof mechanism and condition of the canvas top is absolutely crucial as it is an expensive fix. Although, beware that these examples are a lot higher in price than the hardtop models and are slightly more difficult to maintain as well. Other issues comprise the seat mechanism – which is manual and prone to malfunction – and the engine’s crank sensor, so check for power loss while on a test drive.
The Mini also comes with run-flat tyres, which aren’t a cheap fix, so make sure they are in good condition. Check the tread and look for any cuts in the sidewall. While you’re at it, inspect the alloy wheels for damage caused by our pothole-ridden roads. Have a look at the infotainment system too for any lag in the interface or if any functions aren’t working.
Maintenance costs of the Cooper S are expectedly high, but if the car you are looking at comes with the optional extended service package, which at the time of launch was available for up to six years / 1,10,000km, then the service costs will be significantly lower. This means a full service history and that the car has only been serviced by trained technicians.
Lastly, try and look for private sellers, as they tend to keep these things in mind, unlike dealers who service it at third-party garages and workshops. Make sure the warranty is intact and no modifications have been made to the engine – especially the powertrain – or electronics. Being a BMW underneath, the Mini Cooper S is a fairly reliable car with a solid build quality.
HOW TO GET ONE IN YOUR GARAGE
The driver- and passenger-seat mechanism on the Cooper S is manually operated. This is known to malfunction, so check if the seats slide forward and backward smoothly.
While on a test drive, see if you experience a loss in power or if the engine feels gruff. The crank sensor failing is a commonly reported issue and can be an expensive fix.
Driving over our broken roads can result in the firm suspension bottoming out, especially with a full load. Make sure the suspension is in good condition as it is an expensive fix.
ALSO WORTH KNOWING
The Cooper S also sports run-flat tyres that, in the event of a puncture, can drive on up to 80km at 80kph. That said, these tyres are expensive to fix and since there is no space for a spare wheel,
run-flats are your best bet. Also, check the soft top on the convertible version for wear.
HOW MUCH TO SPEND
Rs 22-25 lakh
The Mini Cooper, in its S form, has a base price of around Rs 35 lakh. However, how well it has been specced is where the value is. If you are looking at a particular model, see its specs. The more the options, the more the price, and if it is missing out on something, you can use that as a bargaining point. Mini also has a certified used car programme, but beware – the prices there are much higher.
|Price when new||From Rs 33 lakh|
|Engine||4 cyls, 1998cc, turbo-petrol|
|Boot space||211 litres|