Sunday, July 26, 2015

The German Job: 2003 Mini Cooper S

When the model year 2000 Mini reboot (brought to you by those guys in Bavaria) was released, it hit with a big splash.  Magazine pundits raved about the handling, people flocked to pickup base Coopers, supercharged Cooper Ss, and plus sized Clubman versions (available in both base and S).  For the first few years prices of used Coopers were only a few dimes shy of MSRP, but the wonderful magic of depreciation finally hit a few years ago and now -- now you can buy one for cheap.  Like this 2003 Mini Cooper S offered for $4,200 in San Francisco, CA via craigslist.  Tip from FuelTruck.

The first generation Mini Cooper hardtop (aka Hatch) was an engineered by BMW revival of the Mini marque with design by Norwegian-Spanish-American Frank Stephenson (Maserati MC12 & Quattroporte, Ferrari F430 & 612 Scaglietti, McLaren MP4-12C).  The design was a smash, as it combined hints of the old Mini with modern styling to create a future classic.

Powering the Cooper S is a 1.6 liter Tritec engine, which was built from a joint development between Chrysler and BMW.  The supercharged version puts out 160 horsepower and uses a 6-speed manual transmission to put power to the front wheels in classic Mini fashion.

See a better small corner carver for cheap?


  1. Gotta be a scam. Now it's priced at $3900.

  2. I always thought it funny that a Mercedes (Chrysler) / BMW motor would ever exist. I still don't want to be fixing a Mini , even for free.

    1. Knock on wood, but I haven't had any trouble with my supercharged version and it is pretty easy to work on (at least for the simple stuff). I was pleasantly surprised that it uses a timing chain rather than a belt that needs to be replaced. Pretty good fun for the $$

  3. I've love this version of the MINI for its purity and plucky attitude. Most people who review these hate the supercharger whine. I, for one, love it. Over the years I've been toying with the idea of owning one however, after watching a few videos on what to look for when buying a used one I shied away. Too many issues that seemed expensive to fix and after my A4 debacle I HATE having a car in the shop constantly. Still searching for a C30 Volvo though.

  4. I'm sorry, but you have hit on one of my pet peeves. The mini released in 2000 was not engineered by BMW. Though they owned the marque at the time, the concept and engineering was done at the Rover facility at Gaydon, UK. Of course, it may be a moot point considering the breakup and raping of the company that went on after this car was launched, but this vehicle is most definitely a British engineered motor car. How do I know? Because I was one of those engineers.


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