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2008 MINI Cooper

Overview
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2008 MINI Cooper Review

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Although the MINI line-up, comprised of the Cooper and Cooper S, underwent a major redo last year, it's hard to see the changes until you get up close. The tiny cars have been an undeniable success, selling in numbers far exceeding parent company BMW's expectations. Hallmarks of the two-door four-seat hatchback's design include sporty handling, distinctive styling and more interior space than its small exterior dimensions might imply. The popularity of MINI has helped to expand America's acceptance of small cars and in many ways defined the premium small car market. Competitors to the MINI are varied and include the Volkswagen Beetle, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Mazda MX-5 and Audi A3.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want high style and high performance in a small package, the 2008 MINI Cooper is for you. It combines excellent handling and charming looks with a remarkable level of options available from the factory. Drivers who crave uniqueness will love the ability to tailor their MINIs to match their tastes.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you regularly travel with more than one passenger or need lots of cargo space, pass on the MINI. Despite excellent use of the available space, it is still a very small car. Also, the MINI's ride may be too firm for those more interested in comfort than performance.

What's New for 2008

No major changes for 2008.

Driving the Cooper

Driving Impressions Its light, easy-to-use clutch, responsive steering and quick-shifting transmission make commuting in the 2008 MINI a blast. In Cooper trim, the MINI has adequate acceleration but needs to be shifted...

down a gear or two to maintain speed when driving uphill on the freeway. The Cooper S comes equipped with a turbocharged engine that provides ample power with virtually no lag. Peak torque is available from 1600 to 5000 rpm, resulting in quick and worry-free merging or passing maneuvers. An interesting feature is a standard Sport button which quickens throttle response, increases steering effort and speeds up shifts in MINIs equipped with automatic transmissions. The result is a car that's easy and livable during daily drives, yet with all the sporting flair you'd want available at the touch of a button.

Sport Button
The Sport Button is a wonderful solution that allows MINI drivers to live a double life. During daily commutes steering and throttle reactions are relaxed, making time behind the wheel less fatiguing. Push the Sport Button and the MINI transforms into a fun and focused driving machine.

Panoramic Sunroof
The optional sunroof covers both the front and rear passengers, adding a sense of spaciousness to the interior. Only the front portion of the sunroof opens but, with the front section in the vent position, the rear section also tilts up to let rear-seat passengers enjoy the breeze.

2008 MINI Cooper Details
2008 MINI Cooper photo Interior

The MINI Cooper's interior is truly one-of-a-kind, with backlit armrests in the doors, handsomely sewn seats and a bold dash featuring a huge center-mounted speedometer. For such a small car the MINI makes the most of its available interior space. Those riding in the front seats enjoy excellent head and legroom. However, rear passengers may feel cramped with tight shoulder space and limited legroom. The dash panel is stylish, but the layout can be confusing and, though the knobs and switches look good, they can be difficult to operate. Like the rest of the MINI, the interior can be customized to suit the buyer's taste with a variety of dash trim colors, seat materials and metal, wood or carbon-fiber accents.

Exterior

The 2008 MINI Cooper's body looks similar to that of the previous generation but includes a number of changes, including headlamps mounted to the body instead of the hood, rear side glass that no longer wraps around the C-pillar, a simpler front bumper design and a taller hood to accommodate new European pedestrian crash standards. Despite the changes, the latest Cooper retains all of the key MINI design cues, including a contrasting roof and side mirrors, large round headlamps and bulging black fender trim. A wide range of exterior colors is available, including the choice of black, white or body-color roof paint. Further, the MINI can be equipped with options like hood and roof stripes, aero kits, wheel and tire packages and a chrome package.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2008 MINI Cooper's standard equipment includes a push-button engine stop/start, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers and MP3 capability, air conditioning, six-speed manual transmission, color-adjustable interior lighting, tilt/telescoping steering wheel and power windows and mirrors. Standard safety features include Electronic Stability Program (ESP), anti-lock brakes (ABS), tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

The MINI Cooper and Cooper S can be outfitted with numerous options. Although most are available as stand-alone additions, MINI combines many of its popular options into packages. The Premium Package includes steering wheel-mounted controls, sunroof and automatic air conditioning. The Convenience Package includes universal garage remote, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and center arm rest. Also available are Sport, Cold Weather and high-end Audio Packages. In addition to the options available from the factory, MINI offers a wide range of dealer-installed accessories for customers to further customize their cars.

Under the Hood

The 2008 MINI Cooper and Cooper S both have 1.6-liter in-line four-cylinder engines. Power in the Cooper is acceptable, but the turbocharged Cooper S engine is a powerhouse, with 177 pound-feet of maximum continuous torque from 1600 to 5000 rpm, and an "overboost" feature that temporarily increases engine torque to 191 pound-feet for extra bursts of acceleration. An easy-shifting six-speed manual transmission, or the optional automatic, allow either engine to operate in its ideal rpm range, maximizing performance and efficiency.

1.6-liter in-line 4
118 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
114 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/37 (manual), 26/34 (automatic)

1.6-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
172 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34 (manual), 23/32 (automatic)

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2008 MINI Cooper Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 352 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Fun to drive but expensive to maintain

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Cost of maintenance & cheap plastic parts"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I can't say I've been overall pleased with my 2011 Mini Sport. Yes, it's fun to drive! But the drawbacks have been big. I've spent quite a bit in only 2 1/2 years that I've owned it on tires, brakes, problems with the fan and air conditioner,suspension, etc. Some of these things are normal wear and tear and need attention on any car, but some of them have been over the top for a 2011 and super expensive to fix. Also, cosmetic issues have been ridiculous! A PLASTIC stip on the front bumper broke off and it cost me $200 to replace, there are PLASTIC pieces in the interior of the car that are breaking including a piece of the door handle and the knob on the emergency break. The plastic circular piece that covers the outside front lights has a fake metal covering that is flaking and peeling off! I do not have small children and I am NOT hard on a car, so this is just ridiculous. I drove a Toyota Rav4 before the Mini and although it was nowhere near as much fun to drive, it cost me almost nothing to maintain and is still going strong with over 300,000 miles. I know 2 other people with older model Mini's who absolutely love their cars and have had NO problems. So maybe it's just the year of this Mini that is not as good, but I'm disappointed."

Perfect Inside

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,200

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, easy to park"

Cons: "missing front bumper"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The bumper was taken off by some local kids - they did this to several cars over the winter holiday. It does have a few dings on it from street parking, but other than that it was serviced this past weekend and only needs an oil change. The interior is in wonderful condition. A friend of mine wanted to purchase it but the timing has not worked."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Love it, but try before you buy!

By on Wednesday, April 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Great Looking, high quality, fun driving happy car"

Cons: "Seats are firm & petite, test before you buy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"First of all, I love this car. It's a base Hardtop with 6 speed manual. It is adorable - beautifully designed - looks good from every angle. The steering is tight, brakes are good, and it handles well. It's fun to drive. It's surprisingly tight on the highway and cruises quietly at speed. It has a smooth ride considering the short wheelbase. If you're looking, get the Panoramic Sunroof. It's like driving a convertible and it's great. Downside - I'm 5'8", and I find the seat on the small side. The Seat Cushion is short front to back and the overall seat is narrow. Seats are OK on longer trips, not great. Also, storage space in the hatch is limited. Overall, a lot of fun and very enjoyable to own."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Best car ever

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun fun fun to drive"

Cons: "Every now and then I need a little more trunk spc"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is the best car I've ever had. Fun to drive, economical (which means during times of high prices gas, you can get around for a lot less) and excellently priced (at least mine was). Let's not even mention looks - everyone seems to want to take a second glance at."

Terrible Car

By on Thursday, February 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 123,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Small, uncomfortable, falls apart quickly"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This car has been nothing but problems since we purchased it brand new in 2008. I thought the problem was isolated to our car because it seemed everyone loved Mini Coopers, however after talking to several friends, family and co-workers who also own one it appears the constant problems are common. Not only are they common the car is relatively costly to repair. We have had problems with the car randomly stalling out, not starting, sun roof not working, lighting and wiring not working and so much more. Any gas savings you think you would get is offset by the recommended "premium gas" and ridiculous cost to repair, maintain. The only saving grace this car has is if you are single or a couple without children, it is fun to drive."

11 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Very fun car

By on Saturday, January 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Cons: "No spare tire. Run flat tires are a waste of money"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"For the price this is a very fun car to drive. I bought it new with a 6 year maintenance package extended warranty.The maintenance package cost about $2000. It excluded all service including brakes. In other words,no out of pocket cost on this car for the past 6 years."

8 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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