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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)

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

Buying this car?

2008 MINI Cooper Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 337 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

Quick, responsive, head-turning fun

By on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,286

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Handles like a grown-up go-cart"

Cons: "No local dealer, so I have to travel for service."

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

"I bought this new, as a second car to drive to work and back, around town, and for short hauls alone. Mini made it as close to perfect, for those uses, as I can imagine. The S is as quick to accelerate and as responsive to the wheel as advertised. The most pleasant surprise is how solid it feels, for a small car. And great gas mileage, to boot."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Get the S version

By on Friday, November 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "good gas mileage, power and comfortable. Fun too"

Cons: "tire life, premium gas, brake dust"

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

"Turbo manual 6 speed is definitely the way to go (Cooper - S). I also tried the Cooper hardtop (not the S version) and it was under powered (in my opinion) getting onto the highway with a couple of passengers. Gas mileage for me is about 39 on the highway (exceeding the rating of 34 hwy) which is a very nice surprise. And there is a great amount of power with the S version (turbo). It's quite comfortable and easy to get in/out. The storage in the back is good and carries a surprising amount. I did a cross country trip and even driving 10 hours in a single day I wasn't stiff or sore from the ride. The extras such as heated seats, double visor, hidden security compartment, adjustable color interior lighting as all great touches. The bad. Brake dust on the front wheel rims is annoying and must be cleaned weekly. Tires are run flat (i.e. no spare tire) and only last about 30K miles before needing replacement. Need to use premium gas (don't use mid-grade either) or you'll get 'varnishing' in the engine that needs to be cleaned up or performance really suffers."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Mini but max everything else

By on Saturday, November 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, zippy, unique, comfortable inside"

Cons: "Mpg is ave., expensive BMW parts, lots of sensors"

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

"This little car packs a punch on every category. Although small in size, it provides comfort and drive every enthusiast would truly enjoy. Drives great, steers around corners like a pro, exceeds safety standards and provides every amenity a driver might need. Not your average sedan or hatchback. Owners have pride in this vehicle, because it is just that, unique in its class and a car everyone deserves to be in."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

My #1 car.

By on Saturday, September 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun,Safe,value,reliability,economic."

Cons: "a bit bumpy,on these type of roads"

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

"I have always purchased new vehicles.This one out of the eight others has been the most reliable,safest and by far most fun to drive.I'm comparing to a couple of performance cars that I previously owned."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Replace both the Turbo and Enginein first year-201

By on Thursday, September 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I had to replace engine and Turbo charger in the first year of ownership,less that a few months after the warranty had expired. Other that that , I love the size and handling the ease of acceleration, and cornering capabilities. Fun to drive"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Love My Mini

By on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, great on gas, very comfortable"

Cons: "backseat leg room"

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

"This has been a very reliable car and is very fun to drive. I've had several cars and this one is probably my favorite. Its quick, very nimble, great on gas and very comfortable."

3 people out of 4 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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