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2008 MINI Cooper

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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 362 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

First car ever....and its worth it

By on Friday, August 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,676

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great Price, Super cute, Wonderful Gas Mileage"

Cons: "runs on premium (but its a small tank)"

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

"So I'm 25 and this is my first car. I survived a long while without a driver's license and all of my friends have minis, five in all. After seeing the fact of them having no issues w/ their vehicles in four years i decided to join them! I bought it used (09 MC Hardtop S 2 door) and my new job is 20 miles away (40 miles roung trip) for my new commute. This gas mileage is AMAZING, its runs on premium, but the mileage and small tank is totally worth it. The car is perfect and if you hate the idea of being a chauffer this is the best, the only person who can really fit is in the passenger seat. I'm 5'8" so there is about four inches of leg room behind my driver's seat. i opted to just keep the back seats down for the rest of their lives- which helps with shopping trips and the fact i have a the 2door version."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I've been looking for one of these for a while

By on Monday, August 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,560

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
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Got a great deal, FUN to drive,"

Cons: "No passenger space, small luggage only"

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

Ready to Roll!

"Started shopping for a Mini Cooper about a year ago. Slow process to find the right deal for me. So far, no issues and a Great Car! The Bright Mellow Yellow is an Attention getter in just about any crowd. Opted for the S model over a base model... Good choice. The base, while fun, lacks the get up and go of the S model. Not a good car for a family or for long driving but a wonderful vehicle for a daily commute and especially for sporting around on weekends."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Ready to Roll!

An absolute pleasure to drive

By on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,000

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
10/10

Pros: "HAndling, looks, efficiency, performance"

Cons: "Few good independent shops"

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

"Every time I drive the Mini, although I own a Mercedes SLK and a BMW Roadster, it simply makes me smile. Major work is best done at dealership, but in 90K miles, brake pads, water pump (extended warranty), and thermostat is acceptable. Maintenance cost is comparable to other European cars. It has the black carbon sports seats, COMFI! It is not a Honda or Toyota nor it drives, looks, or feels like it! We also have a Honda, not cheap to maintain at the dealer, and honestly it is a boring car, you get what you pay for... The Mini is a base model 6 speed, with enough power, and a top speed of 130 MPH at 42 MPG. Smooth, smooth, smooth. Yes it costs a bit more, life is worth living, and it is a different feeling than a Prius! It's a nimble, quick, efficient mini BMW:-)"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

I love my Chili Red 2008 Mini Cooper coupe S

By on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Super fun to drive and has a great cool factor"

Cons: "reliability and cost of repair is a major issue"

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

"I love driving my car! This car is the closest thing to a go cart you can drive on the road legally. What a blast. The downside is that it is very expensive to maintain and it has the durability of a 78 Monte Carlo. At 72,000 miles I have replaced the water pump and thermostat, $1800 at dealer, 1,400 at local shop. I did it myself but the parts cost $400+. Sparky bolts are $13 each and needed replacement at 70K. The sparky bolts are a very odd hex head design and had to hunt down a hex 14MM socket. I had to replace the valve cover gasket too, $40 for a gasket! If this car was not such a blast to drive I would not own it due to poor reliability. That said, I get a thrill every time I drive my baby."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

A great weekend car-nothing but fun to drive

By on Monday, July 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This took the place of my motorcycles after years of my wife not riding with me. I am 6', 250lbs and the space in the cabin is amazing. While I wouldn't take it for an extremely long trip; it is too much fun to drive on day and week-end trips. Overall quality has been great but we only put about 5K miles a year on it."

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Love it! Fun to drive, great on gas !

By on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great on gas,quality car."

Cons: "Needs a better arm rest for me"

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

"Enjoyed every minute of driving it. Took it all over the country, pulled on a trailer behind my motorhome.It took me everywhere the motorhome would not fit. Plenty of room for two passengers. Back nor really designed for adults. Hatchback has lots of room, I hauled small pieces of furniture and many large items that my wife found shopping and couldn't go home without! Really enjoyed owning it. Mini service is quality, no real problems. Love my MINI!!!"

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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