Pros: "size, cornering, upgrades in new model"
Cons: "road noise for convertible, lacks low-end torque"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"If u don't care to read the long review that follows, here it is in a nutshell: will be buying new-model Cooper. Hope to hold out long enough for convertible JCW. Small size REALLY helps in traffic, finding parking spaces, and clearing tight spaces no other performance car can. NOTHING in this price range corners like a Cooper S, not even the Evo or the STI. New Cooper F56 is a totally different car inside. It's a Mini BMW.
I bought an '08 Cooper S in '09, and have been using it as my primary car for almost 7 years. I've been shopping around, maybe for something with an actual back seat for my poor kids. Was considering mainly the Subaru STI and the Mitsubishi Evo. Can't afford to give up the ability to quench my frequent thirst for adrenaline. What people have said is true: the Evo is INCREDIBLY uncomfortable. I'm a small guy (5'9, 175 lbs, 32" waist), and the seat bolsters STILL squeeze my hips. The sport suspension, while great for performance, adds to the rough ride; u can feel EVERYTHING u roll over, even when u squash a June bug! Honestly, if the seats were more comfortable, the sporty ride would be tolerable.
The Subaru WRX/STI is not only more comfortable, but leaves its paint at the starting line. OMG! How incredible is this car?!?! Leaves the Evo wimpering at the starting line. (to be fair, I drove the auto Evo with paddle shifters, and the manual -- only comes manual -- STI). But still ... the Evo was soon forgotten. The STI ... not so much. Hard to believe it's legal. Even though I can hardly consider a stick-shift as my primary car, I was really struggling not to buy that STI. But besides being manual, there was one other note that kept me from pulling the trigger: it slid on corners where I know my Mini wouldn't.
Then I discover that Mini has redesigned the classic Cooper, so I went and gave it a spin. Well, my friends, I have found my next car. What a beast! The new engine is actually stronger than an old JCW, and u can feel it, and it still corners like I'm accustomed to. The exterior is only slightly changed, but the interior is almost TOTALLY changed! Much more feature-rich: push-button start, NAV controls same as in BMWs, better display, can change engine mode from "sport" to "green". BMW has seemingly given up on trying to keep the British Mini heritage, and made it an actual BMW (only smaller).
Still not crazy about the low-end torque, which is one reason why I was considering the Evo and STI. Some tuning may be in order. But besides shoehorning my kids in the back seat every once in a while, it is as close to perfect as I think I'll find for my needs:
1) performance in an automatic, specifically cornering ability that CAN'T be beat. being self-employed i do a lot of light-to-light driving while following nav, talking on the phone, texting, drinking coffee, eating cereal.
2) the size will spoil u. u will find holes in traffic and parking lots u would have NEVER considered before.
3) comfort in a sports car.
4) 8-year-old convertible top still no leaks.
Here are a few points on the down side:
1) had to replace the $800 battery bc the computer was automatically turning on the radio in the middle of the night. with labor to fix computer, came to $1,200, of which I paid 1/3.
2) auto transmission gets weird sometimes: won't shift, or shifts roughly. i've heard and read about Mini tranny problems, i believe a class-action lawsuit was filed, but nothing too serious yet. when it happens, i just shift over to paddle shifters.
3) not really a "con", more of a maintenance issue: one tire-pressure sensor went out: $350, and something with the right front suspension was wearing out: $1,300. at almost 90K miles, i figure a few things will start to give."
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