September 21, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Elegance Meets Performance: A Deep Dive Into The Mini Cooper S

Elegance Meets Performance: A Deep Dive Into The Mini Cooper S

Car and woman sitting with car split image

The Mini Cooper S, the embodiment of British motoring history with a hint of sporty flair, has long been a popular choice among compact car enthusiasts. 

This model from Mini, a subsidiary of BMW, has undergone numerous transformations since its inception in the late 1950s, combining modern features with its iconic retro design. 

In this review, we will delve into the specifics of this beloved little road runner, including its pricing, performance, fuel economy, design, pros, and cons.

Design & Aesthetics

Mini Cooper S Adobe


The Mini Cooper S retains its instantly recognizable classic shape, sporting a modern-retro look that never fails to turn heads.

The distinctive circular headlights, along with the wide hexagonal radiator grille, add to its distinctive face.

Cooper S models are further differentiated with a unique honeycomb grille, twin exhaust pipes, and larger air intakes. The hood scoop is not just for show—it feeds air to the turbocharger.

Stance-wise, the Mini Cooper S sits wide and low, giving it a robust presence.

The short overhangs, combined with well-defined wheel arches housing 17" or 18" alloy wheels, offer it an aggressive look.

On the top, the optional contrasting color roof and mirror caps only add to its sporty appeal.

The car's compact dimensions and low stance make it ideal for zipping through city streets.


Inside, the Mini Cooper S's cabin is as funky as its exterior. The dashboard layout revolves around the large circular infotainment display in the middle, surrounded by an LED ring that changes color based on what the car is doing— a feature that's unique to Mini.

Quality materials are abundant, with soft-touch surfaces and solid controls that provide a premium feel.

The Cooper S comes with sport seats as standard, offering excellent lateral support. The seats, along with the steering wheel, have a range of adjustment, which ensures most drivers can find a comfortable driving position.

Despite its compact exterior dimensions, Mini has managed to carve out a surprising amount of space in the front, offering ample headroom and legroom.

At the rear, things are a bit tight, which is expected in a subcompact car like this. However, the space is quite usable for short trips, and children should find it more than sufficient.

The trunk is compact, but folding rear seats can expand the cargo capacity for bigger loads.

Performance Specifications

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Under its compact exterior, the Mini Cooper S houses an impressive array of specifications that grant it its sporty, quicksilver performance.

  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
  • Power: 189 horsepower at 5,000 rpm
  • Torque: 207 lb-ft at 1,350 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
  • Top Speed: 145 mph

Fuel Economy

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The Mini Cooper S offers commendable fuel efficiency for its performance class.

It returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined when equipped with the automatic transmission.

Pros & Cons

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  • Engaging driving dynamics and strong performance 
  • Iconic design and customizable styling
  • High-quality interior with upscale materials
  • Strong resale value


  • Limited interior and cargo space due to its compact size
  • Ride may be too firm for some, particularly on uneven roads
  • Optional features and packages can quickly inflate the price

Comparison to Similar Models

Mini Cooper SAdobe

When compared to competitors like the Volkswagen GTI or Honda Civic Si, the Mini Cooper S stands out with its unique design and premium feel.

While those competitors may offer a bit more space or power, the Cooper S counters with a unique driving experience that blends sporty handling with a refined ride.

The Mini Cooper S successfully maintains its character as a compact, fun-to-drive car with a level of sophistication not often found in this segment.

It offers an impressive combination of performance, style, and fuel economy. However, its compact nature might pose practicality concerns for some.

Regardless, for those seeking a sporty compact car with personality in spades, the Mini Cooper S is certainly worth consideration.


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