The 2011 Mini Cooper offers unique styling, exceptional fuel efficiency and surprisingly agile handling, making it a serious and popular contender in the small coupe or convertible segment. Additional appealing factors include its long list of available features, high level of personal customization choices and combination of refined german engineering and retro British design.
The Mini Cooper proves that an environmentally-friendly car does not have to be boring, but can also be fun to drive. With its nimble handling and iconic design, the 2011 Mini is bound to maintain this vehicle's longstanding popularity.
The Mini's small size relieves tons of stress when it comes to parking, while being surprisingly spacious for two people at the same time. There's also a huge array of factory options and dealer-installed accessories to pick from for those who want to add to this unique vehicle with their own personal touch.
All that said, there are some negatives as well. The Mini's suspension is firmly tuned to help with the car's impressive athleticism, making for perhaps a rougher ride quality than some people are used to, especially if opting for the larger wheels. And the rear quarters of the Cooper are significantly lacking legroom, making it tough going for passengers on longer trips.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Mini Cooper is offered as either a two-door hatchback or convertible, each with three trims: Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works (JCW).
Standard features on the base Cooper include leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, full power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry, multicolor ambient lighting, a tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, 15-inch alloy wheels and a 6-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The Cooper convertible is equipped similarly but adds 16-inch alloy wheels and a power convertible top with a sunroof feature.
Available for both models is the Cooper Sport package that adds 16-inch wheels on the hatchback and 17-inch wheels on the convertible, traction control, sport seats, a rear spoiler, foglamps and hood stripes.
The Mini Cooper S adds a turbocharged engine, firmer suspension tuning, foglamps, 16-inch wheels, alloy pedals and sport seats. The Cooper S Sport package adds 17-inch wheels, traction control, hood stripes and xenon headlights.
The John Cooper Works model features a more powerful turbo engine, upgraded Brembo brakes and cloth upholstery. In addition, a limited-slip differential and a still firmer suspension are also available on the Cooper S and the John Cooper Works.
There are many optional features grouped into packages, with most also available as stand-alone options. The more significant include a dual-pane sunroof, heated front seats, cloth or leather upholstery, automatic climate control, adaptive xenon headlights, navigation, keyless entry/ignition, different wheels, parking sensors, Bluetooth, an iPod interface, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, a large selection of various interior trims and materials, and a host of dealer-installed features.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the Mini Cooper is a choice of three lively yet fuel-sipping engines. Under the hood of the base Cooper is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 121 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed manual transmission with hill-start assist or the optional 6-speed automatic. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine is a very efficient 29 mpg city and 37 mpg on the highway with the manual, 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway with the automatic, and 27 and 35, respectively with the convertible.
The Cooper S is outfitted with a turbocharged version of the same engine and generates 181 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque (can be boosted to 192 lb-ft at full throttle with the overboost function). It has an estimated (by Mini) standstill to 60 mph sprint speed of just 6.6 seconds for the manual and 6.8 seconds for the automatic. Despite the increase in power, the EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine dips only slightly to 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway with the manual, and 26 and 34, respectively, with the automatic.
The John Cooper Works boosts the turbo up to 208 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed manual transmission only and has an estimated 0-60 time of just 6.2 seconds for the hatchback and 6.6 for the convertible. Gas mileage for the JCW comes in at a still thrifty 25 mpg city and 33 highway.
Standard features on all 2011 Mini Coopers include stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS) and front-seat side airbags. In addition, side curtain airbags are standard on the hatchback, the convertible is equipped with pop-up rollover bars and larger, head-height front side airbags, and traction control is an available option.
The 2011 Cooper had not been government crash tested at the time of this writing. However, the 2010 model received four out of five stars in all frontal and side-impact occupant protection categories.
The Mini Cooper's cabin is attractive, generally user-friendly and well-made with high quality materials, while the seating is comfortable and supportive. It's also surprisingly roomy up front given its size, comfortably able to accommodate even taller occupants with seemingly amply headroom and legroom.
The rear seats, however, are much less passenger-friendly as a result of a significant lack of legroom. As one can imagine, trunk space is also quite small, coming in at just 5.7 cubic feet. However, the rear seats can be folded flat to allow for a much more useful cargo capacity of 24 cubic feet.
No matter the model, the 2011 Mini Cooper offers exciting handling and an engaging driving experience. There is a tradeoff, however, due to its sporty tuning. As athletic and responsive as the Mini is, some may not appreciate its rather firm ride ... even moreso for the Cooper S and John Cooper Works. It would probably be wise for mainstream drivers to avoid the sport suspension and larger wheels.
Overall, most drivers will likely be satisfied with the road manners of the base Cooper, while the S is a lot more fun for driving enthusiasts and the JCW is an outright blast behind the wheel.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try a Wholesale Car Auction in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them at no cost in your own area.
2011 Mini Cooper Hatchback:
Base Cooper: list price: $19,400, invoice price: $17,460
Cooper S: list price: $23,000, invoice price: $20,700
John Cooper Works: list price: $29,100, invoice price: $26,190
2011 Mini Cooper Convertible:
Base Cooper: list price: $24,850, invoice price: $22,365
Cooper S: list price: $27,850, invoice price: $25,065
John Cooper Works: list price: $34,300, invoice price: $30,870