2011 MINI Cooper

Mini Coopers had once been voted “European Car of the Century”. While largely debatable, this recognition is testament to the Mini Cooper’s great performance on the road, coupled with its inherent fun-factor as a car with styling that is distinctly its own.

This year, Mini Cooper has something new to offer die-hard fans as well as those who may be paying more serious attention to the Cooper line for the first time.

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: Compact Hatchback Base Price: $20,100.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons (50 liters) MPG: 29 city / 37 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 146.6 in. (372 cm) Width: 66.3 in. (168 cm)
Height: 55.4 in. (140.7 cm) Wheel Base: 97.1 in. (246 cm)
Curb Weight: 2535 lbs (1150 kg) Ground Clearance: NA
Luggage Capacity: 5.7 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Performance
Engine: 16-valve DOHC inline-4 Displacement: 1.6 liters
Horsepower: 121 HP Max RPM: 6000 RPM
Torque: 114 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
0-60 mph: 8.4 seconds Maximum Speed: 126 mph (203 km/h)
Available Trims & Engine
Option:Cooper Convertible MSRP: $25,550; MPG: 28 city / 35 hwy
Option:Cooper S Hardtop MSRP: $23,700; MPG: 27 city / 35 hwy
Option:Cooper S Convertible MSRP: $28,550; MPG: 27 city / 35 hwy

The new 2011 MINI Cooper now boasts of a more powerful engine, better steering capabilities, new and improved cosmetics, better radio controls, state of the art HD and satellite radio, and more options for customization such as adaptive headlights and sound insulation.

Performance

All the action happens under the hood. And you will be pleasantly surprised to see a thriving yet sensible 1.6L six-speed manual (six-speed automatic is an option) engine that has been turbocharged in the Cooper S and John Cooper Works variants. Certainly the Mini Cooper does not disappoint in terms of power output as the base model alone charges in at 121hp with 114 lb-ft of torque already. Mate this power to the Cooper’s relatively low weight and you are presented with a lively and fuel-saving around-town car that is also appropriate for the casual week end get away.

The Mini Cooper accelerates form 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds (9.7 seconds for the automatic) with a fuel consumption of 29mpg city/37 mpg highway.

The Cooper S features 181hp with 177 lb-ft of torque (192 lb-ft with overboost) and 0-60mph acceleration of 6.6 seconds for the manual and 6.8 seconds for the automatic. Fuel economy is at 27/36/30 (manual) and 26/34/29 (automatic).

The John Cooper Works cranks up the turbo boost to produce 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the only available transmission. Mini estimates a 0-60mph time of 6.2 seconds for the hatchback and 6.6 for the convertible.

Interior & Exterior

The MINI Cooper comes in three trim levels: Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works (JCW). A two-door hatchback and a convertible body style are available for three variants.

The base Cooper sports 15-inch alloy wheels and features keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning, vinyl trimmings and upholstery, height-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, six-speaker stereo with CD player, HD and satellite radio, and auxiliary jack.

A 16-inch wheel upgrade is available for the convertible model as well as a power convertible top with sunroof.

The Cooper’s Sport option has 17-inch wheels, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, traction control, sport seats and hood stripes as added features.

Meanwhile, the Cooper S has 16-inch wheels, a turbocharged engine, alloy pedals, fog lamps, sport seats, and a firmer suspension. On the other hand, the Sport package for the Cooper S adds an upgraded Brembo brakes, a more powerful turbo engine and cloth upholstery.

Both the S and JCW trims can be fitted with a limited-slip differential plus a firmer suspension.
Those wanting to customize the 2011 MINI Cooper will have their hands full as several option packages are available. These include a dual pane sunroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control, 10-speaker Harmon Kardon surround system, keyless entry/ignition, Bluetooth and iPod interface among others.

Safety

Standard equipment for all trims is stability control, ABS, and front seat airbags. The hatchback offers side curtain airbags as standard while the convertible has pop-up rollover bars and larger front airbags extending up to a person’s head height. Traction control however is still non-standard. Stopping distance from 60mph on tested Mini Cooper S models reveal an impressive 112 to 115 feet outcome.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Cooper hatchback a moderate “good” rating in frontal-offset test, while it only scored “average” in the side-impact and roof-crash tests.

Warranty

Standard limited 4 years or 50,000 miles warranty. On top of this, Mini gives a complementary vehicle maintenance package.

Competition

If you think the Mini Cooper is expensive for what it offers, then you may look at similar cars in the market. If money is a real concern, consider the Mazda 2 (MSRP $14,180; 29 city / 35 hwy) or Mazda 3 (MSRP $20,045; 20 city / 28 hwy). Both cars cost less while giving more trunk space and good fuel economy.

Also, the Volkswagen Golf (MSRP $17,995; 23 city / 33 hwy) deserves consideration if you are not sold on the Cooper. It is equally renowned as a top performer and its engine is just as powerful. While the Cooper may be the better-performing of the two, its bigger trunk space (over twice as big) is a definite advantage.

Pros

The MINI Cooper scores big on handling, fuel economy, all-around performance, styling, innovative convertible roof, and customization options.

Cons

Minus points are the car’s noisy and stiff ride, cramped rear space, poor back visibility in the convertible model, and a weak base stereo.

The 2011 MINI Cooper may be tiny for some people’s taste, but its performance, fuel economy, and iconic styling more than compensate for this rather small limitation.

Overall Rating
76 out of 100

What others say:

“The 2011 MINI Cooper/Convertible runs the gamut from smart econobox to thrusty sports convertible--all with unmatched driving feel and expertly interpreted styling heritage.”Car Connection

“Minis are among the smallest cars in the U.S. but are stable even in crosswinds. They offer excellent maneuverability, thanks in part to their electrically assisted steering that offers light feel at low speeds and firms up as speed increases. ”Consumer Guide

“The rear seat is very tight and some controls are confusing.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“Thanks to British character and German engineering, the 2011 Mini Cooper is a great pick for a small coupe or convertible.”Edmunds

“If you value fun-to-drive character and unique looks in a small package, the 2011 Mini Cooper is an excellent choice. Strengths include razor-sharp handling, frugal fuel economy and unique retro looks.”KBB

  • M.A. Korman

    I love my Mini and will never drive any other car,it’s the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!