In 2002, MINI resurrected its iconic Cooper small car that had been popular decades earlier. This reborn version was immediately popular with U.S. buyers and parent company BMW quickly moved to expand the MINI lineup overall and the Cooper model specifically to include numerous variants. These eventually included convertibles, three-doors, four-doors with an AWD option, roadsters and a two-seater coupe.
2014 - Present Mini Cooper (3rd Generation)
The third generation of the Cooper largely looks the same as the previous generation but offered a new engine under the hood. The base car had a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that put out 134 horsepower while managing to hit 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.
The S version also got a power upgrade to its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine; it now put 189 horsepower while getting 25 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Overall, the Cooper added nearly an inch of height and 4.5 inches of length, which improved passenger and cargo. Option packages included the Sport Package, Cold Weather Package, Premium Package, and MINI Wired Package.
MINI continued to make upgrades to subsequent years of this generation. In 2015, some of the previous optional features became standard. In 2016, the Cooper achieved super ultra-low emitting vehicle status, which was due to an upgrade of the base three-cylinder engine, one which didn’t impact horsepower figures or performance.
In 2017, MINI introduced the MINI Seven special edition. Four new body colors became available, including Pepper White, Midnight Black, British Racing Green, and Lapisluxury Blue, and hardtop Coopers all included a Media Package.
The 2018 models added rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera as standard equipment.
The 2019 model adds some slight exterior updates such as taillights with the Union Jack insignia integrated into their design but is otherwise the same.
2007 - 2013 Mini Cooper (2nd Generation)
The second generation of MINI Cooper may not have looked much different than the first, but new engines and a slight design tweak can help tell them apart. This generation debuted in showrooms in 2007 featured front lights that were now in two sets of housings.
The base car debuted a new British-built 1.6-liter engine with 118 horsepower, a slight upgrade over the previous generation. A five-speed manual and CVT automatic remained the MINI’s transmission choices.
The S version of the Cooper featured direct fuel injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger (rather than the earlier S model’s supercharger), allowing it to get a slight boost in horsepower to 172. The S offered the same six-speed manual and automatic gearbox as before.
Like the first generation, the second generation Cooper offered a variety of luxury options and a number of interior trims and colors. Standard safety equipment included six airbags, ABS and traction control. Convertible Coopers also offered side airbags and a roll bar.
In 2011, the Cooper was given a light refresh with the addition of more colors, new wheels, more tech features, slightly more horsepower at 121 and slight revisions to the front and rear exterior. A six-speed manual transmission became standard and a six-speed automatic was optional.
2002 - 2006 Mini Cooper (1st Generation)
The first generation of MINI debuted for the 2002 model year. The two-door hatchback was easy to recognize thanks to its retro-inspired design that harked back to the (much smaller) original model.
The base Cooper for this generation had a 1.6-liter Tritec engine built in Brazil that put out 115 horsepower. Two transmissions were available, including a five-speed manual and a CVT automatic. Both helped give the Cooper top-notch fuel efficiency.
The S model for this generation was a performance spec that included a small supercharger to bump horsepower up to about 168. This version also had a six-speed manual transmission or a paddle shifter automatic. The S was known for being a sharp-handling it garnered many enthusiasts’ appreciation for the fun it promised.
The last two production years of this first-gen Cooper featured Getrag manual transmissions with slightly different gear ratios than before.
All MINI Coopers featured drive-by-wire electronic throttles instead of the standard mechanical control systems. The supercharger in the S trim left no room for the battery, so it was relocated to the back of the car, which in turn left no room for a spare tire. Therefore all S models had run-flat tires.