The Mini Cooper has been a major success story since its relaunch and the brand continued to soar to even greater heights with the Cooper S.
Launched in 2003 the Mini Cooper S retained the retro mod look of the classic Mini while giving it a contemporary - futurist even edge.
A hefty 1,140kg, 210bhp and a supercharged 1.6-litre engine make the Mini Cooper S more than just a city plaything. The Cooper S has some major oomph in its engine ensuring there is no insecurity among Mini drivers when they have to compete with the bigger sports vehicles. The Minis handling is truly legendary, especially on country roads.
The Cooper S includes further style enhancements to the cult car brand including dual chrome-tipped exhaust pipes, wider wheel arches, 16in light-alloy wheels plus the famous S badge.
This reflected an old disagreement between the original designers. They could not agree on whether to call the rally-winning model a Sport or a Special, and eventually compromised on a simple S. As Michael Caine may or may not have said: Not a lot of people know that.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The interior is equally style conscious and exclusive with instrument panel and doorframes finished in a brushed alloy patina which complements silver-toned door trim and black carpets and upholstery.
Optional upholstery finishes are available in leather and leatherette, including a unique colorblocked finish with black and blue sections.
A leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, stainless steel footrest and sport seats add further cool. Its a retro theme but with technology and quality that no one would have thought possible back in its swinging sixties heyday.
Notably this Cooper S was the model which appeared in the 2003 version of the Italian Job, based in turn on the 1969 heist film starring Michael Caine - which did more than anything to popularise the Mini back in the sixties.
Since its original appearance in 1959 the Mini was considered a cult classic on the European rally circuit and was loved by famous fans including the Beatles and Enzo Ferrari.
The Mini re-launch relied heavily on this history as well as the combination of power and funky credibility which the new cars still retain. The Mini re-launch has been one of the most successful product re-launches of recent years.
Standard equipment includes six airbags, power steering, in-dash CD player, central remote locking system, power windows and a tire pressure monitor for vehicles with run-flat tires.
In Europe the average retail price for a Mini S costs the same usually spent on medium-sized vehicles - which highlights the fact that - although little - it is regarded as a premium little vehicle. This combination of small car excellence, price and cool has been part of the success story, which most Review Centre reviewers seem only too willing to testify to. In certain markets, such as the UK, Mini is actually the segment leader for small car convertibles. A healthy 27 percent of Mini buyers worldwide plump for the high performance, high end Mini Cooper S.
Insurance: Groups 15-16.
Speed: 137mph / 0-62mph 7.7s.
Fuel Consumption: 31.4mpg (combined)
Standard Safety: Twin front and side airbags, ASC+T, ABS with EBD
Size: Length/Width/Height: 3626/1925/1396mm.
Engine: 1.6L I4, 16 valve, 168 at 6000hp.