Buy A John Cooper Works
By sportscarnut on
2006 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)
I bought my 06 JCW over a year ago, and I have no regrets. This is my third BMW, and reliability has been on par with my prior cars (about average), but it is a blast to drive! The ride is certainly on the rough side, and there is a good amount of noise from the wind and a/c, so be prepared to crank up the radio. My JCW is rated at about 40 more hp than the S, but you really don't notice the difference in power unless you rev it hard. The noticeable difference w/ the JCW is in the limited slip differential, the aero body kit, and the brakes. Cornering versus the standard S is night-and-day difference. If you are a guy, stay with dark colors as light colors look cutesy on this car.
The John Cooper Works Kit, limited slip, great exhaust sound, rock solid brakes, non-run-flat tires (I use Bridgestones), multitude of wheel designs from MINI, good gas mileage even when driven hard, good reliability for a performance car, corners like a car costing three times as much.
If you live in the South, think twice about getting a sunroof, the dual glass with the perforated shade will absolutely bake you during the summer. Non-sunroof S cars are rare, but it is worth the cooler interior and the reduced weight and lowered center of gravity.