2006 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback w/John Cooper Works GP Kit (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)
My 2006 MINI Cooper S was the second MINI Cooper S that I owned, my first being a 2003
There were so many improvements made to the 2005 and 2006 body style over the 2002-2004 models.
The 2002-2004 models are just as fun but not as easy to live with.
The MINI is a car that you buy if you love driving; it simply puts a smile on your face every time you get in it, even the non-S models.
I particularly like the cheeky British styling altho not everyone does.
It was tied for highest resale value (w/Honda Civic) for compacts!
If reliability, interior space or a quiet ride (MINIs have lots of interior squeaks/rattles) are at the top of your shopping this, this probably isn't the car for you.
Reving the engine on the supercharged S-model is exhilarating.
I've driven many cars which are faster than this, but the engine has such a willingness that just implores you to explore the whole tachometer unlike most other cars.
The exhaust note is perfect and the 2005-2006 S have a slight burble/bark when you let off the throttle which makes it feel so much more alive.
The interior materials are fairly good and up to what you'd expect in a less expensive BMW as it is.
Due to the pedal placement you can effortlessly heel-toe. I much prefer the clutch feel to the lighter 2007+ turbo S cars in addition to the sound although the 2007+ models are quieter, ride better and get better mileage.
As much as I loved both of my MINIs, the amazing community of MINI drivers that organize fun driving events, neither of my MINIs were particularly reliable.
Even my 2006 which was supposed to be the best of the first gen R53 MINIs had its share of problems including multiple issues with the horn, ECU computer, water leaks, stuck shifter, thermostat, power steering fan, dead key, a stuck valve lifter, climate control switches, etc.
My 2003 had its sunroof leak, the emergency brake cable seize and the steering column fail(!), and the door handle only intermittently worked in cold weather.
Besides those items I'd still highly recommend any MINI if you can afford the BMW-priced maintenance.