2007 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I've got a minimally optioned Cooper S (LSD, HID lights, arm rest, 16" wheels, no sport suspension). The handling of the car is very good. It reminds me of an MR-2 I used to have and is much more responsive than the WRX I traded for it. It's just plain fun to drive. Torque steer and the LSD can conspire to twist the wheel a little - use two hands. Power from the 1.6 turbo motor is very nice - not as fast as the WRX I traded (Cobb stg 3), but very useable low end torque and nicely spaced ratios in the manual 6 speed trans.
6 speed trans, peppy turbo motor with lots of low end torque, go kart like handling, quick and well-weighted steering, fits a family of 4 (kids are 5 and 3).
Shifter is a little unrefined. Perhaps a short shifter kit would help. The base factory stereo sound quality is marginal at best.