2007 MINI Cooper Long Term Road Test

2007 Mini Cooper S: What If I Said No to the Turbo?

January 04, 2008

2007 Mini Cooper S engine bay - E. Riches

Just before the holidays I spent a long weekend with a 2008 Mini Cooper hatch, the base model, with the Sport Package and various other options. I never cared for the base version of the previous Cooper. I was quite surprised then when I ended up liking the car -- to the point that I'd take the base hatch over our turbocharged S, even without the $3,000 price break.

Even in its naturally aspirated state (118 hp at 6,000 rpm, 114 lb-ft of torque at 4,250), the PSA 1.6-liter has considerable pull at low rpm. There's plenty here for catching the holes in traffic with enough left over to break the front tires loose if you're into that. I had to shift more often on freeway grades to keep it in its power band, but Minis are rewarding to shift, so this wasn't a negative.

There's also a lot to be said for the base Cooper's lack of torque steer. I felt freer to drive the car with abandon since big throttle inputs didn't cause excessive left-right fidgeting.

Finally, the nonfunctional hood vent: The base Cooper doesn't have one.

Where does that leave our long-term 2007 Mini Cooper S? I still like it and I still bargain for opportunities to drive it. But the base car is better than I ever would have believed.

Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor @ 9,210 miles

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