2011 MINI Cooper Review | Edmunds.com

2011 MINI Cooper

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
MINI Cooper Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.6 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 121 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 29/37 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 MINI Cooper

  • Thanks to British character and German engineering, the 2011 Mini Cooper is a great pick for a small coupe or convertible.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sharp handling; stellar fuel economy; excellent all-around performance in S and JCW trims; endearing retro styling; innovative convertible roof; highly customizable.

  • Cons

    Poor rearward visibility in convertible; stiff and noisy ride; lacks rear legroom; weak base stereo.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the range of Mini Cooper models receives a slight increase in power output, modified steering for reduced torque steer under hard acceleration, minor cosmetic changes inside and out, optional adaptive headlights, reworked radio controls, standard HD and satellite radio, and added sound insulation.

Full 2011 MINI Cooper Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the range of Mini Cooper models receives a slight increase in power output, modified steering for reduced torque steer under hard acceleration, minor cosmetic changes inside and out, optional adaptive headlights, reworked radio controls, standard HD and satellite radio, and added sound insulation.


Motoring fun doesn't have to destroy the planet, nor does eco-friendly driving have to be boring. The 2011 Mini Cooper is proof that you can be entertained by a lively car without drawing criticism from environmentalists. With agile handling, loads of charm and a cool factor that's hard to match, it's no surprise the Mini Cooper has remained so popular for so long.

Under the hood, the fun starts with the lively yet economical base 1.6-liter and moves up to the sporty turbocharged Cooper S and raucous John Cooper Works versions. There's not a whole lot of power here on the spec sheet (the base engine puts out just 121 horsepower, for instance) but the Mini doesn't weigh very much, either. This boosts fuel economy and helps the Cooper feel lively around town. The car's small size makes it a breeze to park, too. Inside, the Cooper is surprisingly spacious for two people, and Mini offers further enticement with a dizzying array of factory options and dealer-installed accessories.

It's not all sunshine and smiles, though. While the suspension is understandably tuned to foster the car's spry handling, there is a trade-off in a rather firm ride quality that might not suit some drivers (we highly recommend sticking with smaller wheels). The Cooper's rear seat has an almost comical lack of legroom, although the Cooper Clubman (reviewed separately) is a remedy.

If these qualities seem like turnoffs, it might be good to check out some alternatives. Hatchbacks like the 2011 Mazda 3/Mazdaspeed 3, 2011 Volvo C30 and 2011 Volkswagen Golf/GTI are all more practical thanks to their roomier seating and cargo areas. For a drop top, the 2011 BMW 1 Series is more refined and the Volkswagen Eos is more comfortable. That said, none of these cars can match the Cooper's unique blend of personality, performance and frugalness. For a small coupe or convertible, it comes highly recommended.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Mini Cooper is available in two-door hatchback and convertible body styles. Each is available in three trim levels: Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works (JCW).

The base Cooper comes standard with 15-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, multicolor ambient lighting and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The Cooper convertible models add 16-inch alloy wheels and a full power convertible top that includes a sunroof feature. The Cooper's Sport package adds 16-inch wheels on the hatchback and 17-inch wheels on the convertible, foglamps, traction control, a rear spoiler, sport seats and hood stripes.

The Cooper S adds 16-inch wheels, a turbocharged engine, firmer suspension tuning, foglamps, sport seats and alloy pedals. The Cooper S Sport package adds 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, traction control and hood stripes. The John Cooper Works includes a more powerful turbo engine, upgraded Brembo brakes and cloth upholstery. A limited-slip differential and a firmer suspension can be fitted to both the S and the John Cooper Works.

Options are plentiful and arranged in several packages, with most features available la carte. Major optional features include adaptive xenon headlights, a dual-pane sunroof, automatic climate control, heated front seats, keyless ignition/entry, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, Bluetooth and an iPod interface. Other options include different wheels, parking sensors, cloth or leather upholstery, a navigation system and a multitude of different interior trims and materials. As has been the case since the Cooper's debut, a multitude of dealer-installed features are additionally available.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Mini Cooper comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine good for 121 hp and 114 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual with hill-start assist is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. Mini estimates a manual-equipped hatchback will go from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds (9.7 seconds with the automatic). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined with the manual (27/35/31 convertible) and 28/36/31 with the automatic.

The Cooper S has a turbocharged version of the same engine good for 181 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque (192 lb-ft at full throttle thanks to an overboost function). Mini estimates 0-60 mph acceleration in 6.6 seconds for the manual and 6.8 seconds for the automatic. EPA estimated fuel economy is 27/36/30 with the manual and 26/34/29 with the auto.

The John Cooper Works cranks up the turbo boost to produce 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the only available transmission. Mini estimates a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds for the hatchback and 6.6 for the convertible. Fuel economy is 25/33/28.


All 2011 Mini Coopers come standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control and front-seat side airbags. Side curtain airbags are standard on the hatchback, while the convertible features pop-up rollover bars and larger front side airbags that extend to head height. Traction control is optional. In Edmunds braking, various Mini Cooper S models with 17-inch wheels stopped from 60 mph between 112 and 115 feet -- excellent results.

The Cooper has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedure. Its 2010 rating (which isn't comparable to the new methodology) was four stars out of five for frontal and side impacts for both driver and passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the hatchback its best rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset test, and its second-best score of "Average" in the side-impact and roof-crush tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Of all the ways to describe the Mini Cooper's interior, we doubt anyone would call it boring. The massive center-mounted speedometer is a nod to the original Mini, but in terms of practicality, it comes off as a bit gimmicky. One of our main gripes of previous Minis was the oddly placed stereo control knobs. Fortunately, that has been rectified for 2011 with a slightly more conventional layout.

Despite the Mini Cooper's small size, the front seats are surprisingly spacious. There is no shortage of headroom or legroom and the cabin feels extraordinarily airy. The rear seats, by comparison, are much less accommodating, with a notable lack of legroom. Trunk space is also restrictive, at a very meager 5.7 cubic feet, but folding the rear seats flat increases cargo capacity to a very usable 24 cubes.

The convertible features a tailgate-style trunk opening with an upper package tray that can be raised to allow larger items to fit in the tiny 6-cubic-foot trunk. Unlike most convertibles, the Mini's rear seats can be folded flat to accommodate larger items, but the rollover hoops and soft-top mechanism prevent the loading of bulkier objects. Rear visibility for the convertible is poor with the top down and even worse with the top up.

Driving Impressions

No matter which flavor of 2011 Mini Cooper you might be interested in, you can expect thrilling handling and quick responses to driver inputs. On the downside, the Mini's ride is on the stiff side and can be rather loud, as well. Opting for the Cooper S or John Cooper Works models further stiffens the ride, leading us to recommend that mainstream buyers forego the sport suspension and larger wheels.

The base Cooper will likely satisfy most drivers, while the S adds quite a bit of excitement and the JCW turns the fun dial up to 11. The six-speed manual transmission is notable for its precise shifter and compliant clutch. The automatic isn't the smoothest-shifting unit in the world, but in Manual mode it responds quickly to the driver's inputs to the shift paddles on the steering wheel.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I knew it was a

by on
Vehicle: 2011 MINI Cooper 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M)

I bought a 2011 Mini Cooper for my son to earn to drive on because it was like a go-kart. I knew what I was in for, it being a perfect storm of unreliability being a German car made in England. All of my other vehicles are either a Toyota or a Scion. You buy them and drive them. They are like purchasing an appliance. We had the Mini for 5 months when the timing chain broke at a red light, destroying the engine. Now, although this is a known defect, BMW waned nothing t do with it. This left me with a $6000 engine replacement and Gid knows what after that. Know this; if you are not rich, buy Japanese every-time. Never, ever, buy German or English. Bad Motor Works.

Real lemon

by on
Vehicle: 2011 MINI Cooper 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M)

We purchased this car for our daughter, wanted a car that war dependable and safe. Turned out to be a real Lemon. Spends more time in the shop. Can't fix anything unless you have a pix or video to show the problem. Was missing parts from the factory also. Problems still exist. BMW USA offered to replace the car because of all the problems, then changes their mind the next day when we were going to take their offer. Be very careful if you decide to purchase this car from Mini(BMW USA), they do not stand behind their product. Guess that is why there is the LEMON LAW. May have to go to court to get relief. Very disappointed with what was suppose to be a superior company and product.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

Chose this over a miata

by on
Vehicle: 2011 MINI Cooper S 2dr Convertible (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I spent a world of time comparing the Cooper to the Mazda Miata. They're both great cars, fun to drive and easy to buy and own. I think I would be happy with either car but the Mini has the "cute factor" over the Miata. 9,000,000 Miata owners can't be wrong but it also makes it somewhat ordinary. The Cooper "S" is incredibly fun to drive, especially in a mountain state like Colorado.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great small car

by on
Vehicle: 2011 MINI Cooper 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 6M)

Well I did it I got my MINI. I'm glad I got the manual it's a blast to drive even if it's a non turbo. I took a 700 mile trip north and avg 46 mpg on a flat expressway with keeping the speed of 65mph. If you go above that MPG will not be as great. 70 mph not bad and still received 42mpg. Keep your foot out of it and shift easy 32-35mpg in city shouldn't be a problem. I installed a K&N Typhoon kit and sounds great and improved MPG. I looked at many other cars in the same type of class. This one gave me the most personal room. It's bigger than you think on the inside. I can even fit my kids booster seats in. I have a 6 and 8 year old and they can ride in back no problem.

8 of 15 people found this review helpful

2011 cooper s

by on
Vehicle: 2011 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

My wife just traded her '11 Countryman for another '11 Cooper "S" -- she previously owned an '05 "S" and thought AWD was the way to go. She knew the minute we drove off the lot (w/Countryman) that she would be back for another hardtop--just no comparison. The '11 hardtop is great -- Mini has worked hard to refine the hardtop over the years and it shows. The quality of the car is outstanding whether you're talking about engine performance, handling, interior quietness...it's all better!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

"s" engine is now a

by on
Vehicle: 2011 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

It's hard to believe the Mini Cooper S is only rated at 181 horsepower, it feels like more. After driving the standard Cooper hardtop the difference was night and day... if you can't afford the S, don't drive one. I also have a Lotus Elise & have been driving both up the same canyon road to observe the differences. The Lotus corners quicker/flatter, but the Cooper launches you out of a corner with more low end (turbo) thrust. Its power is in the midrange and it flings you forward from around 3,000 RPM. What a blast. It leans a bit while cornering but stays neutral when you hit the gas so you don't need to enter a turn super fast to maintain speed. Great fun, great car.

Talk About The 2011 Cooper

2011 MINI Cooper Discussions See all Started By

I am trying to decide if I want to do more repairs on the vehicle, or park it in the garage and sell it next year when I get the title paid off. Will have Paid $13k for purchase. I have already had ?...

I purchased a mini cooper 2011 countryman with 47,000miles. I had the dealer in North Scottsdale look the car over and was advised that mechanically the car is perfect. As the warranty ran out at 50K ...

I am the currently embittered, disaffected, cynical second owner of a 2008 Mini Cooper S purchased from Stevens Creek Mini in San Jose, California. I wanted to love this car for years to come. I no lo...

Gas Mileage


  • 29
  • cty
  • 37
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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