The thrill of owning a piece of history with modern underpinnings, BMW-engineered suspension and steering, chock full of comfort and safety features, hatchback utility, scheduled maintenance on-the-house for 3 years/36,000 miles.
Not enough horsepower in base model, questionable seat comfort, not much room for passengers and cargo, price goes up quickly with options, limited supply encourages dealer mark-up.
West Sussex, England: It's no banner headline when a son screws up his father's legacy. Chad McQueen is but a mere shadow of his dad's magnetic screen presence. And were George Jr. half the diplomat his father was, France and the rest of the U.N. would be lining up for the privilege of assassinating Saddam Hussein.
Once in a blue moon, though, there comes a progeny who doesn't let the world down. Brett has done nothing to sully the Hull reputation for hard-hitting hockey. Michael's road racing career has done nothing to tarnish the Andretti name. And I have a funny feeling that motor racing legend John Cooper is looking down from behind the pearly gates with more than a modicum of pride. Mr. Cooper, you see, won two Formula One championships, dominated Formula Junior racing in his delicate and diminutive Norton Manx-powered open-wheeler and revolutionized open-wheel racing by engineering the first rear-engine car to win a world championship event. His enduring legacy, however, will always be the Mini Cooper the feisty version of Alec Issigonis' little runabout that transformed the world's first transverse-mounted front-engine, front-wheel-drive econocar into a Monte Carlo Rally winner and on-track giant slayer.
By the time all was said and done, 200,000 of the perky little Minis made their way into production peaking in the late 1960s with the powerful 1,275-cubic-centimeter version that claimed a then incredible 72 horsepower. This all but ensured a place in automotive history for John Cooper, right up there with Jack Brabham, Enzo Ferrari and Carroll Shelby. According to Cooper files, John managed to bag a ride in a prototype of the BMW-produced Cooper S before his death in 2000. One must wonder if that short ride was the inspiration for son Michael to begin producing John Cooper Works-tuned Minis.
While the supercharged version of the Mini, the Cooper S, is adequately powerful, it is far from the rip-snorter many expected. If 163 horsepower are available from the stock version, they must be ponies rather than thoroughbreds. BMW claims a 0-to-60 time in the low 7 seconds for the Cooper S, but I have never been able to duplicate it.
The John Cooper Works edition of the same car suffers no such paucity, even though the West Sussex-based tuning garage claims only a 37-hp increase from its extensive tuning kit and an equally modest 22 extra pound-feet of torque. Yet it feels like much more. Throw on the Work's flowed cylinder head, larger-capacity supercharger and freer-flowing exhaust system and the Cooper S is transformed. What was once a plaything is now a serious sports car. Acceleration that was once Camrylike is now more akin to that of Subaru's WRX. Michael Cooper claims 6.7 seconds for his car's 0-to-100-km/h (62.5 mph) time, but the difference between his version and the factory S feels livelier than the numbers may suggest.
Most apparent is the increase in low-end torque. Where the stock version needs 4,500 rpm before opening its eyes, the tuned version pulls from as low as 3,000 rpm. The Works edition produces more torque from 2,500 rpm all the way to 6,750 than the stock S does at 4,000 rpm. This means that unlike the original, which seems to run out of steam at the top of third gear, the Works edition still pulls hard in fifth; only the extra-tall sixth cog is able to blunt the invigorated 1.6-liter four's grunt.
In fact, the John Cooper Works Mini is one of those rare cars that has "enough" power. Any more might tax the chassis just a bit too much. As it is, the standard front 205/45R17 run-flat radial tires (Michelin or Dunlop) are working overtime trying to contain all that torque. And, because the Works edition arrives at corners carrying much more speed, any more power and the brakes would be overwhelmed.
John Cooper Works will offer a wheel upgrade to 18 inches with lower-profile 205/40R18 performance radials for those needing even more cornering potential to go along with the extra straight-line speed. However, since they are run-flats as well, their reinforced sidewalls stiffen the ride just a bit too much for our potholed roads. There will also be some Work's bucket seats with increased side bolstering to take advantage of the car's greater handling potential.
North American pricing has not been set for the John Cooper Works kit yet, but rumor has it coming in at around $4,500. That includes the aforementioned supercharger, cylinder head, exhaust system, all gaskets, four new spark plugs and the nine and a half hours required to install all the bits at your local BMW dealer. More importantly, the John Cooper Works kit has the same new car warranty as any other BMW-authorized part.
Despite the lofty price, the John Cooper Works tuning kit is a bargain. Put simply, you would be an absolute fool to decide to opt for the extra poke of the Cooper S over the base Cooper and not spring for the full-on Works edition. So equipped, the Mini Cooper S is the hottest hatch on the planet and the car it should have been all along.
Imagine that, the Brits improving on a German car.
Is the 2003 MINI Cooper a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2003 MINI Cooper and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2003 Cooper featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2003 MINI Cooper? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2003 MINI Cooper and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2003 Cooper 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2003 Cooper.
Review Just starting from the time I got the car- I Purchased my mini last year (in 2014). The seller did not do any maintenance to the car since he owned it (for 3 years) and no record of what was done to the car. I could tell there was something going on with the belt at the time I purchased it. (ended up being belt tensioner) We have done tons of maintenance that was overdue along with preventative maintenance to keep it running strong.I literally drove my mini from Florida to California, then from California to Iowa, then from Iowa to Florida and had no issues. Not to mention the little car was weighted down most likely beyond its capacity as I was moving around the country a lot at the time. Here is a list of typical things that need to be replaced for higher mile minis and I highly suggest you look into these parts for replacement if you do own a mini: *Bypass valve *PC Valve *Spark plugs and wires *Coil Pack (usually rusted connection causing acceleration issues) *Map Sensors (preventative not really needed at the time) *Timing chain tensioner *ATI super charger damper crank pulley (highly suggest you go with a higher grade crank pulley- the stock ones are known to not last) *Power steering pump (always known to eventually go bad) Oil pan and seal *replaced belt *fuel filter *Suspension bump stops *Engine Mounts (mine were literally done for falling apart- i went with poly mounts however it will make the car more rigid so more vibration) I am a mother with a 3-year-old son. I have a large Recaro Car seat that fits in my car. I drive my car daily and I make road trips in my car. You have to decide personally why do you want an older R53 mini? My husband and I work on our own cars so we don't pay for a mechanic; We only pay for the parts. I highly suggest Way Motor Works or ECS Tuning they have the best deals on parts from what we have found for my mini. The car is small and rigid so the ride is not as smooth as our 335Xi BMW. If you want something that drives like a Cadillac then think about getting a different car. This is a fun little car that I enjoy modding and driving and I plan on replacing the engine when it comes to that point. I don't plan on ever getting rid of my mini. Is there some maintenance sure what car does not have maintenance especially once you hit 100k miles. Mini coopers are not your Toyota Camry or Honda Civic standard car they are for the unique few who find an interest in the silly character and the up and down pro and cons of what all involves the mini.
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What options are available on the 2003 MINI Cooper?
Available MINI Cooper 2003 Submodel Types: Hatchback, Convertible, John Cooper Works, S
Available Trims: S, Base, John Cooper Works
Exterior Colors: Pepper White, Chili Red, Midnight Black Metallic, Blazing Red Metallic, British Racing Green Metallic, Pure Silver Metallic, Volcanic Orange, White Silver Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic, Dark Silver Metallic, Lightning Blue Metallic, British Racing Green II Metallic, Iced Chocolate Metallic, Sparkling Silver Metallic, Eclipse Gray Metallic, Spice Orange Metallic, Thunder Gray Metallic, Laser Blue Metallic, Oxygen Blue, Astro Black Metallic, Horizon Blue Metallic , Hyper Blue Metallic, Ice Blue, Moonwalk Gray Metallic, British Racing Green II, Electric Blue Metallic, Highclass Gray Metallic, Hot Chocolate Metallic, Interchange Yellow, Mellow Yellow, Velvet Silver Metallic, Melting Silver Metallic, Kite Blue Metallic, Lapisluxury Blue, Indi Blue Metallic, Jet Black, Caribbean Aqua Metallic, John Cooper Works Rebel Green, Liquid Yellow, Purple Haze Metallic, Reef Blue Metallic, Solid Gold Metallic
Interior Colors: Checkered Carbon Black/Black cloth, Carbon Black Cross Punch leather, Double Stripe Carbon Black premium cloth, Carbon Black leather/sueded microfiber, Checkered Carbon Black/Carbon Black cloth, Carbon Black SensaTec leatherette, Carbon Black leatherette, Grey/Carbon Black leatherette, Carbon Black leather/cloth, Black Pearl leatherette/cloth, Panther Black/Panther Black, Lounge Carbon Black leather, Black Pearl leather/cloth, Black/Panther Black, Black/Panther Black leatherette, MINI Yours Carbon Black Lounge leather, Gravity Tuscan Beige leather, Panther Black Leather, Diamond Carbon Black leather/cloth, Gray/Black leatherette, Malt Brown Chesterfield leather, Pacific Blue/Carbon Black leather/cloth, Punch Carbon Black leather, Black/Black leatherette, Diamond Satellite Gray leather/cloth, Gravity Polar Beige leather, Gray/Carbon Black leatherette, Polar Beige Gravity leather, Carbon Black Lounge leather, Cordoba Beige, Gravity Tuscan Beige/Tuscan Beige leather, Gray/Black, Lounge Dark Truffle leather, Lounge Hot Chocolate leather, Lounge Toffee leather, Panther Black leather, Red/Carbon Black leather/cloth, Satellite Grey Lounge leather, Space Gray/Magnesium Gray, Space Gray/Panther Black, Toffee Lounge leather, Carbon Black Punch leather, Cross Check Toffee/Carbon Black leather/cloth, Dark Truffle Cross Punch leather, John Cooper Works Black Checkered cloth, Lapis Blue/Magnesium Gray, Lounge Classic Green leather, Lounge Redwood Red/Redwood Red leather, MINI Yours Satellite Grey Lounge leather, Malt Brown leather, Panther Black/Gray, Panther Black/Panther Black leather, Polar Beige/Carbon Black Cross Check leather/cloth, Ray Rooster Red/Carbon Black leather/cloth, Rooster Red/Carbon Black leather/cloth, Space Gray/Panther Black cloth
Popular Features: Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Tire Pressure Warning, Post-collision safety system, Trip Computer, Aux Audio Inputs, Stability Control, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Bluetooth, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, USB Inputs, Automatic Emergency Braking, Soft Top, Heated seats, Parking sensors, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Sunroof/Moonroof, Upgraded Headlights, Upgraded Stereo, Keyless Entry/Start, Navigation, Alarm, Back-up camera, Heads up display