I bought it with 128K miles 5 months ago as a comuter car, I drive 100 miles round trip daily to and from work in Germany. I beat this car up, over 100 mph on the autobahn all of the time and it hasn't missed a beat yet and I've put over 11K miles on it. Ok, I've had to add oil here and there, but that's true with many turbo/super charged car.I'm a little bigger than the average guy, 6'2" but to my surprise the car is just right. I've even made trips with my family, wife and two boys 10 and 11 y/o in it and haven't had any issues with space. I've owned multiple BMWs, to include the E46 M3 and this car is on par with the best of them with better fuel economy.
I bought a 2004 base cooper with 90,000 miles on it and I couldn't be happier! Getting 36-38 mpg average, and I don't drive like a grandma! I did my research beforehand, learned cvt transmissions and standard automatic transmissions have major problems, but standard manual is fine. Also the supercharged have water pump and cooling system issues, they do have 60 more horsepower (but only .2 sec faster than base, wth?) Repair cost are about the same as any other car, just dont take it to the dealer! But DO stay on top of maintenence. Go for the base manual, you won't be disappointed!
With 60k miles on it CVT transmission failed on the freeway at rush hour, they tried to charge me $10k to replace it, talked em down to $3k but still then the fuel gauge, again, leaving me stranded on the freeway $1200, then the power steering $1000, then the mysterious $1200 thermostat repair that took them over a week to diagnose, apparently I hit a pot hole on the way home from the dealership (I have no memory of hitting anything) but the next day all the radiator fluid was on the ground so back she went to where they set me back another $2200 for a new radiator. I'm not even listing the numerous repairs that cost under $500 that I had to do, all for a car with less than 85k miles.
I wanted a Mini for three years, and after much research and patience I finally bought one! I cannot say enough amazing things about this car, but first what I learned from reviews was DON'T BUY AN AUTOMATIC. They have major problems. (I only buy stick anyways) And the "S" model may be faster but seems to have more issues. So I bought the good ol' regular Coop. I just bought it with 99,000 miles and it drives and rides like it's brand new! It's it so fun to drive, ever night after I get off work I find myself aimlessly driving around because it's so fun to drive. The big mph gauge in the middle is awesome, and everything has a round and sophisticated feel to it. The clutch is so smooth. It handles like a dream. The seats HUG my back, even my dad was really impressed with the car. (And he's owned over 50 cars) He owns a Mercedes convertible which is fun to drive, but I have to say I enjoy driving this more! The second I test drove it I knew that was it. The car just feels like one with you. I will keep this car going for as long as possible unless I get a newer one. You are missing out if you don't have one! Just do the maintenance yourself and you'll be fine.
I bought my Mini Cooper S used with 17,000 on it for a fair price. It is one of the best cars ever driven. People stare, smile, and ask questions wherever you stop. This car is fun, fun, fun. That's all you can really say. Downside - this is not a family car, but it is perfect for two and the occasional three or four. At 20,000 miles, I had to have the slave cylinder replaced (leaking). This was all taken care of under warrenty.