I spent extensive time researching MINI models and years, contacting dealerships, and ended up finding the perfect MINI from a private seller down the street. I spend an extensive amount of time driving due to work and a long-distance relationship, and have never been disappointed. I am a careful driver and take good care of my car, but made the mistake of using summer performance tires throughout the Wisconsin winter...still handled fabulously! There really is nothing this little car can't do; I read through thousands of reviews before purchasing, and while the dealership inconvenience and fairly high prices for repair remain true, I have had little to no problems otherwise
I own two MINIs: both S, one hardtop and one convertible. Both are stylish and a hoot to drive. I am a gentle driver - the convertible averages only 4,000 mi/yr and the hardtop about 9,000 mi/yr. And yet... I have had to replace the transmission three times on the hardtop, the AC failed twice on the hardtop, the AC / heat system failed once on convertible, the ASC light comes on/stays on in both, they have various serious rattles - that MINI knows of - they have had to be serviced. MINI service has taken care of everything, but I am spending most of my highway driving just taking both cars in for service. I am regretting having two MINIs that have so many service issues. Hate to give up the style, but...
Growing up I'd always dreamed of owning a mini cooper, and last April, that dream became true when I purchased a 2005 Mini Cooper S. The Carfax report looked good and there were no issues with it. I bought it with 75,000 miles on it, and within the past year, I have put thousands into fixing things. My tachometer stopped work, my break lights would stay on when the car was off, I had to replace the alternator, the pulley system, serpentine belt, and alternator clip. Luckily, the dealer I bought it from is a family owned and willing to help anyone out, and took it right off my hands this past weekend. I would never buy a used Mini again, because all of the problems came out of nowhere, and my Local Mini Dealership did not have any clue how to fix most of the problems. After replacing the body control module, my tach still does not work, and when it is dark out, I can't see how fast I am going as the lighting is out. Luckily I only have a couple of days left with my ex-dream car. LESSON LEARNED!!
Forever contemplated getting a brand new VS. used. Found a used on Craigslist for a reasonable price so took the plunge. Mine is a decked out Mini Cooper S convertible with all the options and JCW package (except the nav system). Quick & nimble but harsh and jolting ride (17" run flats + stiff suspension = good looks+performance but uncomfortable) While no match for a hardcore RWD sports car, it has a very good vehicle dynamics characteristics for a FWD. Neutral steer with a hint of tail-out oversteering when pushed. Overly intrusive ESP (but you can turn it off). Not recommended if this is going to be your one and only car. Not many 4 seater convertible that can match fun factor as Mini Cooper
I have had nothing but trouble with my 2005 Mini Cooper Convertible. I have spent thousands of dollars in out of warranty repair bills. My problems have been. 1. Convertible mechanism cable replacement. 2. Oil gasket replacement. 3. Power steering failure (safety issue) 4. Trunk latch replacement. 5. Shift mechanism replacement. The car is at the dealer and the oil issue is being looked at again because I've had to add oil too often. So that may need to get done again. I'm seriously thinking of just leaving the car there. There is a reason it has go-cart handling. - It's built like a go-cart.