We loved our Mini--until about 15,000 miles, when it began to run a little rough. By 18,000 miles, the check engine light came on. We took it to the local Mini dealer for service. Turns out there were multiple error messages, due to excessive carbon build-up in the engine. The problem was caused by the direct injection system. They cleaned the engine by removing the intake manifold and blowing out the engine with crushed walnut shells. Also, the timing belt tensioner was loose and leaking oil. They tightened it and replaced the gasket. The service writer stated that the repairs would have cost over $600 if the car was not on warranty.
This is not your typical "B" segment mini-car (like the Honda Fit, Yaris HB, Scion xA, all of which I've owned). The NVH (noise-vibration-harshness) levels are ultra low for this class. This is a QUIET, SMOOTH car. Very high levels of front seat comfort. Base suspension and stock tires are surprisingly good - I have no plans to make changes, which is unlike me. Superb gas mileage - an indicated 35.4 mpg on my mostly freeway driving in regulare (non-sport) mode. Also a bargain, if you don't add "extras," and take into account the fine stock sound system and detailed on-board computer.
I owned a 2010 JCW for 7 months. The shortest I ever had a vehicle. I bought it used with under 10K miles. Initally I wanted a fuel efficient small fun car. Albeit small this car really had nothing else going for it. The fun factor wore off already on the second month of ownership when the clutch needed replacement. Since I bought the vehicle from a mini dealer they helped a bit with the cost. I paid 1200 vs the 4000 they initially wanted to charge. After some research I realized it takes 20 hrs of labor to do the job. Everything in this car is so compact that you nearly have to take out the engine for major repairs. I replaced the battery myself and ended up removing windshield trim pieces to access the battery compartmemt. Sorry not very well engineered. The service departmemt told me that the clut h on Minis can easily burn out every 10K to 20K miles. Another weird Mini fault is that for some reason the engines burn oil. Mini service actually recommends that you check the oil monthly or every 1K miles and refill. In terms of ride quality, this car is terrible. I actually started to develop bak pain from the poor seats and stiff suspension combo. The entire quality is cheap for a car in this price range. Performance was fun at first, but I soon realized that there are plenty of other options out there. This car handles like a go cart so you get the illusion of speed. Fun on twisty roads but when you feel every little bump in your lower bak the fun wears out quick. I chose to purchase this car because Mini always intrigued me, now I learned my lesson and will never go back. After only 7 months of ownership I went back to a normal car not needing so much tlc and $$$. If you are the kiND of person that purchases a car for dependability, resale value, efficiency, comfort, etc this is not the car for you.
This car is perfect for my daily 20 mile, one way commute. Fits into 50% more parking spaces - such a pleasure in NYC. Performs great although gear-shifting in auto lags a bit. Switching to manual takes care of that. Love the look and roomy interior (cant speak for backseat.) Gas mileage a little less than estimated (27) but still very good (24-25). Sport mode is a little jumpy for city driving (for me) but great for highway. Overall very very pleased with purchase.
I recently found myself in the market for a new car. Since I knew I wanted a car made by BMW but only wanted to spend about $30k the choice was pretty obvious. I didn't realize it would be so obvious that this car was made by BMW. The Mini Cooper S is so fun to drive you may, as I did, have to adjust to having a car that handles so well, an engine that is just so eager to jump at being driven hard, and still manage to get around 30 mpg in the process.