2012 MINI Cooper

Base FWD 2-Dr Hatchback I4 man trans

2012 mini cooper Reviews and News

2013 Mini Roadster Side In Motion 2
If you're puzzled, as we are, by what the new Mini Roadster is supposed to be that the existing Mini Convertible is not, the folks from Mini offer this explanation: "It's the return of the British roadster."
Uh, we know it's been a while since actual British roadsters -- MGs and Triumphs and the like -- zipped along America's back roads (and broke down on their shoulders), but we remember them as quite a bit different than this Mini. The slender sports cars followed a classic formula seemingly laid down at the dawn of time, with a longitudinally mounted engine up front driving the rear wheels. The Mini Roadster, on the other hand, follows the formula of other Minis, with a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel drive.
Soft-top sibling to the hardtop Coupe The Roadster is essentially a softtop version of the two-seat hardtop Coupe, which went on sale last fall. In both cars, the back seat area is given over to a bulkhead that has a lockable, 14-by-8-inch pass-through to an 8.5-cubic-foot trunk -- which betters the 6.0 cubic feet you get in the Convertible. As in the Coupe, the deck lid here incorporates a pop-up rear spoiler that deploys automatically at 50 mph to provide additional downforce (or flip it up manually with a switch on the windshield header). The Roadster also has the Coupe's reinforced body structure, lower ride height, and deeper front spoiler.
Yep, it drives like a Mini
These are not exactly transformative changes. And indeed, the Roadster drives pretty much like any other Mini. Mostly, of course, that's a very good thing. The Roadster will be available from launch in all three strengths: 121-hp Cooper; turbocharged 181-hp Cooper S; and full-tilt-boogie, 208-hp John Cooper Works. We drove the Cooper S version, and it is a lively performer (6.7 seconds from 0 to 60 mph, according to the manufacturer). Turbo lag is not an issue, and this engine gleefully zings the Roadster down urban freeways and rural two-lanes, accompanied by a snarling exhaust note -- and the occasional racy popping through the exhaust on throttle lift-off.
The six-speed gearbox is exceptionally nice, with short, precise throws. In contrast to our long-term Countryman, we found the clutch here to be easy to modulate. Typical for a Mini, the electric power steering is extremely well weighted and even provides a bit of feel. (Perhaps Mini could provide a tutorial in this area to other carmakers that are just now switching to electric assist.)
And, of course, given the ultra-short wheelbase and firm suspension tuning, the Roadster loves to blast around corners. It was lots of fun on the serpentine two-lanes in the Portugese countryside.
As with other Minis, however, the downside is very sharp impacts over bumps. The ride is harsh, and despite additional chassis stiffening, minor cowl shake is evident. Our test car, by the way, did not have the optional sport suspension, and was riding on sixteen-inch wheels, so this was the mellowest chassis setup.
Top talk
The Roadster's convertible top is a do-it-yourself affair, although a power top is a $750 option. The manual roof can be tossed back pretty easily from the driver's seat. Raising it up again takes a bit more effort and it's a long reach. Surprisingly, the fabric roof is unlined, and its metal bows are visible inside. Perhaps as a result, the raised roof seems to do little to block wind noise, which at highway speeds is pronounced.
Seeing out with the top raised is a bit of a challenge. Rear-quarter visibility is predictably awful, and rear park assist, which is standard in the Convertible, is missing here (it's a $500 option). In addition, the Roadster -- like the Coupe -- has a lower, more raked windshield. Overall, it's not as closed in as, say, an Audi TT convertible, but it's not far off.
What you're looking at inside, though, is quite nice. The interior of our test car was dressed up with the Lounge Leather upholstery (at $2000, the penultimate of four available leather seating options), and was also dolled up with extra-cost chrome bits and aluminum trim. The net affect was a high-quality look. The absence of creaking plastic -- another pronounced contrast with our Countryman -- helped bolster that impression.
Car talk
The Roadster we drove was further equipped with the Mini Connected system, which allows the car to use apps that you download onto your iPhone (but not a Droid). In addition to allowing access to web radio, Facebook, Twitter, and RSS news feeds, there are Mini's Mission Control and Driving Excitement apps. This was our first experience with both, although they're available throughout the lineup.
The Driving Excitement app plays a variety of what could be described as movie-soundtrack-type music (in a dozen or so different styles), which then varies according to what the car is doing, i.e., speeding up when you're going faster, or playing a sound only out of the right speakers when you have your right turn signal on. We didn't notice a whole lot of change in sound or tempo while we were driving, and the continuous-loop nature of the music began to drive us nuts after a while.
But that was nothing compared to Mission Control. Here, drivers get various messages of cheerful advice and encouragement. The vaguely British-accented voices, a male and a female, sound sort of like theater actors as they burst out with things like, "Remember, always be Mini!" Uh, roger that.
2 seats vs. 4
Compared to the four-seat Mini Convertible, the Roadster carries 66 pounds less weight. Its body is also a bit stiffer. Of course, there are the fewer seats but the slightly larger trunk. The Roadster is also less expensive, by $600, although the Convertible has more standard equipment.
Slightly cheaper, lighter, and stiffer, the Roadster is a subtly different riff on an open-topped Mini. Even with its two seats and stubby little trunk, however, we have a hard time thinking of this as a sports car. More sports-car-like? Yeah, okay -- I mean, roger that.

2012 Mini Cooper S Roadster

Base price: $28,050
On sale: February 25th


Engine: 16-valve DOHC turbo I-4
Displacement: 1.6 liters
Power: 181 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 192 lb-ft @1700-4500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel


Steering: Electrically assisted
Suspension, front: Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Multilink, coil springs
Brakes: Vented disc/disc, ABS
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza ER300 II tires
Tire size: 195/55R16


L x W x H: 147 x 66.3 x 54. 7 in
Wheelbase: 97.1 in
Cargo space: 8.5 cu ft
Fuel mileage: 27/35/30 mpg (city/highway/combined)
0-60 MPH: 6.7 sec
2012 MINI Cooper S Coupe Front Left Side View
Looking at the size of its lineup, Mini's portfolio is anything but mini. Currently, the automaker sells twelve different models based on four different body styles. By the end of the year, those figures will swell to fifteen and five, respectively. Come 2013, new additions like the Roadster, the Paceman, and the Goodwood will increase the model count to a Porsche 911-like twenty-two.
2012 MINI Cooper S Coupe Front Right View
Is that overkill? It depends who you ask. Mini USA vice president Jim McDowell doesn't think that the firm is "slicing the salami too thin," but rather, launching new products catering to the unique wants and needs of different customer bases. In the case of the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe, however, that base may be quite small.
All-New From The Waist Up
In some ways, the Coupe steps on the toes of other Mini models, particularly the standard four-passenger hatchback. From the beltline down, the two models -- in Cooper, Cooper S, or John Cooper Works (JCW) form -- are virtually identical, sharing powertrains, bodywork, and most chassis components with one another.
But when it comes to styling, the Coupe steps out from the hardtop's shadow. Much like the 2008 concept car of the same name, the Mini Coupe adopts a rakish, low-slung roofline, inspired in part by vintage tuner Minis like the Broadspeed GT. According to product planner Vinnie Keung, this not only is supposed to lend the car a more masculine feel, but also lure in buyers who long for the likes of an Audi TT or a Mercedes-Benz SLK but who may not have the means to acquire one.
To enhance that boy-racer feel, the Coupe's windshield rake is now thirteen degrees lower, while a rounded roof -- painted either black or silver -- breaks away from the two-box form traditionally associated with Minis. A spoiler is integrated into the trailing edge of the roof, and helps direct airflow towards another spoiler, which pops up from the stubby decklid at speeds above 50 mph.
Predictably, adopting such a rakish roof sacrifices some interior volume. Though the Coupe's cabin is largely identical to most other Mini models, the biggest departure lies with the back seats: there aren't any. Instead, Coupe models make do with a moderate-sized package shelf -- perfect for backpacks, purses, camera bags, or other small parcels. Behind that, the Mini Coupe offers 9.8 cubic feet of cargo space, roughly half that of the hardtop when the rear seats are folded. A lockable pass-through not only allows some provision for longer items, but also lets the driver and passenger to access things stored in a small cubby located just behind the bulkhead.
Mostly The Same Mechanicals
Though it restricts cargo space, that bulkhead serves a purpose. The transverse brace, along with reinforced rockers (borrowed from the Mini convertible) and a reinforcement in the cargo floor, make the Coupe's body stiffer than that of the hardtop. Apart from firmer dampers, stiffer springs, and some aluminum control arms at the rear, the Coupe's suspension arrangement -- MacPherson struts in front, a multi-link setup out back --- isn't any different from hardtop or convertible models. Unsurprisingly, suspension tuning is much like any other Mini. Cooper models are the most genteel, while JCW models exhibit a buckboard-stiff ride but would be perfect for tearing up a track.
Likewise, powertrain offerings are also identical. Base Cooper Coupes make do with a 121-hp, 1.6-liter DOHC I-4, which sends its power through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Stepping up to the Cooper S ushers in forced induction; a turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 produces a healthy 181 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. For the ultimate in power, look no further than the John Cooper Works, where a revamped version of the same turbocharged 1.6-liter makes up to 208 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque.
Looks Like A Cooper S, Drives Like A Cooper S
Mini expects most Coupes will be sold in Cooper S form, so it wasn't too surprising we spent most of our time during a recent press drive in Nashville, Tennessee, behind the wheel of a bright red Cooper S.
What's it like? Very much like almost any other Cooper S. Despite its front-wheel-drive platform, the Mini is remarkably fun to toss around on tight roads thanks to quick, well-weighted steering, coupled with impressive grip and little body roll. In corners, the Mini exhibits a little understeer when pushed very hard into a corner, but lifting off the throttle helps bring the car's hind end around once again. Torque steer occasionally rears its head during hard acceleration runs, especially when attempting to launch the car on slick or broken surfaces.
The turbocharged 1.6-liter exhibits a little turbo lag right off the bat, although the four-banger provides a stout 177 lb-ft from 1500 rpm through 5000 rpm. Throttle response quickens when sport mode is activated. The six-speed manual offers short, smooth throws and a well-weighted clutch, but even the automatic is enjoyable. The transmission is smooth, quick to adjust to throttle input, and manual inputs -- by way of both the shift lever and two steering wheel-mounted shift paddles -- are delivered remarkably quickly.
Sacrifice for Style
We noticed a little more wind noise from the window glass than we've experienced in Mini hardtops, but the Coupe's biggest drawback is visibility. While the raked windshield doesn't eat hinder the driver's forward view all that much, rearward vision is compromised. Small quarter windows help reduce blind spots, but the mail-slot rear window provides a limited view of traffic behind you, and is further hindered when the decklid spoiler is deployed.
Though the Coupe offers the same agility, power, and sophistication we've come to expect from other Minis, it may puzzle bargain hunters. After all, Coupes - regardless of trim level -- command nearly $2000 more than a comparable hardtop, yet offer half the seating and cargo space. Those considerations may not matter to those who swoon over the racy looks and the quirky roofline, but we suspect that may indeed be a very thin slice of total Mini buyers.
2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe
Base Price: $25,300
Engine: Turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve I-4 Power: 181 hp @ 5500 rpm Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 1600-5000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 27/35 mpg (manual); 26/34 (automatic)
0-60 mph, manufacturer estimate: 6.5-6.7 seconds
Measurements Length: 147 in Width: 66.2 in Height: 54.2 in Cargo capacity: 9.8 cu ft Curb Weight: 2679 lb
2012 Mini Cooper
2012 Mini Cooper
BMW hit a home run when it introduced the reincarnated Mini. America's appetite for small, fuel-efficient cars has something to do with the Mini Cooper's success, but the fact that it's a hoot to drive definitely doesn't hurt. The Mini once distinguished itself in the automotive market because of its petite size, but with an increasing number of quality subcompacts on the market, the Mini now trades more on its driving dynamics and reputation as a premium small car than on its small size and fuel economy. Last year, all Coopers gained a power bump thanks to direct injection and BMW's throttleless Valvetronic technology. The retro-chic Cooper continues with a satellite-sized, center-mounted speedometer and a smattering of toggle switches throughout the interior to recall the original Mini from decades past. While it may not be the most ergonomically efficient interior, it's one of the most aesthetically pleasing. The Mini is available in three body styles: a three-door hardtop, a softtop convertible, and the long-wheelbase Clubman with a set of split rear cargo doors and a half-sized third door on the passenger side for easier rear-seat access. Engines come in normally aspirated and turbocharged forms, with the 208-hp John Cooper Works version epitomizing the Mini's go-kart driving feel. As for customization options, Mini claims there are more than 10 million possible combinations, so if you've always wanted to own a one-of-a-kind car, here's your chance.
2012 Mini Hatchback Breaks Guinness World Record For Most People Inside
More than 400,000 people have attempted to break records in observance of Guinness World Records Day. Among them was a team of gymnasts who managed to cram into a 2012 Mini hatchback -- all 28 of them. The ladies succeeded in setting a new record for the number of people in a Mini hatchback, breaking their previous world record of 27. That was just the first record they broke, as 23 of them also fit inside a classic Mini.
Mini Convertible Boat Front Three Quarter 1
If you attend the Head of the Charles Regatta this weekend, a two-mile crew race that attracts over 9000 elite rowers, keep your eyes peeled for an unusual safety vessel: a floating Mini Cooper convertible. The boat-car was created specifically for Mini as a promotional tool for the HOCR event. The Mini boat is actually a fiberglass mold of a real-world Mini convertible, placed atop a boat with a 6-hp outboard engine. The boat-car is painted in Mini Chili Red and most of its components are cribbed directly from a real Mini, including the headlights, taillights, steering wheel, badges, and wheels. At this weekend's two-day crew competition, the boat will be used to monitor the safety and progress of rowers along the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts. After that, Mini plans to use the convertible boat at other promotional events in the future. Look out for it motoring down a river near you! Although the idea of a floating Mini convertible is surprising, it isn't a totally new idea. Mini previously showed off the Yachtsman as an April Fools' joke ahead of this year's New York auto show. According to Mini, the Yachtsman would have cost $236,000 and was capable of traveling at up to 61 knots on water. Upgrades compared to standard road-going Minis included waterproof seats, a big snorkel, a silver rudder, and a special "shark-resistant" undercoating. Source: Mini
2013 Mini JCW GP Left Side View Sun
What has two seats, a turbocharged engine, and is 18 seconds quicker around the Nurburgring than its predecessor? In this case, the answer is the second-generation, 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP, which will debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month. The last time we saw a Mini John Cooper Works GP (Mini GP for shorthand), it was 2006 and the first generation of the retro-styled Mini was ending its product run. The GP, which was limited to 2000 units, took a stock Mini John Cooper Works hardtop and added power and suspension upgrades. Its supercharged 1.6-liter I-4 made 214 horsepower, which made the most powerful production Mini money could buy at the time. Fast forward six years: Mini is once again readying a new generation of Coopers, and the current-generation Mini’s swansong is once again a Mini GP -- although this one promises to be a bit different than the last one. To start, the second-gen GP's engine is turbocharged, not supercharged. Still, the uprated powerplant--a 1.6-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged I-4--makes 218 horsepower, which is sent through a six-speed manual transmission to the front wheels. For most of the time, the GP makes 192 lb-ft of torque, but as with other turbocharged Minis it has an overboost function that can briefly increase torque to 207 lb-ft. With that power on tap, Mini estimates the GP will hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and top out at 150 mph. To keep the party going when the road gets twisty, Mini also fitted uprated brakes, stickier tires, and unique suspension hardware. The GP is the first Mini to come with adjustable coilovers, which allow drivers to lower the ride height by up to 20 mm. Engineers tweaked the car's suspension geometry to provide more grip and decrease understeer. When the driving gets even more spirited, the GP has a modified traction/stability control system that promises reduced intervention. It also instigates torque vectoring by braking the inside wheel in a turn, which helps increase speed during cornering. Exterior amendments include a full aerodynamic kit, complete with a new front apron, rear diffuser, and a rear deck spoiler. Fans of the last GP's hot four-spoke wheels will be happy to know those visual cues return. Inside, the front seats are supplied by Recaro, and the rear seats are replaced by a bright red strut tower brace. Details tied to pricing and availability haven't yet been announced, other than to say that 2000 will be made in 2013 and that some of them will reach the United States. Still, we'd suggest calling your Mini dealer very soon and getting ready to cut a big check: less than 500 of the last GP Mini made it to our shores at a price well above that of the Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop. For die-hard Mini fans, however, it'll be well worth the cost. Source: Mini
Mini John Cooper Works GP Front Three Quarter
It's not enough to add performance -- the new Mini John Cooper Works GP also wears a series of striking visual upgrades to help it stand out from the rest of the Mini lineup. In this video, Mini design chief Anders Warming explains the unique touches that help make the John Cooper Works GP special.
Mini Mini Motion Front Three Quarter
BMW and Mini have provided hundreds of vehicles for the 2012 London Olympic Games, most of which are used to shuttle dignitaries, athletes, and adjudicators around London in time for each event. But in addition to normal, life-size vehicles, Mini has deployed a fleet of tiny cars it calls Mini Minis. The three Mini Minis are 1/4th-scale radio-controlled cars painted with an Olympic Games livery, and complete with details like working headlights and windshield wipers. Each car has a 10-hp electric motor that can run for about 35 minutes, before the battery needs to be charged for 80 minutes. Over the course of the Olympic Games, each of the Mini Minis is expected travel about 3.7 miles per day. So why, exactly, will three toy cars collectively drive almost 12 miles around the Olympic arenas daily? The point of the cars -- aside from further touting Mini at the Games -- is to help retrieve hammers, discus, or javelins during track and field events. The 55-pound radio-control cars can carry a payload of up to 18 pounds, which is placed in the open sunroof. The cars can be controlled from up to 328 feet away, allowing an operator to collect equipment without having to run all over the field. Lazy? Perhaps, but it sounds like a modern-day way to help the Games run smoothly. And, of course, promote the Mini brand. In addition to the electric toy cars, Mini and BMW also have provided real-size electric vehicles for the Olympic Games. BMW made 160 of its 1 Series ActiveE electric coupes available, while Mini deployed 40 Mini E electric hatchbacks. Each of the Mini Mini cars measures 43.3 inches long and 19.7 inches wide. A regular Mini Cooper hatchback, by contrast, is 146.6 inches long and 66.3 inches long. There's no word yet on whether Mini will sell these Olympic runabouts available to the general public, but it's on our wish list just in case. Source: BMW

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2012 MINI Cooper
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Base FWD 2-Dr Hatchback I4
29 MPG City | 37 MPG Hwy
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2012 MINI Cooper Specifications

Quick Glance:
1.6L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
29 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
37 MPG
121 hp @ 6000rpm
114 ft lb of torque @ 4250rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control (optional)
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
50,000 miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Unlimited miles / 144 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
36,000 miles / 32 months
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2012 MINI Cooper

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $26,582 What's This?
Value Rating: Above Average