Not many cars with moderate sticker prices possess as much character, as notable a heritage, as the MINI. That’s especially true of the two-door Hardtop, which revived, in modern guise, the concept of the original MINIs that were produced in Britain during the 1960s. Cooper Hardtops come in two- and four-door hatchback form, but it’s the two-door that best identifies the MINI brand. Despite their small size, MINIs offer 34 cubic feet of storage volume with the back seat folded down (but less than 9 cubic feet with that seat up).
What's New for 2017
A MINI Seven special edition has joined the 2017 lineup, showcasing exclusive design features, inside and out. Four body colors are available: Lapisluxury Blue, Pepper White, Midnight Black, and British Racing Green. The designation refers to the Austin Seven, one of the two model names given to the original British minicar that debuted back in 1959.
Distinctive fabric and leather upholstery options also are offered. All Hardtops now come with a Media Package, including a 6.5-inch Visual Boost screen with MINI Connected, Enhanced Bluetooth audio streaming. Also included are voice command and a front center armrest.
Choosing Your MINI Hardtop
MINI Hardtop models are defined by their engines: base Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works. Named for the man who sent the original MINI into motorsports, the John Cooper Works edition is the hottest performer—not only more powerful, but tuned to derive maximum response and pleasure.
All Cooper Hardtops use TwinPower turbocharged engines: three-cylinder 1.5-liter in the base Cooper, and 2-liter four-cylinders in the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models. The three-cylinder makes 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, while the Cooper S boosts those figures to 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet. Beneath the bonnet of the John Cooper Works edition sits the most powerful engine ever in a MINI production model, developing 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet. Cooper Hardtops are available with a Getrag six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission. All MINI Hardtops have front-wheel drive.
Expect about 29 mpg in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway with the base engine and manual shift. The fuel-economy estimate drops to 24/34 mpg (city/highway) with a Cooper S, and 23/31 mpg with the John Cooper Works edition. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 7.4 seconds with a Cooper, 6.5 with the Cooper S, and 6.1 seconds with the John Cooper Works.
All three versions can be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, as an alternative to the manual gearbox.
Except for the Fiat 500, Coopers have no direct competition. They've been so popular at times that used models have sometimes sold for more than new ones. Whether to buy a base Cooper or Cooper S depends on the level of your yearning for a more animated experience, though even the three-cylinder model releases abundant energy. If a Cooper S won't quite suffice, the John Cooper Works Hardtop may prove irresistible. If you’re a small-car performance enthusiast, why not go all the way, if your pocketbook permits? Options galore can be added, allowing the total price to escalate in a hurry.