The Mini Cooper is essentially a carryover vehicle for the 2006 model year, with the exception of some new content and optional features. New for 2006 is an optional Checkmate Package (paying homage to black-and-white checkerboard designs that are part of Mini's heritage), and factory installation of the John Cooper Works high-performance package, which now includes not only an engine enhancement but also features sport brakes and a limited-slip differential to help keep the Cooper's horsepower under proper control during aggressive cornering.
When BMW purchased Britain's Rover Group, it also acquired the rights to the Mini Cooper brand, which many enthusiasts consider one of the most legendary cars of all time. BMW subsequently put the Mini back into production, preserving many of the exterior styling cues and the efficient packaging, but adding modern mechanicals and a modern interior. BMW also developed an unconventional convertible version of the car, wherein the front section of the convertible top slides back, providing a roof-width sunroof, but not a completely exposed passenger cabin.
Likewise, the new Mini Cooper is known for its performance. While its 1.6L, four-cylinder engine generates a modest 115 hp, the car's light weight and nimble suspension make it fun to drive. For those who want more power, the Cooper S uses a supercharger to boost engine output to 168 hp. The Cooper is available with manual or (continuously variable) automatic transmissions.
Standard equipment on the Cooper includes four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock and other advanced technologies, Dynamic Stability Control (a computer-controlled system designed to help keep the vehicle on the driver's intended path), tire-pressure monitors, front and side airbags. For 2006, hardtop models can be equipped with English leather upholstery. Other new options include high-gloss black or "Park Lane" dash panels, as well as new exterior colors and two new (no-cost) wheel designs.
The Mini Cooper competes in the Compact Conventional segment with 20 other models. Price is an important factor in this segment that accounts for more than 13 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales, but buyers also tend to award big points for style.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the segment is led by the Honda Civic (308,415 sales in calendar year 2005), Toyota Corolla (244,032), Chevrolet Cobalt (212,667), and Ford Focus (184,825). The Mini Cooper had sales of 40,820 in 2005.
|Base (M6)||6 speed manual||$20,900||168-hp / 1.6L 4-cyl||25/32|
|GP (M6)||6 speed manual||$30,600||214-hp / 1.6L 4-cyl||22/30|