The Mini Cooper, or Mini as it is more commonly known, was originally introduced in 1959 by the British Motor Company as the Morris Mini-Minor. BMW revived the brand in 2001 with the introduction of a completely-new and entirely redesigned Mini Cooper model that was larger and more advanced than its rudimentary predecessor. Now in its second-generation (a chassis introduced in 2007), for 2011 the model range is the recipient of revised engine tuning, minor suspension modifications, cosmetic alterations, and redesigned interior controls.
The Mini Cooper is offered in coupe and convertible body styles in several trim levels: Base, S, and John Cooper Works. coupe models have a fix steel roof, while convertibles are fitted with a three-in-one power-operated, soft convertible roof with a heated glass rear window. Base Coopers arrive with standard vinyl upholstery, air conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, six-speaker audio system with CD player, 15-inch alloy wheels, and more. Upgrade to the S level, a sportier model with a turbocharged engine, and equipment including sport-tuned suspension, sport seats, fog lamps, and 16-inch wheels are standard. A Sport Package, for the S model, adds 17-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, and more. The John Cooper Works is the sportiest variant, with the most powerful engine and enthusiast-oriented equipment.
The Mini Cooper is fitted with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that is rated at 121 horsepower. The S model receives a turbocharged version of the same engine, rated at 181 horsepower, while the John Cooper Works model boosts power to 208 horsepower. A six-speed manual is standard, with a six-speed automatic optional. All Mini Cooper models are front-wheel drive. The EPA rates the fuel economy of the 2011 Mini Cooper between 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, depending on body style and engine.
The 2011 Mini Cooper coupe starts with a base price of about $20,500 and tops out with the John Cooper Works Convertible, which starts around $35,500.