Pros speed, handling, size, interior
Cons better bluetooth support
Summary Since the other user reviews here are from people who don't own this car (and probably have never driven it), I thought I'd chime in as an actual owner. I mostly agree with the CNET review, but not with his assessment of the interior. Material and build-quality of the interior is at a BMW level, it's first rate. The design--as with all MINIs--takes some getting used to. BMW takes great pains in keeping the fun spirit of the original MINI, while at the same time being contemporary, and this is a hard balance to maintain. But after a few months of owning mine I've gotten used to it and have actually learned to love its playful character. You do get used to how everything works, and once there everything becomes pretty second nature.
I also don't agree with the loud noise of the interior. Hey, it's a sports car, so it's not going to be the same as a spongy Taurus or Impala. Potholes are a problem, as with all sports cars, but the MINI was built in more civilized, 'socialist' Europe, with its well maintained streets, and so it's a bit more challenging owning one in the Third-World conditions of the USA. But with its awesome turn-on-a-dime handling, one gets pretty good at swerving around the fruits of American capitalism.
Pros Responsive handling
Cons Interior layout is a nightmare--things are placed in odd places just to be different. You're practically taking your life into your hands not memorizing the manual.
Summary I'm 5'10" and had trouble seeing seeing straight ahead. The car handles well but I was scared to death to test handling limits because of poor visibility--it is not fun having to move your head to find traffic signals. The layout of interior controls is flat out dumb--controls are scattered on purpose. In this day and age at this price I expect a car not some design exercise gone wrong. There are plenty of competitors that cost less you'd be willing to live with on a daily basis.
Pros Performance, handling
Cons Buzzy, harsh ride, cramped cockpit, overpriced. The top is breathtakingly ugly.
Summary The original Mini was fun, practical, space efficient and cheap. This bloated, cramped, ugly, over-priced exercise in marketing is everything the original Mini wasn't. The Hyundai Veloster is much closer to the spirit of the original Mini.
Pros It is a convetible
Cons Shake Rattle and Rattle
Summary The charm of a Cooper was its boxy, wide look. I most liked the responsive attitude of the car, and the wonderful amount of legroom for the driver. All that is gone.
Ten Thousand dollars cheaper isn't enough of a discount to motivate.
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