- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2002

Just as the 2002 Mini Cooper held true to the heritage of more than 40 years of the original Mini, so, too, does the new Mini Cooper S hold true to its sporting pedigree.
The classic Mini Cooper S developed in the 1960s by John Cooper Racing dominated the European rally and touring car circuits for nearly two decades. The 2002 version of the S could well find itself at the forefront of a new racing effort and once again in the winner's circle.
The Cooper S is really quite significantly different from its sibling Cooper, not the least of which is the 163-horsepower supercharged engine that produces 155 foot-pounds of torque with the standard six-speed manual transmission. This powertrain is all business propelling the S from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
The handling of the Cooper is taut, precise and near flawless. The Cooper S is that and more. The crisp handling made of a beefier suspension gives the Cooper S a slot car or go-kart racer feel a flat, stick-to-the-road, turn-on-a-dime feeling. Contributing to this superb handling is a platform and chassis that are so stiff that at times the ride is distractingly harsh and with the standard run-flat tires the harshness on certain roads is exacerbated. If you don't want the firmest of rides, then the Cooper S may not be the automobile for you.
However, that said, there is no denying the remarkable performance and handling attributes of the Cooper S. The addition of the optional Dynamic Stability Control ($500) to the already standard full-time traction control allows one to push the 2,600-pound mighty Mini to the edge of the laws of physics.
Other distinctive features of the Cooper S include a body that is nearly 2 inches longer although the wheelbase remains the same, a functional hood air scoop, body-color front and rear bumpers with lowered valance, an interesting roof-level rear spoiler that reminds one of the handle on a Mac laptop, twin center-mounted chrome-plated tailpipes, side grilles with the "S" logo, a chrome-plated fuel tank filler door and standard 16-inch light alloy wheels in white or silver.
The Cooper S has a suggested list of $19,850 including destination charges. There is a premium package that includes an on-board computer and sunroof, and a sport package that includes the aforementioned Dynamic Stability Control, sport seats and larger tires and wheels. Each package is priced at $1,250. A cold-weather package with heated seats and mirrors is $300. Most of the package items can be purchased a la carte.
For all 2003 Mini Cooper models there will be a modest $125 price increase that will cover the cost of a second keyless entry fob and some additional pre-wiring for an MP3 player.
Mini is a division of BMW.


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