RE: Mini Cooper S (R53): PH Buying Guide

RE: Mini Cooper S (R53): PH Buying Guide

Author
Discussion

DavidLScott

1,048 posts

182 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
If you are buying a Cooper S or JCW, why would you care about fuel consumption?
If you want economy, buy a shopping trolley.

Every car has it's issues, it's just that forums generally highlight the downsides rather than the good times.
My JCW'd '55 S is a great fun car and I love thrashing it round the local roads even though I should know better being in my late 50's.
I'm stuck between the desire to ditch the RFT's but keep my wife happy for when she drives it (she has kept them on her '03 Cooper and likes the peace of mind).

Penguinracer

988 posts

164 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
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A Track Day at Bedford in my brother's 250 bhp GTT/Hartge Cooper S saw it return 12 mpg!
On rose-jointed suspension, with a Quaife diff & Tarox 10-pot brakes - it's an awesome little car.

Lukerevhen

21 posts

84 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
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Can't comment on the r53 but mrs had the r56 and it was a great little car!

A little ot but has anyone seen this?

Weird conversion but looks like a monster..


http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-R53-cooper-S-with-V...

RossP

2,248 posts

241 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
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The wife has had two R53s - A Cooper S and a JCW.

Cracking little motors and much nicer than the current model in my opinion.

No boot space and minimal rear passenger space though!

KennyGT

758 posts

168 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
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I had mine for 3 years before practically giving it away in a part exchange. Never skipped a beat. Great little car and the supercharger whine was brilliant, and as for character and go kart like fun I am glad I owned one.


Petee

87 posts

242 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
We have a R52 Cooper S convertible as a runabout, and the whole family loves it (my daughter is only six, so she loves the back seat). Ride is woeful on potholes and speed bumps, but that just seems to add to the fun smile

MPG is also terrible, average of 28 over the last few years, rarely gets above third though so not really surprising.

As for run-flats, I believe that if you change them it voids the factory warranty (and you maybe have to notify the insurance company as well) so I still have them, although the Contis I recently fitted are infinitely better than the OEM Pirelli Euphorias.

BMW keep emailing me to get me to chop it in for a new one, but I won't be swapping the supercharger for a turbo until the thing dies on its wheels.

Dr Interceptor

5,954 posts

154 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
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Petee said:
I believe that if you change them it voids the factory warranty
Nope... no warranty implications whatsoever.

Wise though to inform your insurers as it is a modification to standard spec.

Andy JB

1,261 posts

177 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
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While i'm not going to win any friends here I must say never been a fan of the new mini or its performance aspirations, however, last week i had an interesting run with a Cooper S (not sure what other letters it had JCW/Works etc) clearly uprated judging by its lights & was very suprised at its performance.

Along a dual a carriageway in Germany it was only at about 70mph we levelled & above that he finally had the edge - just. Now while i was only in the wife's car with its 220hp its never been outpaced in similar circumstances with anything except an Evo X.

These must be very tuneable & I hope it wasn't stock. Never driven one myself (or wanted to) but with that pace & supposed handling I perhaps need to rethink my perceptions!

I WISH

874 posts

158 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
I bought a standard Cooper of the same vintage but with sports suspension and 17" wheels. Can concur with others in saying that the ride with this (effectively "S" configuration) is really rock hard .... and the run flats cost a small fortune. Apart from the looks I would have specd 16" rims with my time over again.
It's OK saying that MPG shouldn't be an issue if you're buying a car for fun .... but we're not all millionaires and the early Coopers and Ss were appallingly bad on juice. I was lucky to EVER see 30mpg from a std Cooper and I know the S is a lot worse.
I have driven a couple of Ss and the noise from the supercharger is terrific. Sounds just like a classic Mini with straight cut drop gears! I imagine it could get a bit wearing on a long run though.
Overall the early Minis were a great car. Every time I see a roundabout a I miss mine!

sperm

3795mpower

354 posts

88 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
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I bought mine a year ago after giving up searching for a 3 series replacement.
Yes its short on space, yes its quite thirsty, yes the ride is abysmal....but,

Put it on the right road and it's fantastic.

Nice torquey motor and holds on to the power at the top end very well.

Mine is a stock 05 with low miles and made 170.7hp at S.R.R

it's also very well spec'd (thank the first owner...)

There are plenty available so satisfy your preferences when you buy.

Amazed there was no mention in the write up of the improvements made to the MY 2005 cars....

Many items were upgraded including power steering, engine mounts, improved coating on the blower tips,
As well as small cosmetic mods. Early gearboxes were sh*te.

It's easy to spot a facelift (improved) car, it has a central rear fog lamp in the bumper and reverse lights
In the clusters.

Harman Kardon audio is brilliant.

Many of the overheating woes are caused by the first stage failing on the cooling fan.
This causes the cooling system to go critical before the second stage cuts in.

Vehicles with sat nav only have a high temp warning light.
Solved by fitting a scan gauge.







3795mpower

354 posts

88 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
As far as spec goes....

Hunt down the Chilli pack.
Look out for LSD (fairly common)

Sunroof is nice as it's quite large.
H/K stereo impressive.
Multi function steering wheel adds the really useful cruise control to the mix.

Privacy glass looks good, ditto xenon lamps.

Sat nav is mid '90's Bmw unit but easy to upgrade software via a new cd.



Chris4hrr

16 posts

105 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
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Chris4hrr

16 posts

105 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all

7s2000

16 posts

88 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
Is it true that the power steering pump will fail on the road randomly... IIRC BMW didn't fix it on the R56 facelift...? Can anyone confirm please?

chris watton

22,261 posts

218 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
This is ours, well, the wife's, she seems very smitten with it...



I plan to do quite a few upgrades to it next year, and asked he if she'd swap with a JCW model instead, but she's become too attached to this one!

I will give it JCW suspension, brakes, intercooler and airbox, exhaust, and then take it 1320 for a performance package - it would end up cheaper to buy a JCW - but I can't budge her... hehe

ETA - We just had to part with £400 for the steering pump.......

Edited by chris watton on Wednesday 30th April 18:54

Zippee

12,323 posts

192 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
I have a 55 plate Cooper S with the JCW package fitted later that year. It's a cracking little car, fuel economy as already stated is dire but the fun factor more than makes up for it. I've swapped the run flats for Conti Sport Contact 3s and they really hold the road well.
Whilst I have the chilli pack I do wish mine had the panoramic roof and Harmon Kardon sound system. The OEM stereo is god awful and will be changed soon. I opted t=for the best condition car I could find though as there were a LOT of dogs out there for sale. Dash does creak a bit, though this is worse on older cars with the 5 piece dash.
Seats could be a bot more supportive and for me aren't quite long enough on the base - if you can find one with recaros then they are certainly worthwhile.
Only issue on mine over the last 12 months has been the rear suspension bushes and a seized caliper, both sorted under the purchase warranty.
Next step for me is to uprate the brakes and then have a bit of fun on track, use the car for what it was built to do smile

s m

19,802 posts

161 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
3795mpower said:
As far as spec goes....

Hunt down the Chilli pack.
Look out for LSD (fairly common)

Sunroof is nice as it's quite large.
H/K stereo impressive.
Multi function steering wheel adds the really useful cruise control to the mix.

Privacy glass looks good, ditto xenon lamps.

Sat nav is mid '90's Bmw unit but easy to upgrade software via a new cd.


Haven't got CP but got LSD, sunroof and 16s

Also got MFSW and Chrono pack ( oil temp and pressure gauges plus speedo behind steering wheel )



cknotty

59 posts

86 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
That blue Cooper S JCW in the first photo just happens to be mine... smile Not my photo however, no idea where it came from. It must have been early on in its life as it's had the Aero grille (and natty carbon fibre intercooler intake) fitted in the time between then and when I got it.

Apart from replacing the timing chain tensioner, it's not had any issues. Definitely agree with the comments about the ride (ditched the runflats). For me it's definitely not a 'lanes' car, as the ride makes it 'skittish' (and it probably is a bit *too* powerful boxedin ), but that noise is so addictive biggrin

Anyway, here I am competing in an autosolo. Might even be competitive in the hands of a better driver tongue out


Contigo

3,046 posts

167 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
3795mpower said:
Harman Kardon audio is brilliant.
I don't rate it that highly. I went to turn it up a little the other day and it blew the front passenger speaker. Now rattles and clips every time you go near the volume button frown

Jimmyarm

1,962 posts

136 months

Wednesday 30th April 2014
quotequote all
Just out of curiosity, did the tea boy write the 'buying guide' ?

There is virtually nothing marque specific in it at all (other than stats from the BMW catalougue), and when there is it is wrong/misleading....


Fwiw, I had an R53 S as an AUC several years ago. I loved it to bits having come from a 'proper' mini as my first car. Glad I had the AUC warranty though as it had around £7k of work done in the first year I owned her, it snapping a valve spring at 110 leptons on the M6 was quite interesting and the bulk of that biggrin

I'd still have another one, once they get a bit cheaper smile

ETA;

Just as some proof of BS;

"There are far more concerns with the engine, which can suffer from cracked cylinder heads if it's allowed to overheat. As there's no temperature gauge on the dash, this can happen more easily than you might think if the main cooling fan's thermostat fails and stops the fan from cutting in"

Yes it can crack a head, there are temperature gauges on them and the cooling fan thermostat doesn't fail. What fails is the cooling fan motor resistor, it is mounted in the rad fan housing and is exposed to moisture, usually they fail speed 1 first which is where problems start to manifest as the car will run hotter than intended all the time but the gauge is damped so doesn't show this (and is often misdiagnosed as other cooling issues).

It's such a common issue that there are aftermarket fan resistors available from motor factors, alternative is the whole fan unit from BMW.

No mention of clutches either, they are prone to failure as the miles creep up. From memory the S's have DMF's too....

No mention of the strut mount tops mushrooming in the suspension section, been known about since they first came out...

No real mention of the power steering pump failures, they all go eventually. Either complete failure and no power steering or the pumps fail on and drain the battery (this has become much cheaper to fix now & 'lifetime guarantee' pumps are available.)

No mention of the front lower arm rear bushes, always failing and much better being replaced with poly equivalents...

Etc, Etc, Etc

Come on PH, do some research or take the word 'buying' out of the title and put 'top trump guide' or something. wink

Edited by Jimmyarm on Wednesday 30th April 20:09


Edited by Jimmyarm on Wednesday 30th April 20:10


Edited by Jimmyarm on Wednesday 30th April 20:25