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2nd Hand Spotlight: Mini Cooper S

Style, handling, performance and fun at a bargain price...

On the theme of hot hatches, we thought we’d find out what you can get for bargain money, given that the new Golf could easily run to £30k. We love hot hatches – this writer has had a Clio 172, Peugeot 106 XSi, Focus ST170 etc so to find a hot hatch bargain is always exciting. Which is why we were amazed when we looked and saw how cheap the first of the BMW built Mini Cooper S’s are available for now.

You can go for an 80,000 mile example, but small hatches are always better with fewer miles so we’ve hunted out this fantastic looking 2002 Cooper S with just 39,000 miles on the clock. It’s got the essential Chilli pack which brings black & blue leather seats, xenon headlights and 17” wheels among other things and is in a rather restrained metallic grey with black roof and mirrors, without the usual bonnet stripes. And the price for this low mileage hot hatch? Just £3,395 – pocket change!

What do you get for your £3000 (if you can haggle well)? You get 163 bhp from the 1.6 litre supercharged engine, legendary handling that helped the Cooper S win many awards and group tests and looks that allow it to fit in outside McDonalds or down Kings Road in London. Okay, the original Cooper S with its supercharged engine is a little thirsty for the type of car it is (think 33mpg average), but that’s more down to fact that they’re such good fun to drive that you’ll be keeping your right foot planted a lot of the time!

The question is, do you go for the older model for £3k or double that for the second generation model? We were equally surprised to see that the 2007 Cooper S with 175 bhp from the 1.6 litre turbocharged engine can be had for under £7000 now. This 2007 Cooper S with just 27,000 miles is up for £6,795 (so £6500 with a haggle) and offers more performance and 45 mpg plus a better quality and slightly larger interior.

Whichever model you go for, you’re guaranteed a fun drive, cracking performance and that Mini image, love it or loathe it.

Images courtesy of Auto Trader

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more