2002 Mini Cooper S – Reviewed

Movies and TV shows have made some cars next-level Iconic. The DeLorean from Back To The Future, The Charger from The Dukes Of Hazzard, and the Trans-Am from Smokey And The Bandit just to name a few. But what about B-list celebrity cars? Well The Mini Cooper S is one of those cars.


The 2002 Mini Cooper S has a 1.6L inline four with a supercharger, which is paired to a 6 speed manual transmission. I was surprised to learn that such a small engine came with a supercharger as opposed to a turbocharger that most other manufactures use. The Advantage of a supercharger over a turbocharger is that it helps out all the time, at every rpm. A turbo takes time to spool, commonly adding power at the higher end of the rev range as opposed to down low. A supercharger is belt driven, so it adds more power the faster it goes. Almost as surprising is the addition of a six speed manual transmission. Not many small engine, front-wheel-drive cars had six speeds back in the early 2000s, but here is the Mini Cooper S with a six speed. The supercharger, paired with the suspension, makes the 2002 Mini Cooper S predictable, and that is key. You can predict what the Mini is going to do after very little time behind the wheel. Predictability aspires confidence, and confidence makes driving fun.


The interior is larger than you’d think. I’ve touched on this in my other Mini Cooper reviews but I’ll restate it now: Mini engineers know how to make a small space feel large. As the name suggests, Mini’s are on the smaller end of cars, but you’d never feel it. This is first a result of the windshield. The windshield is long, and far away from the driver, making it feel as though the car is longer than it actually is. Another reason is the seats. The seats sit low and are recessed into the chassis, creating more headroom. If you want to make a car feel larger than it is, give it more headroom.


As I mentioned at the top of the review, the Mini Cooper S is a b-list celebrity car. The reboot of “The Italian Job” starring Mark Wahlberg, features a getaway scene of three 2001 Mini Cooper S’. The three Minis are seen driving through tight tunnels, steep stairs, and maze-like markets, just like the original film in the 1960s, which featured three original Minis. If you are a fan of Mini Coopers, you must check out “The Italian Job”.



Written by Zack Pradel