2006 Cooper S New Car Test Drive
The Mini Cooper is an e-ticket carnival ride that can dry out wet pavement with its excellent handling. The shortest car on the road, it can be parked in the smallest of places. Yet it seats four, with surprisingly roomy back seats, and it can carry a generous amount of cargo. Its bulldog stance still generates smiles, four years after its introduction as a 2002 model.
Engineered by BMW, the Mini Cooper is a high-quality piece of equipment, as solid as any German sedan. And it boasts a multitude of passive and active safety systems.
Convertibles were added to the lineup for 2005. At the same time, all models were enhanced with new interior lighting, storage space and trim options, plus revised headlamps and tail lamps and a new grille. New manual gearboxes with revised gearing delivered improved acceleration for both the Cooper and Cooper S, and the S received a slight bump in horsepower.
For 2006, a new Checkmate trim package with exclusive interior and exterior modifications is now being offered for sedan models. And the John Cooper Works performance package can now be ordered as a factory-installed option or as a dealer-installed option.
The Mini Cooper comes in two model designations: the 115-horsepower Mini Cooper and 168-horsepower Mini Cooper S. Either is available as a convertible. The hardtop Minis are four-seat, three-door hatchbacks. The Mini is front-wheel drive with a transversely mounted 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine.
The Mini Cooper ($16,950) comes with air conditioning, CD stereo with six speakers, power windows with auto-down, power locks, remote keyless entry, and a rear wiper all standard. A five-speed gearbox and 15-inch alloy wheels are standard. A Continuously Variable Transmission, or CVT ($1,300) automatic, is optional.
The Mini Cooper S ($20,600) features a supercharged version of the four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual gearbox, stiffer front and rear anti-roll bars for flatter handling and 16-inch wheels. The Cooper S has exterior trim that distinguishes it from the base model. Inside, the S adds sport seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A six-speed automatic is optional ($1,350).
The Mini Cooper Convertible ($21,450) and Cooper S Convertible ($24,900) are equipped similarly to the respective hard tops.
New interior options include English Leather upholstery, a Mini Seven high-gloss black dash panel, and a Mini Park Lane dash. Exterior options include roof, mirror caps and bonnet stripes now available in silver, new paint colors including Solar Red and Royal Grey, and two new no-cost 15-inch wheel packages for the Mini Cooper. You can choose a roof that's either body-colored, black, or white, and you can add a roof decal, a checkered flag, a Union Jack, a Star Spangled Banner. You can finish your Mini with white or silver wheels. Mini customers can build their car online (at miniusa.com) with colors, options, and accessories.
Options include sport suspension ($500), automatic air conditioning ($300), a Harman/Kardon stereo with eight speakers ($550), leather seats ($1300), heated front seats ($270), rear fog lamp ($100), park distance control ($350), xenon headlamps ($550), a navigation system ($1700), Dynamic Stability Control ($500), multifunction steering wheel ($250), Chrome Line interior ($200), universal garage door opener ($200), cockpit chrono pack ($300), on-board computer ($200), metallic paint ($450), and leather upholstery ($1,300).
Optional packages for the Mini Cooper: The Premium Package ($1,400) adds a leather multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, panoramic sunroof, automatic air conditioning, and an on-board computer. The Sport Package ($1,400) offers DSC dynamic stability control, a rear spoiler, 16-inch five-star alloy wheels with 195/55R16 run-flat performance tires, sport seats, and front fog lamps. The Cold Weather Package ($300) includes heated washer jets, heated mirrors, and heated seats. The Convenience Package ($400) adds a universal garage door opener, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rain sensor and auto headlights. The Checkmate Package ($2,200) includes a leather steering wheel, 16-inch Bridge spoke wheels with performance tires, a rear spoiler, roof and mirror caps in black or silver, black or silver bonnet stripes, black Checkmate logos, sport seats, Checkmate dash trim, front fog lamps, and a special Checkmate cloth/leather upholstery treatment.
The Cooper S offers identical Premium ($1,400), Cold Weather ($300) and Convenience ($400) packages. The Sport Package ($1,400) differs by offering bonnet stripes, 17-inch alloy wheels with 205/45R17 run-flat performance tires (or all-season tires), headlamp power washers, front fog lamps, and xenon headlights.
The convertibles are available with a Premium Package ($1,400) that adds a center armrest, chrome interior package and Harman Kardon stereo to the equipment in the hard top packages. The Sport Package ($1,400) for the Cooper Convertible includes DSC, 16-inch wheels, sport seats, and front fog lamps. The S model Sport Package ($1,400) includes DSC, bonnet stripes, 17-inch alloys in two designs, headlamp powe.