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jsabatini 09-12-2020 10:05 AM

R56 Buying advice please
Researching MINI Cooper S's for my son Cooper S who turns 16 in just over 2 months. Preliminary research says stay away from the earlier R56's and go with the 2011 - 2013 N18 engine?

I know, get the lowest mile car in your budget which I am trying to keep under $10K. Is this doable? At what mileage point do problems begin to show up?

BoxsterSteve 09-13-2020 04:34 AM

It’s doable.
These cars, and most European cars in general have potential catastrophic engine issues.
Primarily, change the oil way more often than the mfr. recommends.
I bought an ’09 MCS with the JCW Tuning kit pretty cheap, but still managed to get upside down in it after fixing everything it needed.
For me, the biggest selling feature on this particular example is that it has 11,000 miles on a new warranty replaced long block, pushing back potential issues for me with the N14 engine.
Just the way 996’s, 997’s, 987’s and 986’s don’t all have catastrophic engine failure the way the internet would have you believe. There are good ones out there.
The search for the right car is the funnest part.*

*Next to the hooning in a 200hp shoebox. Ask me how I know.

Dave at Pelican Parts 09-13-2020 10:07 AM

I would suggest staying away from the "S" models. The standard Cooper is still plenty of fun and is less expensive, so you should be able to find a better one in your budget. It really isn't slower in the corners, which is where these little cars are fun anyway.

Plus everything is less stressed because it makes less power, there's less heat under the hood to cook things, and fewer systems to go wrong.

They can still use oil, and there are still some things that are problematic. It's a European car, so generally more maintenance-intensive than most other cars, and it's a BMW so any work on it will tend to be on the expensive side.

I really like my 2012 "Justa" Cooper. The only significant problem I've had has been with the oil pump solenoid; it has leaked into the wiring harness a number of times, requiring the solenoid and sub-harness to be replaced. All under warranty, but still...


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