The MINI Cooper brand was dormant for decades before being acquired and resuscitated by BMW. Enter the 2005 MINI Cooper, a stylish little number that retains its historic British charm, but contains reliable German engineering beneath the surface.
The MINI has been a hit since it re-launched, and for 2005, it also sells as a convertible. The new convertible MINI boasts a soft canvas top that can be lowered in only 15 seconds. Remarkably, the MINI convertible maintains roughly the same amount of cargo space in back with the top up or down.
In addition to selling as both a three-door hatchback and a two-door convertible, the 2005 MINI Cooper also comes in two versions: the Cooper and the Cooper S.
Body Styles: three-door hatchback, two-door convertible
Engines: 1.6-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, six-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Models: MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S
For 2005 the MINI Cooper has also been made available as a convertible in both the regular and S trim levels. Aside from the introduction of the convertible other changes include slight revisions to the front and rear fasciae and some modified choices for options. Vanity mirrors no longer come with illumination, leather-wrapped steering wheels have been made standard, and a universal remote garage door opener becomes available. Five horsepower and seven lb-ft of torque have been added to the S version’s engine. Also shorter gearing added to both the five- and six-speed manual transmissions to improve acceleration. A six-speed automatic transmission becomes available for the S, as well.
The 2005 MINI Cooper looks larger and more contemporary than the classic models of the 1960s. However aside from those two factors, the 2005 MINI bares a strong resemblance to the iconic original. The MINI has short overhangs and wheels that sit at the far outside corners of its body. The tires measure 15 inches although there 16-inch run-flat tires remain optional. Additional exterior options include a contrasting-colored roof and a sunroof.
The 2005 MINI Cooper has a stylish, compact cabin. Notable features include metallic trim, tubular structures, and an over-sized speedometer located in the center of the dashboard. As a MINI, it should come as no surprise that passenger and cargo space seem tight. With the rear seats in use, the hatchback yields just 5.6 cubic feet of cargo storage. Also some of the plastics utilized in the interior look surprisingly low-grade.
The base Cooper comes with leatherette upholstery, a tilt steering wheel, air-conditioning, a six-speaker stereo with a CD changer, power windows, and power door locks. The higher trim Cooper S features seat-height adjustment and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. All of these features also come as a la carte options for the base Cooper.
Performance & Handling
With a suspension and underpinnings borrowed from the BMW 3 Series, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the 2005 MINI Cooper delivers lively handling even in its base trim level. The Cooper S has additional performance-oriented features such as antiroll bars and firmed springs. While these additions give the S a stiffer ride they also improve its cornering ability. Both models of the Cooper remain rather modest in terms of engine power. However thanks to the Cooper’s small size, that power proves more than adequate, particularly in the S.
Standard safety equipment for the 2005 MINI Cooper includes four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes assisted by electronic brake force distribution and cornering brake control. Opting for the S also gets you traction control. Additional safety features include a flat-tire monitor, side airbags for front occupants, and head curtain airbags for the front and rear. An optional Sport Package includes Dynamic Stability Control. The 2005 MINI Cooper earns four out of five stars in government crash tests for frontal impacts and side impacts. It also gets named as a “Best Pick” among small cars in frontal-offset crash tests conducted by the IIHS.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mini Cooper: 24/33 mpg city/highway
- Suspension and steering engineered by BMW
- Classic style with modern underpinnings
- Generous array of comfort and safety features
- Hatchback offers good utility
You Won't Like
- Base lacks adequate horsepower
- Seats not as comfortable as they could be
- Limited passenger and cargo space
- Interior utilizes some low-grade materials
Classic British charm on the surface with competent German engineering underneath.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Civic
- Scion xA
- Ford Focus