Replacement for R50 Mini Cooper

Soldato
Joined
30 Mar 2004
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London
I purchased my current R50 Mini Cooper (New) in April 2003. Still only done ~47k miles and it's been a superb car. No major issues... up until this year. I had to replace a water pump at MOT and the clutch went last month. I have lots of fond memories with the car, including a trip to the Nurburgring in 2003, but following the failed clutch I'm thinking it may start to cost a reasonable amount each year to keep it on the road.

I'm considering options for a replacement, but as I don't drive all that much (I walk to work) I don't feel the need to spend too much. Mainly I want something that's fun to drive and won't cost the earth in maintenance.

Cars I've been considering:
R58 Mini Coupe Cooper S JCW
R61 Mini Paceman Cooper S
F56 (1.5) Mini Cooper
Vauxhall Astra VXR
Renault Megane Renaultsport
Ford Focus ST

Any other suggestions? Looking to spend between 10k and 13.5k.

Thanks :)
 
Associate
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26 Jan 2018
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Southampton
If you're happy with the car then just keep it, water pump and clutch are just general maintenance items. If you're set on replacing it though I'd go for a looked after 5 pot ST. Block mod, subtle exhaust to open it up a bit and a remap - Under budget and will be fairly reliable with the Volvo lump. Possibly a Fiesta ST if you just want something to keep standard and enjoy.

From memory the VXR gearboxes are made of cheese so I'd stay away from them. Can't really comment on the others, the Megane is meant to be a hoot but if it's designed by any of the team that did the engineering on the Clio then avoid at all costs :D
 
Soldato
OP
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30 Mar 2004
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London
Thanks for the reply.

Still in two minds about replacing it. I know this is a good car, and know its entire history, whereas buying anything 2nd hand will be a bit of a lottery.
 
Man of Honour
Joined
17 Oct 2002
Posts
158,697
Your budget is far too big for an R58 or an R61. This platform was ok, but it's now very old - it dates back 15 years. The Paceman is massively overpriced for what it offers now and IMHO represents a poor buy. The Coupe was pointless new and remains pointless now.

Your budget will, however, get you an ideal F56 of reasonable spec. The Cooper is quick for what it is, drives very well, is nicely made inside. I've had one for 3 years now and it's considerably better than the R56 it replaced. The Cooper S is quicker again and more like the rest of your list - but you'll need closer to the higher end of your budget for a nice one. Make sure whichever one you get has the LED headlights as the stock ones look awful.
 
Soldato
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22 Nov 2006
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22,149
Seems a lot of people say the R53 is the best one they made. Supercharged with better steering feedback than later cars.
 
Soldato
Joined
8 Dec 2005
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10,275
Renault Megane Renaultsport :D

You should be able to get a decent one for around £7-8K right now loads on autotrader uk. Engines are bulletproof 200K is a given (as long as maintained properly). Handling is excellent, acceleration is incredible! Try to get either 2010 RS 250HP, 2011 RS Trophy 265HP or 2012-2013 RS 265 HP.

2014-2017 models are out of your budget but a bit of a letdown (the 2018-2020 is incredible though but a lot more expensive!). Expect to change the cambelt as a precaution unless its been done within 72K or 5 years though (most used cars are similar in this respect as its cheaper than the belt snapping!). If you want to mod just change the turbo & intercooler & get a superchip then 406 HP is easy to attain (the acceleration on that is really eye opening :D ).

Also avoid anything tracked or with the rear seats removed for obvious reasons. Plenty of owners bought the RS left it as factory default as more than happy with the ride & performance. Those are the models to target ;)
 
Associate
Joined
22 Mar 2012
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1,628
If you're happy with the car then just keep it, water pump and clutch are just general maintenance items.
I'd echo this. The depreciation on the new car is likely to be far more over a few years than you'll spend maintaining your current mini, considering the tiny mileage you do.
 
Soldato
Joined
29 Jul 2013
Posts
8,398
Awesome. Thanks :)

I'll keep an eye out for a reasonable F56.
I bought a 4 year old F56 in October for the top end of your budget, with about 24k miles on it from a main dealer. The two must haves for me with the xl nav and the LED lights. I'm really enjoying it and would definitely recommend one. I actually had a R50 years ago and really enjoyed that too.
 
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