What’s the difference between the Mini One, Cooper and Cooper S?

One of the questions we get asked all the time is “what is the difference between the MINI Cooper and the MINI One?” or between the first generation and second generation MINIs. Here we try and layout the main differences, we’ll get into a little more detail later.

First Generation (2001-2006)

The first generation BMW MINIs were first built in 2001. To begin with there were 3 different models – the MINI One, MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S.

The primary difference is the engine. Each model initially came with just one engine choice, a version of the 1.6 litre Tritec four-cylinder petrol engine.

The most important to remember is that every car is individual thanks to the extensive range of options and extras that can be chosen when the car is new.

Whilst it is fair to say that most Coopers have a better specification than most Ones, this can often not be true, so it pays to arm yourself with all the information.

Mini One – 90 bhp 1.6 litre

The MINI One comes with Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors and Remote Central Locking as standard. That’s about it, everything else that you might want is an optional extra.

Mini Cooper – 115 bhp 1.6 litre

The MINI Cooper also comes as standard with 15″ alloy wheels

Mini Cooper S – 163 bhp 1.6 litre with supercharger

The MINI Cooper S comes as standard with 16″ alloy wheels, sports seats and rear spoiler.

In 2004, all models received a facelift. At the same time BMW introduced the MINI convertible and MINI One Diesel. The changes to the car included new front and rear bumpers, updated interior, all new gearboxes, new keys, and different colour options inside and outside.

Second Generation (2006-2014)

Things changed a bit with the second generation launched in 2006. BMW had big plans for expanding the range of MINIs on offer as well as the range of engines.

A new tie-up with Peugeot/Citroen meant that they had access to a greater range of jointly developed engines for the front wheel drive platform rather than relying on bought in engines.

The One, Cooper and Cooper S badges became more of a traditional mark of the specification level of the car rather than the overall model choice.

Now the MINIs are designated Hatch (for the standard 3 door hatchback model), Convertible, Coupe, Roadster, Clubman, Countryman, Paceman and Clubvan.

Each of these cars has a unique body and can be chosen as One, Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper D or Cooper SD. As you can see, the model range is significantly more complicated than it was.

Third Generation (2014-)

The recently announced third generation MINI will debut in early 2014 and features striking looks that move further away from the original BMW MINI concept. It will be a few years before we have any of these so we’re not going to worry about going into too much detail here.