The Detroit News is reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the ’07-’08 R56 Cooper S after 12 complaints were filed, including five vehicle fires. At this point we can only speculate as to the cause of these incidents (as to whether or not they’re turbo-related), but it’s important to keep in mind that we’re talking about five cars in approximately 36,000 vehicles, with no injuries or crashes reported. So we’re pretty sure it’s safe to go ahead and drive your Cooper S to the office this morning. While only preliminary at this point, we’ll keep you posted on any findings this investigation turns up. Full story excerpt after the break.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the 2007-2008 BMW Mini Cooper S for engine fires.

NHTSA said in a notice posted on its website Saturday it is probing 36,000 models sold in the United States after receiving 12 complaints, including 5 alleged fires resulting in a total vehicle loss.

The investigation covers the Mini Cooper S, the Mini Cooper S convertible and the 2008 Clubman edition.

Eight complaints said fires occurred while the vehicles were parked with the ignition off. The complaints show an apparent increasing trend with most complaints received within the past year, NHTSA said.

NHTSA has reviewed field reports submitted as part of its Early Warning Reporting data. A preliminary evaluation has been opened to assess the cause, scope and frequency of the alleged defect by the agency.

NHTSA said no injuries or crashes have been reported as a result of the fires.

BMW didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment Saturday.

[Source: The Detroit News]