163 hp, 2600 lbs and $22,000. Those approximate numbers were some of the key ingredients to one of the most successful cult cars of all time. The R53 Cooper S (2002 – 2006) was a car that re-defined a brand and woke up many of us to what a small or even sport car could be. And we want it back.
No we’re not calling for the design of the R53 back (although many of you would love that for sure). We’re calling for something easier for MINI to accomplish. We want that formula back. We want a car that can be had for under $25,000 (with a few key options) that puts a smile on our face every time we get behind the wheel. A car that we can’t wait to drive to the corner store.
What about the current Cooper? In many ways its the unsung hero of the MINI range. But it’s not quite fast enough to be a true successor. And the modern day Cooper S is a little too heavy and costs just a little too much. We want to find the sweet spot between them both.
What if we had a Cooper with performance equivalent to the R53 Cooper S? Given what the 3 cylinder can do in the BMW i8 (228 hp), it’s more than possible. With its weight well under 2,700 lbs and with some suspension modifications (all off the shelf parts), it could quickly be turned into something R53 like in terms of feel. It doesn’t even need to hit 163 hp as long as the torque was increased to compensate. Think of it as a MINI Cooper Sport.
What say you? Would you be interested in a modern day R53 Cooper S? Something cheaper, more fun and plenty lust-worthy? Let us know below.