The first Mini came out in 1959 as the Morris Mini Minor and became an instant success.
The world loved its small body, its quirky looks, and the affordable price.
In 1994, however, BMW took control of the Rover group – which included Mini.
The brand has since undergone intense modernisation, but retained the signature compact body and rounded look.
Today, the Mini Cooper is one of the best-selling vehicles for Mini -with the Cooper S version hot on its heels.
These cars look very similar on the inside and out.
As standard, both are fitted with a leather multifunction steering wheel, velour floor mats, and colour accents in carbon black.
Both also have arm rests, ISOFIX child seat supports, and height-adjustable seats.
The signature Mini look with the rounded infotainment system and centre control stack is present in both, and entertainment is managed through the Connected Media system.
This allows intelligent Mini Connected services that provide you with information about your vehicle as well as features such as Spotify streaming.
The Mini Connected app then lets you control several vehicle functions from your smartphone, and additional on-board apps improve ease of usability.
The two models are not that hard to tell apart, though, as the S differentiates itself by being fitted with leather sports seats – whereas the standard Cooper gets cloth coverings.
The S also gets the Mini drive mode selector with an automatic air-conditioning system, while the standard variant does not receive any of this.
Safety and security has been standardised across the range, as both are fitted with an alarm system with radio remote control, a warning triangle with a first aid kit, and automatic door locks.
In addition, cruise control with brake assist and park distance control sensors at the rear were installed as a standard feature.
In the case of an emergency, Teleservices and intelligent emergency calling is enabled in both.
Even though the Cooper and Cooper S look similar from the outside, there are telltale signs revealing which model is which.
The S has a slightly narrower track width with longer overhangs, and a 29mm overall longer body.
Both cars can be customised with three roof colours, three mirror cap colours, and three bonnet stripe colours.
The S is further treated with an exclusive bonnet scoop, a track-style grille, S emblems, and lower air intakes on the front bumper.
The standard Cooper stands on 16-inch “Victory” wheels, whereas the S gets 17-inch “Cosmos” alloys.
Another point for the S comes in the from of all-round LED lights, and fog lights – both of which are missing in the standard version.
Fortunately, both cars come with the Mini-exclusive, Union Jack brake lights.
The biggest difference between the Cooper and the Cooper S lies beneath the hood.
The Cooper is fitted with a 1.5-litre engine that produces 100kW of power and 220Nm of torque.
The S, on the other hand, gets a 2.0-litre engine that generates 141kW and 280Nm.
This leads to a 1.1 second improved 0-100km/h acceleration time over the standard version, at 6.7 seconds.
A lower claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.3l/100km on the Cooper is a byproduct of the smaller engine – with the S coming in at 5.5l/100km.
Both engines are then mated to a 7-speed, double clutch, steptronic transmission – and power is sent directly the front wheels.
The Mini Cooper is one tier above the entry-level One model, and has a starting price of R487,226.
The Cooper S is one tier above this, and will cost you R569,840.
Included in the price for both is a 2-year/unlimited kilometre warranty on the vehicle, and all Mini original parts and accessories.