Immortalised by the classic 1960s movie The Italian Job, the original Mini Cooper S was a classically designed car which has been rightfully resurrected in the BMW MINI of the same name. The original Cooper S, conceived in 1963, was a higher performance yet economical version of the Mini and its larger, more powerful engine reflected that. The compact car was a highly popular concept at that time, and provided a means of navigating crowded city streets easily and cost effectively.
The modern consumer demands a more spacious car for increased comfort and flexibility, and the current BMW MINI Cooper S cars offer this whilst still retaining the stylish looks of the original vehicle. BMW began MINI Cooper S sales in 2001, following an extensive period of redesign. Like the original, the MINI Cooper S is a higher performance version of the basic model. It originally came with a BMW/Chrysler Tritec engine, though a 'Prince' engine offering greater performance, reliability and efficiency has replaced this. BMW moved production of the car to the UK in 2006, making the car essentially British built, much like the original.
The fact that this car could be completely redesigned while still retaining the basic aspects that have appealed to drivers throughout its history has been the MINI Cooper S's greatest success. A convertible version of the MINI Cooper S was released in 2005, featuring a classic cloth top style which is not automatic, but allows a passenger to raise it manually to act as a sunroof or screen. In 2007, following the replacement of the Tritec engine with the Prince engine, the entire car was re-engineered to adhere to safety standards; changes included making the car slightly longer, and changes to the light housing. Cosmetic improvements include a new grille and cluster rear lights. Nearly new Mini Cooper S cars will feature these improvements as opposed to the older used models.