For December 7, 2023, our used car find is this single-owner 2005 Mini Cooper S with 40k miles and a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s offered by a private seller on Craigslist in Santa Cruz, California, for $10,750 or best offer.
Here’s what makes this one special.
BMW relaunched the Mini brand in the U.S. for the 2002 model year. The all-new Mini Cooper successfully reimagined the original 1960s British small car icon, offering cheeky retro looks, superb handling, and a premium feel — qualities that had mostly been absent from the subcompact market. It was such a hit that dealers racked up years-long waiting lists, often charging its eager buyers well over MSRP.
The new Mini Cooper came in both base and sportier S trims. The latter (known as the R53) ups the fun quotient substantially thanks to its rowdy supercharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder, more aggressive suspension tuning, and larger wheels and tires. It received a slight refresh for the 2005 model year, including updated front and rear styling, a 5-hp boost in power (to 168 hp), and shorter gearing for improved acceleration.
In a Car and Driver review from the era, longtime auto journalist Tony Swan noted, “Not since the demise of Honda’s CRX Si has so much fun been crammed into such a small package. Sign me up.”
This particular R53 is one of the nicest ones we’ve seen in a long, long time. With just a single California owner and a mere 39,942 miles on the odometer, it’s about as fresh as you’ll find. And it looks extra sharp in its well-preserved Electric Blue factory paint, arguably the best color available.
It’s also nicely specced with a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch alloys, heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and xenon headlights. It even comes with a recent service, new Goodyear Eagle RS-A rubber, and the original window sticker and owner’s manual.
In the seller’s own words:
Electric Blue original-owner, R53 Mini Cooper S with 39,000 miles. Supercharged, Getrag 6-speed, and highly optioned:
Sport Package: Factory 17 inch alloy wheels, Dynamic Stability Control, ABS brakes, Xenon headlights, fog lights
Cold Weather Package: Heated seats and mirrors
Premium Package: Dual sunroof, multi-function steering wheel controls, AM/FM/CD stereo and onboard computer
Included are service records, factory leather Owner’s Portfolio, and original window sticker. Over a thousand dollars spent recently in tires, upkeep and repairs.
Low mileage, very clean, and well-maintained. I’m truly sorry to be selling my Mini, but I’m moving and cannot take it with me.
The asking price of $10,750 may sound a bit steep for a nearly twenty-year-old Mini, but it’s in line with recent sales of similar cars on Bring a Trailer.
Find it on Craigslist HERE while you still can.
Details & Specs
- 2005 Mini Cooper S (R53)
- 39,942 miles
- 1.6-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine
- 168 horsepower
- 162 lb-ft of torque
- six-speed manual transmission
- front-wheel drive
- 2,679 pounds
- Electric Blue exterior
- black leatherette interior