Based in Cowley, England, MINI is both the name of a division of BMW as well as that of a car produced by that division since April, 2001. That car, designed by Frank Stephenson is a retro redesign of the original Mini, made by the British Motor Company and it's successors from 1959 to 2000. Sometimes called the BMW MINI or the New MINI, the name is written in all capitals to distinguish it from its predecessor. The MINI was originally designed by the Rover Group, but was retained by BMW when they sold Rover in 2003. The Cowley, Oxford plant where the MINI is manufactured used to be the Morris car plant.
Named in remembrance of John Cooper and the Cooper Car Company, the MINI Cooper and Cooper S echo the names of the sportier version of the classic Mini. A further connection to the Cooper heritage is emphasized by the eponymous John Cooper Works (JCW) range of tuning options available. Cooper created a one-off racing model of the MINI One called the MINI One S Works, which includes performance-enhancing features such as a racing exhaust and air filter and an upgraded suspension, as well as 17-inch racing wheels.
The various MINI models have many style and badging differences, but the most obvious is that the Cooper S has a distinctive scoop cut into the hood to provide airflow over the top mounted intercooler. As well, it has twin exhausts which exit under the center of the rear valance. On the other hand the regular (non-S) Cooper has more chrome parts than the MINI One and only a single exhaust, while the MINI One has no visible exhaust pipes at all.
In Portugal and Greece, the MINI One is powered by a 1.4 liter Tritec engine, but all other gasoline-powered MINIs have 1.6 liter engines, and a soft-top convertible option has been available across the line since 2004.
In the United States and Australia, only the MINI Cooper and Cooper S are sold because the MINI One's engine is not considered to be powerful enough to support the use of air conditioning, a necessity in those countries. In reality, however, the only difference between the engines in the MINI One and the Cooper models is a software change tuning the Coopers for a compromise between power and economy, rather than the peak performance option selected on the One. Roughly seventy percent of US sales, and fifty percent of sales in Australia are the top-of-the-line Cooper S.