Originally Posted by Clever User Name
Your wife may want it, but you'll soon find yourself begging to drive it. The Cooper S's are just bonkers. They really belong on a track, and the cornering is just sick (in a very good way).
As for the cost of ownership, their resale values hold better than almost any car out there. Downsides: Premium fuel and working on them post-warranty though can get pretty high because you're paying for BMW parts crammed into a little space, which leads to high labor costs. But, such is the price of love. If we ever fell on hard times and had to sell our belongings, it would be the last thing to go after a kidney or two.
As a dealer alternative, there is a good Mini garage, Grassroots Garage, but it's also an hours drive from here in Thomasville.
Although I had reliability issues with my 02, I second the resale value remark .. probably the best in the U.S. (in fact they're rated the best). My case -
Bought 6/02 for $22K (excluding tax)
Sold 7/07 for $14.2K (excluding tax) - 82K miles. It held 64.5% of it's value after 5 years. As an aside, had no accidents, and kept the car in pristine condition.