I am the first owner of a 2011 Mini Cooper hardtop. I've loved mini for years, and was excited to finally get one of my own. While it is a great car to drive, don't underestimate the amount and cost of maintaining this vehicle.
My car is just over 3 years old, with 60K miles on it. Already had to purchase new tires once, and will be back this winter for another set because of the noise -- it turns out that if you don't rotate the tires more often than the regular service meter states, they wear out at such different rates that it creates a horrible amount of noise. I also just had a $2500 service performed.
One issue was that the water pump had "melted." Mini mechanic said this was caused by low oil -- while I always take it in for service when the meter says it is time, the mechanic there told me that you need to check the oil every 1000 miles (not noted in the service manual, and very unusual for a 3 year old car these days).
Even when you don't take it to the mini dealer for service, regular auto shops that service minis cost more than other cars. I am disappointed that it is so costly and so much has gone wrong with the car in a relatively short time period. One other thing -- the bluetooth is terrible. I don't bother making phone calls through it anymore, since people on the other end of the phone constantly complain that they can't hear me.