For those of you who can't decide whether to get a Cooper or a Cooper S, this is the only source you need. The picture on the left is the Cooper S and the picture on the right is the Cooper. Which one looks better? I have you to decide on this. I would like to post an article by one of my favorite car journalist, Robert Farago. What a difference an engine makes. When I tested the original Mini One, I instantly knew why Sloth is a Deadly Sin. The first Mini was so slow it forced other drivers to take stupid chances to finally, get, past. Not convinced? How about this: the 90bhp Mini One was so slow BMW didn't dare import into the machine into the US- a country known for having the lowest speed limits on the planet.The next Mini wasn't much better. BMW "tuned" the Mini Cooper's Brazilian-made four-cylinder Chysler engine to produce a staggeringly pathetic 115bhp. Although this version was deemed powerful enough for US buyers, the coarse, asthmatic engine limited the car's appeal to style victims and/or drivers genetically incapable of feeling the need for speed. The sports suspension did nothing to improve the situation, save making the Mini ride harder than a soapbox racer. I've driven faster, more comfortable tractors.And yet, the idea of a supercharged Cooper offered one final hope to Mini supporters and financially challenged enthusiasts. Give the Mini a bit more oomph, sort the handling and bestow it with some fresh visual cues, and you just might have something worth driving�Badge & EngineeringFrom the outside, there's not a lot to differentiate a Cooper S from a Cooper: an S badge here and there, two centrally mounted chrome tailpipes, a body colored front grille, chromed fuel filler cap, integrated rear spoiler and an air scoop in the nose. It's all very tasteful, but hardly dramatic enough to trigger the automotive radar of a teenage car nut. Inside the cabin, you get the standard Mini design overkill, with one S exclusive: a chromed gear knob. And that's where great things start to happen�The S's stubby shift knob is connected to a superbly accurate, six-speed gearbox. The Getrag unit is, in turn, connected to a 163bhp supercharged version of the Mini's 1.6-litre power plant. One hundred and sixty three horses may not sound like a big improvement on the Cooper's 115bhp, but by God, it is. The engine mods reduce the Mini's zero to sixty sprint from an epic 9.3 seconds to a respectable 7.6 seconds. The S accelerates from 30 - 70mph in 7.2 seconds - almost three seconds faster than the normally aspirated Cooper. The S is no Ferrari, but it's no longer a cousin to continental drift.PunchIt's not just the raw numbers that set the two machines apart. It's the way the S delivers its extra punch. You have to rev the standard Mini's engine mercilessly to achieve, well, not very much. Because the S's engine spreads the increased torque throughout the rev range, because the Boys from Bavaria have found a way to make a supercharger deliver seamless power, because the six gear ratios are so well stacked, you're never, ever short of shove.Whether you change up at 2500 or 6000rpms, the next gear puts you slap bang in the middle of more power. You don't have to hunt through the gears to keep this Mini moving. Pick a gear, any gear. Press the right pedal. Pardon my French, but watch the S car go! The Mini Cooper S stays on the boil better than a neglected kettle on a red-hot stove.Thankfully, the rest of the package can handle all that newly found forward momentum. While the brakes lack initial bite, they do the stopping thing with real conviction. The S's suspension boasts the same set-up as the Cooper: McPherson struts up front and BMW clever multi-link at the rear. But the ride and handling are worlds apart. Where a Cooper's sports suspension could be listed as an asset on a chiropractor's balance sheet, the S' strikes a perfect balance between road feel and comfort. In the corners, the Cooper's rubber squeals like a stuck pig. The S stays quiet and neutral right up to the limit.The difference could be down to tyres (15" for the Cooper, 16" for the S). Or it may be something subtle the car's Germans masters prefer to keep to themselves. Whatever. It works. Where the Cooper's road manners inspired narcolepsy, the S creates ever-increasing confidence. You can really fling this baby around.