Most Commonly Reported Problems with the 2020 Mini Cooper

Reported problems for the 2020 Cooper are airbag, electrical system, and visibility-related based on our data

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

No one can argue about the individuality that the 2020 Mini Cooper offers drivers. The automaker claims that this vehicle is “bending the rules in style.” However, owners whose airbags fail to deploy, whose electrics malfunction, or whose sunroofs explode, don’t see bending rules as being even vaguely stylish.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2022

Top Problems Summary

There are all kinds of complaints lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the 2020 Mini Cooper and the 2020 Mini Cooper S. Faulty airbags are a major issue, while complaints about other components and systems are varied, without a single issue being paramount. For example, visibility isn’t simply related to auto glass, but also to the positioning of convertible tops. Similarly, while there are reports of the electrical system malfunctioning, these are not due to the same faults.

Other components and systems seen by owners to be problematic include brakes, engine, forward collision avoidance, steering, and the wheels of the Mini Cooper.

There are also two recalls that affect the 2020 Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S.

Mini Cooper Recalls

One recall is because of faulty airbags and the other is due to a manufacturer error that affects the vehicle structure.

While BMW maintains that only 76 vehicles, including Mini Cooper models, are affected by the airbag issue, the fact that there are complaints about malfunctioning airbags makes one wonder how safe they are for anyone. The recall issue is that a rollover sensor within the airbag control unit may not activate the head airbags in the event of a rollover crash. Not only that, other safety systems including the seat belt pretensioners, may not activate. This, of course, increases the risk of injury. Owners of vehicles that have been recalled are eligible for free airbag control unit replacements.

The second recall warns that crash pads may be missing from the rear side trim panels of 683 vehicles, including the 2020 Mini Cooper. If the crash pad hasn’t been installed, passengers in the rear of the Mini Cooper have an increased risk of injury if there is a side-impact crash. Anyone with a vehicle identified as problematic by BMW is eligible to have crash pads installed free of charge.

Airbag Problems

Airbags are a key safety feature in any vehicle — or they should be. When they don’t work the way they should, people are at risk of serious injury. An owner from California was a victim.

After stopping at a red light, a Buick SUV traveling at 65 mph rear-ended the 2020 Mini Cooper S, pushing it into the car in front. “My seatbelt was on. My head hit the steering wheel resulting in a massive brain bleed. I have ruptured and herniated disks and severe whiplash as well as a fractured skull.” The airbag didn’t deploy despite a warning message, “We have alerted emergency services”. “I can’t find a lawyer to take the case because there hasn’t been a recall on this year yet,” the complaint states.

Another owner was lucky not to be injured after crashing over a raised median and hitting two road signs head-on. “They flew over the car into (the) opposite side of traffic and into a ditch at 45 mph.” Despite the broken frame, collapsed suspension, front-end damage, and four flat tires, the airbags didn’t deploy.

Electrical System Problems

Issues relating to the electrical system are varied.

An owner from Texas had major problems after driving slowly through a puddle of water. The engine stalled and the Mini Cooper wouldn’t restart. The complaint states that the “puddle of water was not high enough to breach the cabin (and the) running boards were still above water.” The puddle was about four inches at the highest point, and the curb adjacent to the street wasn’t submerged. The car wouldn’t start and the transmission locked up.” Needless to say, the vehicle needed to be towed. However, the tow truck had difficulty loading it onto the flatbed “because the electrical system had malfunctioned in the electric convertible top and was overriding the ability to put the car into neutral.”

Another 2020 Mini Cooper owner had a completely different experience, only to discover it wasn’t an isolated incident with these cars. “When I plugged my phone cord into the USB port on the Click and Drive while the car was on but stationary, the screen indicated that the stabilization system was resetting.” After unplugging the cord, a series of error messages popped up including:

  • steering assist not working, drive with care
  • stability control not working, drive with care
  • front collision detector not working

Unable to steer, the driver called for a tow. But after a three-hour wait, he was able to start the car and drive home. The dealer said it was a wiring issue and fixed it. However, the salesman who sold him the car nine days before the incident, “admitted he had heard of (a) similar incident with Click and Drive once before, about a year ago. If I had plugged the cord in while I was driving I would likely have been unable to control the car in motion.”

Visibility Problems

Seeing out of any vehicle is paramount to on-road safety. However, a 2020 Mini Cooper S owner from Florida, reports in an NHTSA complaint that when the convertible top is folded it blocks her vision, even with the seat at the highest position. While she is only 5 ft 1 inch tall, even her husband who is 5 ft 9 inches tall also had limited visibility. As a “point of reference,” she states that she didn’t have this problem with her 2012 Mini convertible. “I had to take the car back to the dealer and get another vehicle, which cost me in excess of $5,000 as my 3-day-old car was considered used with 91 miles on it.”

Emphasizing the dangers involved, the complaint states that “either the mechanism or the fabric used has to be changed to allow the top to retract out of sight.” If the fault isn’t rectified, drivers could “easily have an accident because they can’t see what is behind them.”

An owner from Maryland states that while driving at 55 to 60 mph, the vehicle’s sunroof glass exploded without impact.

Not only is this scary, but it’s downright dangerous because it could cause a crash.

Wheel Problems

Blowouts are another potential accident risk. An owner from New York tells how the tires on a 2020 Mini Cooper S failed three times in nine months, from the time they bought the car. In addition to these blowouts, “another tire had a bubble that was replaced before it blew out,” the complaint states. All blowouts happened at separate times while traveling on the highway at about 60 mph. “The dealer and BMW will do nothing.”

So What Can You Do If You Have Recurring Problems?

If you have serious problems that affect the use and/or value of your 2020 Mini Cooper, you might have bought a lemon. If you think this is the case, contact Lemberg Law and we will assess your problems free of charge. The law makes the automaker, BMW, pay the legal fees of lemon law cases. All you have to do is call our Helpline or fill out a contact form and we’ll see how we can help. 

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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