I bought a used 2003 Cooper 3 a few years ago, and it didn't come with the shelf. At first I didn't think anything of it, but a couple years later thought that I should get it as I was parking my car in areas where break in were occurring and wanted to keep things in the trunk area without worry. What I didn't expect was how much of a difference it made with the noise in the car! I spent 30 minutes rolling up and down the windows, and opening and closing the sunroof - all the while driving home from work.
Advantages: Privacy for the trunk area, amazing sound absorption
Disadvantages: have to move it out of the way if packing large things into the back of your mini with the seats folded down.
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