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MINI Cooper



  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    dawgod, I took delivery on mine (not an S) almost exactly one month ago. Like you, I have never ordered a new car, and I was also curious to see how it all played out. I did the financing on my own, which was one of the better decisions I've made in a while. All I had to do - quite literally - was give them a check from the bank, sign on the line and drive away. They had the car under a cover in a single-car garage that was attached to the showroom. The rep "unveiled" of the car (the bonnet stripes immediately brought a smile to my face), followed by a simple question-and-answer about anything I was unfamiliar with (thanks to Edmunds and there was not much left to learn). There was a package of "MINI mints" on the driver's seat (kinda cheesy, but I liked the additional touch) and three weeks later, they sent cookies to my house as a thank-you. I feel like I should be thanking them!!! The process was almost too UNstressful, if that makes any sense. No surprises and no hidden costs.

    As for the run-flat tires, I have 16'" performance run flats and like them. Though I'm not an expert, I think cornering is even that much better due to the more rigid sidewall. My wife also likes the piece of mind these tires add to the mix. I'm not much of a fan of changing a tire on I-95 in the rain either.

    I had no hesitation of paying MSRP, and I'd do it again. I like this car so much, I have no reason to believe that I will be getting rid of it anytime soon. Even so, if BMW/MINI is smart, they won't make the same mistake Chrysler made with their pathetic PT Cruiser by saturating the market to the point that they have to offer huge rebates. As long as there is a wait for the MINI, you have no fear of finding yourself upside down. Some food for thought also, my dealer told me that dealers on the west coast (L.A.) are getting premuim pricing of up to $5k over sticker.

    OK, so it's written on my forehead -- I LOVE THIS CAR.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Look at the features in the car and I think it is worth the price down to the last penny. You can option other hot hatches up to the same price by adding in safety features, alloy wheels, etc. but even at that price you won't find any with EBD, CBC, tire pressure monitors, speed sensitive steering/wipers/volume, 6 airbags, theatre lighting, height adjustable driver AND passenger seats, etc. On top of the standard features and mechanicals, many of the MINI's options are only available in luxury cars costing considerably more.

    I paid MSRP, no more. No options were necessary. I could have ordered a base one with no options if I'd wanted to but I wanted the sports package (sport seats, 16" runflats, foglamps, leather wheel, all great stuff).

    My delivery was similar to the experience recounted by crcoxe. Car was under a cover in a glassed in room off the showroom. Signed the papers, got the mints (just a standard marketing item actually that companies will stick any logo on but they fit the MINI well), pen, etc. We took the cover off, asked my questions and off I went. I didn't drive it prior to delivery -- I assumed that any issues would be taken care of under warranty without difficulty. With the sort of waiting list that MINIs have, you'd really have to be upset to say, "with that dash rattle I won't take it."

    I also have the 16" runflats. I love the handling and the peace of mind. Saw some people changing tires on the interstates on a trip in the states yesterday and thought how awful it would be. I drove through a pile of debris on the road this morning which looked awful but turned out to be stuff that isn't really that hard or sharp. I looked to the pressure light anyways and so far so good -- I knew I wouldn't suffer a blow out so I didn't have to make a panic stop or a dangerous maneuver around it. It is nice for peace of mind (to repeat).
  • I didn't think C&D were dissing the S model at all, but it did seem as if they had less than favorable things to say about the Base Cooper. I thought it (base Cooper) accelerated well enough, I just had to keep the revs up.

    I did think the steering was artificially heavy initially, although it was quick, but later in the test drive it seemed fine. Unfortunately I didn't get to take it anywhere to really test out the feel and feedback.

    What are owners opinions of the road feel and feedback of the steering compared to other driver's cars?
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    Delivery was similar to what other people said, I didn't drive the car previously, but it does come with a paper cover of the steering wheel that says 'your MINI has been thorougly inspected from boot to bonnet'. It was waiting for me in the garage section that separated the BMW half of the dealer from the MINI section. My salesman showed me the car, (along with the requisite mints), handed me a MINI keychain (which has the dealer and # laser etched on the back) and asked if I had any questions. He then explained most everything about the car. I noticed there was an errant cable tie on the battery wires, so I asked him about it, (he called me the next day to say it was leftover from assembly - when they put the motor in they tie the wires back to keep them out of the way). With the 4/50k warranty I wasn't worried about anything not working so I signed papers before I got the full tour. I noticed before I signed there were some spots that weren't spotless, and they touched them up while I was signing. Finally when he asked if everything was ok, I noted the windshield fluid was low, he literally ran to get some and filled it up right there.

    Basically it was a great experience, a couple was picking up their 5 series and a z8 was in for service in the same small garage area, but everyone treated me almost special even with my slightly over $20k MINI, As usual I couldn't help but smile when the staff congratulated me about the car. (It was the 50th or so they had aparantly delivered). They were completely paranoid about getting a 5/5 on their review, so I could have asked for most anything and they'd have jumped. My salesman called the next day with the mentioned update on the cable tie, as well asking about any other questions I had.

    I didn't finance through MINI, so no views on that. This was my first new car buying experience, as well as the first I didn't have help from my parents or anyone with btw.

    Views on runflats - I like them, though fear what will happen when they wear out (Treadwear rating is 240). No one seems to admit that dunslop dsst 3000's exist, or any tireses in 195/55/16. Hopefully they won't be too expensive to replace through a dealer I guess. I love the security, my old beater that I replaced would have flat tires at least every month or two, but from an engineering standpoint I do wonder how much better the acceleration would be with less weight spinng.

    Quick steering note: I drove a friend's 2002 GTI 1.8T, the steering isn't as hefty, so it lacks the feeling of security the MINI has.
  • dawgoddawgod Posts: 4
    Thanx for your input guys! Makes me feel a little better about the process. Sounds like the dealers really go out of their way to make this a premium experience-I hope that this continues and instead of a 2k discount in 2 years, we find that this car carries a 2k premium! That would really make me not feel so bad about paying sticker. Your'e absolutely right about the warranty-I have no reason to worry except that my dealer is 50 miles away! I also agree with hpully4 on the feature/safety content-can't be beat at this price! I wish I could have had alonger test drive-all this talk on tire and ride quality makes me wonder if I made the right choice of the s-lite 17" with 205/45 runflats!? I was after max performance, but I'm afraid I may have a pretty bumpy, noisy ride. Anyone out there "motoring" on this set up care to comment?
  • gilasminigilasmini Posts: 3
    My wife and I visited Lauderdale Mini in Ft. Lauderdale yesterday, test drove both models (without the slightest hassle), and placed an order for a base Mini with some package options. This will be my second purchase from this dealer (2001 BMW 330i), and I can honestly say they are straight up, no BS, no hassles. The Mini salesperson informed us up front that they deal only MSRP, BUT (and this is a big but) they won't ever put a premium on the car just because it's in high demand. They don't believe that this fosters long-term, repeat customers. Also, there is a 10-12 month, 180 person waiting list for the S model, but they claim their allotment will increase over the next few months and anticipate earlier delivery. My wife wouldn't wait that long for this or any car. So, we opted for the earlier delivery on the base model. The base models can be ordered from this dealer, with delivery in September.

    Other dealers will tell you they have the car, but to get it NOW, they want a $2,000 to $4,000 premium (over and above MSRP!). Consequently, the laid back, no hassle, no premium buying experience only added to our excitement of one day (hopefully by September) taking delivery our MINI.

    I know it's a 2-3 hour drive from Orlando, but it is well worth dealing with a dealer that you absolutely don't have to worry about getting shafted or hassled. Besides, ANY MINI dealer has to service the car whether you bought it from them or not. Good luck and if you decide to hit Lauderdale MINI, ask for Andy.
  • gilasminigilasmini Posts: 3
    Dawgod, to add to other great Mini dealer experiences, I've posted another message under GilasMini in response to the "Orlando Dealer" post. We had only a great experience. The dealer had both models we could drive before we made any decisions. How this is possible, given that all of their allotment is sold, I don't know. As for paying sticker, when you compare the features of this car with others in its category, at MSRP, we think at its MSRP, it's simply a good deal...and with production currently pretty low (100,000 cars), and an allotment of only 20,000 cars to the US this year, I don't see an issue with the car being "undercut" with too much volume out there on the road. I certainly wouldn't pay a premium for the car just because of supply/demand. I'd put those premium dollars towards something else before paying it for a popular car.

    Somehow, I've got to believe that BMW/MINI won't make the same mistake as Chrysler did with the PT Cruiser (i.e. over producing, then the bottom fell out of the domestic car market = TONS OF PT Cruisers on dealer lots at much less than they were going for a year ago).

    Anyway, good luck and enjoy your MINI (when you get it)!
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    At my local dealer, they had special test vehicles that were not part of their alottment. I've heard of dealers selling these testers (maybe they are allowed to) but perhaps it explains the mystery of how all cars could be sold and yet there could be testers available at the same time.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    All of this discussion makes me have to ask a question: Since I'm not a huge fan of front license plates, what did MINI do in Florida/Michigan/Other states about a front plate bracket? I wanted to see if I could order the blankout panel from those states if it existed, since at the moment taking off my front plate would just yield the 'I'm missing my plate look'
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Thanks for the heads up about the good experience at Lauderdale Mini. I actually live in Tallahassee so its more like a 7.5 hour drive down there but I go to Jupiter here and there to visit family so it's not out of the question. It would be a good excuse to visit Ft. Lauderdale since I love the area so much. Anywho, my biggest concern right now is getting service if something goes wrong. The closest Mini dealer is 3 hours away. Anyone know if regular BMW dealers can take care of minor problems? Ugghhh....Why does Florida have to be such a huge spread out state, lol.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    BMW has specifically said no dice on fixing a MINI at a non-mini BMW dealership. Their logic is it needs special training and parts. I guess the 'perk' of the dealer being so far away is you're even more unique.
  • scottphillipscottphillip Posts: 249
    Has anyone been able to purchase without buying the mandatory accessories? I looked last weekend and saw all the "sold" minis. We've been having lots of rain, so it is not exactly Mini weather. :)
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Wife and I are currently leaning towards the purchase of a new MINI Cooper base model, with the only options being the CVT transmission ($1200) and metallic paint ($400). According to the MINIUSA.COM car builder, a MINI configured this way will command a sticker MSRP price of $18,500.

    We are not interested in Sunroofs, Xenon lights, etc, etc. We want this car as simple as we can possibly get it and not be forced into buying options and junk that we don't want to pay extra for.

    This car, we think, has enough standard equipment as-is. The addition of the CVT is bacause my wife can't and won't drive a manual tranny equipped car. Besides traffic conditions in our city makes manual shifting pretty tiring and unpleasant business. Been there done that with 2 previous cars.

    I went to South Motors BMW/Mini in Miami and the jerks have a "Mandatory" accessory requirement of $2500 worth of options on each and every car ordered and purchased from them. Also the order deposit of $500 is "Non-refundable". Besides they don't have any cars to test drive at all. Pretty disgusted with this policy and left the dealer thinking that our desire to purchase a MINI will not be possible under this circumstances.

    However, I am pleased to hear that Ft Lauderdale BMW/Mini is not forcing thier customers to buy new MINIs with mandatory option packages and to give in into price gouging practices. If this is true, I don't mind driving another 20 to 30 miles to get the car configured the EXACT way we wanted, pay MSRP + options and not a single penny more above that.

    We don't mind waiting for 3 to 4 months for our new car. But I don't want to be forced to pay for junk we don't want either.

    The only colors we are interested in are Indy Blue Metallic w/White roof, Velvet Red Metallic with white roof or as a last resort Chili Red solid with white roof.

    Last, has anyone has had any experiences with Braman BMW/Mini in Miami???

    Any pointers as to how to conduct business with Ft Lauderdale MINI are greatly appreciated.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Question for you. How do you find the interior room, specifically back seat and trunk space in your MINI when it comes to install a Baby Car seat (How easy is to deal with the ISOFIX system in this car) and do you experience problems loading bags of groceries in the 5.3 Cubic Feet trunk???.

    We already have a big 2001 Chevy Impala sedan and that car's main mission is for all our family related hauling purposes. However, the MINI, acting as a second car, will be used on ocassion to transport more than 2 people (2 and a future baby) and more often for grocery getting routine trips during the week.

    Do you find yourself struggling to fit say 5 to 10 bags of groceries in the puny MINI trunk with the seats up???

    Do you use the MINI to go to the grocery store, or you leave that duty to your Saturn wagon?
  • I have found that I now would have liked the 16" wheels - simply, I feel more comfortable pushing the car to it's limit after nearly 3 months of ownership- and the 15's are the weak link... Go for the 16's - I'm going to swap them out soon.

    As for turning radius - this car has a 97" wheel base - it should behave like larger cars as for turning radius... I drive in the city - no problems. Our other car is a Suburban, so the Mini is quite refreshing!

    The only problem I have now is a rough idle when the car starts up after sitting for several hours - lasts about 30 seconds before all is well. Anyone else experience this?

    Have fun!
  • gilasminigilasmini Posts: 3
    Tips on dealing with Lauderdale MINI...really, there are none. They simply don't hassle you, they don't force you to buy "minimum equipment packages", they don't charge premiums, and most can order the car the way you want it. If you want a base MINI with nothing on problem. The only thing is if you actually place an order for one, the $500 deposit is non-refundable. However, if you simply get on the list for a MINI, and hope one comes in the way you want it, when you want it, that deposit is refundable. They only deal MSRP, no negotiating (we tried), and their dealer prep charge ($299) is also non-negotiable (we tried)...Braman charges $399 and South/Vista charges $ even if you don't agree with the charge, Lauderdale's is at least the lesser of them. Basically, this charge is the dealer's detailing the car, your floor mats, etc.

    Sounds like you've been exposed the South Motors/Vista BMW scourge. These people are simply, in one word...miserable. I will NEVER do business with them.

    Braman, not as bad as South/Vista but VERY high pressure. Without question, Lauderdale Imports provided one of, if not the best car buying experiences I've had (on both cars, MINI and BMW).

    Good luck. The sales person I dealt with at Lauderdale MINI is Andy Hegley (super nice British chap). Larry Bonito is the Assistant Manager, and his wife if the General Manager. If you end up buying a car from Andy, tell him Greg & Gila sent you. I think there's a "birddog" reward if you take delivery of a car from them. We'll be happy to kick-back half of it to you if they offer it. Our e-mail address is
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    My wife and I have a 14-month old (almost 15-month old) son who travels in the MINI Cooper on occasion. He loves looking at the centre-mounted speedometer while we drive, as he thinks it is a clock, one of his favorite words. We have an old non-ISOFIX child seat which works fine; there are tethor-anchors for both rear seats in the trunk and the seatbelts lock so it works fine. An ISOFIX seat should be easy too as the bottom anchors are right there under two covers. The car doors open wide enough and the seats move up far enough that getting him in and out is actually not difficult. He is forward facing, however -- putting a child in a rear facing seat might be more difficult (we didn't have the MINI when he was in a rear-facing seat).

    We've taken the MINI grocery shopping on a few occasions and the trunk is bigger than it looks for groceries. It will easily take 5-10 bags in the back (5 big ones or 10 small ones), plus you can fold down half the seat at a time (useful for the big econo boxes of diapers!). If you shop in bulk for 2 weeks of groceries at a time then you will run out of space but for the amount we usually shop for as a family of 2 adults plus a small child, it works.

    For 3 people, the MINI is very good as the main space constraint is the seat behind the driver which, in my case, doesn't have enough leg room when I am in my preferred driving position. You can fold that seat down for extra cargo, however, giving you about 15 cubic feet of space which is more than most small sedans and even some midsized ones. The room behind the front passenger is more than enough for a child seat or an adult to sit comfortably.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I don't have a rough idle per se, but a while back I filled up after it had rained and my car was still wet (or there was water in the gas) and I think I got some water in my tank. For a few days, every morning the car would start fine but after I'd back out onto the road, the idle would go low. The first day the check engine light actually came on. It got better the next day and the next. MINI service suggested I run the gas down and put new gas in from somewhere else before bringing it in and the problem went away on its own.

    Have you had this problem for a short while or is it all the time? Just when starting or all day while idling? If for a long time and all day then I'd bring it for servicing. If just recently then I'd try using a different gas station.
  • jr47jr47 Posts: 10
    I got on the list for a Cooper last month. At the time I was told I would have a September build at the LATEST. I went to the dealership again yesterday just to check in and was told I would have a December build with January delivery. Apparently they are building more S's than before, plus the influx of new dealerships is limiting supply. I have read about others saying they were on the list for Coopers and were offered S's instead (that must be rough) and others saying that the waiting lists at their local dealerships have pretty much evaporated. I'm not sure where these dealerships are but that doesn't seem to be the case here in Nor Cal (Bay Area). I'm beginning to wonder, is it worth the wait?
  • question for owners:

    does anyone have feedback on upholstery? is the fake leather annoying? i am tempted to order cloth which at least is familiar ground (will not shell out for real leather).
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