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MINI Cooper

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  • Just test drove a MINI Cooper and generally felt the horsepower was sufficient for my driving style, but when the car was accelerate from 0 speed the engine didn't seem to be very responsive -- there was a slight lag before the car gains much acceleration. When I took the first left turn after stopping to wait for a gap in the upcoming traffic, the lack of acceleration when I "normally" pressed the gas pedal just made me nervous! The salesperson said it was because the demo car was not familar with my driving style (there had been 500 miles on it), but my wife's VW New Beetle Turbo with adaptive CVT doesn't have this problem at all. Could this simply be due to the lack of horsepower, instead of the CVT adaption issue? Any advice is greatly appreciated! Also, an irrelevant concern: is the MINI a chick car? Any idea about the gender ratio of MINI drivers in the states?
  • The MINI a chick car? I've no idea about the "gender ratio," but I'm definitely NOT a chick!

    But, come to think of it, I do see quite a few (beautiful) women driving them. There are a few ladies selling them at our local dealership. The most frequent comment I get about my MINI from people is that it's cute...Hmm... Maybe it IS a chick car.

    Wait, my wife and both my girls love the MINI...

    It handles well, parks anywhere, goes very fast, gets great mileage... Not only is it a chick car, I must be a chick!

    Can't wait to get my MINI Mania Stage III 245 hp upgrade for my chick car!
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A few articles about the MINI when it came out dubbed it as the guy's answer to the Beetle. The new Beetle - marketed with a flower holder attracted a large female crowd. The MINI - with a "tough/sporty" look was the guy's car.

    I've actually seen more guys driving MINI's than gals.
  • ozone1ozone1 Posts: 87
    The Mini MC (manual or CVT) is not the quickest off the line. However, being a CVT owner you do need to adapt to how the transmission delivers power. While what the dealer said was true about the computer adapting to your driving style there a couple of nuances and tricks you can employ. Number one is if you want faster acceleration put it in SD (Sports Drive) mode, this will instruct the computer to allow the revs go higher before shifting to the next simulated gear. Number two is don't mash the pedal to the floor past the "kick down" point when accelerating from a dead stop (you'll feel it when you hit it). This will cause the engine to over rev and will essentially trigger the rev delimiter and you will feel the car hesitate until it falls back to a lower rev point. To get the best get up and go, press the accelerator to the kick down point, but not past it. Finally, you may want to try using the manual mode (i.e. shifting yourself). Using manual mode, I've found my acceleration is quicker from 0-40, however SD mode feels faster 0-60. Just some things to try out, good luck.
  • The MINI is everyhting the VW Beetle is not. The Beetle is just a rebadged VW Golf with FWD and a water cooled engine..nothing like the original. The PT Cruiser is just a FWD Neon with a taller more sculpted body style...again to comparison to the V8, RWD hotrods of yesterday.

    The current BMW MINI sticks faithfully to its very successful predecessor, the Classic Mini, which was manufactured virtually unchanged from 1959 to 2000.

    The current MINI is FWD with a transversally mounted 4 cyl engine, FWD and wheels push out far into the corners for superb handling. The MINI si a pretty respectable performance/handling car right out of the box and has earned top spots in Autocrossing and other race track competitions since its introduction back in 2002.

    The VW Beetle is and always will be a car aimed at a female demographic...the MINI is in a totally different league from the VW fake mobile.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,379
    Real men and real women definitely prefer the MINI Cooper.
  • I'm seriously thinking of getting a MINI. I was just wondering what do most owners really love about their MINI? What I'm drawn to is the look of it.

    BTW- I out on the MINIUSA website and saw the new MINI S MC40.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I think the "look" of the Mini is the initial hook. The fun and unique way it drive closes the deal. But I think you've got have a funky streak in you to cement the long-term relationship. I see an awful lot of people who buy these things for the look and initial feel, and after the novelty wears off in a month, they're complaining about how noisy, rough-riding, cramped, and unreliable they are.

    I like the unique driving feel the most. The way you sit in the car, the way it handles, the sound of the engine ... they're all quite different from other cars.

    The MC40 is definitely for an extrovert who likes driving around with a car with number plates on the side. With the exception of the carbon fiber dash and a few trim doo-dads, it's just a set of standard options/colors on a stock MCS and it's about $1.5K-$3K more, depending on how you value the wheels.

    - Mark
  • drgreydrgrey Posts: 10
    Ordered my new MC CVT today from MINI of Murray, Utah. Any feedback about sales and/or service experience there would be appreciated.

    I'll be taking the car home to Southern California where my closest dealer is Bob Smith in Calabasas. Any feedback about service there would also be appreciated. Many thanks.
  • I bought my MINI from MINI of Murray, Utah. I live in Texas so the situation was similar. My experience was great. They did all of the arrangements over the phone or fax, they kept me informed about arrival time, they picked me up at the airport, the car was prepped and ready, I would out of there in about an hour. It could not have gone better. And the car has been perfect. Manual Cooper with sport plus suspension. It has been about a year and I could not be happier.
  • A magazine writer is looking to interview Mini owners who also:
    1. live in a congested city or suburb
    and/or
    2. drove an SUV prior to getting the Mini
    Please respond by Friday, February 13 to jfallon@edmunds.com with your daytime contact info and a few words about your Mini experience so far as it relates to point 1 and/or 2 above.
    Thanks for your consideration!
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • drgreydrgrey Posts: 10
    My dealer gave me the bad news that she can't order my new MC CVT with the cassette instead of the CD player if I want the Nav system. Anyone have a Nav and cassette? Anyone understand why they won't do that? Any workaround suggestions? Many thanks.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    Are you looking at the Harmon Kardon system? I think that may be the problem, not the Nav H/K isn't available with cassette anymore, but Nav + Cassette could be a recent thing with the same reasons.

    I can't remember what the logic for not having Cassette was, but I'm pretty sure it was something like 'we need to do more development work - and its a very unpopular combination, so we won't' My recollection is they changed a computer on board, and it wasn't compatible.

    You could always get an aftermarket radio (make sure one that can accept the Nav input, so you obviously don't lose the voice) and then you could have a cassette

    You are getting the cassette to play cassettes right? Not for some other reason like using an Aux input cassette or something?
  • drgreydrgrey Posts: 10
    Thanks nekekal and stryder for your responses. I'm very satisfied with my initial contacts with MINI of Murray, the car order went in today and I'm hoping for delivery before May 1st. It's a surprise for my wife. She thinks we're going to Salt Lake City to pick up a rental car for a road trip to visit Park City, Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon. I hope she's happy about the "rental car"!!

    I do plan to use the cassette for tapes-we listen to a lot of books-on-tape, so the cassette players in our cars are used more than the CD players. The solution I came up with was to go with the CD in the dash, because of the Nav system, have the aux input jack put in the lower part of the console, and use a good walkman-type portable cassette player for the book tapes-but I'm open to other suggestions!
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    I think that idea works well, either that or you could get the parcel shelf for under the steering wheel, and put the cassette player in there.

    Or just get an aftermarket head unit, which you can always do later on depending on how your plan works out, its not a big investment to get the aux kit and a walkman.

    Sounds like you're exciting, and I hope your wife is too, but I'm pretty sure she'll like the car, very few people don't, which is a nice benefit.
  • mollymolly Posts: 2
    I'm contemplating purchasing a manual transmission Mini (base model) although I have never driven a stick shift car. Is this a good idea? I drove the CVT and felt like it didn't have enough get-up-and-go for quick pull-outs. I have to admit, I am a bit of a lead-foot :)

    My question is: does the manual transmission (base model) have THAT much better performance than the CVT auto, which would warrant me buying the manual and learning how to drive it? Or is auto just as good? I would love to hear your opinions!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,379
    If you are concerned about take-off from a stop the manual will give you better response. Not only that but the Cooper S model which is faster yet is Manual shift only, it's the lead-foot version.

    It takes only a week or so to learn to drive the stick.
  • ozone1ozone1 Posts: 87
    I'll take my CVT against a manual any day. I haven't found the manual to be any faster, but it may be worthwhile to learn to drive a stick anyway. Completely up to you.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    There is the perception that manual transmission cars are quicker and faster than automatics, but in reality, the difference is mostly in responsiveness rather than outright speed in day-to-day driving.

    With the greater control offered by a manual tranmission, you can select a gear that provides the power you want/need, rather than living with the automatic's tendency to keep the engine at a lower RPM to get less noise and better fuel economy. This is very noticeable in twisty driving where you can leave the car in one gear or two and have good power for both acceleration and braking. It is much easier to drive quicker and smoother with the greater gear control of the manual.

    True, 0-60 times are better for the manual, but this is mostly due to being able to rev the engine and brutally drop the clutch with the manual, using the stored up energy to get wheelspin and launch the car. In a rolling start with the clutch completely engaged, the difference is much, much smaller.

    So I'd get what you want to drive on a day-to-day basis and let the power fall where it may. Power is like salary - you generally always have enough and you generally always want more.

    - Mark
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