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MINI Cooper Prices Paid and Buying Experience

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  • Hi there - I'm trying to sell my 03 Cooper S. It's Electric Blue with White roof and white racing stripes. Sunroof, Cold weather package, ipod hookup, black leatherette and sport package, rubber floor mats, and all the standard options (A/C, power windows/mirrors, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, DSC, Airbags, etc.)
    It has 50,000 miles on it, Avon Performance Tyres (non-run flats with 16k on them, lots of life left) that handle great, mechanically the car is great - all service done at dealer. Interior/Exterior is also in good condition. I'm looking for someone who wants to have as much fun driving this car as I have had!!
    For some reason I haven't had much interest, I don't know if it's the area (Balt/DC) or the season (winter) or ...

    If you are interested send me an email message. I've been asking $17995 but am open to offers.
    Thanks!
  • margiemdmargiemd Posts: 1
    Hi, we might be interested in your car -- what is your email address?
  • alexstjoalexstjo Posts: 3
    Hi

    can anyone tell me which year to go with for a used purchase?

    I was looking at the 04 to the 07 (if I can find one). I don't know when any changes where made so I have no idea which model might have better features.

    thanks
  • best to stay away from the 2002, in my opinion, as things were still getting worked out and there were some problems. Also probably the 2003s. I would look at 2004s to 2006s. The 2007 is a new production (and engine) so again, there may be some initial problems.

    The 2006 would be your best bet as that was when most problems had been worked out, but finding a used one might be tough. You can check the cars for sales area here or on North American Motoring. Although there might be discounts on 2006s that dealers still have on the lot and are trying to clear... although the discounts won't be much. Also, I think it would probably be best to stay way from the Cooper CVT (automatic) as I've read they have had a lot of problems. The 2007 doesn't use the CVT anymore from what I understand.
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    I'd definitely stay away from the CVT. If you're after an automatic, the 2007 is the way to go.

    If you're after a used Mini Cooper or S stick, you'll want a 2005 or 2006 if you go used--all the bugs are worked out of these, this is also when the gear ratios were changed; it significantly improved the drivability of the car. You may still find one under warranty.

    Personally, I'd wait until 2008 at the earliest on the new Mini's--the 2007 is entirely new--every body panel, mechanical part, etc. And there have been some significant problems--not unexpected--given that the 2007 is a completely different car from the 2006. The only thing that is remotely the same is the look.
  • youre in california right? which dealers did you visit and who did you get that final deal from?
  • alexstjoalexstjo Posts: 3
    what are the issues with the CVT? I am planning on purchaseing a automatic (wife can't do a stick!)
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    First of all, there have been many transmission problems with the CVT. The other issue with the CVT is its a dog--its absolutely awful! It takes the Mini, which is otherwise a quick, spry car and makes it so sluggish that it loses much of the fun of driving it. In my opinion, its actually a bit dangerous--it accelerates so slowly, its really a bit dangerous trying to accelerate uphill on a busy road with a fairly high speed limit. I have had a CVT for a day on two seperate occasions (as a loaner), and as much as I love the Mini, the CVT is pretty much looks without the performance.

    This is part of the reason that Mini did away with the CVT on the 2007's--so although for the Mini S, I prefer the 2006, if I was getting an automatic base Cooper, I'd definitely, beyond a doubt, get a 2007. The 2007 is a traditional automatic, hopefully will have less issues with the transmission than the CVT, and performs significantly better than the CVT. Also, from a deprecitation standpoint, I think the CVT will be very, very difficult to sell in a few years; the new automatic on the other hand should depreciate very, very slowly in comparison.
  • Thanks for all the replies on my questions. My girlfriend just ordered her Mini from South BMW in Miami. We emailed all the sales managers in the state and got the lowest price from them. Here is what she ended up ordering:

    2007 Cooper
    Oxygen Blue
    White Roof/Mirrors
    White Bonnet Stripes
    Front Fog Lamps
    6-Speed Manual
    16" Bridge-Spoke w/ All Season Tires
    Sport Seats
    Punch Leather: Carbon Black
    Leather Sport Wheel w/Multifunction
    10-Speaker. Hi-Fi Sound System
    iPod Adaptor

    The sale price for this before taxes and title was $22,185 including the iPod adaptor. We ended up saving over $1000 because the dealer removed the $499 dealer fee, and didn't charge the $650 destination fee. He also threw in free mats and only charged $385 on the iPod adaptor, which is really low compared to some other dealers. Also, most other dealers have a $1000 deposit and this one only charged a $500 deposit.

    We live in Tampa and our local dealer in Palm Harbor has been calling for weeks since we did a test drive. When we told him that we were going to order from another dealer because they were so much less expensive, he made sure to tell us that they wouldn't be able to offer us a loaner car if we get the car serviced there. I'm not sure if this was supposed to earn our business but we made it pretty clear that all he had to do was match the price in Miami and we would order from him. Even with the discounts and freebees the Miami dealer still made a handy profit on our sale. I just don't get why the local dealer wouldn't budge. Oh well, we are very excited to drive back down for the delivery. It should be fun to motor over to South Beach for a Mojito when it comes in! For anyone looking to buy a Mini who doesn't mind driving a little, I highly recommend emailing all the dealers around you as we found a large variation in the prices we were quoted. Also, when negotiating don't be afraid to let them know that you are willing to go to another dealer. Some won't budge but some will. Good luck and happy motoring!
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    thanks for this interesting info.
    I'm curious though, I thought all the MINIs were supposed to offer basically the same prices since the options all are established prices...so what is that the Miami dealer just knocked off the stuff you listed above, or did you find a wide variation with all dealers?

    I found a place here in NY that is doing a 1 year lease and I think I"m going to do that but I'm not sure that I can get any other places to offer that, although I guess it's worth a try.

    did you figure out all your options that you wanted first and then email that list to each dealer?

    what is the deposit for if you're buying it?

    I've called several mini dealers and always find that the sales people never call me again--which seems odd becuase when I was going to buy my mother a Ford and a Staurn a few years ago I was bombarded with these guys pestering me. So it's interesing that you had the Palm Harbor dealer calling you...
  • I looked up all the sales managers in FL and emailed them a list of the options we wanted without prices and asked for their lowest and final "out the door" price. Most of the responses had different prices. The lowest was the one we bought from who gave us MSRP with no additional fees or costs besides taxes and title transfer. This is really below MSRP though because he didn't charge the $650 destination fee which is usually required. I'm really not sure why he didn't other than to get the sale.

    Dealer fees, destination fees, and installation on dealer add-ons can add up quick. Any dealer add-ons like the iPod adaptor have a wide degree of latitude on pricing because they charge varying installation rates. There were some dealers that charged alot more for installation and just about everyone's dealer fees were different. (Anywhere from $350-$650).

    They certainly have room to drop the price if they want to but most won't. At MSRP, the car we bought yielded them approx. $2100 profit (maybe a little less if they have to pay that destination fee), but they might have made even more because I don't even know whether there are dealer kickbacks.

    Paying MSRP seems to be the Mini way, but I did some research and found out that the dealer fees are a price gouge that dealers get away with. It is supposed to pay for the cost to inspect, unwrap, clean, and fuel your car. Of course, these costs really only amount to $100 at most to the dealer and really not even that since they have to do this to any car they get anyway.

    Another thing to look out for is the "paint protectant". The Palm Harbor dealer proudly told us that all the cars on the lot have the some sort of paint guard (a large invisible clear decal across the front bumper and hood) and that this was an extra $1000. If you really want this, you can get it installed for much less after market.

    The deposit is when you order one. You have to put something down while it is being built. The price is set once you sign the contract and you pay the balance when the car gets in. It really doesn't matter to me what they charge but it's nice having as little of our cashflow tied up as possible. We only ordered because my girlfriend really wanted Oxygen Blue, which nobody has on the lot yet.

    Several dealers tried to get us to drop the iPod adaptor because the car already has an aux-in in the glovebox and their installation rate was way too high. We wanted the iPod specific adaptor though because you can control it with the stereo controls on the steering wheel, it charges the iPod, and shows track information on the head unit. We use our iPods for music in our cars now but our adaptor only allows us to use the iPod interface to change songs. It is really dangerous to reach into the glovebox, get your iPod out, and look for a song while you are driving down the freeway. It is certainly worth $385 IMO to have a 1000-20,000 song jukebox in your glovebox that can be controlled with your steering wheel and can be taken with you. Especially, if you already have an iPod. It isn't worth the $700 some other dealers where trying to charge though...
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    I second this. A properly made CVT like in the Altima, will cost less to fix and out-everything a traditional automatic. But BMW can't seem to make a decent working one to save its life. That, and CVTs require loads of low-end torque to hook up off the line. That means a 3 - 5L engine in a typical car, plus an engine tuned to low-end RPMs. GM's new 3.6VVT in the LaCrosse and CTS would be a good candidate. The Mini's tiny engine... yeah, it's apallingly slow.

    The skinny is that the Mini should only be offered in manual. It's exactly like buying an automatic Porsche. Such a drastic difference in how it drives that you really should just stop being a lame couch potato who complains about everything and just learn to drive stick. Especially with the base Mini, which is pretty underpowered as it is. Two totally different experiences.

    And, yes, anyone can learn stick. ANYONE. 90%+ of the entire world drives or can drive a manual transmission. I'm sure if you got a brand new Mini with stick for free, you would figure uit out pretty soon ;)
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    what do mudflaps do exactly? And if you are just driving on streets, do you need them?
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    thanks, yes this is all really helpful info. I was also wondering about the ipod adapter.
    I did see that paint guard stuff on the ooptions on the build-your-mini site, so maybe that dealder just automatically got them on everything ordered for their lot...

    I guess the hardest part is figuring out which options you really need. Someone told me the other day that he barely uses any of the controls on his Porsche SUV steering wheel except volume control and mute...so is it then worth several hundred dollars, esp. if you are used to doing it the old fashioned way (reaching over and turning down the dial!)

    the options I'm thinking of getting are:

    multi steering wheel--although do I really need it? what else besides stereo controls are on here?

    Weahter option: heated seats and mirrors (I'm in NYC)

    dynamic stability control

    parking distance computer thing (is this good or not? I know it's hot on cars right now)

    armrest (it's such a CRAPPY armrest, you'd think they could make a better one, esp. as there IS space in this area! and they don't use it! But still I can't imagine NOT having an arm rest here--can you buy your own somewhere else--a nice one and have it installed?))

    sports seats--everyone on this forum seems to think they are worth it

    fog lights--still unsure about these, front only, back ony, both? do I need them at all? I can count the handful of times I might drive thru fog..but do the regular lights not work very well? what's the benefit of these really?

    leatherette vs. cloth seats? I don't want to spend any extra money for leather--but any benefit in getting one of these free options vs. the other?

    no sunroof--seems to me like I'd barely use it, plus I like to avoid the sun because f wrinkles...

    shade for window?--is this a good thing to get, the dark cover?

    mudflaps--still not sure what these do or if I need them

    automatic--sorry, in NYC manual to learn and use would not be good, so much stop start every second. I'm not a big savvy driver so I'm not sure the nuances of all these engines really make a difference for me

    base or S?--this is where I'm still not sure. I appreciate that S has more power...but I'm not going to be racing, or speeding and I'm not sure I know the difference...so I'm not sure what to do here. Esp as I'd really like to save money. My main use will be driving (AND parking) in NYC, and then driving once or twice a month a copule of hours out of the city for hte weekend. I'm buying this cute car to PARK it! not to drive it! (in NYC parking is hard to find!)

    grocery bag hooks in the back..?
    glove compartment divider?

    all season tires? (are these better than just the standard ones?) they are free it seems; why would I need bigger tires?

    I'm still unsure about color and trying to avoid getting caught up in all the decorative options since those can add up, although I'm tempted by a british license plate and mabye outside mirrors with checker pattern and I'm starting to like stripes the more I look at them--although I wonder if that hurts resale value or if they peel off or anything?

    any comments appreciate
    thanks
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    Weather options--get it. I didn't, I wish I did. I live in Wisconsin, and wasn't planning on driving the Mini in the winter much, but if the roads are clear, I do. Wish I had the weather package.

    DSC--definitely get it. Wonderful safety feature, especially if you have slick roads.

    Parking distance thingy: It's a Mini!! You don't need it, unless you live in europe.

    Armrest: It's fliimsy, I'll admit, but aftermarket solutions haven't been so hot--something is always compromised. I got it, I use it, but I wish it was a bit sturdier. I'd get it again though.

    Sport seats are definite must. Much more comfortable.

    Leatherett vs cloth is a personal preference. I did leather.

    Sunroof is another personal preference. I love it, its almost like having a convertible, and it makes the Mini feel bigger by letting in more ambient light, even when closed.

    Shade for the window: PIA in my opinion. Have fun storing it, putting it in and out, etc. Not worth it or really necessary.

    Mudflaps: Definitely not. Screws up the look of the car, and doesn't help with the major area that gets dirty on the Mini--the rear hatch.

    The new automatic is fine, but I'd strongly recommend learning to drive a stick--its a very easy stick to drive.

    Grocery hooks really aren't necessary with the way the boot is shaped; neither is the glove compartment divider.

    If you're doing everyday driving, you'll want the all season tires. Performance tires are strictly for warm weather, standard tires are ok for all season, but all seasons are a decent all around tire.

    Bang for the buck, upgrading from the Cooper the the S is the most cost effective upgrade you can do. The S is almost a totally different car. Both are great cars, but if cost isn't an issue, I'd go for the S.

    You gotta do the extras! The stripes, if peeled off properly, don't leave marks, and they can be replaced if damaged-it won't have any impact on resale. Mirror caps, whatever you want to do--its all about individualizing it, so definitely go for it!
  • I think the paint protector is a dealer add-on that they make a ton of profit on. That is why they put it on every car on their lot. Shady.

    On the options you listed:

    I think the multifunction steering wheel is worth it because you have cruise and stereo controls right at your fingertips but some might not.

    The heated seats are probably a must for you but we live in FL...

    Dynamic Stability control doesn't seem that important if you get the base mini but you might want it on the S. It just tightens up the suspension for taking turns at higher speeds and keeps you from drifting off the road...

    The parking distance thing might be good if you have to parallel park a lot in NYC but its not really that useful here.

    The armrest sucks. We didn't get it because it looks like it will break. But if you don't have it you won't have a place to rest your arm. Also, if you want bluetooth for your phone you have to get it.

    The sports seats are much nicer than the normal ones.

    Its foggy here alot so fog lights are nice to have. Also, they look good on the car.

    I would never have cloth seats again but thats personal preference. They get dusty and dirty fast. Leather or leatherette you can just wipe off and are resistant to spills. Go with leatherette IMO.

    We didn't get a sunroof. It is really cool in the Mini because it encompasses the front and passenger areas. It makes your whole roof have a black area on in if you get the white roof though. We have a sunroof now and don't use it all that much so we decided we didn't need it.

    Shade for window- It's sunny here so I would get anything that blocks out the sun. They would probably throw this in for free...

    Mudflaps- Everyone says that they don't do much and the dealers charge quite a bit to install them.

    Automatic-I agree manual isn't good in NYC. Its too bad because I think the Mini is better in standard IMO.

    Base or S- We got the base because my girlfriend could care less about speed. Also, she wanted the oxygen blue (kinda Aqua like T-birds come in) and it isn't available in the S. I would test drive the S and Base in automatic and make sure the base has enough power for you though....

    The grocery bag hooks and glove compartment divider are up to you but be aware that every one of the dealer accessories will be charged installation which adds up fast.

    We got the bigger tires because we though they looked nicer on the car. Just pay attention to the tire sizes and different rims at the dealer and get the ones you like best. The bigger the tires, the more sporty (or stiff) the ride though. We got 16" rims with all season tires (they last longer) because it seemed to be a happy medium between style and comfort. If you think the base wheels are fine get them though.

    Color for us was easy, my girlfriend has wanted an Aqua blue car for a long time. Don't go by the paint samples on the Mini website. They aren't right. Go look at cars on the lot or look at pictures at the North American Motoring Forum...I don't think the bonnet stripes will hurt sales values on the Mini. They are very common. You can get magnetic aftermarket ones if you really want though.

    Make sure and get free mats for front and back from your dealer.
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    thanks cct1 and silent mac!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    I you go back a few pages, you'll see a list by me of how I'd option out a Mini. It's easier than explaining the pros and cons again. :)

    Basically, though, it comes down to:
    Buy the S. Buy the suspension and handling upgrades. Get everything else a piece at a time to save money. You'll end up with a low cost yet high resale value(and fun to drive) car. New York is about the only city I would possibly consider an automatic, though manual is still recommended.

    The "pleather" in it is vinyl. I'd pass on it and get the cloth or splurge for the real leather. Nothing's worse than Vinyl in the winter and summer.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I wish BMW's leatherette was as nice as the two tone stuff in my 07 Cooper S. I would not own a car with cloth and after several cars with leather, I must say I like the ette the most so far.

    My next car - 09/10 - will definitely get the ette. 335i or M3, doesn't matter, I'll avoid the leather in the future.

    I agree about the Cooper S with suspension bits, etc. No need to go overboard on options.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    The leatherette in my 2004 MINI Cooper S was so good many people thought it was leather.
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