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MINI Cooper Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • ticatica Posts: 64
    I'm just honing down the bare minimum of features I need to keep my costs down and would love everyone's input:

    1. Fog lamps: front, back, both?
    A friend here in NY with a Porsche SUV says he's never turned his on. I'm still not sure what the point of them is...are they brighter than normal car lights? Can you not be seen in fog if your normal lights are on? I understand that many people think the car LOOKS prettier with them on it, but I"m talking pure function...are they worth it for 250? I don't think there is much fog around here, I can't remember ever seeing any.

    2. Steering wheel with all the controls
    Again my Porsche freind told me that the only thing he uses is the mute and volume, but he doesn't actually manipulate his cds or radio thru it. So he was nonplussed about how necessary it is.

    If I have an AUX IN only ipod connection--I can't use the steering wheel, correct? So I might NOT get the fancy steering wheel in that case? (I rarely use cruise control, I would rather control things myself.)

    It's only if I have the actual 'iPod connector' that I can control the ipod on my steering wheel, right?

    So having this ipod ease is actually about $1000--you must have the wheel at 350, the ipod connector at ?250? and installation of the connection by dealer at ?250? (I was quoted 495 by one in NJ)

    I know this has been discussed in past posts, but not quite sure what the conclusion was--is it possible to put in the iPOd connector yourself? and buy it yourself? how do you get into the back of the stereo..difficult? also does that ipod connector charge your ipod at the same time?

    3. Park Distance Control
    Everyone seems to say that I don't need it to park since the mini is easy to park. However, my Porsche friend had it on his suv and it actually bleeped when a car was driving too close to him--so I"m wondering, is this thing also useful if you're being tailgated or some other car is too close while driving (does happen in NYC). This appeals to me, but then again, is it worth 350? And for parking--would it tell me before I start trying whether I could get intoa teeny space I see? (I'm not a great parallel parker and can't always judge whether I can fit or not, until I try and can't do it! (dumb I know!)

    4. Dynamic stab control
    One dealer told me I didn't need it (trying to sell a car off the lot) becaues the car already has front wheel tractioin control and this is for the rear wheels. My biggest concern about the mini is it's size and I'd rather be safer than not. Is this then a must? Or is it really not that much more safety?

    5. 15 inch tires
    I will be bringing my 16.5 year old cat who is diabetic and not used to travelling back and forth to Connecticut all summer. Having a more quite, smooth ride is a good thing so he's less freaked out. This NJ dealer told me that the larger 16 tires actually are bumpier, and the road is smoother with the 15. Is that true? Thats good news if so. What is the point of bigger tires?

    6. what does bluetooth do? does it let you talk on speakerphone? do you answer the phone thru the steering wheel? why exactly is it 600 bucks? that's a lot...

    thanks for all input!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    **this is an older post of mine(with some editing), but it answers your questions**

    Here goes - my list:
    First off, get the S. Worth every penny. And let's face it - everyone wants a used S and not he standard model as well.(true with most cars - always get the upper-end engine if you buy new).

    - No packages. Add items separately.

    - No sunroof. It kills the clean looks of the car and makes it into an oven inside, plus it's so far back that you can't see up and out of it while driving unless your seat is so far back that you have no rear seat.

    - Get a cat carrier for the cat and let him deal. The ride isn't the problem with my cats so much as the stopping and starting suddenly. That said, you want to replace the stock runflats with non-runflats right off. They handle better and have a softer ride as well. Less expensive to top it off.

    - Sport suspension, DSC, limited slip. Always buy anything that improves handling or major safety. When it comes time to resell, you can ask top dollar for it if it has these as well(plus it drives better)

    - Bridge Spoke wheels(look better, no extra money)

    - Rear fog light(amazed this isn't standard in the U.S. yet)
    (fog light are std - and the xenon aren't any better than the regular lights(as opposed to HID) - and they look less attractive - not worth $550 in any case)

    - The S comes with foglights. They make some difference in fog and rain, but mostly they look cool and are a major must-have item on the resale list for most people. Note - the idea of foglights is not that you can see so much as other cars can see you easier(though good ones do help somewhat as well). Think of it as DRL for bad visibility conditions.

    - Arm rest. No adaptor. Not required if you get automatic, though. Very nice if you have manual.

    - Cloth seats. Leatherette is Vinyl and hot as hell in the summer. Real leather is nice, but pricey, IMO. Either opt for the Beige/Orangeish real leather(beautiful in person) or cloth.

    - Interior trim is your choice - I'd opt for chrome lined interior(keep it simple) ($200) and that's it.

    - A/C - $300 - much better deal than getting a package

    - I don't think ANY of the instrument options are good for the money. Pass entirely.(the remote access is nice, but $500 is way too much) Pass on homelink and the other easy to break stuff. Get a Garmann GPS unit instead for $250.

    - Multi-function wheel - changed my mind - pass. You are right - IPod requires this and that and suddenly it's $1000+ as opposed to a $50 jack in the glovebox. I set my MP3 player to random anyways. Little Rio thing - 0Gig with a SD slot. $30. Drop in a SD card and enjoy - instant Ipod Nano for 1/3 the cost.

    - Stock audio. Upgrade later yourself with a few good Alpine speakers instead.(cabin is so small 4 speakers is more than enough)

    Accessories I like:
    Mud flaps are always good, though the stock ones look weak - see if there are aftermarket ones available.
    Glovebox organizer.
    Map Light
    Rubber Floor Mats - front, rear, and boot. ($134) - Well worth it, IMO, to protect the carpet.
    Bumper Protector.

    Accessories I don't like:
    Driving lights are nice, but pass - $550 is more than you'll ever need to install some Hela driving lights if you want - and they'll look and work better as well)

    Invisishield and so on - just do it yourself. Look online for Novus. They make plastic polishes that keep your plastic looking good as new - and lots cheaper too.

    Extras/JCW - this is where the miserly approach pays off.
    JCW Strut Brace - nice - stiffens it up a bit.

    *note* the audio jack(glovebox) is available but isn't listed - it's not too pricey, though.

    I get ~24K like this in a basic color like white. Outfitted this way, it's a superb performer AND it has maximum resale value, being that it has all of the performance options and little or none of the bling.(appeals to the performance minded enthusiast)
  • 1. I don't think the rear foglights are really necessary. The front ones just provide more light when driving. They are lower on the car so less of the light bounces off of the fog. It is foggy here so I would use them alot but it might not be in NY. As you said, many people think they look good on the car too but that is up to you.

    2. I love having steering wheel controls. Mainly I use it to change the volume of a song, change tracks, and control cruise control. Personally, I think it is unsafe to be messing with your head unit if you are going fast on the freeway but some others might not.

    You are right about the aux-in. It only allows you to control your iPod or other Mp3 player from the player interface. I have this setup now basically but I have my iPod mounted to my dash so it is a little less dangerous trying to change tracks going 70 Mph. The iPod adaptor and steering wheel aren't for everyone but they were worth it for us. Again, this option is up to you. Our dealer is installing the iPod adaptor for $385 including the price of the part. My dealer said the actual price of the part is like $175 to them. It is worth it IMO at this price but not at the higher prices some dealers are asking.

    3. Personally, I would never use this. As I said before, if you think you need it get it. In Florida, there is little need to parallel park but in NYC you might want it.

    4. Its up to you. Some say its a necessary safety feature. Personally, I wouldn't pay $550 for this over other options unless I was getting a type S with only racing options. How often do you make sharp turns at high speeds?

    5. The 15" tires will have a better ride. People get bigger tires for 2 reasons: because they are setting up the car for speed ie larger tires offer better performance, or they like the look of larger tires and rims. If you don't care about the look of your tires and aren't getting the car to go fast don't worry about the tires.

    6. The bluetooth allows you to talk handsfree with your cell phone. You make a call by pushing a button on the steering wheel and voice dialing. The car connects to your phone via bluetooth and connects the call through your cars speakers...The bluetooth feature requires the mutifunction steering wheel and armrest I think...
  • scorpio9scorpio9 Posts: 5
    Hello everyone!! This is a first for me. I ordered a 2007 Mini Cooper S Convertible late Feb 2007. Apparently, "My Baby" is in route to the distribution center and due to arrive 1st week of May even though I was told I would get it 6 weeks from the order date (NOT). I've had the same car for 11 yrs, 1996 Ford Mustang GT/stick and I HAVE YET TO CHANGE OR FIX THE CLUTCH. After reading everyone's comments I'm freaking out. You have all given me doubts about the Mini. I would have never imagined myself in a mini but after test driving the little sucker I was hooked- wow!! I haven't had a car payment in 8 yrs and I'm about to get into one so I ask does anyone have an 07 Mini S Convt stick and have you had problems with it?
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    thank you all for your wonderful input. It's been so incredibly helpful I can't tell you. I 'm a girl who's never known anything about cars (and never owned/bought or leased my own). Now I can speak (sort of) intelligently, at elast about the Mini! It's very exciting and I'm sure I'm being less screwed by the dealers for it! Thank you!!!

    Just a few quick questions. Although only the one dealer, Hassel in Long Island, was offering the 1-year lease on their website, I contacted 3 other local Mini dealers who first said they didn't ahve one but then when I told them Hassel did, offered me one too.

    Basically my Hassel deal is 1800 down plus the varius fees--tax, regis, etc. There is NO security deposit and NO 'Acq fee (Upfront)' whatever that is--it's on the print out of figures he gave me, but both of these say 0. My total upfront with 1800 down and taxes and fees is 2450 then 155/mth for a year. This is for a 1 year basic Mini/automatic worth 21,700.

    2 other dealers quoted me more down--like 3400ish and a 340-385/mth offer. And one quoted 3250 down with 206/mth. However none of these other 3 broke down my costs specifically like I repeatedly asked, so I'm not sure why there is such disparity, esp. in the mthly payment.

    So it seems like my choice is that I MUST go with the Hassel, since it does, indeed seem to good to be true. (Everyone agree?)

    So at this point I was ready to order one tomorrow based on these figures and the options I"ve boiled it down to.

    But my friend, a car guy, said tonite at dinner that they probably want to sell the ones off the lot and maybe I could get a deal off one of those if I get it right then and there instead of ordering. (True?) I know that in general everyone seems to go/get MSRP.

    But these are my 2 issues with doing this.

    1. My options have boied down to these and I'm pretty set on these:
    Mini basic, don't care about color--except don't want Mellow Yellow! Automatics with Cold Weather, sports seats. I had also wanted: armrest, dynamic stability and fog lamps/autodim mirror. I've now talked myself out of fog lamps and autodim mirror. So only really want armrest and dynamic stabi.

    BUT on the lot are 3 cars that fit--auto/cold weather/sports seats...BUT they DON'T have arm rest or dynamic stab control AND they do have the Premium--sunroof, etc. They work out to be about 600 more than I was going to pay, by sacrificing those 2 options--and giving me some I don't want.

    1. How likely is it that they'd give me a car with Premium package for extra 1400--even though I don't want that at all--but not charge me for it to get it off the lot? Any chance of that? Like I would take the thing tomorrow, as opposed dto order. do they have quotas? Would they make me pay for a sunroof I don't care about?

    2. does Dynamic STab Control have to be added at manufacturer? Or can it be added to these cars on the lot? I could possibly forgo it, but might add it to an existing car if that can be done...

    3. Arm rest...Can these be added by the dealer? Better yet, is it possible to buy a totally different (BETTER) armrest than the ukky Mini one and have it installed? I realize that the leasing thing is a problem to ruin the car with something like that--but just wondering, since I probably will end up buying the car--just can't comit now for a variety of reason and the lease doesn't seem to be costing more to lease 1 year and buy (they say residual is 19K and 89%)

    I am planning on going to Mini in the afternoon. If anyone has a chance to weigh in LATE Friday night or saturday morning/lunch, I'd really appreciate it!

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,671
    Couple of quick things...

    1) Your lease deal.. $4300 total for one year.. is pretty darn good for a one-year lease.. Usually they are so expensive they aren't worth it..

    2) More expensive cars will definitely be more money... Figure at least $15/mo. for every $1000 in options..
    They may cut you a little better deal for a car on the lot, but I doubt there is a lot of extra room.

    3) DSC has to come from the factory.. Armrest? I'm sure the dealer can install that.. Be careful, though... dealer installed options usually aren't residualized and can kill your lease deal, as you only have one year to amortize the cost.


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • ticatica Posts: 64
    thank you for the comments...hmmm. I guess if I get the armrest installed by the dealer, maybe I can even pay cash so it not included in the lease

    yes, I'm still perplexed as to why this deal seems so much cheaper overall, yet I'm afraid to ask the dealer in case he tried to mess with me by tacking on fees since no one else is coming even close to his offer.

    I"m actually still waiting to hear from the Morristown dealer, she was super nice. Her price was 2300 more for the year (mostly due to the high monthly--385/mth---but I've asked her if she can meet the other guys price. haven't heard back yet.

    well, it looks like I may not go do the mini today, my friend who was going to take me had a dog-getting-sick emergency.

    I guess that gives me more time to negotiate, I might try Manhattan Mini, whom I haven't approached with a counteroffer opportunity yet...they seem a little tougher to deal with.

    OH, I went online to this 'lease calculator" and used both their formula and their actual calculator. Both gave me ridiculously enormous prices for a one year lease, actually, I think it would only let me figure a 2 year lease at the minimum. So that confuses me even more...why I'm getting such a great deal.

    thanks for your comments!
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    Oh, also, 7 months ago, I got a quote on a Mini basic 2006 that was 420/6th mths-- or 840/year from Geico.

    I got another quote a week ago--both online--and this time--all the various options it gave me were 546/581/681/6th months or 1100-1300 for the year

    This is hugely more expensive.
    The thing is, my firs 840 quote had all higher coverage--so the 840 quote gave me 250/500K for bodyily injury liability iinsted of the higher quotes where it was just 50/100. I also had 50K instead of 25K properly damage and 100/300 unins motorist vs. 50/ why did my cheaper quote give me better coverage? Makes no sense. The only other thing was in the first quote I"d said YES to emergency road services and no on that for the more expenisve quote. Could this have made a difference?

    Or have interest rates just risen so much higher or something? Or have more Minis gotten in more accidents?

    I don't really know how insurance works so I'd be curius to know why the disparity...
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    I just plugged in all my new info to Geico to exactly Match last year's quote.
    I got the highest quote ever--$685 or 1360 for the year...why would it be 245 more than it was 7 mths ago?

    It appears that for the same coverage- Body Injury Liabe went from 140 to 262, everything else went up 15 to 50.

    However I seemed to get more in discounts 145 as opposed to 90 before.

    ....? Why the big jump? Is it interest rates, more Mini crashes, or perhaps something initially I said --how many days I'd be driving to work or school or whatever...?
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    I just went on a Mini test drive. I was at the dealer for 4 hours (my sales guy was extremely nice.)

    I drove a basic Mini and because I live in NYC wanted to test parallel parking (I was in Long Island, not Manhattan). I found 3 different spaces to park in. The only thing is--a little bit the 2nd parking attempt but really 90percent of the time on my 3rd attempt--the steering wheel became completely rigid and I had to use all my strength to move it at all. Like it must have lost its power steering. I was trying to maneuver into a tight spot so I was turnign back and forther repeatedly trying to squeeze in.

    It was like I was wrestling a bear, I could barely move the wheel. Occasionally it would give a little but something was definitely wrong.

    Has anyone had or heard of problems with power steering?

    This is a MAJOR deal breaker for me because I live in NYC and parallel park every day ! I've never experienced htis on any other car before.

    The deal was a little silent. Thankfully he wasn't trying to pretend it wasn't anything but he was sort of speculating that perhaps it was the fact that I parked 3 times in a row...which I don't think should matter.

    Anyway, when we got back to the dealer he said that I should call the service people in Manhattan and see if they were getting complaints of it. He did say that if it was a problem then Mini would fix it in the next round of cars.

    I spoke to the used car dealer who happened to be around and he suggested that if the car was 'idling' then...then maybe that does something to the engine and the power steering fails..he set that the idling could be set to higher...

    then he later said it could be a 'belt'.

    Now I don't know if what he said made sense. My dad said that setting the engine to go faster or whatever wasn't nec. good and would use more gas, too.

    does this make sense to anyone? I will call the service guy tomorrow. And I'm going to google the topic.

    My other dilemma is whether to order exactly what I want, or settle for something on the lot--which he was willing to knock a little off of, believe it or not.

    This 1 year lease deal does actually seem to be real, fair I think and reasonable. He told me that the money factor was .00265 ...this is good I think, from what I've read on here, correct? The residual varied according to the mileage, it was the highest at 10,000 miles for 1 year (89%) and dropped to 60something % when going up to 15, 000 miles I think.

    BUT the monthly went up a bit with the higher miles (ranging from 156/mth to 209/mth on a 21,850 MSRP car.

    any comments welcome!

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    No belts involved as the steering on the R56s is electric - this isn't traditional power steering, so no belts:

    My personal biggest fear about the new Mini was the switch to electric power steering (EPS). Thankfully, I, too, can exhale as BMW has managed to do what others have not: make EPS, through careful hardware and software tuning, feel like "regular" good steering. And even though the rack itself is solid-mounted to the chassis for good direct feel and immediate response, the EPS system nicely filters out steering nastiness like shimmy and kickback. Kudos. ynpartner=edmunds& tarticle.html&articleId=117072

    Strangely, just today my steering suddenly felt extremely heavy. I ignored it and it felt fine later. But after living with BMWs for 4 years, I'm used to ignoring mechanical and electric problems.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    The OLD new MINI had an electric motor driving the power steering pump so is the NEW new MINI pure electric with no hydraulic pump in between?
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    that's a boy-knowlege question about the hydraulic pump.

    I did a Google search and DID come up with some complaints about Mini's power steering giving out. However, it seemed to be on '04s and '05s....

    I emailed a bunch of people on Craig's List in various crowded cities--NYC, Boston, DC and Chicago--who were trying to sell their Minis to see why they were selling and what their expeirence was.

    Two responded thus far and said they were selling to get a new Mini, and they said the power steering was stiff, as were BMWs I believe, but not a huge problem. MINE was DEFIITELY a problem--I broke a sweat trying to turn the sucker. I'm going to call the Mini mechnanics today and see if they know anythign. Maybe it was just that one car, and a fluke.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    No hydraulics on the new one AFAIK.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476

    One of the complaints with the last gen MINI was that they power steering pump made weird noises. This is one of the things that contributed to the MINI's poor showing on the JD Power Surveys.
  • musky1gfmmusky1gfm Posts: 36
    Question,does anyone have any solid info on the 08 convertable.I'm seeking solid info as to if it will be the new design,such as the 07 coupe is-alum.engine,etc.
    Some dealers have stated it won't be till 2009.But I don't trust them,probably not many 07 converts sold this year,if people knew the it will be changed less than a year from now.
    I've test drove a 07S convert and a 07S Coupe,both 6-speeds.And deffently like the Coupe's ride,etc. better. :confuse:
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    BMW tends to stagger introductions. The 2007s showed up in March or so of this year. It wouldn't be a shock for Convertible to arrive in 2008. But don't forget that the Clubman is coming too. There's a chance they'll push the Clubman out first.

    There's a world of difference from the R53s to the R56s (07s).
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    I'm still trying to decide whether to go with one on the lot (and looks like they'll knock off a few hundred)--with features I don't want and missing a few that I do, or order.

    when I was at the dealer I was able to see on a couple of cars taht I was shown the paper that showed how many days on the lot--one was 58 days and the other in the 40s. Are they quicker to sell a car--i.e., negotiate more--if it's been hanging around a longer time?

    the salesman did admit sort of that there was some sort of end of month quota/bonus too--which I sort of mentioned as a reason for him to give me a discount if I took one off thelot
  • ticatica Posts: 64
    I went out to do another test drive yesterday and it turns out I must have had a bum car with that stuck steering wheel because I parallel parked 5 times in a row and this one held up fine.

    I ended up getting a car on the lot--perhaps a little more car than I bargained for--and more options than I initially intended, but it seemed better than waiting while I ordered. I basically got all the options I initially wanted--and then some.

    What I got:
    Chili Red with white top basic Mini/Automatic 2007
    arm rest
    sports seats
    cold weather package
    fancy 3 spoke steering wheel with controls

    What I also got:
    comfort package--which also have Bluetooth (anyone know how to use it? I'm due to get a new phone now, do I need a special phone, or any phone with blue tooth will do?)
    also autodim mirrors, auto headlights/rainsensors wipers/auto a/c, etc.
    also there's a rear fog light (not sure about a front one)

    convenience package--sunroof (i didn't actuallyw ant this since I wanted less hotness and a quieter ride, but oh well), and whatever else is with this one

    So I WAS supposed to go pick up the car today but my sales guy seems to be flaking on me now--I think it's cuz it's the last day of the month and he's trying to meet sales quota.

    He ended up doing a great deal on this car (I think) Lease for ONE YEAR;
    169/month for 12 months and 2320 down (includ 1800 down plus taxes/regis)
    To buy later it's 21,500 I think. Car is originally MSRP at 24,200.

    So he knocked a few hundred...maybe 500 off the car? Im not entirely sure. All I know is that somehow he made my lease payments be only 10/more months (from 158/moth and SAME AOUND down on my original 21,700 car I was going to order). My other residual was going to be about 2000 less or so.

    Also, in case anyone's interested, they, Hassel Mini, in LI, has a souped up John Cooper works S I think on sale--it's a 2006 new and it's original 35K and they are selling it for 29K I think. I forget the color but it's in the showroom.

    If anyone can share what to do about the Bluetooth, I wouldn't mind trying to get the phone in advance if I can that would be much appreciated
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