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MINI Cooper



  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    The front of the moonroof is the only mobile part. The back stays there, and the rear passengers can look through it. Rear seat room is contingent on size of the people in the front seats, and where they have the seats. Its a big question of toe room as well. So depending on the size of everyone they could fit, or not. its definetly a test drive thing. Also the rear's not amazingly easy to get into or out of, kids don't care about it, but larger adults may find it irritating to do on a regular basis.

    A Cooper is faster on the autocross because its lighter and because of the gearing. Depending on how you drive, you may or may not prefer an S. it has more power, especially passing power, so you won't need to downshift as much to pass at 60 or 70. Stop and go traffic is a call either way, the S will accelerate faster, but if you like shifting and running the engine up near redline, you'll probably enjoy a Cooper more.

    Just get out and test drive the cars somewhere fun, its all about personal preference really.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I often have two adult males in the back seat of my MINI Cooper for short trips and they fit there just fine, even 6+ footers. Now, I doubt they'd want to spend 3 hours back there but for shorter trips there really is enough room for them. Now, I am only 5'10" myself and have short legs (30" inseam) so perhaps I am an exception but I don't even have to move my seat up to sit an adult behind my driver's seat.

    The Cooper is faster on a tight autocross course because it is lighter, the gearing is shorter (2nd takes you to 64MPH vs. 68MPH in the S) and the Cooper has more torque and power very, very low down due to the 10.6:1 compression ratio compared to 8.3:1 until the boost really kicks in, plus you can get the lighter 15" wheels which aren't available on a stock S. Once the S gets above 2500RPMs it takes over but in a course where you are in 1st and 2nd gear most of the time the taller gearing and lower low-end torque hurts.

    With the Cooper you MUST MUST MUST downshift into 3rd or even 2nd gear to pass people unless you are already going very fast (over 90MPH for passing in 4th). The Cooper has gobs of power from 4000-7000RPMs and a decent amount at 3000RPMs but not enough to pass so if you're doing 60MPH in 5th gear you can't just floor it to pass, you must double-downshift to 3rd -- just downshifting to 4th isn't enough. The S has a flat torque curve which gives you most of the power from 2500RPM upward so it doesn't need to scream to pass. I think this makes the Cooper fun to drive as you downshift and hear the engine roar as you fly past the other car but other owners like to just stomp the gas and go and they'll prefer an S.
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    In truth, I have nothing against Hondas (except for the fact that they nickle and dime you for options on their cars), I just continue to be amazed with the German engineering in the MINI. With all the snow we got in the mid-atlantic last week, I now have something else to be impresed with - dynamic stability control. WOW!! Even on icy roads, this car performs like a champ. For me, not only is the MINI more fun, but interestingly enough, I actually feel safer in it than I did in the big heavy '97 Mustang I traded in for it. It's a good, solid ride.

    To mpg5 - all I can say is get your butt to the dealer for a test drive. Regarding insurance, the premiums are really not that bad. After reading the recent positive safety reports, I can't imagine insurance premiums will be a problem for future MINI drivers either. Stryder has a good point about Cooper v. S, it depends on your driving style. I have the Cooper and like the gear ratios in it. It is solid at high RPMs and is great for hitting the back road twisties! I only drove the S once on a test drive and really can't remember enough about it to give you a good comparison. Perhaps I'll have to return for another test drive myself ...
  • smwls8smwls8 Posts: 103
  • mpg5mpg5 Posts: 68
    i will keep you posted when i, hopefully, join the mini ranks. if i learned anything from my dad it's that i should buy one. he always wanted a porsche 356, but never got one (he's 63 now retired and driving an e-320) and i'll bet he'll never get one or a fun small sports car. i, on the other hand, will get one soon if dealer isn't above msrp (i can wait). i don't want to end up like that grandpa in the harley commercial who bought aluminum siding instead.

    MAN! That is a GOOD one! A Civic Si over a MINI??


    I always love a good laugh late in the day!
  • but, has anyone else read the readers forum on

    Go there and read about the numerous problems and repeated fixes being required by a lot of people. Apparent coolant tank design problems, spotty build quality with squeaks and rattles. many software updates to the engine management system. It seems like the current MINI owners are being used as a Beta test program by MINI/BMW.

    Don't get me wrong, I love this car, and have a deposit down on a Cooper S for spring delivery, I just don't know if I want to be a guinea pig and drive myself crazy with constant visits to the FEW dealers around for repairs of nagging service items. I bounced this off my dealer and he (of course) said that MINI/BMW is committed to quality and the car, but when you read how some owners are being treated you start to doubt it.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    MINI has sold something like 18,000 cars in the US, and is on track to sell about 150,000 a year worldwide, (Recall they shipped worldwide starting mid summer of '01, the US came much later). Anyway, my point is (since I have posted on MINI2 and moderate a forum there) BMW's are not Toyotas as everyone agrees. They're not foolproof, and because the MINI's a brand new platform, its got problems. If you look at any other car board there's problems there too. If you think of the number of problems, its still really small compared to the amount of cars sold. As problems get discovered, they get fixed at the factory, so if you get a car in the spring, that's nearly 2 years after Coopers started being made, and 1 year after S'. Anyone who buys a car in the first year its made should expect to be Beta testing it. That's why cars have warranties.

    The key with any car is it will have problems. MINI is very receptive to fixing them at the factory at least, and they're getting better. If you want a perfect car, buy a toyota. If you're willing to deal with the ocasional small hassle, just wait till the platform's been established a bit and you should be reasonably ok. Its pretty rare a car company comes out with a totally brand new platform, problems are to be expected.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    The Coopers have been out now for over a year and current builds are very good with the bugs worked out. The Cooper S has only been out since May and it seems like they currently have more issues (for instance, they use a different coolant bottle and it is the MCS which seems to be having the problems). I'm sure they'll be worked out. The first build year of a car inevitably sees things not found in testing as tests cannot accound for all driving styles.

    Now, if Coopers continue to have problems year after year (like the Ford Focus) then I'd call it bad but for now I just call it new.

    My earlier Cooper (Feb. 2002) is a great little car. It's had the gearbox linkage recall done and the driver's seat back plastic trim replaced, that's it.

    If your Cooper S is still on order I wouldn't worry as they're putting the new coolant bottles, etc. in the current builds. You may still have a problem but almost certainly less than on the early MCS builds.
  • idletaskidletask Posts: 171
    by 2004, the Mini will change engines. The current engine is co-engineered by Chrysler and BMW, the next one will be engineered by BMW and manufactured by Peugeot. This new engine will be available with the Mini convertible in 2004.

    If I were to buy a Mini I'd wait a little more :)
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    They haven't even finished designing it so I doubt they'll have a factory tooled for it within a year. I think it'll take longer than that. Why wait when you can get one now and sell/return it for a new one when they are available, not vaporware?
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    Another engine issue, I can't think of one fault, besides ECU programming that's affected the engine itself of either car, so if you're worried about that, doesn't seem like waiting (however long until new engines) would be especially useful in fault reduction anyway.
  • idletaskidletask Posts: 171
    as it will equip the successor of the Peugeot 206, which is due for 2004. And so is the MINI convertible, at least in Europe. Maybe it will equip the hatchback later than that, though.

    But I would sure prefer a BMW engineered engine under the hood :)
  • No one brought up the fact that the Cooper S's supercharged engine got named to the 2003 Ward's 10 Best Engines list. I can't wait to drive or ride in an S someday and see for myself how good it is.

  • Is the current engine not designed by BMW? I read in one of various articals that BMW is contractually committed to the engine until 2007? Does anyone know if that is true or not? Any way, I've had one since July 31. Stock Mini. The main problem is after 2 radios, they still won't tune am properly. Otherwise, the car is a complete gem. When I take it in for its first actual service, they'll upgrade the ecu program, which supposidly takes out most of the stumble and bog out of first gear take offs. Love this car!
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    Last Friday, I took my MINI in for the transmission recall and to have the new seat levers put in. While I was there, I thought I could take the opportunity to have them tweak the computer a little so I could have a few options that seemed lacking (auto-locking doors at 10 mph, use of the "push-and-hold" feature on the key to open the windows instead of pop the boot, etc.). They told me they could do it, but that it would cost me about $42. Now, this is not exactly a lot of money, but on principle I don't really see how they can justify gouging, er ... charging, the customer for services like this. It's not like it's an option you choose when placing an order for the car - it's an option on the car that only needs to be activated.

    The service rep agreed with me that there shouldn't be a charge for this and suggested that I speak to my sales rep, because he (the service rep) didn't have the "authority" to do it free of charge. Similarly (you guessed it), the sales rep agreed with me that there shouldn't be a charge for this, and suggested that I speak to the service rep because he (the sales rep) didn't have the "authority" to make them do it free of charge.


    Am I alone here, or is this a festering problem at other MINI/BMW dealers? I'm going to give a call to the other dealer in my area (Tate/Annapolis) and see what they have to say. Like I said, this is not a lot of money, nor does it involve features that the car can't operate without. It's become a matter of principle for me.

    I should say, however, that the rest of the service experience was not bad at all. They did the job in less than 2 hours and I was back on my way - albeit a little agitated. Got the opportunity to check out the new Z-4 also. Man, that is one UGLY car! Hear it performs well, but it looks like a Z-3 that has been living on a steady diet of burgers and fries for the last 5 years. Not good times.
  • Having to pay for something that is included when you first pick up the car at delivery is ridiculous. Don't bother with the sales rep, go right for the owner of the dealer and remind him/her that this is a NEW BRAND just starting out and that non-sense like this is read by other potential new customers that will get turned off big time. They should be happy to have us all as customers.
  • I did some further research on the service issue.
    I have a 2000 Saab 9-3 and spoke to my svc mgr today.
    He said that as long as the car is in warranty any minor reprogramming of functions would be done as such and there would be no charge. Out of warranty would probably also be free or minimal at best since the changes are usually quick and require a minimal test afterwards. Essentially, MINI is trying to pull a fast one, which as I said above should not be the case since they are trying to attract customes to a new brand.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    Its not MINI's fault, its the damn dealers, I've heard its pretty common for dealers to charge for programming, especially if you didn't buy the car there. Something like .5 hours, which is the minimum. I paid (because I had no other choice), but then got other things programmed free as the software became available, I've had programming updated probably 2 times after the first pay time, (to get DRL's, then to get comfort opening as you mentioned)

    What IS MINI's fault is the lack of a loaner program, but this is also a case of BMW's not having loaners either. So you can take the car to any dealer for warranty stuff, but its up to them if they give you a loaner. (Many I've asked about it don't)
  • Stryder,
    Have you had any experience with Prestige MINI in NJ? I've got a deposit down on an S there and was wondering what they were like to deal with. Seem pretty customer oriented so far. Thanks
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    ... for the input. It is what I expected to hear. The dealer (Towson, MD) is the one I bought the car from. Until this point, they have been quite customer friendly. Of course, this is also the first time I had to deal with the service department. I had heard about BMW's problems on service issues, perhaps this is what the grumblings were about.

    The honeymoon isn't over yet. I am going to go back and talk to the service manager about it and see what they can do for me. If it's a brick wall, I will probably contact MINI-USA to let them know about the problem. I am sure they won't be too happy to know that some dealers are giving their product a bad name. I'll be back with an update when I hear something.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    I haven't dealt with prestige, though I may soon, as I need to get my heated seats looked at, and I'll be in the hudson valley. Its either prestige or westchester, but I'm inclined to try westchester as BMW owns them, which should be different.

    If you want dealer advice, MINI2 has a forum about dealer, as well as a 'best dealer/worst dealer' monthly nomination. I'd check in there since other people are more likely to have visited.

    I called MINIUSA to comment about my dealer experience, they listened to me, but informed me that BMW didn't have a loaner, however they did offer to repay the cost of a rental if I faxed my receipt to them. I thought it was nice, but ended up bumming a ride. I commented about how the service advisor never seemed to have a clue what was happening, and they said try someone higher in the dealer, but they (MINI) were pretty limited. Oddly, I dono if they forwarded my comments, the advisor actually knows my name, but I've been back several times recently to fix problems that crept up after they diagnosed the A/C blower as faulty. Service paid for a rental car (I think they were out of loaners) for me to fix a problem they had caused when replacing the motor, so I've been slightly happier, but I hear other people getting stellar service from dealers, so I'm not at the top of the heap. I'd just like Service to be as nice as Sales was, and its not the case yet, makes me wonder if they know no dealer is close so they're not competeting at all.
  • has anyone had any experience with infant carriers in the Mini. How tough is it to manuever the carrier in and out of the car. Do the rear side airbags pose any danger to an infant?
  • jimveejimvee Posts: 11
    I'm getting ready to (finally) place my order for an S. Has anyone had any experience with the Navigation system? Is it a good system? And is it a plus (or not) to move the speedometer? Like many, I think the big, central speedo is "cool," but I'm wondering if I won't later wish to have the 2 pod arrangement on the wheel???

    If the built-in unit is as good as my portable garmin one, i think i'd make the jump (plus: then i wouldn't have to worry about the garmin flying off the dash when cornering!)

    thanks for any insight.
  • I keep reading about problem reports in and regarding the NAV's screen not enabling on very cold or freezing weather. Most often the screen stays blank and perhaps the NAV doesn't even work.

    Unless you ready need it and live in a warmer climate, I would say avoid it for the time being. I think this $1,600 is way overpriced because it seems unreliable in cold weather and second still uses CD's for the maps instead of DVD's like most other car based NAV systems do.

    Besides, one of the nicest charms about the MINI is to have the speedo in the middle of the dashboard.

    Another problem about getting the NAV system is that the speedo moves right next to the tach on top of the steering wheel column and due to the wheel's size, both instruments tend to get covered by the steering wheel outer rim.

    To me the NAV is a very expensive toy/gadget with limited use for other than anyone that spends their leisure/working hours behind the wheel.

    If you need directions, there is always cheap and reliable. Or you can even get one of those Magellan protable LCD GPS devices that retail at Radio Shack for $199.

    $1600 can be invested/saved in better things than the MINI's NAV system.

    Just an opinion.
  • capitanocapitano Posts: 509
    A vintage mini on I95 this evening. First one I can recall seeing in the states. I had seen a few new Minis during the day. I think the old mini had more character.
  • For the folks in the snow belt... what were your Mini's like in snow? Thanks...
  • I have spotted a few in Miami. The car is so much more smaller compared to the new MINI. I like to see them for their vintage attributes and history but I would not drive around in one. It is tiny, looks too vulnerable, even to bicycles, has zero safety protection devices, rides in 10" tires and while the looks are subjective, I think the Classic Minis tend to look like squat.

    What makes it stand out is its TOY sized dimensions. It looks like one of those "Power Wheels" battery operated cars for kids.

    I have also seen a few in local MINI Meets. It is a cute and rare looking car in the US but now I understand why the govt banned their import in 1968.

    While I like what the classic Mini represents, the new one is a very welcomed change. the old car was produced virtually unchanged from 1959-2000 by Rover in England.

    The classic Mini has a following among enthusiasts of the old car, but it will never have caught up with the US buying public. The new one has been a hit.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    My MINI Cooper drives wonderfully in snow and even on sheer ice. I've got 195/55R16H Dunlop SP WinterSport M3 DSST snow tires on an extra set of alloys and between those tires and the brakes (ABS/EBD/CBC) and stability/traction control (ASC+T) and the overall good balance and low centre of gravity of the car, it is a joy to drive in the white stuff. It starts well with help from traction control in deep snow and on ice and it stops well without ABS when you stop slowly but the ABS kicks in and works well when needed.

    Even on sheer ice I've never had to turn off the traction control. I've heard that it can refuse to move in 0% traction environments but with real snow/ice tires that hasn't happened to me even on 3" of pure ice.

    I take unused farm roads for fun in winter and I always take the backroads for my commute as I can drive at a decent speed while on the main roads everyone on all-season crap tires wants to putt along slowly and try to rear end me because they try to stop really late so I feel much safer out on fresh snow in my MINI.
  • on the mcs with run flat tires the manual notes a tire inflation system in a two or three page description.
    Is this available? Have other people gotten it. The space that should be occupied by that system has the battery in it. There is a tire change kit which has some limited value for rotation or carrying a spare in the back. Can the standard automotive part store provide the same stuff, something to seal the tire and then, the instant air kits? Or will "only Mini authorized paarts be necessary?
This discussion has been closed.