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MINI Cooper



  • eman5eman5 Posts: 110
    Will BMW ever put a six-speed automatic in a 200 hp S?
  • Ahem. Get the manual.
  • dwabiddwabid Posts: 36
    I doubt they would ever put an automatic in the S. Kinda sucks the fun out of owning a supercharged engine. Personally I never really cared one way or another about what kind of transmission is in my car, but after test driving an S last week, I would have it no other way. But some people prefer an automatic but I doubt they would find enough demand...( Besides the 6 speed is a BLAST. MY fiancee was frightened by my maniacal laughing when we sped out onto the freeway. She returned the favor at her turn behind the wheel)

    If all turns out as planned we will be plunking down some lettuce to purchase a forest green S with a premium and winter package this week. We do have a question for the group: With all the ASC and numerous other braking features is the DSC option worth the extra money?
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    My prediction is BMW will put an SMG (there's a huge discussion about this somewhere in the past 63 pages) or sequential manual gearbox in the S at some point. I expect this will coincide with an update 200hp or more MINI as you've mentioned.

    While I fully agree with the 'Get a Manual' idea, I'm sure market data will say that many people are buying cooper's soley to get the CVT and market drives everything. The idea of the CVT being unique (but unable to handle the torque so BMW says) ads a bunch of support to an SMG option.

    DSC: I don't have DSC, but many people say its saved their butts. You can always turn it off, and if you get it in the sport package, isn't it cheaper anyway? (assuming you want the stuff in the sport package...) I would have gotten it on my car, but couldn't... and I suspect it'd only be intrusive when doing stupid stuff, which is when you can turn it off to do donuts. In general its a different animal from AST+C, and much closer to things like the CBC (cornering breaking control) which are out to prevent unwanted car rotation, AST just keeps you from spinning the tires mostly when starting.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Which does come in mostly when starting but under low traction situations, it comes on in all gears. When going down glare ice roads it even goes off in 5th gear, which is a hint to brake early!

    It also works in downshifts, applying throttle to prevent engine braking from locking up the wheels.

    In both acceleration and deceleration situations, it first individually applies brakes to the drive wheel which is spinning, a sort of poor man's LSD. If this is insufficient to stop the wheel from spinning then the throttle position is closed. If wheels are spinning hard then the throttle is closed hard which can even stall the car if the engine is cold.

    DSC adds steering wheel and yaw sensors to the equation. If it detects a differential between the steering wheel position (intended car direction) and the yaw sensor's readin (actual direction), it applies brakes on individual wheels and/or throttle on the drive wheels to put the car back into the intended direction, or that's the intention anyways. Some people who are good at skid control themselves don't like DSC as they end up fighting with the computer. DSC also includes ASC+T and if you turn it off you turn off both of them, leaving you with just the special brakes (ABS, CBC and EBD).

    I just have ASC+T and love it. I pull out of the skids myself, which is the way I like it. I usually leave the ASC+T on all the time. I only turn it off if I'm going uphill in ice and/or deep snow and can't keep up with the speed limit even after shifting up (it seems backward but shifting up yields less torque to the wheels at the same speed, which lets you accelerate with the ASC+T on, an old trick from pre-traction control days with manual trannies); turning it off doesn't always help, sometimes the wheels just spin and spin and you go nowhere until you back off completely or reengage the traction control, but other times, especially with proper snow tires, a bit of wheel spin is enough to keep up your speed.

    In the dry it also hurts a bit as a small amount of wheelspin is good with performance tires but if the roads are slippery it is quite helpful in keeping the car from sitting in place, spinning the wheels and sliding sideways from a too hot start.
  • hpulley4 mentioned that there are now "deals" on Cooper 5-speeds. That sparked my curiosity? What kind of deals and where can I take advantage? The Mini dealer where I'm located is still sticking to MSRP. Thanks.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    So I noticed the latest update is now posted. Since my roommate is considering a Z or an RX-8 in the spring, I was surprised about the comparison of how much better a daily car the MINI is.

    And I should point out should have ordered the the multifunction steering wheel at least. Its incredibly easy to change the volume that way.

    Ok, enough comments for this month, now I can wait until next month.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Hi Everyone- You'll now find a direct link to the 2002 Mini Cooper S Long Term Road Test, in the Helpful Links, on the left side of this page. This link will take you to the Introduction Page. Access other months (July 2002 - Feb. 2003) in the pull down menu there.

    To stryder- Thanks for reminding me. ;-)

    Happy motoring everyone!

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • arkytectarkytect Posts: 12
    I agree with Stryder. The multifunction steering wheel is a peach! Also, being a biased MINI owner, I haven't found storage spaces to be a problem. MY sunglasses go in the sunglasses holder in the glove box with my manual, CD case, MINI journal and cell phone charger. My cell phone fits motionless in the front left cup holder leaving both door pockets, seatback net pouches and rear seat storage bins empty.

    I've only got 5200 miles on my MINI, but I've had no problems except for one slightly weepy radiator coolant reservoir bottle. The entire package has exceeded my expectations!
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    I am biased as well, and at a bit over 14,000 miles I agree with the space issues. I usually have mints of some sort in one of the cup holders (usually the MINI ones), my cell in the other front holder, which leaves the back for actual drinks. Everything else is either piled into the glovebox, or into the door pockets, which I always get stuff lost in, at least lost enough that I can't reach down and grab it (like the alcohol hand cleaner) without rummaging a lot. If I actually want to use the MINI mug, that takes up the front cupholder, which displaces stuff. We won't even talk about if I'm not driving alone, and my passenger wants to charge their phone or have a drink...

    Anything I keep in the car just sits there, the atlas sits on the back seat, a roll of paper towels and ice scraper sit on the floor behind my seat. The iPod sits under the handbrake. I'm not sure there's a good solution for storage, but its a bit odd. Maybe an actual compartment under the toggle switches, and an armrest with some storage in it? Its not a huge problem, but stuff is always getting lost in my car.
  • eashleyeashley Posts: 8
    I am considering an S, but remember the comments made when I tried to sell my Probe GT turbocharged coupe, re reliability problems, big discount on turbo charged used cars, something to be avoided, etc. I realize that a supercharger is different from a turbo (altho I could not explain the difference), but am wondering if I should be concerned about long term reliability with the supercharged engine. I tend to keep vehicles at least 10 years, and my wife says if I get this, I will have to be meticulous and preserve it forever, since it belongs in MOMA. Any thoughts?
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140 had somewhere a discussion on turbos and superchargers, I think it was a tech feature. You can dig it up. Anyway, the supercharger is relatively low pressure, and only adds 50hp, which isn't amazingly high. I personally wouldn't worry about it being a huge reliability problem, unless you expect to drive 200K miles in that 10 years. Personally, I would worry about other small problems like interior squeaks and rattles, but really those can easily get sorted out during the 4/50 warranty. GM's been supercharging cars recently and not had huge reliability issues, and I think the resale value of an S (or any MINI) should be reasonably high (though after 10 years, its anyone's guess).

    there's plenty of 10 year old BMW's running around, though none (that I know) of them supercharged, but I don't see any reason after about a year of S' to think they'd be any different. The wear items like sparkplugs and the timing belt aren't a big issue, the timing belt is a chain, and doesn't need much at all, and plugs are a 100K mile item. Turbos are more prone to rust and failure then a supercharger since they're hanging off the exhaust.
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    I recently saw that was selling certer armrest/storage units for $159. I have yet to do any significant personal modifications to my MINI, but if/when I do, this might be the first thing. One thing I miss from other cars I've had (perhaps the only thing I miss) is the lack of a right arm rest. Anyone taken the plunge for the center console? My only concern is that it might not fit quite right, making it look cheap. If it fits the way I assume it's supposed to, then it should be a perfect compliment to the rest of the interior. Makes me wonder why they haven' t included the center armrest/console as factory standard.

    Like everyone else here, I have found that there is plenty of storage in the door bins, cup holders and glove box. By the way, the ash tray makes a great place to keep loose change - it's covered so the opportunity crooks don't see any cash from the outside.
  • eashley -

    For info:

    turbocharger = forced induction, pressure provided by exhaust gases spinning a turbine. One end of turbine connected to exhaust side, one end to air pump in intake side.

    supercharger = forced induction, pressure provided mechanically off the drivetrain. One end of turbine connected (typically via a belt) to the drive train, one end to air pump in intake side.

    Both serve to boost air pressure and thus increase air (and fuel) flow through the engine. If you think of an engine as basically an air pump, a turbo/super charger increases the density of the air, hence the air mass increases, hence the power increases.

    The trade off with this power is that both incur some delays as pressure builds up; the turbo charger must wait for exhaust pressure to build up (leading to the oft quoted turbo lag) and the mechanical supercharger must wait for engine RPM to spool up.

    Having driven the S I can attest to what many folks have said about that you do need to keep the revs up to keep the engine in the sweet spot of the torque curve...

    The knock on forced air engines is thus the increased pressure in the intake system and cylinder head/block, and that if not maintained carefully could lend itself to problems as these are very high speed devices in terms of turn rate of the turbines...

    Just my 0.02...Motor
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    As rich said above, superchargers are literally air pumps driven by a belt. They are susceptible to wearing out just like any other engine driven accessory (water pump, alternator, AC compressor). I would expect to rebuild or replace the supercharger somewhere in the 100k-200k range, with most failing between 120-150k. In other words, you shouldn't encounter too much expense or reliability problems with a supercharged engine, but if you keep cars well into the 100k range, have $1000-2000 available to replace the supercharger.
  • ugly1ugly1 Posts: 52
    I'm sure this one's been asked before and winter is almost over but I'm seriously considering an S. Can some of you snow drivers relate some of your experiences. Also please include your options. Thanks John
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    If you read back a bit you'll see what I've posted about the MINI Cooper being great fun in the snow. I have 195/55R16H Dunlop SP WinterSport M3 DSST snow tires on X-lite wheels for the winter and they do a great job on snow and ice (and wet and dry roads too, though not as well on dry as performance summer tires).

    I have a Cooper with the sports suspension and ASC+T which I leave on except occasionally I'll turn it off when it is bogging too much up a hill (usually works better with ASC+T turned on though, even when I think it would be better without it). Foglamps are also good for winter driving, and so are the winter heated seats, mirrors and washer nozzles.

    The car is well balanced which means it handles well on all surfaces. On snow and ice if you push it hard in corners it understeers when you accelerate but as soon as you drop off the throttle it oversteers a bit to correct and then the wheels hook up allowing you to power out of the corner. I've run in on a couple of snow rallies and it does well. Haven't stuffed it in a snowbank yet but I do carry a shovel, traction aids, tow-rope and extra tow-eye just in case. The ABS, EBD and CBC braking work very well with snow tires.

    Only minor problem in winter is that the washer resevoir is tiny! It only holds about a third of a jug of fluid so it needs to be refilled often. You should always keep a jug in the trunk.
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    I've been considering buying an S for a Toy Car. I've always wanted something just for fun and the Mini fits the bill it seems. A neighbor shopped one this week and ended up buying. I didn't realize there were Mini's on the lot available without a wait.

    Now I just have to decide if I should spend the money. What kind of Insurance rates can I expect? I'm guessing it won't be Cheap.

    Any thing else I should be thinking about in my decision process?

  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    this is a bit delayed (I was out of town...) but anyway, insurance rates shouldn't be too expensive really. The fact remains the cars just don't cost that much. And even with the supercharger, they don't have tons of HP. Both of those factors are huge players in the rates. Assuming you have another car as your driver, and you're in a low insurance rate anyway (accident/age/ticket wise) I wouldn't expect insurance cost to be a big issue. I don't want to make numerical estimates since insurance varies so much around the country, but you should be able to get an quote anywhere, the cars are in all the systems now, just ask before you test drive, since if you drive one that you can take home you may ignore the insurance problem because you're having too much fun.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    I was reading the volvo xc-70 link off the front page and it made me think of the rather useless response from MINI about the missing rear fogs (why there's a blank toggle on all US spec cars, check MINI2 for more info). You'd think if the 'competition' can be pointing out the usefulness of the feature to the press, MINIUSA wouldn't be intentionally disabiling it, and ignoring owner's requests to give it back.

    Oh well, just felt like mentioning that. I don't think its come up here before, so this seemed like a good time. (I really liked the article from volvo though, neat idea and nice writeup)
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    My GTI (as most VW's) has a socket for the rear fog light in the tail light lens. A very popular VW mod is to buy a Euro spec VW headlight switch ($50) with the rear fog option and install it in the US Spec VW along with the bulb in the socket and you have the Euro spec rear fog light plus no daytime running light and the option of using parking lights. U.S. spec Audi's all have rear fogs.

    I'll bet you'll see the same on the MINI in the future - some MINI aftermarket company will provide everything you need to have Euro spec rear fogs in your MINI.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Unfortunately, the MINI is too smart. There are actually bulbs in the rear foglamps in the taillight assembly (I had one replaced and have the extra assembly in my basement so it is easy to check). Getting the euro-spec switchbank is also easy but you have to get the dealer to program the computer to link up the two. I don't know if north american dealers even have the right software to do that. Sounds like we need a hacker to go in there looking for unused locations in the config or something.

  • dwabiddwabid Posts: 36
    We just signed (yesterday) the papers for a Mini S, English racing green, with all packages. Of course we had to get bonnet stripes as well. When I asked about the Rear fogs on our first test drive (several weeks ago) the dealer explained they were not "street legal" in the US.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    Congrats on your car, hope your wait is short.

    With regard to the lights, your dealer is just plain wrong. MINIUSA was giving the same misinfo, until someone on MINI2 dug up a contact who is a consultant for automobile lighting, he quoted the exact regulations, and emailed MINIUSA to check, and the upshot was rear fogs are totally entirely legal given the setup on the MINI (they're not always legal, but the light cluster has the correct markings, etc on the cars). There's no real reason for them not working in the US besides MINI disabiling them, and as HPulley has said, they're un-enableable until someone hacks the computer that the switch interfaces with, or MINI provides the software to do it. (It'd also be useful if they sold the full toggle bank, so it didn't need to be imported)
  • dwabiddwabid Posts: 36
    The wait will be short. We were going to order and wait about eight weeks, but when I called the dealer in Milwaukee they actually had an exact model we were looking for on the way. We should take delivery in about 10 days. We really did not want the "sport package" but we just liked the idea of quick delivery.

    As for the fog lamps...I kinda knew it wasn't true. I am no expert but found it ludicrous to believe that car lighting would be illegal, but I didn't think about it until picking up the thread in this forum. I figured I never heard of "rear fogs" so thus I really don't need them, but the gap in the dash board is a little annoying.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    The only good thing about the missing switch is that it allows you to find the other switches without looking. Find the 'hole' with one finger and you know where the other switches sit so you don't disable traction control while trying to roll down a window.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    Car lighting can be illegal. For instance, if from the factory the fog lights stayed on when the high beams were on, or if the driving spots (if you get them) were on when low beams were on, that would be illegal. (I'm not sure if it violates federal or state laws though..)

    Also, if you look on older cars, before the age of xenon, all headlights have three bumps on the front, so they can be aimed. That's entirely a US thing, just because of laws. Its the subtle differences, so it is possible. But ohh well.

    I don't have traction control, so I avoid such problems, though recently my roommate has become amused by the fog toggle's light, so he plays with that while i'm driving, I don't know if that's worse or not.
  • tisbe3tisbe3 Posts: 10
    So what's the deal with these run-flat's in the S? Looks like they cost around $200 a pop. Kind of expensive, no?

    Test drove a MINI the other day, and was kind of disappointed. (The straightaway back-and-forth route probably didn't help much.) How much better is the S?

    You think they will be selling these guys for below MSRP anytime soon?
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    The 16" runflats from tire rack start at about $140, and the 17"'s are $200, I guess that's incentive to stick with the smaller tires. They are expensive, but some people think they're worth the extra money, others are willing to replace them with non-runflats (which is just a swap out) and carry a can of tire inflator. Its your option.

    I assume you mean you drove a Cooper on the straightway, and you're asking about the performance of the Cooper S.

    It depends what your previous car experience was, and your tastes. A Cooper will feel slow on straights, especially if you don't stomp on the gas and shift near redline. The extra HP of the S will get better passing + pure acceleration. If you're looking for pure sportscar type speed, they'll both feel pretty slow. Go find some curves, that's where the fun is.

    MSRP, depends where you live, but it will probably happen eventually. I doubt it'll be anything like a 0/0/0 kind of sales, or with $3K rebates. My gut feeling is it'll end up like the TMV values for BMW's, 3 series' in OH (where I am now) are around $1K below MSRP. Even when that does happen, it'll probably be cars sitting on lots, not special orders, so you need to decide if you're willing to wait.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Runflats are expensive because few cars use them right now but all 2004 MY cars are supposed to have pressure monitors so they will become more common. Some Toyotas (e.g. Sienna 2004) come with them now, so the price will drop. 16" Dunlops are $140 and under and are good tires but 17" is more expensive. I like the runflats but if they aren't for you, replace them with standard tires when they wear out.

    MSRP is what you pay around here for new cars. The last 2002's on the lots went for less with incentives on them but new cars still sell for MSRP.

    The Cooper is not a great straight line acceleration car, it is a great handling and cornering car. The S is better for 0-60 dashes but still nowhere near a WRX or V8 Camaro. If you want straight-line acceleration, there are other cars better suited.
This discussion has been closed.