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MINI Cooper



  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    I've been hearing about it for a few months now -- it almost makes me wish I had gotten the S instead of the regular Cooper. It's amazing that they can squeeze 200 hp out of something that small! Peak torque still does not kick in until around 4000 rpm, so there is still some weakness off the line. But once you get it wound up, that must be one kick in the pants!

    They are eventually going to offer the works for both models (or so I hear), but if I were going to go with it, I'd probably just trade up for the S instead.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    The Works package for the Cooper has existed for some time. MINI USA doesn't plan on bringing it over, I hear, as it has less HP than the stock S and the conversion may end up as more expensive. In the UK you can get it and I'm told it may be available in Canada as well.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140

    The current MSRP for the works package on top of an S is $4500, plus installation, so you're easily adding nearly $10K to the price of your car. Might make you feel better about your cooper.

    Clearly, as Harry has pointed out, the Cooper package, even if it cost half as much as the S (because it didn't have the supercharger upgrades, but still had exhaust and heads) would easily reach the $3K difference between the two models, and you don't get the other upgrades on an S. There just isn't the insurance and tax issues with cars in the US so it doesn't make sense for a JCWorks Cooper.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Most people feel the Works packages are overpriced. In the case of the Cooper, intake, exhaust and chip are most of it and you can get by without the chipping. The S adds a pulley upgrade. Many of the Works parts aren't even custom -- the Cooper intake is just a Pipercross. It is cheaper to do it piecemeal -- the only thing you don't get is a MINI warranty on those installed parts, though even there you can get your dealer to install them piecemeal with a warranty.

    The JCW stickers seem to be the only thing you can't get without the big price tag...

    There are even turbo kits for the Cooper if you want 200HP+ with your current car. The gearbox won't hold up to it but then again, it probably won't hold up anyways (had my 5-speed replaced last month and everthing is stock, even the paper air filter).
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Woah! You had to replace your transmission?? What happened to lead up to the replacement? I haven't heard you mention anything in here about tranny problems. I hope you have better luck with your new one. Has the problem hurt your confidence in the car's reliability?
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    The car started making a banging noise when under heavy load in first gear. At first it only did it under very heavy starts but it got easier with time. First visit I took it in they said it was wheel hop and asked if the ride felt OK (implying the rear struts were worn, letting the front wheels break loose). I told them they were nuts but they sent me on my way. A few days later I was back as it was getting progressively worse and I told them there was NO WAY it was wheel hop. The same tech who told me it was wheelhop was embarrassed to discover that 1st gear was shot -- they had trouble even getting it around the shop (I guess most people give lots of gas to a clutch they don't know which made it clang like hell's bells). Collars and/or teeth were broken so under load the gears were slipping, making loud banging noises when they caught the next groove/tooth. My original guesses were loose clutch springs, broken engine mounts or loose exhaust parts but it turned out it was 1st gear.

    The new tranny came in the next day and it was finished by the morning after. They have to drain the coolant and take out the battery to do the fix so there was some collateral damage (needed another battery box lid and a coolant top up a few days later) but the new gearbox seems fine, so far.

    I hear they originally wanted to put the 6-speed Getrag in all the MINIs, not just the S (and now the diesel in europe&UK). I've heard of some problems with the Getrag too but I've heard of many replacements of the 5-speed from Midland Powertrain. Seems it can't handle even 110lb-ft of torque.

    I had lock problems last month too. Car was locking itself first, then unlocking itself. Replaced and fixed a bunch of parts.

    Has it hurt my confidence? Yes. I'm leasing the car and if it was up anytime soon I'd be returning it for sure. As it is I'll be sure to keep the mileage within the warranty for the duration. To fix anything in the tiny engine bay they have to take half the car apart so out of warranty this baby will be expensive to keep running.

    12th month of ownership was rough after 11 great months. Car has just over 14K miles on it now so long term I'm not sure how it will hold up. Still the most fun car to drive I've ever had but at this point it is becoming the incarnation of the old joke, the only guy who can come home at 3am without getting in trouble with his spouse is the owner of a British sports car! It isn't that bad yet, never having left me stranded or anything but I sure hope that is the end of the problems for a while. If it is fine now until the end of the lease I'll consider buying it out but at this point I'm definitely keeping it clean, maintained and under mileage with intent to return it.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Sorry to hear about your vehicle problems. We appreciate you sharing this information with everyone here. Also, if you have a chance, you may want to copy/paste your message into our Mini Cooper Problems & Solutions discussion.

    Fortunately, it seems transmission problem was resolved quickly..., and the worst is behind you now. Hopefully things will go smoothly from this point on. Please keep us posted. And thanks for your participation!

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I copied my message to the P&S discussion.

    So far, knock on the flywheel (figuratively of course, no knocking sounds yet ;-> ), the new tranny is working well. They put the new battery box cover on and the coolant level has been fine since the top up.

    It is still so much fun to drive that I can nearly, almost, forgive it for letting me down.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    So over on MINI2, in the general forums under annoucements, it seems that paramount's inviting MINI owners to RSVP for a free drive-in premier of the italian job.

    I'd like to put my vote in for whoever has the long termer (and didn't another editor buy one?) go to it, and report back. I'd sure go to it if in was anywhere close, so you know, its worth reporting.

    Just another example of cool things that happen due to the car.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    That sounds like a great idea! It's also possible they may already know about it. Perhaps you'd like to submit your request to our editorial department. I could also, but I think it would be more effective if the request was coming directly from their readership or from other mini owners/enthusiasts.... Thanks. ;-)

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    I'm both a reader and an enthusiast, so I guess I fit that. I submitted the request, but if you see the appropriate editors, bug them too. Or just borrow the car and go yourself :) I look forward to seeing what happens.
  • germsgerms Posts: 2
    just wondering if there is something I should know/consider before pursuing the car?

    I'm hesitant after seeing a graph published in the Chicago Tribune article saying there are 166 complaints per 100 vehicles sold. [Hummer was worst at 220/100]

    Any/all help would be greatly appreciated.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    What you should consider is 1st year cars are really ridden with problems, that get fixed as the cars get on the road. Technically, MINIs had been on the road for almost a year in the UK before they came here, but still there's just problems that need to get worked out.

    As us owners have said before, the car's not Japanese and indestructable. However things that people have go wrong are usually just annoyances (like the pedal covers coming off on the long term car, which happened to me as well) and you usually ignore them. MINI knows about the problems and fixes them as they can. (The S has standard metal pedals as of '03 for instance, which should solve the problem). Realize you may have issues with the cars, but they're getting much better. No one knows what the ultra long-term reliability will be, but generally new cars are much better. I'm personally looking at getting an '04 now (they'll be out in Oct). You have a 4/48 warranty for a reason, but the car's so much fun, usually a small problem or two doesn't bother you much. It doesn't surprise me that HUMMER is the highest, since at least the H2 is brand new as well, and wasn't on the road before it started selling in the US. (Also bigger things have more parts and more to go wrong)
  • minime5minime5 Posts: 41
    Let's try that again...I've been a Mini owner for about a month now, and I have another thing for you to consider in addition to what stryder noted. You'd be very hard pressed to find any car that can match the level of fun and the same level of equipment for the same price as the Mini. This started out as a third car for me, but I haven't seen the inside of my Saab since the day I brought home the Mini.
  • eman5eman5 Posts: 110
    Any news about changes for the 2004 model year--or, at least, any ideas about when we might read about same?
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    The rumor mill hasn't started yet on '04 changes, but it should start sometime soon, also the 'official' announcement is expected in August (not exactly long notice, as Sept starts the production to get to the US in Oct)
  • pjreporterpjreporter Posts: 32

    I am a reporter with a major daily seeking new mini cooper owners for an article I'm working on. can you please email me at LANETEF@YAHOO.COM? Deadline is Friday May 16
  • woodywwwoodyww Posts: 1,801
    A friend of mine wants to buy a new Mini Cooper "S", manual trans., in Northern VT. I know the Mini from all the magazine articles, & from perusing this thread a bit. I'm wondering: what is the time it takes to order one? Does anyone know a good dealer in VT? Which options do people consider essential? Would you go for the 16", or 17" tires and rims? And it seems like list price, or a little under, is possible nowadays, is that correct?

    Thanks in advance for any advice, & sorry if I'm asking redundant questions here.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    Pretty much all of your questions have been answered, but depending on your view of reading 69 pages of messages, I think we understand why you'd ask them again.

    There aren't any dealers in VT (I won't comment on the population of VT since its a very cool place, but since cows don't buy cars I guess MINI didn't feel there was enough of a market). So first of all, your friend needs to be willing to drive for service (in addition to driving to purchase the car).

    The time to order and actually get your car is about 2 months, it takes 4 weeks to cross the atlantic and a few weeks to build it, get it ready etc. That assumes of course there's no wait at the dealer. CA still has year long backups, but if you check around the east coast, you may do better. Also dealers get cars delivered without people ordering them, so there might be something on a boat now that's not spoken for.

    I've heard good things about Keeler MINI in Albany and also MINI of Peabody in Boston (well Peabody). Keeler being closer is probably the best bet, I know at least one person on MINI2 has an S in VT, so you could track them down. I did just think of one thing, depending on how northern VT it is, there's a possibility driving to Montreal for servicing (purchasing would be a pain I'm sure) is a better idea. I have no idea about those dealers though except says there are two, I wonder about the warranty/free maintence though, so perhaps you should ask MINIUSA about it. (866 ASK MINI i think). In any event the service intervals are about 10K miles, then every 15K after, but you never know about unscheduled.

    Essential (in my view, but others differ) items are probably multi function steering wheel, because it ads cruise and the radio controls stink. Otherwise, it depends on personal preference. Heated seats are really nice, the sunroof's nice, Fog lights are a good safety item. The rest of the options/packages are personal preference/financial issues. Xenon's are really bright, but expensive, the trip computer's neat, but pricy, etc.

    As we've recently discussed, the tires are pretty close to awful in regular snow, so account for buying snow tires and purchase based on summer driving. If a harsh ride is a plus, then 17"s have good grip and look nice. If there's lots of potholes and such, 16's may be a better deal. Either of them are quite stiff because of being runflats.

    List is probably the best you can do unless you find a car on the lot that's been there for a while. In any case, the car's worth MSRP.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    On the Cooper I say get the sports package for the sport seats, 16" wheels, foglamps, etc. and I'd say heated seats are a must if you get the leatherette.

    On the S you get 16" wheels and sport seats in the standard config so there really isn't much you need. IMO, just heated seats and foglamps will do it. I don't really feel the need for the on-board computer (doesn't seem to be accurate anyways) or multi-function wheel (this isn't a car for cruise control IMO) but others love them so try out some cars with those features and see what you think.

    I'm in Canada so can't help you with dealers or pricing, sorry.
  • mgreene1mgreene1 Posts: 116
    Per some other MINI boards, MINI is changing shocks and oil to soften the ride, but only for the US. This has caused quite a stir since it's supposedly happening with May production. MINI claims the changes will keep the great handling, but they went to great lengths to offer essentially the same car worldwide and even promoted that fact. If the changes give a more supple ride with no sacrifice in handling, then the other markets should also get them. I think the MINI S with the 16" A/S runflats is fine. The ride is firm but not harsh with 37 psi in all 4 tires and that's a good compromise. For a softer ride, you can go with a lower psi within the recommended range. If MINI was making the change worldwide to improve the car, I've give them the benefit of the doubt but fooling with the US-only model doesn't make much sense.
  • mgreene1mgreene1 Posts: 116
    It looks like the change is worldwide after all. What started all the fuss was this interview with MINIUSA's guy, and then people assumed the change was only for the US models.
  • eman5eman5 Posts: 110
    I'd welcome a softer ride and rear fog lights. I'd really like to see Steptronic or CVT--some sort of automatic transmission--in the S and Works models.
  • alanminialanmini Posts: 6
    I'm planning to buy a Mini (base model, red/white/
    sunroof) this Spring but two things concern me:
    How difficult is it to use the centrally-mounted speedometer? I know it's part of the Mini racing mystique, but I suspect it would be hard to get used to, particularly since I'm nearsighted. True? Secondly, I'm considering the five-spoke 16" wheels,which are called "performance run-flat" tires. Do they really work? Does that mean I wouldn't be supplied with a spare? Also, in Winter (in Connecticut) I'd acquire snow tires.
    Are a pair for the front enough, or should I get four? Alan
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I find the central speedometer is no problem at all to read. It took a tiny bit of adjustment but even after just a few minutes in the test drive I was already comfortable. I'm not nearsighted though so your best advice would be to take a test drive and see how it is for you.

    In the USA I think you get a spare on the Cooper even with runflats.

    Four snow tires are best for winter.
  • arkytectarkytect Posts: 12
    As one nearsighted driver to another, I agree with Hpulley in that I too find the central speedometer mounting location to be a non-issue.

    And, I really like the emphasis placed on the location of the tachometer. Some complain that you can't see the whole tach, which is true. A small part of the tach's top is clipped from view by the steering wheel, but I can still read the thing. The clipping can be alleviated somewhat by seat and steering wheel height and placement.

    All in all, the MINI's controls, in several instances (seat back levers, window switches,etc.), differ from what Japan, Inc. and other manufacturers are doing, but there's nothing that feels weird or wrong after a short amount of time spent on orientation. I've been told that a lot of the MINI's features come from BMW's other cars. This may be so, I've never owned a BMW. For me the driving position is terrific and all the controls have a quality feel.

    I believe that Hpulley is also correct in his assertions that US MINI Coopers optioned with run-flats still get the spare.

    Motor On.
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    I agree that the center-mount speedo is really a non-issue -- even if you are near-sighted. The car is small enough that the speedo is really not that much further away than the tach. And it's so BIG that you can easily read the numbers. I got used to it by the time I got it home from the dealer on the first day. I personally like having the tach front and center anyway.

    I have an '02 base cooper with the 16" 5-spokes and runflats. It came with a spare.

    A note on snow tires - I never got them. After the nasty winter we had on the east coast (MD), I can only think of a couple of occasions when I thought I needed them. Even then, with DSC, it really wasn't all that bad. Two should suffice, but you would then have problems with uneven wear on the two you swap off. If you get them, you might as well get all four.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    Two snow tires is a very bad idea these days. Because good snow tires tend to be also ice tires, you'll end up with some very crazy handling car if only the front wheels have traction, I'd suspect it'd be fun to hang the back end out, much like if you used the e-brake to do turns, but it'd probably be pretty annoying and potentially dangerous to suddenly give your car oversteer.

    In any case central speedo's a non-issue as others have said. Also, the tires depend on if you've gotten the all-seasons or performance tires, which could explain the difference in people's snow-opinions.
  • dwabiddwabid Posts: 36
    The speedo takes a little getting used to. With us its not so much the position but the layout of the numbers. It is hard to read your speed when the hash marks are only in 10 mph increments. So it seems you are always at an "-ish" speed...70-ish...80-ish. But my 80 year old father had a piece of wisdom regarding that. "With a car like this do you really need to know exactly how fast you are going?"
This discussion has been closed.