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MINI Cooper



  • greyscalegreyscale Posts: 22
    First, I want to thank everyone posting for the fantastic input -- I have learned so much here. I made a deposit two weeks ago and dealer called today and is ready to take my specs (2005). I have just a couple outstanding questions.

    My dealer didn't have the "black eye purple" for me to look at. This new 2005 color is replacing Indi Blue. My heart is set on either red or yellow, but I wouldn't mind at least seeing the new color before placing my order. Has anyone seen it, and is it anything like Indi Blue?

    Can I order the dimming rearview mirror on its own? I recall it came in a "package" that I didn't want. If I can't get it, I take it the rearview mirror does the little flipping thing for night driving? (Those SUV headlights drive me nuts.)

    This sounds stupid, but the first Mini I ever saw was Mr. Bean's! Ever since then, I have wanted a yellow one. Then, when the Cooper hit a couple years ago, the first one I saw on the street was yellow! Does anybody here think it is stupid to pick out a color based on "resale" value? I'm wondering if yellow is a less-popular color?

    Where do you buy the fuzzy dice?

    And in case you can't tell from my post, I am an auto novice, and this will be the first new car I have ever purchased (I'm 45). Again, thanks for the great posts. Grey
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142

    Mini2 is about the best resource for viewing lots of pictures of other people's cars to get an idea of what you like/dislike, especially with the varying interior treatments. But obviously, this won't help you out on a new color.

    On color, get what you want. Granted, colors like silver are always popular, and certainly picking a real oddball color should be done carefully if you think you are going to sell in a few years, but in general, I say, "Buy for yourself, not the next owner."

    A bigger consideration in color is upkeep. Darker colors are much harder to keep clean, harder to hide swirls, fade quicker (especially if the car is left out in the sun), and make the car hot inside. Red is particularly susceptible to fading - something to do with the red absorbing the wavelengths that cause fading. Unless you like washing your car often, I'd go for a lighter color, especially if you live in a hot/sunny climate. If you're considering the white wheels, you're really looking at a labor of love there. is the place to go to see how the options are bundled, although they may not have 2005 info up yet. In general, you can order nearly everything ala carte rather than in bundles, although the bundles are cheaper.

    Fuzzy dice? If you're serious, just about any auto parts store can help you out there.

    Good luck waiting. It isn't any fun.

    - Mark
  • wilkens11wilkens11 Posts: 48
    Greyscale, congrats on your order! There is a very informative blog at, which has several photos of a car with black-eye purple (purple haze in US). It is darker and richer than indie blue.

    Yeah, the 2004 configurator shows the auto-dimming rear-view mirror comes with rain-sensing wipers, for $150.

    For 2005, there's a new package (ZCV), which includes: 319 Universal Garage Door Opener (also currently available as an individual option), 431 Auto Dimming rear view mirror, and 521 Rain Sensor and Auto Headlights. I don't have prices for 2005 stuff yet.

    You'll find a dealer bulletin on 2005 changes at

    More on colors: for 2005 there are two other new blues: hyper blue, and cool blue. You might want to take a look at those too; pictures of both are at

    When I'm considering colors I try to get high contrast, good exterior/interior combination, and try to maximize the number of colors. For example, I like the warm biege cordoba interior (silver trim), with red or blue exterior. With a blue exterior, a white top, the red and orange taillights, and biege, silver and black inside, the car becomes quite colorful and interesting. I think the silver and biege work really well together inside, a little bit like a Ferrari. And, the biege and black seats look great (see Edmund's review for a good look--it doesn't look right at all in the configurator). It's fun just finding all the good combinations! (Yes, I'll get help soon...)
  • wilkens11wilkens11 Posts: 48
    Greyscale, I forgot to make clear that all 2004 options and colors that are not explicitly removed are still available for 2005 cars. This means both packages I mentioned are expected to be available.
  • wilkens11wilkens11 Posts: 48
    Hi Jaatbeni, production for the 2005 MY starts in July (July 2004). There are some phase-ins, but most of the changes happen immediately. So you might as well go order now (or soon, I guess, depending where you are; there are waiting lists here in CA).
  • wilkens11wilkens11 Posts: 48
    I looked at this, BMW's DSC seems to be a refinement of ASC (automatic stability control). These two are the same except that DSC takes steering wheel input into account, and tries to keep the car going where you intend.

    Both systems control throttle and apply brakes to regain traction. DSC additionally works to keep the car on track. In a Mini this means countermanding your right foot in snow or rain, thereby preventing understeer.

    DSC is good for BMWs, which can spin out if the driver is careless.

    BTW, I don't like any of the packages either, but many individual options look good. You sure you don't want the Chrono option, which gives oil pressure/temp? And the universal garage door opener? 3-spoke steering wheel? There's a 2005 options list floating around somewhere.
  • wilkens11wilkens11 Posts: 48
    Hi Micweb, I'm glad to hear about your good experience at East Bay. They're my first choice too, once I take the plunge. You mentioned you got Pepper white; my understanding is that P white and indie blue go away for 2005, but I'm a little confused about the exact schedule. Did your sales rep mention anything about this?

    Would you like to say a little about how the ordering process has gone so far? I mean deposits and when to expect a production number, that kind of stuff...

    Congrats on your order!
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    ...and I go my order number.

    Ordering is easy. $1,000 refundable deposit, a check is fine (and they'll hold it for a week if you need to move funds around, as I did), you get a one page spec sheet and receipt for your check.

    A month later I got a call saying their allotment was increased so my car was ready to confirm earlier than expected.

    I gave them the update last week (they had package and option numbers) and it will actually go into production in a month.
  • wilkens11wilkens11 Posts: 48
    Cool, you got moved up! Sounds like the impulse buyers are getting weeded out of the line. :-)

    Thanks for the info on the process, sounds painless.

  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    ...since pricing is pretty "transparent" for MINI's, the only issue is valuing your trade-in. Unless you are trading in a MINI or BMW, I don't think most MINI dealers will be holding your trade in for resale, they will be selling it to another dealer.

    I'll let you know how the trade in aspect works out for me. The only silver lining in this cloud is the fact that East Bay MINI is part of the large Hendrick's group and can probably move my tradein to one of their other lots.
  • dancehausdancehaus Posts: 10
    I'm buying a MINI. I've test driven the S, and I love it. But, I just came across a bit of info on the site that says MINI needs Super/Premium Unleaded. Is that for real? I'll be using it for commuting 50 miles round trip every day, and if I have to pay that much more.... I dunno. One of the perks to getting a MINI was the fuel economy, for me, and premium gas would cancel out that factor.
    What say you fans and gurus?
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Premium is recommended. It has knock sensors so I would expect you could run regular and it would detune to avoid engine damage, but what's the point of spending extra on a higher-performance car so you can feed it gas that turns it into a lower-performance car?

    And the MCS is not a very good gas mileage car. It does very poorly for its size and many owners (myself included) are not even getting the 24 mpg city figure ... more like 21-23. I'd recommend you look at the Mazda 3 which returns much better mileage on regular gas.

    - Mark
  • crunchcrunch Posts: 84
    If you want to run regular gas, look somewhere else. The S is supercharged and MUST have the proper octane or it will burn the pistons and the warranty WILL NOT cover the damage. At that point, premium gas looks real cheap. They can tell if you have been using the proper grade gas so don't fool yourself into thinking you can get away with 87 octane when 91 is required. IMHO, the Cooper S is not and was not intended to be an economy car.
    BTW, the difference between 87 and 93 octane prices in my area adds up to about $2 per week more for me.
  • wilkens11wilkens11 Posts: 48
    I don't plan to trade in, so that's one variable gone. Just need to find the time to go test drive.

    I'll be eager to hear how things go for you!

    By the way, it looks like 2005 base prices are reported to be the same as last year.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    ...most excellent, I was expecting a 3% increase (the big bump is usually at new year from what I heard).
  • dancehausdancehaus Posts: 10
    I test drove the MCS first, and now I've driven the MC. I spoke to the salesgirl and she said that mid-grade or Plus would be fine for the MC. I would agree that the S is not an economy car.
    BTW, John Roberts MINI in Dallas are stiff-necked boobs.
  • crunchcrunch Posts: 84
    It might be OK to use mid grade in the MC but you may loose a bit of power. The folks on the MINI owner's forums at MINI USA swear that using anything less than 91 octane isn't worth the savings.
    About JR MINI, The day that I took delivery of my MCS I was told that they were becoming an AutoNation dealer. It's possible that they have changed a bunch under the new owner's rules. I haven't had a reason to return so I wouldn't have noticed. Sorry you weren't treated well.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    For heaven's sake, follow the guidance in the owner's manual, not a salesgirl.

    In general, sales staff are one of the worst sources of technical information. Everything they say is tainted by their desire to make a sale - if they preceive that a customer is sensitive to the requirement for premium fuel, nine times out of ten, they'll say it is Okay to use other fuels regardless of whether they have any information to that affect - anything to move the sale along.

    - Mark
  • sparkrsparkr Posts: 2
    I'm considering a Mini for me to drive for a couple of years and then hand down to a daughter. Of course the daughter is all for the idea, and I am so tempted. What I want is reassurance that the Mini is even a little bit practical for mom-style around town driving and transportation. We will still have a minivan and a Honda Accord when we need more room.

    Are the back seats in a Mini acceptable for a kid or two; can it hold several grocery bags or a pile of drycleaning? I am sick of driving a mom-mobile and would **love** something small and zippy, but I do need at least a marginal amount of practicality. And if it comes in hunter green with white bonnet stripes, so much the better!
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    You should test drive one to see if you can handle the super-hard ride without spinal damage.
    Of course there is enough room in the back seat for small children or a few grocery bags.
  • crunchcrunch Posts: 84
    Mrs Crunch really LOVES her MC for around town stuff. You can park it almost anywhere. The ride on a standard MC with the 15 inch wheel package isn't bad at all. My MCS with modified suspension is harsh but the MC rides well. If there is a problem with the around town stuff, it would be that a lot of people want to talk to you about it. As far as the back seat goes, I am 6' and over, well lets just say I could stand to loose a lot of weight, and I have ridden comfortably in the back seat with my 5'10" wife in the seat ahead. It was OK for a short trip but really hard for me to get out of. If you aren't too tall, you should have no problem getting two kids in the back.
    About Storage: If you have the passengers in the back, then you will be limited to only a few bags of groceries and the car probably won't have a lot of acceleration. With the back seats down, I've hauled a bunch of stuff.
    I can also recommend the CVT if you don't want to change gears. If you need an MCS then its shift gears or wait until after 1/1/2005 to get an MCS automatic.
    My suggestion is to take the kids and go for a test drive. Decide for yourself. The worst thing that can happen is that you got to drive a MINI :)
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,566
    Is that definite that there's an automatic available in Cooper S trim after Jan 1? Is it a CVT or a conventional autobox?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • crunchcrunch Posts: 84
    This was taken from a forum on the miniusa mini owners area.
    There are a number of new options that will be available starting 1/05. Prices not announced on these:

    - Automatic (not CVT) transmission with paddle shifters for the S.
    - Limited Slip Differential for all models.
    - Rain sensor wipers with automatic headlights.
    - Factory installed center armrest.
    - Convenience Package (includes universal garage door opener, auto dim rearview mirror, rain sensor wipers and auto headlights).
  • hdogdadhdogdad Posts: 5
    I just purchased an O2 Cooper with 24,000 miles and just love it. Anyone have experience with the life of the tread on the 16 inch Goodyear Run Flats? The tires look to have only 5,000 or so miles left on them. The treadwear appears to be even on all 4.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    on July 5...the website said scheduled for production, the dealer said Monday (their records are more detailed).

    So it looks to arrive sometime in August....
  • wilkens11wilkens11 Posts: 48
    Excellent, they're moving you right along!
  • wary1wary1 Posts: 2
    Hello everyone. I have recently become interested in buying a 2004 Mini Cooper but saw the Consumer Reports rating on its reliability as a big black X. I wondered if any of you have had problems with your Minis.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    6K miles here. No problems whatsoever with my 2004.

    Although I don't think the Mini will ever be as reliable as a Civic or Corolla, most of the poor showing to date appears to be due to lots of teething problems when the car first appeared in 2002. Unless you're buying a used car or one on a lot, any ordered car will be a 2005 which is another year in the books with, I'm sure, further design and production process improvements.

    Having said this, I would never buy a Mini unless you had a dealer reasonbly nearby.

    If reliability is paramount to you, you might look at a Mazda 3 which is also a very fun car, and should be stone-ax reliable.

    Have fun with the decision,

    - Mark
  • crunchcrunch Posts: 84
    I have two 2004 MINIs and I have had no mechanical isues. The biggest problem is getting the grin off my face after driving.
  • wary1wary1 Posts: 2
    Mark and Crunch, thanks for your input. Mark, what do you mean by "one on a lot." I am looking at in-stock 2004s, so assume you mean older than 2004. Also, I read back over the postings and saw a comment you made earlier that there was an astounding decrease in problems with the 2004s. Have you found a source that compares number of complaints for the various model years? Do you think waiting for a 2005 model would yield an even greater quality increase? I see that the price is not going up that much, so the question is just one of waiting (which is not as trivial as it sounds when one wants a new car).
This discussion has been closed.