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  #1  
Old 01-02-2012, 08:59 AM
iwanna330cic iwanna330cic is offline
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Location: Beachwood, OH
 
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Tell Me the Real Truth - How Do You Like Your Mini?

Especially those of you who went to the Mini from driving say, a 4-door sedan or even something more (kind of) exotic like a BMW or Audi coupe or convertible.

I've had a number of Mazda Miatas over the years, currently have a Boxster, and a BMW 3-series X-Drive wagon. I love convertibles, but find the current Mini vert to be a little goofy looking - and it has such little storage space for every day stuff let alone a trip. The soon to be available Mini Roadster looks to be a real hoot, but kinda pricey for what it is...

The standard Mini could be a fun (almost) DD but I wonder how many of you bought/leased one only to get tired of the small size and limited cargo/stuff space? How do you feel about it now that you've had it for some time? I know the Clubman and Countryman are options, but I'm not sure I want to go with either model... especially if I were to keep the BMW wagon (see rather oversized pic below)!

And of course the issue of maintenance and reliability always comes up in every car forum, so how would you rate your experience there?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not raggin' on the Mini. I like it. But I've not had much seat time other than a test drive a couple years ago, and yet I still find myself attracted to the idea of having one. I'm just looking for real-world feedback on the practicality, fun factor longevity piece, and costs to keep things going.

Thoughts?

Doug
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2012, 09:15 AM
too tall too tall is offline
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Location: New Rochelle, NY
 
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Mein Auto: 2011 328iT 6 speed manual
I had a 2003 for about two years. I liked the decent power, high MPG, decent handling, easiest car ever to wash, high resale value, plenty of room for its size.

I did not like the heavy weight on the front, no limited slip, driving position was not ideal without a telescopic steering wheel, and the car image was a bit too cutesy for my subsequent job as a consultant.

I tried a WRX wagon, which had better power and driving position, but the handling felt a tad unstable except in rain and snow.

Then I tried a 2007 Audi A3 and it had gobs of power it was too heavy and was heavy on the front.

Now have a 325iT which I like the most of all.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2012, 09:57 AM
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Andrew*Debbie Andrew*Debbie is offline
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We are coming to the end of a 3 year lease on a MINI Cooper hatch. Our MINI is an R56. This is nearly the same car as the new ones sold today.

Our previous cars were an 2007 X3 and a 2006 NC Miata. In 2008, we moved from ATL to North Wales, UK and the cars didn't come with us.

For the last 3 years the Cooper has been our DD. Our other car is a small European cargo van. The van has no back seats.


Limited cargo space is a non issue for us. There is enough room with the back seats up for daily use. Groceries and such. For weekend trips away, we manage with the back seats up. For longer trips or airport runs we have to put down one of the seats. Anything really big either goes in the Van or we have it delivered.


After 3 years:

The MINI is a fantastic commuter car. It is fun to drive and great on fuel. Handling is good for FWD. Power in the Cooper is adequate for daily use.

The primary controls are good. They are very BMW like.

The secondary control layout (radio, windows...) is a joke. Terrible. After 3 years, Debbie still doesn't know which knob turns on the radio. I often hit the wrong switch when I want to put down a window or turn on the fog lights. This never happened in our BMWs or the Miata.

Turning circle is surprisingly large for such a small car. Minor issue but I keep noticing that the MINI won't make tight manoeuvres that our larger van will. A non-issue in the US where the roads and parking garages are larger.

Worst fault. This car is terribly uncomfortable for long trips. After an hour we are both in pain. The problem is the seats and sitting position. There isn't enough support and you are sitting in an uncomfortable position. Clubman and coupe won't be any better as the front of the car is identical.

How bad is it? We rented a Caterham 7 and it was far more comfortable. If I had to choose between a 6 hour ride in a MINI and a 6 hour ride in a Caterham, I'd take the Caterham and a set of earplugs.

Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 01-05-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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  #4  
Old 01-04-2012, 09:41 AM
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Andrew*Debbie Andrew*Debbie is offline
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Forgot to answer on of the OP's questions.

Our MINI is the first BMW built car we've owned that has been trouble free. No issues at all.
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  #5  
Old 01-05-2012, 05:14 AM
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M.Wong M.Wong is offline
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Wife's daily driver was a 2003 E39 540i/6 before the 2010 Mini Cooper S. The Mini is still alot of fun to drive, very reliable, good gas mileage, good dogmobile, etc. It is a bit small so using it as a weekender car takes some planning. A 3 hour drive to the coast does feel just a little uncomfortable from the seating position, but that's just me - she doesn't experience this (and she's taller than me.) We use the truck for snow, or the E38 or truck when cargo space is an issue.

Biggest complaint she has? The 540i/6 had so much more power, comfort/space/luxury feel, and amazing handling not that the Mini handles poorly. I don't think she expected to miss the E39, but she does just a little.

I wouldn't want the Mini to be our only vehicle... but it's definately a fun vehicle.
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E38 2000 740iL Orient Blue
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Last edited by M.Wong; 01-05-2012 at 05:17 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2012, 12:31 PM
illestminimike illestminimike is offline
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I like MY mini. But my grandpa has an 08 Cooper S. don't really like it that much. Not very good looking. Crappy ride. It is very quick though. And the trunk in my old mini is bigger than his new mini trunk.
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  #7  
Old 01-20-2012, 07:12 AM
WVUMiniMan WVUMiniMan is offline
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I have a 2008 Mini Cooper, 1986 Jeep CJ7 and 1998 Ford Ranger. I love driving my mini cooper. I am 6'3" 240 and I fit comfortably inside my mini. There isnt any room for a passenger to sit behind me but Im the only one in the car 99% of the time.
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2012, 01:59 PM
cappy cappy is offline
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I liked two things especially about my MINI: it SIPPED gas, did not guzzle it. And I loved the digital speedometer. Alas, earlier this week I was rear-ended. While going to get an estimate, I saw an '04 Z4 in the lot. Long story short, I left in the Z4. The only thing that troubles me now about my deal for the MINI is that I trusted the dealer (I know: foolish girl), and bought the maintenance plan, thinking they were giving it to me. That plan is only 15 months old, and I cannot get a refund on it. Had the car been totaled, I would have gotten it. So, BUYER BEWARE. I'm beginning to think those maintenance plans benefit THEM more than they do us. As for the Z4, OMG, I'm in heaven. Watta car. Truly a UDM. (Ultimate Driving Machine)
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2012, 11:37 PM
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Andrew*Debbie Andrew*Debbie is offline
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We just traded our MINI for a Z4 too!


Yes the maintenance plans go with the cars. US BMWs come with 4 years/50,000 maintenance including brakes if needed. So there isn't much reason to buy the 6 year extension upfront.


UK customers pay 350 for 'service inclusive' or 1380 for "service inclusive plus". Service Inclusive is the basic maintenance and Inclusive plus adds brakes and clutch. Both are for 5 years / 50,000 miles.
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Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 01-30-2012 at 05:47 AM.
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2012, 06:00 AM
cappy cappy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew*Debbie View Post
We just traded our MINI for a Z4 too!


Yes the maintenance plans go with the cars. US BMWs come with 4 years/50,000 maintenance including brakes if needed. So there isn't much reason to buy the 6 year extension upfront.


UK customers pay 350 for 'service inclusive' or 1380 for "service inclusive plus". Service Inclusive is the basic maintenance and Inclusive plus adds brakes and clutch. Both are for 5 years / 50,000 miles.
NOW you tell me!!!! LOL
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  #11  
Old 02-14-2012, 01:30 AM
tony35 tony35 is offline
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I still have a (slightly modified ) 2003 MCS, while driving a new 3-er as well. I LOVE my MINI! No issues whatsoever - but to be frank, I upgrade my parts faster than they'd have a chance to degrade. Easy to wash? tick. Easy on petrol? Wouldn't say so. Actually it strongly prefers 98 or more octane fuel, and happily drinks 10 (absolute minimum on normal city conditions) to 15 L /100km.
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  #12  
Old 02-14-2012, 10:49 AM
cappy cappy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony35 View Post
I still have a (slightly modified ) 2003 MCS, while driving a new 3-er as well. I LOVE my MINI! No issues whatsoever - but to be frank, I upgrade my parts faster than they'd have a chance to degrade. Easy to wash? tick. Easy on petrol? Wouldn't say so. Actually it strongly prefers 98 or more octane fuel, and happily drinks 10 (absolute minimum on normal city conditions) to 15 L /100km.
Hi, tony! I couldn't convert liters to gallons, and your 98 raised my eyebrows. We have 93 octane, and I used to get 32-33 mpg city, which is considered excellent, and nearly 40 mpg on the highway. Few other vehicles get that. The Toyota Prius supposedly gets some 55 miles to the gallon, but then if it has to be hooked up to electricity, that isn't cheap either. To me, it's six of one, half dozen of the other. I tried the medium grade gas, but didn't get the same mileage.
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  #13  
Old 02-14-2012, 08:12 PM
ProRail ProRail is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwanna330cic View Post
Especially those of you who went to the Mini from driving say, a 4-door sedan or even something more (kind of) exotic like a BMW or Audi coupe or convertible.

I've had a number of Mazda Miatas over the years, currently have a Boxster, and a BMW 3-series X-Drive wagon. I love convertibles, but find the current Mini vert to be a little goofy looking - and it has such little storage space for every day stuff let alone a trip. The soon to be available Mini Roadster looks to be a real hoot, but kinda pricey for what it is...

The standard Mini could be a fun (almost) DD but I wonder how many of you bought/leased one only to get tired of the small size and limited cargo/stuff space? How do you feel about it now that you've had it for some time? I know the Clubman and Countryman are options, but I'm not sure I want to go with either model... especially if I were to keep the BMW wagon (see rather oversized pic below)!

And of course the issue of maintenance and reliability always comes up in every car forum, so how would you rate your experience there?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not raggin' on the Mini. I like it. But I've not had much seat time other than a test drive a couple years ago, and yet I still find myself attracted to the idea of having one. I'm just looking for real-world feedback on the practicality, fun factor longevity piece, and costs to keep things going.

Thoughts?

Doug
A guy in my church bought a Mini. He's the kind of guy (and his wife) who NEVER make a bad decision (I hate them). He seems to love it, but he's not a big car guy. More like a Comsumers Reports poster boy. That's all I got. Good luck.
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  #14  
Old 02-14-2012, 11:39 PM
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Andrew*Debbie Andrew*Debbie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cappy View Post
Hi, tony! I couldn't convert liters to gallons, and your 98 raised my eyebrows.
Both Octane and fuel consumption are measured differently in Europe! Even the size of a gallon is different.

10l/100km is 25.5 miles per US Gallon.
15l/100km is 15.7 miles per US Gallon.

The 2003 MINI Cooper S used an older less fuel efficient motor.


Our 2008 MINI Cooper used 6.58l/100km. That is 35.7 mpg-US. We always used regular grade fuel.
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The models and equipment (standard and optional) illustrated in this post reflect my misunderstanding of vehicles supplied by BMW AG to the German market. In other EU member states, the truthyness of my posts may vary. Please ignore this post. Subject to change.

Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 02-14-2012 at 11:59 PM.
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  #15  
Old 02-16-2012, 04:47 PM
cappy cappy is offline
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Location: Seminole FL
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew*Debbie View Post
Both Octane and fuel consumption are measured differently in Europe! Even the size of a gallon is different.

10l/100km is 25.5 miles per US Gallon.
15l/100km is 15.7 miles per US Gallon.

The 2003 MINI Cooper S used an older less fuel efficient motor.


Our 2008 MINI Cooper used 6.58l/100km. That is 35.7 mpg-US. We always used regular grade fuel.
Thank you. I lived in Europe '65-'72 (outside of Paris, then Stuttgart, then down in Mons and Groans, as we called it, in Belgium), forgot how to figure it out. Klicks I'm pretty good with. My 2011 Mini required premium.
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  #16  
Old 02-17-2012, 12:55 AM
tony35 tony35 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew*Debbie View Post
Both Octane and fuel consumption are measured differently in Europe! Even the size of a gallon is different.

10l/100km is 25.5 miles per US Gallon.
15l/100km is 15.7 miles per US Gallon.

The 2003 MINI Cooper S used an older less fuel efficient motor.


Our 2008 MINI Cooper used 6.58l/100km. That is 35.7 mpg-US. We always used regular grade fuel.
Regular grade is not a friend with heavy performance modifications.

Thanks for the help with the numbers!
Actually my bike (MV Agusta Brutale) is consuming 25.5 mpg as well, so who am I to complain?
These numbers are way higher than usual, especially than not supercharged (or turbocharged) versions, and I am using performance tuned electronics and parts.
From what I heard about fellow MINI fans, 10L or 25.5 mpg is a good number for even the 2007 on (turbocharged) MCS - not the standard Cooper. Please mind that we are not using the highway if possible, city traffic is a daily issue, and whenever we are able to hit some open, preferably twisty road, speed limits are not really considered. Ooops, I didn't say that!

Driving is for fun, if I want economy I can zip around on my Vespa!
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  #17  
Old 03-23-2012, 11:09 AM
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berford berford is offline
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Location: Suburban Chicago
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwanna330cic View Post
Especially those of you who went to the Mini from driving say, a 4-door sedan or even something more (kind of) exotic like a BMW or Audi coupe or convertible.

I've had a number of Mazda Miatas over the years, currently have a Boxster, and a BMW 3-series X-Drive wagon. I love convertibles, but find the current Mini vert to be a little goofy looking - and it has such little storage space for every day stuff let alone a trip. The soon to be available Mini Roadster looks to be a real hoot, but kinda pricey for what it is...

The standard Mini could be a fun (almost) DD but I wonder how many of you bought/leased one only to get tired of the small size and limited cargo/stuff space? How do you feel about it now that you've had it for some time? I know the Clubman and Countryman are options, but I'm not sure I want to go with either model... especially if I were to keep the BMW wagon (see rather oversized pic below)!

And of course the issue of maintenance and reliability always comes up in every car forum, so how would you rate your experience there?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not raggin' on the Mini. I like it. But I've not had much seat time other than a test drive a couple years ago, and yet I still find myself attracted to the idea of having one. I'm just looking for real-world feedback on the practicality, fun factor longevity piece, and costs to keep things going.

Thoughts?

Doug
Here's my bottom line since owning one (see pic and specs below) for three months:
  • it's fun to drive (handles much like my 335ci)
  • it gets good (if not exactly great) fuel economy--33 city/38 road
  • it gets lots of looks and positive comments (on the order of a compliment a day average)
  • it has adequate space for stuff, but not much if you'r hauling more than 2 people
  • all seats are comfortable, but long people would find themselves cramped in the back.
Did I say it's fun to drive?

Happy motoring!!!

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2012 Mini Cooper Hardtop S in chili red with white mirrors, top and racing stripes. AKA "Big Red S."
Euro Delivery pics here: http://picasaweb.google.com/berford/GermanyAndSwitzerland2007?authkey=uGnlSSrqMTY
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  #18  
Old 03-23-2012, 06:30 PM
too tall too tall is offline
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I have owned a Mini for 2 years and owned and driven BMWs for 20 years, including the 335i. A Mini does not handle like a 335i or any other BMW above 30 mph and around any corner above 40 mph. It is a very good handling car for FWD, and might be the best handling FWD, but I can tell the difference blindfolded between the handling feel of the two cars and the RWD is a better handling and better feeling car, in my opinion. They are both fun to drive, as you say, but I prefer RWD.
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  #19  
Old 03-26-2012, 12:42 PM
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Gluhwein Gluhwein is offline
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We are in our third MINI now. Never had a single repair - just the scheduled maintenance. To me they are the most reliable family of cars I've owned, and I've had 9 Toyotas, 3 Fords, a Suburu, 2 Chevys, a Plymouth, a VW Bug, and 2 GEO Metros. For a small car it is amazingly comfortable provided you get rid of the run flats. For my wife and I it has ample room for groceries and most things we get at Home Depot. What I really enjoy is the camaraderie among most MINI owners. Dealerships organize driving events and giveaways on a fairly regular basis. And the local MINI clubs seem a lot less clannish than the BMW owners' groups. The only beef I have with MINI and why my wife traded in her 2008 S convertible for a BMW 128i is that MINI is rapidly losing its cachet - there are too many of them out there now.

I'll be keeping mine at least until the elections this year - 500+ miles on a tank of gas is kind of necessary in today's economy.
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  #20  
Old 03-27-2012, 11:47 AM
tagheuer tagheuer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gluhwein View Post
We are in our third MINI now. Never had a single repair - just the scheduled maintenance. To me they are the most reliable family of cars I've owned, and I've had 9 Toyotas, 3 Fords, a Suburu, 2 Chevys, a Plymouth, a VW Bug, and 2 GEO Metros. For a small car it is amazingly comfortable provided you get rid of the run flats. For my wife and I it has ample room for groceries and most things we get at Home Depot. What I really enjoy is the camaraderie among most MINI owners. Dealerships organize driving events and giveaways on a fairly regular basis. And the local MINI clubs seem a lot less clannish than the BMW owners' groups. The only beef I have with MINI and why my wife traded in her 2008 S convertible for a BMW 128i is that MINI is rapidly losing its cachet - there are too many of them out there now.

I'll be keeping mine at least until the elections this year - 500+ miles on a tank of gas is kind of necessary in today's economy.
I'm glad you've had such remarkable luck with your Minis. How many miles are on the three you have?

The posts on North American Motoring are too numerous to count regarding problems, and statistically speaking MINI is often ranked DEAD LAST on reliability, by multiple sources.

There have been a rash of 2011 and 2012s suffering from thermostat problems. In fact, the 2012 Cooper S I test drove a few weeks ago failed to start and I had to call the dealership to come pick me up. Sure enough, it was a failed thermostat.

That kind of sealed the deal for me, which is why I am looking elsewhere.
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  #21  
Old 03-27-2012, 02:54 PM
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Gluhwein Gluhwein is offline
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I don't keep any car past the warranty's expiration. We had too many clunkers in the past that died after the warranty expired. I couldn't afford that unexpected humongous bill. With MINI and the warranty coupled with the maintenance deal, we got out of the cars at 36,000 miles or so (two years approx). We kept getting excellent trade value for them so we have stuck with the brand. OTOH, I had a number of minor issues with Toyota and Chevy. Those problems usually resulted in the cars still being driveable, but required wasting valuable time and effort to get them repaired even when still under warranty.

It's really just a crap shoot I suppose. In my book, MINI has come up winners each time for us.

MINI less reliable than Porsche, Jaguar and Chrysler? I question whatever source you're citing.
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  #22  
Old 03-27-2012, 03:46 PM
cappy cappy is offline
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Two months ago, I was rear ended in my MINI, only 15 months old. At first, it seemed a simple issue of the bumper and panel, about $700-800 to repair. When the bumper was removed, the tire and wheel were damaged as well as a number of other things; the estimate was now in the $2500 range. No mention was made of the frame. Concerned that the frame was damaged, I decided to let it go. A beautiful Z4 was sitting in the lot when I drove in for the estimate, and I drove away in it. I drive long distances several times a year (FL to DC); a fragile car like the MINI was not a good idea. The Z4 is a thirsty little devil, but I feel so much safer in it.
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  #23  
Old 03-28-2012, 06:54 AM
tagheuer tagheuer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gluhwein View Post
I don't keep any car past the warranty's expiration. We had too many clunkers in the past that died after the warranty expired. I couldn't afford that unexpected humongous bill. With MINI and the warranty coupled with the maintenance deal, we got out of the cars at 36,000 miles or so (two years approx). We kept getting excellent trade value for them so we have stuck with the brand. OTOH, I had a number of minor issues with Toyota and Chevy. Those problems usually resulted in the cars still being driveable, but required wasting valuable time and effort to get them repaired even when still under warranty.

It's really just a crap shoot I suppose. In my book, MINI has come up winners each time for us.

MINI less reliable than Porsche, Jaguar and Chrysler? I question whatever source you're citing.
So you are basing your stellar reliability claim on cars that are approx. two years old and less than 40,000 miles?

Check out the April, 2012 issue of Consumer Reports, auto edition. Mini is ranked as one of worst used car picks, most problematic...

Here is the latest Consumer Reports data:

****************************

Used Cars, Problems per 100 cars
2007 Mini Cooper S (Year 1: 9 problems, Year 5: 113 problems). CR's conclusion is this car is aging badly.

****************************

Worst of the worst for reliability, "much worse than average reliability among 2002-2011 models"

****************************

"Used cars to avoid"

Mini Cooper Hatchback S, 03, 05-09

****************************

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the reliability data from 2006 to 2011.

Mini Cooper Hatchback S

Engine Major: 2006 "better/good"; 2007-2009 "much worse than avg", 2010 "better than average" and 2011 "better/good"

There seems to be a similar trend in most categories, , i.e. marked improvement in reliability starting in 2010, with below average reliability for 2007-2009, except for fuel system, which is "much worse than avg" from 2007 through 2011.
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  #24  
Old 03-31-2012, 04:18 PM
Lars335 Lars335 is offline
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I have an 09 JCW R56 and absolutely love this car, and it's economy is something unique to a car with the performance delivered by this little beast, I know BMW owners won't like admitting this little car is capable of absolutely owning them in the twisty roads, for many reasons, yet the main is weight and power being put down so smoothly with worry of traction like many higher powered rwd cars, there are many tracks here in California and I'm available to show those what's mean, seriously if you have not pushed a Mini hard you have little idea how capable this beast truly is capable of turning at very high speeds, not to mention stopping power right up with some of the best street cars out there, remember its only a 1.6l engine yet provides huge fun driving and rewards with still great mpg easily returning 400-450 miles/tank with lots of spirited driving + traffic grid lock too... Do not wait as long to service the engines, 3k miles is insurance that feeds life into this little engine, I feel the recommended intervals are far to long, hence so many issues from owners who basically neglect their engines.
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  #25  
Old 03-31-2012, 04:22 PM
Lars335 Lars335 is offline
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Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 08 Tundra
Would I still own a new M3 you betcha it's an amazing car built very well, yet does it have the fun factor the JCW has, yes and no, the Mini JCW is just so much fun anywhere you drive. They are both great cars
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06 300C SRT8 Supercharged
06 Goldwing
09 R56 JCW
08 CRF 450 SM plated
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