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      01-30-2006, 04:17 PM   #1
jcoo085
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Driving a MINI

My car is at BMW again because of the rattle in the rear. I asked for a loaner with winter tyres because there is still quite a bit of snow on my street and I got a MINI Cooper (only 207km on the clock, I have to be gentle ). I thought I would share a few thoughts.

First off, you can see the subtle BMW touch with the interior lighting scheme (orange displays and night lighting). But the first thing I noticed was that for such a 'large' car there's not much room on the back seats, and even less in the boot. That said, the front seats have tons of room and the doors are huge! I guess that's where all the space went!

I have mixed feelings about the actual interior look. That big, round speedometer in the middle of the dash is a little strange (and takes a bit of getting used to). The plastic on the doors feels cheap, the seats aren't really comfortable enough for extended trips, and the indicator and wiper stalks feel and sound cheap and flimsy. There's that really cheap 'click' sound when you put the indicator on and after driving the E90 I had forgotten what it sounded like. I also had to try and remember there was no 'triple turn signal'. But, the controls are pretty well placed and within easy reach.

Driving wise, the steering is extremely light to the point of being a bit vague. Even so, it still manages to be quick and nimble. The manual transmission however, is quite heavy (in contrast with the steering). Maybe it's because of the low km's and in time it will loosen up. And for those that think the ride in the E90 is harsh, then don't even think about the MINI. You feel and hear every bump in this car (and this is without RFT's).

All in all, I think the MINI is not really for me. It looks kind of cool, but I think that's about it. There's no real driving sensation like there is with a [real] BMW. For the same amount of money I would rather have a VW Golf. Before I got my E90, I rented one when needed for about 2 months all up. It was a real pleasure to drive.
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      01-30-2006, 05:43 PM   #2
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Have driven the mini many times now i too think it was a heavy car for it's size. Felt like driving an A4.

To me, the coop is a car for the girls...
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      01-30-2006, 06:05 PM   #3
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Yeah.. I think I look a bit stupid in it. At least I feel a bit silly driving it....

And I don't think it would be very practical. There's room for 2 tall people or 4 short people (or some combination). And then there's not much room for any luggage either, so forget about long trips or a big supermarket expedition.

Maybe as a second car for the wife it would be OK. But she wasn't such a huge fan either and as I said, I would prefer to spend the money on a Golf.
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      02-01-2006, 10:29 AM   #4
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I dropped off the MINI yesterday and picked up my car, and now the rattle is fixed!! The first thing I noticed was how heavy the steering is. I was so used to it that it wasn't a problem. but after driving the MINI it felt like the power steering was broken.

And the brakes. While pulling out of the parking area I kept hitting the brakes too hard (almost coming to a complete stop each time I did it). The MINI needed quite a bit of pedal pressure to bring it to a stop, but not the E90.

Nevertheless, a few km's down the road it felt normal again.
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      02-01-2006, 03:02 PM   #5
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wow, your post brings a bit of disappointment to me. i've always had my one eye on the MINI but if the drive is as you describe, that's quite a turn off. i still want to test drive one to see for myself. i keep thinking the feel of driving that car is something similar to the chase scene in the Italian Job...
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      02-01-2006, 03:47 PM   #6
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he drove a base mini cooper. An cooper "s" with sports package and JCW upgrades will be a lot more fun and wont give you that PT Cruiser feel.
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      02-01-2006, 05:46 PM   #7
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Yup it was a base Cooper. I realise the super/turbocharger in the S will give a massive performance boost over the 1.6L, but would the S package and/or JCW modifications make a difference for the better? The only things I can envision being changed for the better would be the seats and possibly the trim. It could also tighten up the steering and improve braking.

As well, any sports package will firm up the ride, but as it is already pretty rough I can only imagine what it would be like with a sports package.

Not having driven a Cooper S or any of the JCW models I can't really comment on them. But if we're talking about the higher end models, I would still rather take a Golf GTi or R32. My neighbour has the R32 and it sounds fantastic!

But anyway, it's just my opinion. Don't let me put anyone off it. Take one for a test drive and make up your own mind.
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      02-02-2006, 01:50 PM   #8
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The MINI is a fantastic car - I have a Works S, and to be honest, for fun, sporty driving, my E90 doesn't even come close........truth

Golfs are pretty bland, and lacking in character - a GTi and the current R Golfs look just like every other 1.6 basic model out there - the MINI has a style that no other Eurobox can replicate. And the social scene is massive, and fun !
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      02-08-2006, 05:33 PM   #9
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The MINI is a toy! I have had the fortune of a track session in a CooperS and the misfortune of a 'One' loaner whilst my car was in the bodyshop.

The backseats are less than useless, the wheelarch intrudes so much that you have nowehere to put one arm. The boot is also tiny. The suspension is on the firm side of hard, and some of the interior trim is a bit cheap. Creating the MINI brand was a masterstroke as this could not pass for a BMW. But it's cute, quirky and made in Britain .

If you can get behind the wheel of someonelse's car and give it some stick it's a great drive. The base 'One' is a bit asthmatic, the power is very linear right up to the red line - nothing, nothing, nothing. But you can throw it into corners with reckless abandon, floor the throttle and it'll give you plenty of squealing from the tyres and passengers in equal measure .

The CooperS gives it the performance that it deserves, on a damp track it'll corner faster than some supercars and the supercharger gives it decent acceleration. At the track event most people were there to drive the Ferrari's and for safety they had to pull over every time that you caught them up . Only a Lambourghini Mucielago overtook me!
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      02-08-2006, 05:40 PM   #10
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My thoughts exactly.
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      02-09-2006, 10:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vladinecko
wow, your post brings a bit of disappointment to me. i've always had my one eye on the MINI but if the drive is as you describe, that's quite a turn off. i still want to test drive one to see for myself. i keep thinking the feel of driving that car is something similar to the chase scene in the Italian Job...
Don't let a blinded man's single review fool you.

Go to Mini2.com for more info.
My girl has mini, so I get to drive it daily. its an AWESOME fun little car.
It handles like no other thing on the road. E90 is nothing but a heavy boat compare to the mini.

I say again, VERY VERY fun car. If I ever have to buy a small car, it'll be mini. period.
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      02-09-2006, 10:45 AM   #12
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If I ever have to buy a smaller car, it'll be a Caterham.
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      06-18-2006, 07:32 AM   #13
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mini's are fun!! =)
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      06-18-2006, 10:08 AM   #14
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The MINI Cooper S is a blast to drive. I've been back and forth to the local dealer over the past two weeks, considering one as a 3rd "fun" car. Lot's of BMW influence is baked in.
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      06-26-2006, 05:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AidenL
The MINI is a fantastic car - I have a Works S, and to be honest, for fun, sporty driving, my E90 doesn't even come close........truth

Golfs are pretty bland, and lacking in character - a GTi and the current R Golfs look just like every other 1.6 basic model out there - the MINI has a style that no other Eurobox can replicate. And the social scene is massive, and fun !
i had a mini for about a week when my old man's E60 was on repair...

my comments:
it's extreamly fun 2 drive it, lots of power in a small body
the look is fine and attractive, n i like it

the comfort = ZERO !!!
i went 4 couple of spins n when i came back home my back was killing me, so i gave bro the car in the afternoon..... 2 hrs and he's back with the car saying i dont wana drive this car no more, his back is killing him...
here it costs as much as a Golf Gti, and the Gti is faaaaaaar much better, in almost everything...

and about the look AidenL, the difference between a 1.6 Golf and the Gti is v big compared 2 the difference between a mini and a miniS...
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      07-11-2006, 12:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackMac
The MINI Cooper S is a blast to drive. I've been back and forth to the local dealer over the past two weeks, considering one as a 3rd "fun" car. Lot's of BMW influence is baked in.
Update: I placed an order for a 2006 MINI Cooper S, Hyper Blue / Black top, 6MT, and loaded up. Delivery in mid or late August.
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