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MINI COOPER THREAD

Discussion in 'British' started by bumboola, May 12, 2004.

  1. bumboola

    bumboola Formula Junior

    Mar 7, 2003
    625
    I went to my local dealer yersterday to drive a MCS. It was out for a test drive, so I drove a MC until it came back. I had never driven a Mini before, and was thrilled with the MC. When I got back, the MCS was in and I took it out for a drive. I figured if the MC was that much fun, the MCS would be twice as good! Wrong! First thing I noticed was an engine vibration which was not present in the MC - hey, I can live with that. Next thing I noticed was the seat was not as comfortable as the one in the MC - no big deal, must not be adjusted right. The increased power was nice, but hey, neither car is really fast. When I took it out on the highway, I was shocked. On the exact same stretch that I drove the MC on, the MCS totally lost it's composure when the road was slightly bumpy, had a weird left to right steering wobble and seemed to lose contact with the road. It had the 16" wheels so it shouldn't have been that bad, and I am used to stiffly sprung cars. Was this just a bad example, or is this typical of a MCS at 75mph+ on a not-so-smooth highway? I wasn't even interested in the MC before the drive, but now I prefer it. Any answers from owners would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
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  3. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
    Global Moderator Owner

    Nov 26, 2001
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    Dindu Nuffin
    I don't own one, but I have sparred with the MCS owners at driving events and this doesn't sound typical. You might want to ask over at the MCO forums where the MINI owners hang out.
     
  4. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    6,106
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    Ryan
    Paul,

    Interesting test drive, but I would disagree on all points. Maybe you got a car that was made on Friday (trouble in England on weekend cars, seem to be shoddier build quality).

    I have owned an MCS for about 14 months now, with 0 problems. As Jerry can attest, I have had 7 different wheel setups on it, and the car never pulled to the right or left as you say. I have had 16s and 17s with different tires, and at 75mph it is rock solid. I travel at 75-80mph on the freeway at all times, and over the year of ownership the car has been absolutely trouble free.

    The MCS is not twice as good as the MC. The MC and MSC have the same suspension and same brake setup. The major difference with the MCS is that it comes with a supercharger and a 6 speed getrag tranny.

    I am not familiar with the engine vibration you noticed, as my car and several other MC and MCS's I have driven have never had either. There is a noise that is emitted from the electric power steering at low speeds, and some owners complain about that. As far as seats go, the MCS has the much more gripper seats. They are offered as a sports package option on the MC. I have sat in both (as my cousin owns a MC), and the MC regular seats are horrendous, they are like sitting on a NYC Caprice bench taxi cab seats. The MCS seats are much more grippy and better lateral supports imho.

    You are corret, neither car is really fast. I don't think people buy these cars for the speed. If you want speed, you can start with a M3, or something else. Remember it is a 17K car, so you can't expect much. These cars offer a tremendous fun factor and joy of driving. The suspensions are great, and very tight. You can go to your local Auto-X and see where the Minis really shine. I personally find the power adequate for everyday driving. The MC has much more useable torque in the city, and is a better city driver, but I prefer the higher end power of the MCS, and the supercharger whine is rather addicting.

    I am not clear what tires the MC you drove had versus the MCS, but the MCS comes standard with run flats that are like bricks. Most of the Mini owners switch to non run flats right when the buy the cars. That could have been a factor. Also I notice that most MCS that are dealer demos are rather beat up, and thus have some problems. Not sure what to tell you, but my experience have been completely different.

    The MC is a great car no doubt. If you buy the MC I would opt for the 2005 model as it is getting a new transmission, as the current 5 speed tranny on the MC has had some problems. Other than that, it is a great car.

    If you get the MCS, there have been some problems of weak windshields and some acceleration stumble issue becuase of the older software on the early builds. I have not incurred either of these issues on my car. The Minis are also getting a facelift for 2005 model year, so if you like the current design, it might be worth looking into. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Here are some other websites which are great for information:

    www.mini2.com
    www.roadfly.org
    www.northamericanmotoring.com
     
  5. 911Fan

    911Fan Formula 3

    Apr 15, 2004
    1,291
    Southern California
    I own a Cooper S. I have the stock wheels and tires which come with the S model. I have never experienced the S losing its composure, as you put it!

    I will say, though, that the wheels which come with the so-called sport package are much heavier which dulls the quickness and nimbleness somewhat.

    You should definitely test drive another example. I think you'll end up preferring the S model. It's no 360 but it's still lots of fun to drive!
     
  6. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    6,106
    California
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    Ryan

    Exactly correct. THe "Slite" wheels which come with the Sport Package on the MCS are 17X7 running 205/45/17s and weigh 50lbs per corner, wheel+run flat tire combined.

    The non sport package wheels on the MCS are 16inch "Xlite" wheels running 195/55/16s and the wheels here weigh about 19lbs by themselves.

    Neither of these setups are light, but the 16s are definitely lighter and the quickness in acceleration can be felt.

    One can choose to buy the sport package MCS and delete the 17 inch wheel option, just FYI.
     
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  8. bumboola

    bumboola Formula Junior

    Mar 7, 2003
    625
    Thanks for the responses so far, guys.

    I'm not looking for speed, the car would be an around town runabout and a daily driver. I'm looking for the big grin factor, something fun to drive. I much prefer the macho :) image and looks of the MCS but it's behaviour on the highway was unacceptable. Ryan, did a change to conventional tires vs. run flats make a significant difference? The car really didn't pull right or left, it was very unstable on a bumpy section and it felt like a 100lb weight shifting in the car left to right a couple of times a second (wobble) over the entire section. I don't think you guys in California realize the condition of some of the roads in Michigan. I plan on getting a 2005 model and researched the car thoroughly, deciding from the beginning that I wanted the MCS. The test drive really left me perplexed about which model to get.
     
  9. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    7,731
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    Jerry
    Interesting - I had the exact opposite reaction. I like the minis & we were thinking about buying my wife one. I test drove the MC and was dissapointed by it's lack of pep. Also, it was an automatic which also added to the boring factor. Next I drove the S and loved it. Very fun car. The dealership was waiting for me when I got back (I took the car out alone) as they got a phone call about my driving. opps
     
  10. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    6,106
    California
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    Ryan

    THe car is a great, fun around town car. It is peppy enough for highways (the MCS) and fun to row through all 6 gears. The grin factor is definitely there. I own some much more powerful cars (one with 6 times the HP of the MCS), and the MCS still brings a bigger grin to my face. As far as macho image, I hate to dissapoint, but there is nothing macho about the Mini. I get lots of compliments at stop lights and gas stations and shopping centers. 99% are from 13 year old girls squealing, few are from guys in their 50s and 60s who had the original cooper back in the 60s, and some are from older 50+ ladies looking for safe cars for thier kids/grandkids. If you want a macho car that will garner breast flashing on the freeway or impress your testosterone induced friends, this is the wrong car to buy. Having said that check out Randy's car (I am at a diff computer, and thus can't post pics of mine, though you can search, there are some pics here of my car) www.maxmini.net. My car is setup VERY similar to his car, minus the stereo crap. It can be made to look aggressive. I don't have the wings and stuff he does, mine is much cleaner.

    Changing to conventional tires from run flats did make a huge difference. My car came with 16 and 17 inch wheel/tire packages. With the 17s the car looks better since the wheelwells are more filled out, but as 911 mentioned above, car's acceleration is a bit slower. Not noticeable, but someone as finicky as me, notices it. The 16 inch wheels with runflats are not bad at all, but cornering is compromised. With 55 series sidewalls, they will squeal when pushed hard. However acceleration was significantly improved. I have run a set of yoko es100s on my car, and dumped the runflats, and the car became much more fun to toss around. It also stopped the "thump thump" ride on the freeway, since the normal tires are of a softer compound than the run flats. I have run a set of Toyo Proxes Ts1, and Parada spec 2s as well, and both those tires were smooter and grippier than the runflats. My favorite tire was the Falken Azenis, they are SUPER sticky, and very fun in the twisties, though not fun on the freeway because they tend to be loud.

    I would suggest go and test drive another one. You are right, I have no idea about bad roads, as the roads around my house are perfect. I have not seen a pothole in about 7 years. :D

    Good luck, and feel free to ask any more questions if you need. :)


    Jerry,

    REmember how I described you on the PM? My theory does not hold water anymore, because I can't imagine you driving like that. :D I will bring my car by your house in the next few weeks, and you can drive it anyway you like, before you decide to buy it. :)
     
  11. mjgermane

    mjgermane Formula Junior

    Jan 21, 2003
    507
    I used to own a MCS and never noticed it being jittery or unstable at speeds of 75+ mph. Not a very fast car, but drove like a go kart. It was a very fun car. I ended up getting rid of mine because I was used to M-power. I got a M3 and could not be happier about the decision to trade.
     
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  13. bumboola

    bumboola Formula Junior

    Mar 7, 2003
    625
    Both cars had manual gearboxes and both were fun to drive. The MC had the 15" wheels. I'm going to take a MCS for an extended drive on Monday to see if that one section of highway was an anomaly or not. The nice thing about the dealership is that they just give you the keys and off you go, no salesman to bother you. I really would prefer the MCS but if it can't handle the local crappy highways I'll get the MC, I'm sure I'll be happy with it.

    BTW Ryan, the "macho image" thing was tongue-in-cheek. :)
    How about those Lakers! What a finish, I've never seen one quite like that.
     
  14. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    6,106
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    Ryan

    My apologies, I didn't understand what you meant.
    and GO LAKERS :D :D :D WOOT!

    Btw try a set of 15s on the MCS, boy does that change the handling characteristics! :D
     
  15. PaulK

    PaulK F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 24, 2004
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    Paul
    What dealership is this? Sounds like a good place to do business.
    How is the audio system in the car? Does the weird placement of the speedo bother you at all?
    Sorry, my dad wants to buy one.

    P.S. What part of Detroit are you from?
     
  16. bumboola

    bumboola Formula Junior

    Mar 7, 2003
    625
    Motor City Mini, the only dealership in Michigan.

    The optional Harman Kardon system sounds excellent.

    There is a digital readout on the tach, so you don't have to look at the central speedometer.

    I'm in West Bloomfield.
     
  17. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
    369
    SoCal
    Does the Mini come with Shift Paddles (F1 style) on the wheel here in the U.S.? I looked at a foreign webpage and it was an option there, but I couldn't find it on the U.S. page.
     
  18. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    6,106
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    Ryan

    No F1 Style shifter on the automatic Minis offered in the states.

    Harmon Kardon is the worst 500$ option you can spend on the mini.

    Digital speed readout comes on tach only on the newer models.
     
  19. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
    369
    SoCal
    I just confirmed availability of F1 Style shifter paddles on the wheel on Euro Minis. The option is about $75-$100 on Euro cars. Damn shame you can't get that here.

     
  20. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    6,106
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    Ryan

    I don't think it is much of a shame. The mini is not a very powerful car, and thus it needs the manual to keep it in the right gears all the time. I have driven the auto and even though it has the constant velocity (CVT) tranny, it seems to be rather sluggish to be considered a fun car.

    If I want a practical, sluggish car to get around in, I buy a auto Honda Civic. If I want a bit more fun and be different with a mini, I would opt for the manual.
     
  21. Tyler

    Tyler F1 Rookie

    Dec 19, 2001
    4,274
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    Tyler
    Paul, sounds like you got a bum example.

    I got my mother a MCS and it is a great little car. I took it on a multi-state road trip and it ran flawlessly. My ONLY gripe with the car were the miserable Pirelli Eufori run-flats that it came equipped with. I couldn't even stand to leave town for the road trip with those tires on. I had a set of Bridgestone Potenza SO-3 tires installed and it really changed the feel of the car IMO. I'm a HUGE fan of the SO-3 so I might be a little jaded.

    She has had no problems with the car and it has been very fun and reliable for her. Makes a great little commuter for the city.
     
  22. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Aug 6, 2003
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  23. bumboola

    bumboola Formula Junior

    Mar 7, 2003
    625
    Nobody here said it is fast. We all said it is FUN.

    In my book that counts for a lot.



    Ryan Z: I spent $1934 on the pathetic excuse for a "hi-fi system" in my 360CS, so $500 for the Harman Kardon system in the Mini seems like a steal! I really thought it sounded pretty good for a factory system.

    P.S. Did you see the Pistons/Nets game tonight? I'd love to see Detroit/LA in the finals, if we make it that far!
     
  24. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 6, 2003
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    Ryan Alexander
    Easy there, I was teasing Ryan Z.
     
  25. bumboola

    bumboola Formula Junior

    Mar 7, 2003
    625

    Don't mess with us Mini Cooper guys, pilgrim. :)
     
  26. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 6, 2003
    22,224
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    Ryan Alexander
    :D "We might drive a little car, but we carry a big stick."
     
  27. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    7,731
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    Jerry
    Your welcome at my house anytime. :)
     
  28. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    6,106
    California
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    Ryan

    Paul it is not about the 500$. I have heard the harmon kardon stereo on a mini next to a non harmon kardon one, and to me they were so similar, that the extra 500 didn't warrant the upgrade. Usually I like to get something for my money, and with the HK, imho you get nothing.

    However if you want to spend it and have all the bells and whistles, go for it. No harm in having it. :)

    Yeah I saw the nets game. What a shame, for NJ. I thought they should have been able to close it out on their home court. I think that reflects on the inexperience of the Nets coach. There were about 3.5 minutes in the 4th quarter where the Pistons were up by 2, at 72-70 and no team was scoring. I feel the Nets let one get away.

    Having said that, I now wish the Pistons win. I want to see Rasheed Wallace get to the NBA finals. THat guy has so much passion, and is a terrific player unlike Mr.Softie Duncan. Because the Nets blew game 6, I don't think they deserve to win 7. I hope Detroit wipes the floor with the nets.

    Lakers Vs. Pistons will be a great matchup. Only thing I don't like about the Pistons, is that they are a very slow tempo team. I like seeing up and down, run and gun basketball.

    :)
     

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