Oct 31st, 2004
As first reported on MotoringFile back in May the Cooper S willl finally be getting a second transmission in the form of a traditional automatic gearbox. Here's some official news on the new automatic from MINI:
For MINI Cooper S Hatch and MINI Cooper S Convertible, a new 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with Steptronic mode and Steptronic Paddles on the steering wheel will be available from 1/1/05 product onward. This Automatic Transmission includes AGS (Adaptive Transmission Control) and is supplied by Aisin. The same gearbox is used on the Audi TT and VW Beetle.
Oct 31st, 2004
Observations on driving a 2005 MCS convertible:
- The new '05 door armrest is a fantastic addition and the pockets in the doors retain all the previous usability and possibly a bit more.
- The LED lights in the door handles are totally trick and totally useful.
- The lights below the doors are probably unnecessary but, in real world use, very welcome.
- The new, larger interior mirror is really a nice addition. However everytime you raise or lower the top you still must re-adjust the mirror.
Oct 30th, 2004
AutoExpress has details on a possible new iteration of the MINI, a 2 seat speedster. The details seem very similar to the information in the recent Auto Bilde story from a week back (the photo above is from Auto Bilde). Here's an excerpt from this week's AutoExpress magazine:
Taking the MINI Convertible as its base, the Speedster will have two roof options. Alongside an electrically operated canvas roof, a removable hard-top will also be available. It will extend to the rear of the car, offering extra security and increased protection from the elements, effectively turning the MINI into a coupé.
Oct 30th, 2004
I'm 30 seconds into my first drive in the MCSc downtown in Chicago stopped at a light. Two of Chicago's finest pull up next to me in an unmarked Crown Vic. This is the conversation that ensued:
Officer: (in the obligatory thick Chicago accent) Hey, how do you like that thing?
A: It's great so far.
Officer:Is it new? I've seen the regular ones but not the drop top.
A: Yeah, they just came out a few weeks ago. What do you think?
Officer: (He gives it a quick once over) Looks like it's a blast to drive. What's it called?
A: MINI Cooper S convertible – it's made by BMW (since I knew that would be the next question)
Officer: (second officer says something inaudible) My partner calls it a babe magnet! Have fun! (light changes)
Oct 29th, 2004
Yes, the convertible MINI is not as rigid as the hardtop. Yes, the integrity of the chassis is compromised by cutting off the roof. No, it's not going to bother most in typical road use. However putting the MCSc through the daily rigors that are Chicago roads I've found the car will shake and shudder in ways that you never thought a MINI would. Granted this shouldn't really come unexpected… with any car that you cut the roof off of you'll get body flex where there once was none. However it's important to fully understand that this will rear it's head in daily driving. Especially if you live where the roads aren't glass smooth.
Oct 28th, 2004
The New York Times has a piece on how Yellow is quickly becoming the new stand-out color to have, in many cases replacing red in it's traditional role. In the article they of course feature a Liquid Yellow MCS. Here's an excerpt:
Laurie Reiter, 49, an ultrasound technician from Youngstown, N.Y., is from the school of car buyers who thrive on attention. She considered red when she was buying a 2003 Mini Cooper, but decided it was too common. As she browsed the showroom, “Liquid Yellow” jumped out as the perfect fit.
“People just buy cars for transportation,” she said. “But there are still a few of us who really love our cars.”
You can read the entire article here (free registration required).
Okay all you Liquid Yellow owners… here's your chance to represent!
Oct 28th, 2004
Seriously what is it with all these MCS Convertible reviews these days :) Next up, the La Times/Chicago Tribune. Here's an excerpt:
The heavier car is, structurally, not as solid – this is almost always the case with drop-top versions. All these factors taken together, and spread over a 97-inch wheelbase, give the Mini convertible a harsh, rather shaky ride.
…The car is full of interesting sounds. The exhaust system is designed to snarl and burble on overrun (when the engine slows down from high rpm). It sounds more like breakfast cereal.
On the road the car retains its go-kart eagerness and quick reflexes, though it wants to skitter sideways a bit more in cornering. Hardtop or soft box, the Mini remains silly fun to toss around.
You can read the entire review here.