Step One: MINI Sold

I’m happy to say that after less than a week on the market my 2002 MINI Cooper is in the process of being sold. While I had a couple of very interested parties (and three offers in total) the MINI went to the first person to actually see it in the flesh. I’m excited, the buyer is excited, everyone’s happy.

However now I need to think about my next MINI. First off I know it’ll be an MCS. I’ve had my Cooper for three years now and I’d like to try something different. I also know I need it to be as black as possible (“how much more black could it be? the answer is none. None more black“). I’d like the car to have a much different personality than my indie blue/white Cooper. I also am pretty sure I’ll need 18” JCW wheels. I know there are downsides but I simply must have them.

Beyond that I may go with some or all of the following: Sport, Premium and Cold Weather packs as well as chrome trim (inside and out), LSD, anthracite dash, octogan cloth/leather seats, rear foglight, anthracite headliner and maybe a few other bits. So my question to the educated MINI owning readers of MotoringFile: how would you spec a new 2005 MINI? Is there something I’m missing in this list? Is there something you’re missing on your current MINI? Specifically for those that have upgraded from older MINIs, what features have you found particularly nice?

I’m hoping that this will help not just me but all those readers (especially those new to the MINI world) who are also in the process of ordering their car. There are lots of options, and as a newbie, it can surely be quite confusing.

Now, on to step two…

  • Jon

    Do you have an iPod? If so, how are you planning to connect it?

    What about the Harman Kardon upgrade? As you can see, I’m interested in audio quality (other than the sweet exhaust note, that is)…

  • The ICE-Link Plus is definitely going in. The H/K is nice but I just don’t feel the need to spend the $500+ on it.

  • OOhh!! All Black! Should look sharp! What do you think about either red/black LOTH (Leather and Cloth) or blue/black leather.

  • Okay so the “classic” is gone, and an MCS will take it’s place. So much for waiting for the Pugoet(sp) engine huh?!

    I’d go Automatic with the MCS, just to make it truely different from what you had. I don’t know if you would need the NAV, but the optional Gauges seem like a nice fit for you, more chrome as well, go with the chrome accent kit inside.

    Oustide…See what you can get black otherwise go with aftermarket carbon fibre(the cool black).

    ENJOY the shopping!

  • Kurt – I’m thinking red cloth/leather combo currently. I was also toying with the grey/black leatherette as well.

    Michael – who’s to say I won’t be upgrading again in two years to the 2nd production year of the R56 🙂

  • Ian

    Gabe, Congratulations 🙂 Is a sunroof an essential for you? As you know, I advise against both it and auto a/c, so would keep clear of the “premium” package …

  • johnsocal

    If you already sold your MC what are you driving in the meantime?

  • Congrats on the sale, Gabe! I’m jealous, seems like all the MINI bloggers are getting new MINIs these days…all except me :(.

    Perhaps in another year…

    Black on black should look really sharp, seen a few and it looks quite sexy. Of course keeping it clean is a whole different matter…

  • johnsocal – well I won’t technically say good bye to my MINI until this Saturday. That said the deal has been struck and the wheels are in motion. Once it’s gone I’ll be walking, riding my bike, and bumming rides (my commute is only about 2 miles). My new one should be here by late May.

  • Nicholas P

    my 05 was specced as:

    black on black sports package auto sensing wipers (must have!) auto a/c MFSW (must have!) chrome interior/exterior (love it!)

    i’d add lsd (wasn’t available when i got mine) i’d add cold-weather, too, as it’s cheap

  • Tim Scudder

    Hey Gabe,

    Congrats on the transition… I just took delivery of a 2005 MCS Black/Black (none more black!) and I kept the options list as brief as possible with the goal of trying to minimize weight, maximise performance and keep the nut to a minimum. Toward that end I spec’ed the LSD, H/K, Integrated Garage Door Opener (one less gadget to store in the cubby challenged MINI), summer tires on S-lites (my one sort of regret – they look nice but as you know they’re a bit portly – I should of stuck to the 16″ x-spokes until I have the chedder to do proper wheels) and multi-function steering w/cruise. I’ve had the car for three weeks (3400 miles already!) and I’m very happy with it. I’ve added the glove box organizer, Ian’s auto-up circuit, the cargo-net, the trick S valve stem caps and hardwired in my Valentine 1 with the remote display velcro-ed dead center below the toggle swith box. The five coats of Zaino make the black come to life! Now if I can just stop flipping through the JCW catalog twice a day…

    Although this is my first MINI, I had driven a couple (a 2003 and 2004) and clearly remember the off the line bog of the previous iteration. The ’05 suffers no such malady! The gearing is spot on! In fact, it’s so easy to break the fronts loose in first and second that I wonder how effectively the extra giddy-up of the JCW gets to the ground? Nothing wrong with any of the options you’ve mentioned but I can tell you I haven’t missed any of the ammenities I left off and I still grin ear-to-ear whenever I drive the thing! Keep us posted on your final config…

    Best regards,


  • Meg

    I can tell you from my own experience that the black with the anthracite dash looks great! So glad I went this route. Only change I would make to my current 05 is the xenons.

  • blalor
    My new one should be here by late May.

    day-mn! That’s mighty speedy! Already have a slot allocated @ Patrick (?)?

    I had a hard time keeping the option list managable, and I think my wife would probably argue that I didn’t… 🙂 I added the “LOTH” as an afterthought, when my MA couldn’t figure out how to specify the black/grey leatherette without grey doors. I think that’ll look bloody magnificent (judge for yourself), carring the black/red thing to the extreme.

    That said, I really like the all-black and Indy Blue MINIs…

    Being a gadget freak, I had to overcome the impulse to get the Nav and every other twiddly bit that was available. I did put the kaibosh on the auto A/C; it just didn’t feel right in what should be a fairly “raw” driver’s car. I am wondering about the decision a little, however. The downside to the Nav is losing the central speedo, and I personally don’t like the look of the chrono-pack…

    I did add the LSD, and I just can’t wait to give that a whirl.

    43 days and counting…

  • If you are getting a sunroof, be sure to get the sunroof wind deflector for it. Not only does it look cool, it also cuts down on the noise when driving with the top open.

    If you ever haul around pets or anything messy, invest in the rubber boot extension mat. It protects the backs of the seats when they are down to haul stuff.

    Our MINI has just about everything, except SatNav, and I love all of the features!

    I opted for the AUX IN instead of the dedicated iPod connector, because I sometimes like to plug my pocket scanner into it to hear over the stereo speakers.

    I think the HK is worth the money!

    Good luck with the new MINI!

    We will be getting a new one in ’07 or ’08, but keeping our ’04 knowing that someday it will be a classic!

  • Gabe –

    I wholeheartedly agree – the blacker the better, until they come up with something darker! Yes, it’s a pain to keep clean, but when it’s clean, as Keanu says, “Whoa!”

    To get really dark, go chromeless – mesh grille, blackout the beltline and headlight trim… heh heh…

    I OD-ed on the options buffet the first time around. This time I kept it simple, just going for the H/K (not available the first year), the sunroof and the fogs, and saved the dough for go-faster goods!

    You’re lucky, too, you can opt for the LSD and antracite headliner… 2 things I would certainly have gone for had they been available – unfortunately they are not retrofittable. I really liked the darker headliner, made the car feel more substantial for some reason. While you’re at it, look into the JCW brake upgrade – competitively priced and factory warranted…. and when are those Recaros going to be available?

    You’ll love the bump in power from MC to MCS. The exhaust pop is excellent! The new gearing is a great deal different than the early MCSes. Plus most of the rattles and squeaks of the early cars are gone, and the newer ones feel just so much more solid… that’s probably my most lasting impression.

    Well, I’m excited! Looking forward to your reviews!

  • Vanwall

    Congrats on the sale, Gabe! I know how it can be, wondering if you’re going to be able to get the numbers you want, avoiding the looky-loos, keeping the car ready for prospects – but then again, you’re driving a MINI, which is a hot commodity. First to see it buys it – that’s the ultimate.

    I know dealers for other marques that are shopping around for used MINIs to sell, because thay can get what they want for ’em, unlike most other brands. They have standing orders to never turn down a MINI in trade, too.

    Good thing you weren’t trying to unload a ‘Burb – even the dealers have whole lots of SUV’s that are basically dead weight for the forseeable future. 😉

    They need to get more MINIs on the road!

    As for your new black MINI, GET EVERYTHING YOU CAN, DON’T HOLD BACK. We got everything available for our ‘S’, except the auto-dim, (which we now sorta regret), so if you’re on the fence for any options, go for it. Go JCW – even the 18-inchers. 😉 I like the auto-air, and as I’m a tall person, the sunroof gives a more open feeling, plus SoCal is good place for open driving almost year-round, so it is a well used option. I thought about black, myself, but growing up in AZ, I have an aversion to blistering heat. 😉 Keep us posted on the option circus!

           Rob in Dago

  • Franz


    I can vouch for the octagon cloth/leather. It is great and looks super with the anthracite header and dash and interior chrome. I have to say that I love the clear bra I put on too. With black the lines may be too visible, but if the debris on Chicago roads is anywhere near as bad as here in Rochester, NY, it with save on a lot of touch ups. I also have to say that I love the H/K stereo. It was definitely worth the $500. The sunroof on the ’05 as you know has few of the quirks of the older sunroofs so you’ll love it. I’d also say that if you are going to shell out for the JCW wheels, you might want the brake kit too. Personally, I’d go aftermarket on the wheels for cost and weight. Have fun!

  • Now starts several grueling MINIless weeks for you!

    There are two great ways to have black: black and white (like mine), and black and silver/chrome, like what you want. Black roof, silver rims, exterior chrome package will look great.

    I hate to disagree with Ian, but the MINI sunroof is excellent, I’m sure you know from many others how great it is open and closed. And the Auto AC is truly great since the 05 revision, absolutely no annoyances whatsoever and it does an amazing job.

    Two things I wish I had were LSD and anthracite headliner.

  • GuateMINI

    I have a 2005 MCS BRW/W with Premium and Sport. I changed the 17″ to 16″ because Guatemala has some serious road deficencies. That said, your 18″ should be awesome.

    The sun roof is very nice, but you’re either into them or not. I am. I also very much like the glass when it is closed.

    I would go for the H/K stereo witht he iPod adapter, but tunes are important to me, The only thing I haven’t seen mentioned is the ChronoPak. I very much like the tach & speedometer in front me. I also like the additional gauges in the middle and I wouldn’t want the NAV.

    Obviously you know the difference between the MC and the MCS. They’re both great, but I hope you’ll enjoy the supercharger whine.

  • GSKChicago

    Congrats on the sale. I have to run and will comment on specs later… But…

    Are these ( the JCW 18’s you refer to? I searched MF and this is what I found. Are there others I’ve missed?

  • greg

    Hi Gabe! I’m with Rob. GET EVERYTHING! I did including JCW and JCW suspension. I agree with IAN on skipping the premium pkg. I wish I got the anthracite headliner but I got mine off the showroom. Next time I’ll order it. I’m all black except for chrome inside and out. Int. chrome is a must as are the aux gauges. They look awesome..especially at night! I also think my web spokes look incredible. Of course don’t forget the running lights. GOTTA have em’. HK is worth it too. Did I mention panther black leather?

  • Chris M


    Good for you! I don’t have a lot to add except to echo the others who say: the H/K option is worth it. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darned good.

    Also, weren’t you going to add those illuminated sills, as featured in a post a while back?

  • greg

    Oops! I forgot LSD! GET IT!

  • James

    Gabe – Watch out on those 18s – I had to replace the front tires on my 17s after a year because I hit too many potholes and the ultra-stiff sidewalls cracked. It cost something like $500 to replace just the two of them. Sometimes you just don’t see potholes, or can’t slow down in time. Either way, it’s an expensive mistake.

    My next MCS will definitely have 16s.

  • GMFlash

    I have the Auto a/c in my 2005 Cooper S and have enjoyed it very much. I had an entire Ohio winter to test it out and was very pleased with the way it operated. The heat turns on low at first in the upper area of the dash so you don’t get blasted with cold air and within a couple minutes gets warmer while also defrosting/defogging the window. You never get blasted directly and before you know it the car is at the temperature you desire. Same thing for the summer really. The car heats up or cools down quickly and you forget that the a/c is even on after a few minutes.

    Chromeline interior and anthracite headliner is a must! The darker (matching) headliner makes the car look very classy compared to the “economy gray” look. I was worried that the chromeline interior might distract me by reflecting sunlight but it hasn’t been a problem at all. I have an EB dash w/ black leatherette seats, anthracite headliner, and chromeline interior, people are very impressed by how classy, sporty, and unique it looks when they first sit down and see it all together.

  • RB

    Get the sunroof, why would you not!? This ain’t a racing MINI. It’s a bit, to me, claustrophobic without it.

  • greg

    Gabe. I have another recommendation. I put black bonet stripes on my black mcs. The white lines are mostly all that shows but it’s really terrific and the salespeople at my dealership were impressed with the idea. Very unique and classy.

    If I had ordered my car I may have gotten black/tan leather. I think that would be sharp on an all black mcs.

    I also picked up an aftermarket armrest. $46 and my dealership installed it at N/C as it took just a few minutes. Looks fine (black leather matches seats) and is comfy.

  • UK#1

    If you are going to get an all black MCS, go for the John Cooper Works package. It would be truely different than that standard Cooper. A red interior would look excellent with a black car. Also do a front rally light bar with four lamps.

  • Frank

    Gabe, congratulations on the sale!!!!

    I know the feeling all too well. Even selling our beloved cars is fun too!

    Now the fun begins again configuring your next MINI. Yeah go for the MCS. the 2005 is AWESOME! The power and smoothness of the car is simply out of this world.

    Have fun and send me any questions regarding your spec.

  • Hey Gabe, I went the same way, indi Blue/White MCS to a Jet black/Jet black MCS with anthracite dash and anthracite headliner, with the cordoba interior and chromeline trim. They look so different. outgoing mini is playful and cheery, new mini is all business. And i’ve actually gotten more compliments on the all black mini than i did the indi blue. Good luck with the decisions decisions…it took me over 2 months to properly spec my 05…and that was working hours each day after work pricing, looking for pics…calling dealer, etc. Good luck 🙂

  • John

    Don’t forget about the Harman Kardon. I have had my 2005 MCS Black/Black-Black/Anthracite for 2 weeks and love it.

  • David


    Congrats, I’m sure you made enough on the sale to put down a nice down payment.

    I just ordered my Dark Silver/White MCS Saturday and I’m as giddy as a schoolboy with his first bike!

    I opted for the Sport Package w/ Webspokes and bonnet stripes, LSD, Multifunction wheel, onboard computer, Gray/black leatherette, silver dash/door combo, rubber mats, roof rack w/ snowboard holder (I’ll get winter tire/wheels from TireRack), alarm, and wheel locks. (inhale…)

    I, too will be getting mine at the end of May. Hey, maybe ours will be next to each other on the production line and they can chat.


    I was just in Guatemala over Easter Week visiting family and didn’t see one MINI (believe me, I looked). I don’t recall hearing about a dealer there either. I saw the BMW dealership and the 1 series. I did see a lot of Yaris (Echo) hatchbacks that look cooler than the sedans in the U.S. Overall, I liked the lean towards smaller cars in general. Oh, and no joke about the roads. You’re lucky to have pavement on some of the side streets. What will you do for service? Will the BMW dealer service it?

  • mini vanilli

    Gabe, im just curious. with all the new info on the new revised 2007 mini. and that fact it is supposedly coming summer 2006 (1 year), why are you opting for a 2005-2006? is there something you dont like about the new model? i have been contemplating the same thing. moving to an MCS, even though i like my cooper. and i am debating between the 2006 and new 2007. please share you reasons why you choose the current model.

  • Kurt

    Have you thought about Black Wheels? If you had the windows tinted and the top black, it would truly blacken the car to the max

  • tim

    hid’s are a must. and i have a black and white mcs with the white bonnet strips i love. in my area there are alot of minis. black ones too but none with the white roof.

  • Frank

    Mini vanilli:

    Simple. The current MINI is the best ever in terms of build quality and reliability. The changes MINI made to both the Cooper and Cooper S last summer brought up the car to a new level of quality and performance. Also keep in mind that MINI has virtually eliminated most of the nagging problems found in early production MINIs from 2002-2003.

    While it appears to be that the all new 2007 MINI R56 will be even better than the current R50/53 generation, the Peugeot powered car will then again a first year model with unknown issues and such. The best cars to own are the ones manufactured towards the end of their life production cycle because most of the kinks have been worked out.

    I think Gabe has made the right decision by going with a new ’05 MCS rather than waiting for the all new ’07 MINI.

    It will take MINI a couple of years to clean up the 2007, so let’s say, by 2009-2010 I will be ready to trade for a new R56 MCS with all the bugs worked out.

  • Todd

    LSD and rear fog lamp (so you can have all the toggle switches)

  • Steve

    I’ll be glad to help you mod your new MCS with those “sleek” MC side sills, orange side marker lights, and solid black fuel filler door when the time comes 🙂

  • K-M

    Hi Gabe,

    I’m actually in the process of buying an all-black MCS within the next few weeks. Note that i’m in Canada so some of our packages are differnet.

    Here’s how mine will probably stack up:

    • Black ext/Black interior

    • Anthracite dash & headliner (still wondering if the headliner will make the car too dark inside.)

    • Prem Pack (includes: MFSW, heated seats, sunroof)

    • HK

    • The Canadian Works Package (includes: sport pack [DSC, fog lights], 17″ web-spoke wheels, LSD, JCW 210 hp kit, carbon fiber mirror caps)

    Let me know what you think!

    Cheers, K-M

    p.s. don’t you just love the excitement of the little uncertainty of not knowing what you’re gonna end up ordering! =P

  • Frank

    Gabe, I highly recommend the factory rear fog light (Get the front fogs too) as you will get a full factory issue 6 toggle switch bank and you will avoid getting that ugly back bumper black plastic cover on cars without the rear fog light.

    Get the LSD by all means, specially if you are contemplating adding JCW or aftermarket mods to the car.

    The Harmon Kardon stereo is highly recommended. I also got the MINI iPod integration and works fantastic. This setup absolutely rocks!.

    Add to your spec sheet the “Convenience” package. Since you are getting all other 3 packs, why not add a fourth one? The Homelink remote buttons are neatly integrated into the rearview mirror casing. This is one of the best MINI options as you will no longer have to carry a remote garage door opener device. the rain sensing wipers are a must as well as the self dimming rear view mirror. They are not only cool, but very useful options and add resale value to the car.

    18″ JCW wheels? Nice but pricey!

    I would get the JCW airbox to start. Then if you feel the need for more power then upgrade and beging modding but in my opinion, the stock 168HP MCS is a wicked fast car right out of the box. Try it out first in stock form and then take it from there.

    Black is a beautiful color and all Black MCS have “Stealth” writting all over them. You will save money by not getting metallic paint this time around, but be prepared to meet the demands of keeping a black car looking pristine.

    Stay away fron the chrono pack and get the dealer installed OEM MINI set of gauges. I like them better and are positioned low in the center console. You will not loose your center speedo.

  • Kyle Bentz

    Well, I’ve had my Cooper for about five months now and I absolutely love everything about it, except I feel that it is missing one thing: a sunroof. Before I bought my Cooper I previously wasn’t much of a fan of driving with windows down and such, but I’ve been doing it daily now (mostly so I dont have to turn on the air-conditioner) and I feel a sunroof would have made my car complete. But oh well. As for your list, I can’t say I’d change/add much except for one thing…. all black? Come on, give it a little flavor!

  • Derek

    Great news Gabe!

    A MA here in San Antonio has an ’05 black/black MCS JCW LOTH H/K w/ JCW wheels. Very very nice.

    Advice – he bought the tire/wheel insurance and good thing: he ran over a softball-size rock in the middle of the tire. Rim looked OK from the outside and ‘inside’ and stayed round at the lip, but it had buckled and cracked the rim in-between. Instant air-loss. He’s OK and the car is too. Insurance paid over $600 to replace ONE tire and wheel…



  • nrkist
    • LSD
    • Front and rear fogs
    • Anthracite headliner

    Not only are they obscenely expensive, but getting the JCW wheels alone without any “real” JCW components like the JCW suspension, brake or tuning kit is a bit… well… I won’t use the “R” word, but it strikes me as not too far off from slapping some M3 styling bits on your 318. Not very cool.

    Are you sure you don’t want to wait for those “special options package” seats? If you can order only months before those are available, then you have a steel will. The seats are the only real disappointment I’ve had with my S.

  • that’s weird.

    good luck with the new ride, enjoy…

  • Alan

    Convience Pack!

    If you’re going for all the other options, get the convience pack. The auto dimming mirror is excellent for those SUVs that blind you, and the rain sensing wipers rock. The only reason I could see not getting it is either you don’t want more options, which obviously isn’t the case or you’re worried about windshield breakage and the extra cost of replacing it

  • Gabe, im just curious. with all the new info on the new revised 2007 mini. and that fact it is supposedly coming summer 2006 (1 year), why are you opting for a 2005-2006? is there something you dont like about the new model?

    I totally agree with Frank on this. The 2005 MINI is just pheonominal and I simply can’t wait. I’ll probably keep this car a minimum of two years and then go for the second model year of the R56 (which by all accounts sounds like a fantastic car).

  • KevinR

    I’m currently contemplating trading my ’04 for one of the last of the ’06s. I bought my ’04 off the showroom floor so I’d like the opportunity to spec one to my liking. That being said, I’m having a hard time deciding what color I would want, much less deciding everything else.

    I do know that I don’t want auto A/C again, I do want Xenon headlights and I do want the Cold Weather package. If I could swing it, I’d go for the full JCW setup, with the possible exception of the wheels (I’m not a fan of 18″ wheels on MINIs).

    Good luck and enjoy the ordering process!

  • ryan

    get all the pkgs and the harman kardon, although the sunroof does add weight they are very hard to sell if you don’t have it, plus they just seem so much smaller inside. as for the harman, $500 is cheap if you ever try to upgrade it and it is a nicer, cleaner install than anything you could ever do if a little short of bass. as for wheels i went for bbs rgr 17″ wheels without runflats which only weight 16lbs each and look great. in chicago and the midwest those 18s could be quite harsh…

  • mini vanilli

    gabe that makes sense. i might be joining you. a 2006 sounds like a good idea. by the way i am writing this on a sony PSP. i think i am the first person to visit on a PSP. still looks great.

  • Whoa – can you get a pic? I’d love to see that!

  • mini vanilli

    sure can. ill send it later tonight. where should i send it.

  • mini vanilli

    my bad…ill send it right to you gabe.

  • Not only are they obscenely expensive, but getting the JCW wheels alone without any “real” JCW components like the JCW suspension, brake or tuning kit is a bit… well… I won’t use the “R” word, but it strikes me as not too far off from slapping some M3 styling bits on your 318. Not very cool.

    I completely agree with your 318/M3 rational. I complain about the same thing. However the JCW wheels have no relation to the JCW engine kit. They don’t come with the engine kit and aren’t required for it in any way. They’re simply a MINI accessory developed by BMW and sold under the JCW name. They are also cheaper than several other MINI wheels availble. And they are lighter than a few as well.

    BTW the other wheels I’d love to get my hands on are the Tecnomagnesio Detroit F1

  • Aleks

    As I just took delivery of my 05, i think I have it pretty much covered. Everyody is going to have their favorite options but for me the 2 that take the cake are the LSD, and the sports package with the webspoke wheels.

    Hyper blue with white roof and mirrors, and alloy patina dash. I like the anthracite headliner as well. The one option package I did not order is the convenience package, i didnt want the rain sensor, and i didnt think the auto dimming mirror was needed either. that said the UGDO would have been nice, but I rent a garage and it doesnt have a auto door. The one option I missed, and only because I thought it would take space from the rear seats, is the armrest (DOHT!) I will have to retrofit one.

    I lie the carpeted mats better, they do wear out sooner, but i am not a big fan of the rubber mats because of the smell. As far as upholstery goes, I went with lapis interior and alloy patina. The cloth looks great, but I cant deal with the static they generate, otherwise I would have got the space grey in a heartbeat! I always thought it matched the alloy patina well.

    If you are not going to get the nav, definitely consider the chrono pack. I like the way the gauges look when they are together, and the extra gauges are a nice touch. I go the nav, and the one thing i miss is the temp gauge.

    Black on black looks great, but I am set on a two-tone MINI, and the white roof takes precedence. Love the black/white combo, and bonnet stripes are always welcome on a two tone car.

    And the number one item you must put on your MINI, … wheel locks. $30.00 very well spent to protect those lucious WebSpokes.

    I have a feeling all these opinions are only going to make it harder for you to spec out your next mini.

    good luck, and let me know if I can help

  • Bart

    Gabe, just get everything… it’s the only way to be completely sure….

  • Paul

    Black black black MCS JCW 2005 – 2000 miles. Just about everything on it. If you want I’ll drive it out to you tomorrow afternoon or evening and you can see it all, drive it, and then make up your mind empirically.

  • Gabe,

    Go with aftermarket black wheels. Now that would be a great combo! Black/black/black

  • MikeG


    Congrats on the pending sale! Two people who have stopped to inquire about my car have told me that local dealers who have a used one for sale are asking the price of a new car for a 2 year old model!

    I’ve got a 10/04 ’05 HB/B MCS with all options except rear fog. The one thing I didn’t see mentioned above was tint. My MA recommended tint and I’m glad I got it. Not only does it help with the temps here in Alabama but it actually makes a nice “transition” from the black roof to the blue body color. Black/Black will be very nice. I get the impression you’re fond of the red/black interior. Because I got the HB outside I went with the blue/black leather and body color dash/doors.

    I love the sunroof and it’s open most of the time now. I do have the climate control and have no complaints at all. I’ve read some negative comments about it but I love the system!

    I got the HK…well just because. I think I would have always wondered “what it would have been like” had I not gotten it. Sounds great, works well, no downside.

    10K since Nov, absolutely no “issues”. Saving up for the JCW complete package (including suspension). Wishing I was to be posted to Germany so I could have mine done at the Works facility and get the special badging as well.

    Will definitely have to get a LSD though as the lack of one is noticeable.

    I’m thinking I will hold onto this car and buy another one when the newer ones come out with the AWD (possibly the planned roadster). I’ll eventually end up with a fleet! I don’t think I’ll want to sell any of them.


  • Edge

    OK I have to ask…

    Special badging?

    Also, why would being posted to Germany help… I thought the Works facility was in the UK, just like the MINI factory? Unless of course you meant being posted in Germany then driving to the UK to get it done. 🙂

  • Rob Livesey

    Why all the black? Will you be using the car as a hearse aswell? Get some colour into the thing and go British Racing Green and white viper stripes

  • Simple… I’ve done color for the past three years. I just would like to try something different.

  • Paul Bianco

    I have a 2005 Black (white roof though) MCS. My is optioned with:

    Premium Package Sport Package HK Radio Rear Fog light Chrono Pak

    and i opted to be different and am using white base cooper wheels (the 5 stars). I sometimes wish i got the LSD, but i was on a mild budget, and couldn’t get everything. there are no real other options that i wish i had ordered. Good Luck and congrats 🙂

  • greg

    Gabe. The worst idea ever are the chrono pack/NAV options. Not only are they hideous but they rob the MINI of it’s heart, soul and tradition-the SPEEDO in the middle of the car! Always been my favorite part of any MINI.

  • StevieC

    Congrats on the smooth sale Gabe, & also on the upcoming purchase. 😀 I wish I had half as many people offering their opinion on what I should get for my car!! :O


    p>First thing I would look into is the factory JCW option but who knows when that will become official/available? Those Recaros look like a great option, especially as they also include airbags. I also like all black on the outside, don’t get the chrome bits, keep it all black – black mesh grill & black mirrors. 8) e.g. of a beaut black mini I would personally go the aero-kit, I think it looks awesome! But I do like the chrome interior pieces, maybe this would be a good idea to bling it up a bit on the inside.

    Definites are the Xenons, I love the sunroof (unless you’re a racer, due to the extra weight up top), to me it’s just as good as the cabrio – without the loss in stiffness, & better visibility (IMO only :p). The Harmon Kardon is a must have over the standard stereo, along with MFSW 😀

    If I had the option of LSD on my ’04, I would definitely have gone for it! I would personally go for aftermarket 18″ wheels (the BBS’s on the MWERKS car in the link look wicked, in 18″s they’d absolutely rock) – but I do like the JCW’s. Fog lights – front & rear – if you don’t get them std in the US.

    !!!MANUAL!!! Unless you have a disability, or can’t drive stick. And if you’re really greedy, get the JCW Carbon rear wing, & maybe Carbon mirror caps. 😀 8)

    Good luck on your final decision Gabe, & whatever the choices end up being – you must post pics!!!

  • StevieC
  • StevieC

    e.g. of a beaut black mini didn’t work in the last post – here it is again:

    And I agree totally with Greg about the speedo in the centre. It just sux that Australian Design Rules swapped it with the rev counter because they thought it was too difficult to read in the center of the dash. 🙁

  • StevieC

    I think i’ve figured it out:

    beaut blak mini

    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  • If you’re set on B/B, get the black bonnet stripes. The thin white edges look sharp.

    I have always loved those JCW 18″ Star Spoke wheels. I only wish they came in 16″ which would work better on my MC.

    Get the chrome interior and exterior. A chrome grill on your MCS would stand out.

    I would have sold my current MINI the day I took delivery on a new one. I wouldn’t want to go days, let alone weeks, without a MINI!

  • nfo

    congrats gabe!! JCW wheels look sweet on black MCS’s, i would go for them for sure, you’ve always wanted 18’s anyway… 🙂 you gotta take me for a spin if you’re ever downtown!

  • DaCrema

    I have not looked at the other comments – yet. I have a Cooper, not a S, and like you my next MINI would be a MCS. I like my Cooper the MCS would be something different.

    My current Cooper has Touring and Sport. The new MCS would be have only the LSD, MFSW, Chrome (inside and out) and maybe the seat heaters. BRG/white outside and Anth. dash. If by the time this happens if there are any factory light weight options (ie 6.5 x 15″ wheels for the MCS) they might be added. If JCW becomes a factory option I would get that, but not as long as it’s a dealer option (I play at autocrossing and would continue to run in a stock class).

    For what it is worth this could be more that an exercise. My daughter will get the Cooper when I get my next car, so I have put some thought into this already. This event will most likely take place with the next generation MCS though as she has a few years to go yet. John

  • Brian

    I’d probably stay away from the HK system. One, with the news orders for it are going to delayed at least 4 weeks out, and second (and more importantly) if you ever want to upgrade any part of the system, it would be a nightmare. For the same money, drop in a nice Alpine deck with their Ipod adapter (it actually works, and the information on song title and artist appears on the screen, unlike the factory deck).

    For upgrade, I did the cold weather package (to maximize my top down driving), multi-function steering wheel (keeping hands on the wheel and controlling the system, very nice), and I ditched the idea of the navigation system. Having the speedo in the middle is the only way to go (and the screen just looks completely out of place there).

    As far as the color, it sounds like you’ve decided on black on black, but a bit of chrome really, really stands off well on black. Any chance it will be a convertible, or going hardtop again?

    Good luck with the purchase! You know we all expect photos as soon as you take delivery.

  • StevieC

    I just saw the news about the HK plant fire!! What a bummer… I still think it’s worth the wait, unless your a major techno head & need some seriously thumpin’ speakers in your ride. I like music with lots of bass, & the HK is more than enough for me. Though, to tell you the truth, I hardly listen to it anyway, as over time, I have grown to enjoying the sound of the SC over any music.

    I have the chrome package on my all DS MCS – but if I could do it again, I would only get the mirrors. I think the chrome around the headlights is enough. However, if you really love chrome, go for it!

    Seat heater I cannot comment on as I don’t think it’s required here in Aus, but you US folk probably need them more.

    Again, I think this MINI rocks…

  • Ian F

    I’d like an MCS with a minimum of options: Black w/ white roof Cold Weather Package MFSW LSD chrome grill

    Some day I may actually get it…

    Good luck with the new car! 🙂

  • JJ

    Have a pre-Jan 1 2005 HB/W MCS.

    If I could go back in time, I would: – NOT have the sunroof (for other cars, love sunroofs, but this one is very noisy above 50 mph and too heavy) – NOT have the black leatherette (durable, but too “sticky” and not soft enough), and INSTEAD get the grey/black cloth which looks great – ADD in LSD – ADD in Autodim rear-view mirrors (the round design of the “knob” is slippery and not as good as a “flip” switch) – ADD in Arm rest/storage

    Stuff I really like, and wouldn’t give up: – MFSW with radio controls and cruise – Chrono pack (nice to have speedo/tach together) – Xenons (great visibility) – Anthracite dash (very sharp) – On-board computer (useful) – 16″ wheels (lightness is king) – Euro parcel shelf (space = good)

  • Dietmar Schwarz

    Hi Gabe, it’s all a question of

    1.) What do you REALLY need ? 2.) How much money you want to spend ?

    Guess $$$-upwards there are no limits.

    Nought my MC in Oct’04. I decided to go with the basic version. My MC is black/black with anthracite trim. Also took the cloth black/black seats. That decision was definatly wrong. It’s a bit too plain. The red/black ones would have been a better pick. As far as options I only added the OBC-unit (set to metrics already) the winter package for a warm butt in the Chicago winter, fog lights and that’s about it. The only option I would have liked to include is the rear fog light. But that only because I’ll take the car to germany after my work assignement here and rear fog lights are mandatory over there. From my perspective more car you don’t need. iPod connector is easy enough to install by yourself if needed. I also did it on my own. Also with the 168 HP you won’t outperform any cheap Japanese cars in acceleration but with any Cooper you won’t see them anymore in your rearview mirror when driving through suburbian curves on Sheridan road. That’s for me the fun about this car. Oh, forgot about the rims. I have the 17″ S-Lite for summer and the standard 15″ for winter but could I decide again then it would be the 15″ for winter and not bigger than 16″ for summer. My pick ==> O.Z. Superturismo GT 16″. With my 17″ S-Lite you loose too much comfort. 16″‘s are a good compromise for looks, performance and comfort.

    But that’s just me out of a thousand other choices. Great that there is a car out where WE ALL HAVE A CHOICE TO GET WHATEVER WE WANT TO HAVE. You see 10 VW Jetta’s in plain black every day while driving to work but whom of you see the Mini YOU are driving just as far as the color pick’s go every day only once ?


    Great color choice!

    I have a Black/Black MC with 16 R90, Sport package, Premium, package and cold weather package. I alos added the aero grills. I get lots of comments on how great the car looks, especially when it is clean. As far as the interior: anthracite headliner, dash and all black seats. I tell you the car looks tuff! Your going to love it !!

  • David

    Gabe, While you’re at it. Get some aftermarket smoked-out lens covers front and back. Really “stealthy”.

  • Lance


    I’ve got a Blk/Blk/ ’05 on the ship right now!

    Premium, cold weather, and convenience package, LSD, DSC, Chrome Grill, Front and Rear Fog lights, Anthracite interior and headliner, JCW airbox, Euro parcel shelf and aux input.

    I am picking it up at Classic and taking a 2300 mile first drive at the end of May!

  • RJL in Annapolis

    One word:


    A triple black MCS convertible with black bonnet strips would be AWESOME!

  • Dietmar Schwarz

    Gabe, this exhaust would get a nice rear view. Check out Maxi Tuner’s exhaust. You have to pull it up on and fill in the auction number : 4528639752 Isn’t it a beauty……

    Rgds, Dietmar

  • Paul

    Hey Gabe, I just turned 2540 miles on my Black MCS Auto Paddle Shifters, Premium, chrome package inside out with gage kit as well as H/G sterio, Winter package, Red Cloth Black Leather interior, Sworks Air Box… Love it! Love It! who said you couldn’t have fun with an auto. Oh tinted windows all around- lighter in the front. if i could do something would be a spring kit of some kind maybe sworks maybe Eibac.

  • nrkist
    Gabe: BTW the other wheels I’d love to get my hands on are the Tecnomagnesio Detroit F1

    Ay, guero. Blingisimo.

  • Allan

    Gabe, again congrats on the sale and much enjoyment to you over these fun decisions!

    I took delivery of a black MCS Convertible in December. I’m crazy about it and it gets tons of compliments. Its pollen season and yes, It needs lots of baths this time of year but who cares, its still fun even when its dusted with yellow.

    Here’s how it’s set up:

    Black with black cloth top black/gray two tone pleather – love’em Anthracite dash – beautiful HK – rocks DSC (If it were an option when I ordered, I’d have gotten the LSD too) Multi Func wheel Cold weather package Chrome mirrors (look awesome on black, a must) Xenon’s Fog Lights Driving Lights (really stands out against the black and looks killer) 17″ bullet wheels 6-speed standard(sorry auto-lovers) Rubber mats (also a must)

    I don’t have nor miss the extra digital stuff like climate control and computer or chrono, but know many enjoy these, to each their own.

    My one option I may change in the future are the wheels, though the bullets look great I want something a little edgier. I also may step up to 18’s or the great looking R90 wheels in anthracite which would be awesome with black.

    My neighbor has a similar MCSC with the JCW package that’s incredible. He also has the rear fog light that looks cool and fills in the toggle bar nicely.

    Enjoy your quest to find your perfect combo.


  • michael Boice


    Hard question to answer…very personal your question is.

    I kept my 05 light; HK, cold weather package, chrono package, iPod, Xenon headlights and fog lights, 17 forged BBS RGR wheels with Kumho 712. I also added the 05 JCW package. This is a company car. if I were personally paying for more peformance, I woulf go the after market route. The warranty is a concern, but much more power can be had via after market for $5000.00 large.

    Only other factory option that I couldn’t get was the LSD. Get it! Oh, invisible bra for the entire front end – do it!

    Brake and suspension upgrades are always an option and I’m about to pull the trigger on my purchases. My 05 already has almost 19K miles on it

  • Patrick K.

    Gabe, regardless of what you end up getting, I hope MINI USA comes in and hooks you up bigtime. Three dealers I visited pointed to your site for information during their sales pitches. You are probably worth $100k per year or more to them in advertising/ brand promotion.

  • Wow… now there’s an idea 🙂 Anyone???

  • Has anyone said LSD yet? A must.

  • nrkist

    Gabe – you wrote above that the JCW wheels “are also cheaper than several other MINI wheels available.”

    Which Mini wheels are more expensive? I see the JCW wheels listed at $2334 on Miniusa :0 The closest I see is the Anthracite R90 at $1948.

  • jeeves

    I don’t believe anyone has mentioned rallye lights on the front. I don’t suppose you would get much use from them in town though… I really enjoy my black/black/black cloth 02. A little hard to keep imaculate, but well worth the effort. Enjoy your 05, add the JCW brakes and suspension. Drive the knickers off everyone insight! Ron

  • David S.

    HOw and where did you sell your MINI?

  • 05DSMCS

    Bringing back the MINI USA sponsorship on freebies for your car, Gabe, I know that when I had questions about my car, I was always directed to your website by the MA’s at MINI of St. Louis, so I think they all owe you a big discount on your car!

  • modboi

    If weight is your concern, EAT LESS, LOSE SOME WEIGHT, but definitely stick to the MOONROOF!

  • Holly

    Stupid question of the year – What is LSD? My order just went in today (been on waiting list to even order here in Oregon for 6 months!) But it’s purple with white roof and bonnet stripes and chrome – nothing black at all1 🙂

  • Holly – no stupid questions! LSD = Limited Slip Differential. Here is the official definition from MINI:

    For The Engineering Major: A Limited Slip Differential (LSD) is a modified or derived type of differential gear arrangement that reduces wheel spin, especially when cornering at high speed by allowing for some difference in rotational velocity of the output shafts. Limited Slip Differential (LSD) does not allow the difference in speed to increase beyond a preset amount. By limiting the velocity difference between the pair of driven wheels, useful torque can be transmitted as long as there is some friction available on at least one of the wheels.

    For The Rest of Us: The Limited Slip Differential (LSD) reduces wheel spin while cornering at high speeds to maintain:

    *Go-kart like handling.

    *Optimum traction between tires and pavement.

    This is a mechnical traction aid that is meant more for “spirited driving” where DSC is a software traction aid meant to help keep you out of trouble.

  • Allan


    Another example of how you keep the focus, stay positive and provide loads of useful info.. Way to go!

    You deserve a FREE car!!!

    I was turned onto your site when car shopping by a neighbor – the knowledge and enthusiasm of you and the readers commenting about this fantastic car is the reason I now MOTOR…in a mini.

    Keep up the fantastic work.

  • Thanks guys… the kind words are much appreciated it.

  • Congrats on the sale and impending arrival!

    The only thing I whish I had on my all black ’05 MCS is LSD. I ordered darn near everything else except leather but LSD wasn’t available yet.

    Color wise mine is specced exactly like yours with the anthracite headliner and interior which look fabu! I cant imaging a dark colored MINI without the anth headliner!

    I have found that my silver S-Lites look just right with about 2 weeks worth of brake dust on them so you might look after market for some not so bright wheels to keep the dark theme going.

    In an effort to de-cute Ripper I put on a matte black racing stripe and blacked out the chrome waistband. I am really happy with the way that turned out. Here are some bad pics:


    Here is one that shows off the waistband but you cant see the stripe too well:


    You will hate trying to keep it clean. Just make sure you attend regualr club functions to force you to give him/her regular baths.

    I know it doesn’t get too hot in chi-town but tint the windows and sunroof. It makes a HUGE difference in the overall blackness.


  • woops. Try these links:

  • dangit!!

    Here is the second one again:

  • BUMMER on the H/K delay news! This is real torture! I’m still going to wait, albeit, PAINFULLY. Heck I waited four months for my beloved ’02 Jeep Wrangler to be built and shipped to CT… This’ll be ten thousand times better: On April 1st I ordered an MCS Hyper Blue, black roof/mirrors, black bonnet stripes, Moonroof, H/K, Aux input for my XM Satellite Radio, 17″ S lites, LSD, DSC, Premium/Sport, Chrome liner/anthracite header, Hyper Blue dash/doors, armrest, Lapis Blue n Black leather seats, 6 spd manual and kept the speedo in the center – that look is the BEST! The nav package looks less “classic” to me and I can read a map. 😉 I know we’ll be crying with joy on the 15 minute ride home from Prestige MINI in Mahwah, NJ. We’ll probably keep on going past home for a three hour tour though. 😀 Dave in NY

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