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Audio Review: On the Track with the R56

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I was able to get Gabe on his hands-free cell phone for some laps on the track in an R56 Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper S with an automatic. Plus, a ride in a Cooper with Dave Bunting.

Overall, he really thinks this MINI does the R50/R53 justice. If you are one who is ordered, or is still on the fence, you definitely are going to want to listen to this!

Listen Now!:

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Written By: DB

  • Wayne D.

    So the exhaust burble has been eliminated in the US market because of owner complaints, but it exists in the UK?

    That’s just wacky.

  • http://www.shorer.com Ed.

    Watching the Superbowl…. listening to the podcast…. waiting for my MCS to arrive the end of Feb. with even MORE anticipation! Thanks for the great coverage!

  • msh441

    What? No exhaust burble!?! I guess I’ll be listening to this podcast to see what you’re referring to, Wayne D. Sounds like an aftermarket exhaust will be in the works for me, then. Hmmm…

  • http://miniposeur.blogspot.com eto

    Wow… very saddening about the US removal of the exhaust burble. Hopefully, we’ll be able to convince our Service Advisors to flash the ECU to put it back. Seems like it should be possible.

    The exhaust note from the various videos I’ve seen of the R56 Cooper S has been a reminder for me that the R56 is still a MINI in the character of the R50/R53. It will still sound good without it, but the lack of the exhaust popping will be missed if it can’t be added back through a software change.

  • J.Melrose

    Gabe can you clairify your comments a bit regarding the S auto? It was clear you didn’t regard it as a track car, but I had a hard time making out other parts of what you had ot say about it.

    Also, I’m very eager to hear your take on the sports suspension vs. the standard, both for those who track and from the standpoint of those who don’t.

    Thanks. Sounds like that was a great 15 minutes!!

  • Jim

    Just listening. So far, it’s sounding like you’re enjoying the new R56.

    Even on the phone, you sound like you’re driving it close to the edge. Did any “journalist” manage to lose it?

  • Jim

    Gabe, can we assume that you were on a hands free phone?

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Gabe, can we assume that you were on a hands free phone?

    That would be a safe assumption! I was using a corded mic attached to my shirt and a pair of iPod headphone coming off the mic.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Gabe can you clairify your comments a bit regarding the S auto? It was clear you didn’t regard it as a track car, but I had a hard time making out other parts of what you had ot say about it.

    Terrible at the track. The software issues that plagued the last version are still very much present. However it’s not as bad in an autox situation.

  • Jon

    The lose of the burble is a tad sad, but then again the burble is an audio version of the non functional hood scoop. Neither item has the smallest effect on the performance of the car, they are just eye and ear candy.

    What majorally impressed me was the incredible smoothness of the acceleration in the audio clip. I give mini and deffinet thumbs up on the sound, the S had a nice turbo whine and the Cooper just sounded nice going around the track.

  • lavardera

    Gabe – you have to lobby for “burble-on” with the sport button. Everybody happy.

  • http://gskchicago.blogspot.com GSKChicago

    The exhaust burble is one of the coolest things about my MCS. I ruin my gas mileage revving to hear the burble time and time again. I’m still listening to the ‘cast, but from the above comments had to comment myself.

    How could anyone complain about the burble?

  • http://www.c-villeminis.org brad.

    fantastic podcast, gabe! i love the comparison between the auto and manual, back to back. glad you got a non-S on the track too.

    excellent coverage as always!

    brad.

  • Jon

    I know what your talking about GSK, love the burble too but would rather they give us real performance versus an ECC pretender.

    Do like the idea that was expressed by Lavardera ealier about making it functional with the sport button.

  • msh441

    So, Gabe… you mentioned speaking with the MINI designer that he stated that with a wry smile and gleam in his eye he told you they were going to have difficulty getting more power out of the S… not an exact quote, of course.

    The way you said it suggested the man might either have somthing up his sleave for the JCW that’ll blow everyone away, he thinks the ECU is un-crackable (not likely), or he’s toting the current MINI press line downplaying the possibilities: “sorry folks, nothing to see here, move along”.

    It’s just difficult to fathom since coming from the Volvo tuning community I’ve seen how easy it can be to draw power from a turbo powered car.

  • http://www.dragonbrewswap.com PassatDoTd

    Gabe, don’t the paddle shifters make the auto more “trackable” when in Manual mode? In manual mode my 2005 doesn’t change gears until either I tell it to or when it realizes it would damage the car if a shift didn’t occur. Otherwise I can redline through the gears.

  • Craig

    It can be incredibly easy to extract a lot of HP from a turbocharged motor. However, doing so while maintaining stability and long term reliability is much more difficult.

  • seb

    Great podcast guys. Arizonians be aware of for ads reading ‘lightly used 07 MINI Cooper for sale’!

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Gabe, don’t the paddle shifters make the auto more “trackable” when in Manual mode?

    Not if they don’t work when you want.

    In manual mode my 2005 doesn’t change gears until either I tell it to or when it realizes it would damage the car if a shift didn’t occur.

    In a track situations things are much different. You quickly realize how unnecessarily conservative the “sport” programing is.

    In fact you can hear clearly in the audio review that the car won’t go down to 2nd for me entering a corner. It’s the same move I’d make in a manual to maximize power but in the MCSa you simply can’t get it to do what you want. Essentially it’s what I’ve experienced on the road – only on the track it’s magnified and going very fast.

    BTW on a slow and mostly 2nd gear AutoX course, the automatic isn’t nearly as happered as it is on a true racetrack.

  • Ross

    NO burble – dang

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