White Roof Radio #156

Big show. Before Gabe gets into his love of the R56…

db is revving the gadget review back up. Watch for the Zune/Ipod comparision this week! Gabe has a few gadgets he wants to review, plus you just know that db will be reviewing his digital camera soon too.

So, is Gabe ready to give up the R53 for an R56? You are going to have to listen for a few clues. And remember, his official long term R56 review goes up on Wednesday. He tells me all questions will be answered then.

Plus, he had a great time at the Dragon. There is a good chance that one had a big effect on the other.

As mentioned, check back Friday for the Zune Review with Brad Day from The Tech Lounge and watch next week for a review of the Treo 750 with Michael Babishkin.

Woofcast #156:

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  • OttoMannS

    Gabe, with your gushing of the R56, MINIUSA should give you the car for free.

    Disagree with your opinion on the design of the R56. Best of luck whichever way you want to go.

  • I can completely appreciate your disagreement in regards to the design. The R53 is a classic that, in many ways, is more immediately accessible than the R56. It has great proportion to it that the R56 couldn’t equal due to the new Euro Pedestrian regs.

    And just to clarify, this isn’t some sort of blind affection. I’ve put a lot of thought into these opinions and how I wanted to express them. And my reaction to the car is after many miles driven on both the track and the road.

  • OttoMannS

    I hear you Gabe. Actually, your tone of voice implies someone that is truly and deeply in love with the car. Every opinion you seem to really mean it. I say go for it, but if I were you, I would hold a few more months just to make sure MINI solves the reported problems with the 2nd and 3rd gear noises and the clutch flywheel.

    I drove the R56 S and I agree with you on that the powertrain is fantastic. It is a well composed car all around without a doubt. My issues with it are mostly the interior and exterior cosmetics. The interior is a bizarre mix of premium and bargain basement materials. I share my dislike of the center speedo and I find that the headliner material is particularly insulting for a car of this calibre. And the speedo is too big and yet it does not house any additional gauges (Like a real temp gauge, essential on a Turbocharged car).

    But here what truly matters is that you like it and you connect with its language (See previous post I made in the other thread). MINI has hit a score with you and that is a good thing because you have discriminating taste.

    The R53 is a timeless design and the detail on it is excellent. I hope future MINIs go “back to basics”and re-incorporate some of the great design cues of the R53 era.

    So are you pretty much set on the color and options? I hear you were not a big fan of yellow cars until this one.

    I will drink a good German beer in your honor!

    Cheers from Marien Platz!

  • Jon

    Have to say there are things I like about both the old and new car. The r56 hasn’t dimished the way I adore my R53 but then again I am already a huge fan of the redesign. The R56 is a different car than the R53, and thats ok because the R53 is a much different car from my 67.

    The front end of the R56 is fantastic, in one day it took my R53 screemer and made me suddenly say wow the front end looks weak on my R53. Plenty of Mini lust to go around in this household, I don’t have to pick only one version of perfection 😉

  • cct1

    Let’s face it: they both suck !! (j/k)

    I prefer the R53, but I still like the R56–especially the new gearbox and seats, and down the road I might get one, once the Stage II JCW is out. But not until my JCW R53 dies, which if I’m lucky, will hopefully be never.

    I understand Gabe’s point of view, with the exception of the steeringhe mentioned in the other thread–give me the R53 any day (except for parallel parking). I can’t believe Gabe felt the R53’s steering felt lighter–the R56 feels light to the point where I’m not as comfortable on a quick turn in; there isn’t as much feedback either–the car I drove felt a bit squirrely compared to my R53, or a stock 2006 S for that matter.

    Granted, the R56 I drove had the standard suspension, which may have had something to do with it.

    They’re both great cars, and there is no doubt that the changes in the R56 will make it more accessible to the masses. Call me a whiner, but I still prefer the R53, but I still give props to the R56.

  • Chuck

    Gabe, How does the R56 stack up against the last factory JCW(210HP)? I remember you really liked that car a lot, of course there is the price difference to factor in, just looking for your thoughts. Chuck

  • Jon

    Not trying to answer for Gabe but in the cast above he states that its quicker than the old S and even the JCW. There really wasn’t a factory JCW last time around as much as a factory installed kit though, and I know many Mini’s out there that would stack up well against the JCW. I believe Gabe has one 😉 and Gabe said that the stock R56 was faster than his own car.

  • Yeah what he said. Keep in mind that this is seat of the pants… but my seats as seen lots of pants… err… that’s not right. You know what I mean.

  • robble

    “I gotta say I think it’s faster than a JCW r53”

    agreed. I’ve said it before and caught flak for it.

    This may be one of the most controversial WRRs yet (unless you own a r56).

  • msh441

    Yeah, I would have to agree. I’ve now had the chance to drive my R56S (sport susp, lowered with H&R’s and LSD – still running runflats) back to back with a 2004 JCW and a HIGHLY modded (220 HP+) MCS on the track last week.

    My car might not have been as powerful as either of them… but the times we posted (we all drove all three cars throughout the day)… all showed the total package of the R56S made for a faster car. Period.

  • My car might not have been as powerful as either of them… but the times we posted (we all drove all three cars throughout the day)… all showed the total package of the R56S made for a faster car. Period.

    I’ve seen the same things with AutoX times from friends. I think it’s pretty clear the R56 is faster than the numbers would indicate.

  • Edge

    Regarding JCW comparisons… there are two 210 JCWs. 2002-2004 and 2005/2006. Totally different beasts thanks to the revised gearing. Make sure you’re comparing the latter vs. the R56. 🙂

  • FMS

    Have to agree w/ Edge here. I’ve yet to hear an owner of an ’06 full factory R53 JCW MCS say that the R56 is objectively quicker. Lots of folks talk about it’s quick feel due to its low end torque,but no one who’s owned and pushed the very last and best iteration of the R53 has said that the R56 MCS is actually faster across the board in a head to head driving experience.

  • Chuck

    How much of a weight difference is there between the R53 and the R56? I know they are using a sleeved aluminum block and the rear has lost some weight from using aluminum suspension parts. Also is there a difference in the final drive ratio’s?

  • Make sure you’re comparing the latter vs. the R56. 🙂

    Of course that’s the only one I’d ever reference 🙂 And yes, the R56 feels as fast seat of the pants. I imagine the JCW trumps frmo 50-100 but from 0-60 the R56 feels every bit as fast.

  • mike c.

    What a great start for the day. Listening to both Sunday and Monday’s WRR podcasts, driving to work in my new R56 MCS and then reading MotoringFile at the desk, and all in praise of my new car. 🙂

    Now the question; if I install a beefier rear swaybar will that be enough to make for a flatter ride and will it be worthwhile. Keep in mind that I’m one of the 95% that never does AutoX or racing (on the track of course).