Before you, the MF reader give me your ideas on what I should get, let me first start off by saying yes, the rumor is true. I’m close to selling my exceptional 2005 MCS and buying a new 2007 R56 MCS. However it may come to a surprise that there was no plan to go this route until a specific moment while driving the Dragon. Something just clicked in between apexes and I turned to the person next to me and said “I need this car”.
My original plan was to keep my 2005 for awhile longer before deciding what to get. And I wasn’t planning on limiting myself to a MINI either. In fact my first thought was to find a low mileage E46 M3. But I couldn’t get over the feeling that it just didn’t fit my needs since (A) I live in the city and (B) no longer have a chance to drive that much. I really need something more immediately fun. With an M3 I’d constantly be searching for places to stretch its legs – not easily doable around Chicago. So then another choice popped up; a Lotus Elise. Used examples are already selling at reasonable prices and surely there could be nothing more hardcore, nothing more “real” than Elise. But then again I need to be able to actually use this second car as a real car. At 6′ 2″ I can’t even enter and exit an Elise with my dignity intact.
Of course there’s always the Z4 M Coupe that I so dearly love. But the same issues that applied for the M3 meant that it just didn’t make sense. Maybe someday, but not now.
Instead my time with the R56 press car proved to be a revelation. And spending five days at MINI on the Dragon with other owners made me realize that a MINI is exactly what I always needed. It fits my needs of performance, style, efficiency and attitude. There’s simply no better car that exemplifies what I need in transportation.
So what to do with my 2005? Now I know I’d have no trouble selling it with the help of MotoringFile or even a site like Cars.com. But I really wanted it to go to someone I knew who would completely cherish it. As luck would have it, a very good friend of mine has been looking at used MINIs for sometime and (assuming the stars continue to align) she’ll be taking it off my hands in the coming weeks.
Now, onto what to get. It’ll have to be a Cooper S. And not just any Cooper S – I’ll need the fastest currently available factory MINI. That means I’ll need a full JCW kit installed. 189 hp and 184 lbf-ft (199 lbf-ft w/overboost) on top of a base car that is already as fast as the previous JCW kit should prove to be pretty interesting. And while no one outside MINI definitively knows what’s coming down the pipeline, I know I’ll be satisfied with what I’m ordering… at least for awhile.
But speccing a MINI brings up a whole series of questions. Do I go for less is more like my press car? How about moderation – picking and choosing only the most important options. Then again there’s always more is more. And why not, I’ve never really gone all out with my previous MINIs. Why not shoot for the stars and get everything I actually want. What the hell, I may not need it all but I only live once.
So I want to throw out the question to all the MotoringFile readers. How would you spec a MINI if you had around $30,000 to spend (not counting the JCW kit or the OZ Ultraleggeras that will be fitted). The only rules: it has to be an MCS R56 and it (of course) has to be black. Or in this case, as close as I can get, Astro Black. Let’s hear the ideas. My order goes in tomorrow.