Ah the CVT. The answer to all of our problems. Its step-less shifting was to be both good for performance and economy while giving you a wafting cloud like experience. That is until it fails costing the owner $8,000 to replace. It’s been a huge frustration for quite a few R50 owners who opted for the CVT over the manual with many failures happening just around the time the warranty expires.
One automaker who also embraced CVTs around the same time period is Nissan. In fact they are still putting them in cars while MINI has very publicly shifted back to torque converter automatics. And as you’d expect there are many Nissan owners with similar CVT failures. So much so that Nissan has just announced a doubling of it’s warranty to 10 years or 120,000 covering the CVT. In addition to that Nissan is also reimbursing owners who have already shelled out thousands on replacements overly slushy slush boxes.
At this point MINI hasn’t acknowledged the issue and it’s not clear that they will ever do so. However if you’ve had your CVT fail on your R50 MINI, make sure you’re voice is heard both at your local dealer and at MINI USA corporate. BMW has a history of eventually taking care of large scale issues. We have no idea if this will be one of them but it’s certainly worth taking up the ladder so to speak.
You can read the corporte letter to CVT owners from Nissan at Autoblog
Detailed Technically Assessment on the CVT / MotoringFile
Random Thoughts on MINI Loaners and the CVT / MotoringFile
MF Review: 2003 MINI Cooper CVT / MotoringFile