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MotoringFile’s Roadster: Design & Spec Chosen

Last week we asked you to help us design and spec MotoringFile’s new MINI Roadster. And after 12 hours and over a thousand votes were cast and counted we have a definitive winner. The Angry Midnight Black JCW that we created won with over 500 votes cast for a total of 47% of the vote. So why was this particular design so popular? And what makes it special? Let’s take a closer look at the car, the options and the results.

Ever since MINI started adding unique visual identity to JCWs the go-to color for the car has been seemingly White Silver or Midnight black. Since we’ve spent the past six months in a white Countryman, Black seemed like an obvious choice for us. But beyond that it also has the right attitude for JCW given the position of the car and ability to add splashes of red pretty much everywhere.

And that’s exactly what we did by going with Midnight Black with red center stripes. However we did show some restraint by holding on the red mirrors caps. It still seems like that little bit of styling needs to be held sacred given that the JCW GP had red mirrors caps. That and it was a bit much.

Elsewhere outside we opted for the black JCW 17″ Challenge spoke wheels to complete the Darth Vader look. Is it too much black? We’re not 100% sure but after our year with the car we will definitely have an opinion.

Inside we simply had to go with the Recaro seats. US MINI enthusiasts waited for so long that it would be doing our readers a disservice not to get them and report back to you. Additionally we wanted to see how the new JCW leather dash would look (and wear) on a daily basis since we were such big fans of the previous iteration on the R50 & R53 MINIs.

Naturally we opted for Nav, MINI Connected and all the various bits and pieces of technology that make life easier. While it also took the price up into the stratosphere, we figured it would better to get it all and report on it rather than not and review it at all. This is not a stripped down MINI in options – just in design.

It’s an approach that makes much more sense for a test car when it comes to the Roadster as opposed to an R56 or even R55. With the Roadster it just felt right to go all the way with the JCW and the options.

One thing we did carry over from the Countryman is the splash of red inside the cabin. However in this case it’s JCW red and left to just the plastic trim on the dash and doors. Naturally this connects well with the red JCW stitching found on the steering wheel and various trim pieces throughout the cabin.

Finally we wanted a JCW and not a Cooper S and were thankful that’s the way the vote went. We’ve been reporting on the factory JCW for years and more specifically how MINI can fix the car aesthetically. Now that they’ve done it we want a chance to see if it’s really worth the money when looking at competitors, if there’s truly prestige given the changes and what the extra $7k over Cooper S really gets you.

We expect the MotoringFile Roadster to go into production sometime in April and finally make it’s way to Chicago around June. Just in time for open-top season to begin.

Written By: Gabe

  • Anonymous
    So why was this particular design so popular?

    Because of the color scheme. Black with red accents looks cool. It was my favorite purely because I liked the color scheme so much.

    But I didn’t vote for it. I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for a $47K MINI.

  • Anonymous

    Bridget, black Mini. What a surprise.

    Open top season beginning in June? You really are not a vert person.

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      The season would start tomorrow if we had :)

  • Jon

    Gabe, up until now, I had absolutely dismissed the roadster, claiming that the streamlined coupe is just so much more masculine, more sporty, more track-ready.

    Seeing your absolutely sinister spec here has opened my eyes, to see what is possible with the roadster. The Recaro seats are lust-worthy alone! You have swayed me. I am really impressed, though taken aback, I must admit, by the price. Even knowing that this is just about as loaded as you can get for a MINI, it just seems outrageously expensive.

    In the coming months, I hope you and the rest of the MotoringFile staff can honestly and objectively answer the question, “Sure, it’s awesome, but is it really, truly worth close to 50 grand?”

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      Frankly the big ticket item here is the JCW itself. Going with a similar spec in a Cooper S nets you a 40k MINI. You can see one of our cars we created with this in mind (and didn’t post in the competition) below.

      Still a lot of money? Sure – most cars are a lot of money these days. Especially something like the Roadster. We could have easily created something around that mark or lower but it would have been a test of half (or less) of the options many of you are considering when ordering your own MINI. Same goes for the JCW. We’ve never had a long-term JCW and it would be a good opportunity to give the car on these pages. We’ve been somewhat critical of the look and special-ness of JCWs over the years and now that MINI has finally addressed these issues, it just makes sense to give it a shot.

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      Frankly the big ticket item here is the JCW itself. Going with a similar spec in a Cooper S nets you a 40k MINI. You can see one of our cars we created with this in mind (and didn’t post in the competition) below.

      Still a lot of money? Sure – most cars are a lot of money these days. Especially something like the Roadster. We could have easily created something around that mark or lower but it would have been a test of half (or less) of the options many of you are considering when ordering your own MINI. Same goes for the JCW. We’ve never had a long-term JCW and it would be a good opportunity to give the car on these pages. We’ve been somewhat critical of the look and special-ness of JCWs over the years and now that MINI has finally addressed these issues, it just makes sense to give it a shot.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Smith/1742553353 Mark Smith

        I believe one of the major questions you should ponder is not of how expensive this car is after adding everything? In my opinion one of the major questions should be is the abilities, performance, styling, and cost of the car justified compared to the cars that MINI says this car will indirectly compete against. Let me list just a few starting with the Audi TT, Mazda Miata, BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK……………….

        • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

          100% agree.

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      Frankly the big ticket item here is the JCW itself. Going with a similar spec in a Cooper S nets you a 40k MINI. You can see one of our cars we created with this in mind (and didn’t post in the competition) below.

      Still a lot of money? Sure – most cars are a lot of money these days. Especially something like the Roadster. We could have easily created something around that mark or lower but it would have been a test of half (or less) of the options many of you are considering when ordering your own MINI. Same goes for the JCW. We’ve never had a long-term JCW and it would be a good opportunity to give the car on these pages. We’ve been somewhat critical of the look and special-ness of JCWs over the years and now that MINI has finally addressed these issues, it just makes sense to give it a shot.

  • http://twitter.com/sherwinrocks Sherwin Smith

    +1 I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous!  This build is exactly what I would get for myself if in the right circumstances.  Can’t wait to read/see what your first and long term impressions are.   

  • that.guy

    $47k?  Seriously?!  I am baffled by who would pay that kind of money for this kind of car.  It’s FWD, for Christ’s sake!!  If you are really into BMW/MINI, this is the same price as a base Z4 convertible. Take it up another 10% and you’re into a Cayman.  A NEW Cayman.  Take the same $ to the used market and you can buy some SPECTACULAR cars. 

    Not understanding.  At all.

    • Lemelou
      • 1
      • Lemelou

        But i have to admit, this mini is dressed to kill!

    • Anonymous

      Agreed. Once you get past $40K, FWD should not be on the spec list. I don’t care how much they mess with the software or drive shafts, when I put my foot down I don’t want to feel the steering wheel tugging in my hands.

  • Dr Obnxs

    Hay, MF doesn’t have to pay for it, so why not dig deep into the expensive options! But this is a car I’d never buy… But I was on the Porche site, and to get into a base Boxter with equivalent options is well over $50k… But $47k is pretty much way more than I’d ever spend on a factory MINI. That said, this will be a fun car to flog, not so much to pay for…..

  • jpvashon

    I would much rather have a new Boxster lightly optioned instead of an over-the-top Roadster. After all, if you value the driving experience over BLING you will reject a $47K MINI for the brillance of the Porsche. 

  • RakSiam

    it was popular because people weren’t spending their own money. But I say that as some one who is perfectly happy with his Justa Coupe.

  • bluzeke

    This was a brilliant “kid in a candy store” exercise.  I’d say: Mission Accomplished!

    Questions: When are you likely to take delivery and how long is “long term”?

                       Any chance we could see this at the Dragon?

    • that.guy

      “kid in the candy store who buys a lot of over-priced cr@p”

  • http://twitter.com/AUSmotive AUSmotive.com

    Looks nice Gabe, hope you enjoy it.

    For reference 1 USD = 0.93 AUD and a similarly specced Roadster in Australia, with Recaro seats would be close to $70K.

    A 1M is $110K and an M3 is $180K.

    Still think the prices are bad in the US?

  • Bob Hayhurst

    This is a road test/review car and I couldn’t imagine a better optioned car to order. While most people will never choose the range of options this car has; I would rather see Gabe or Nathaniel say what works and what doesn’t before I spend my $$$ on something that doesn’t measure up.

    I like the JCW’s performance and IMO it’s base price point is reasonable. While there are a LOT of performance cars, new and used, that surpass the MINI in specs, very few have the character of the MINI, again, in my opinion. I can’t find a low mileage 08′ Z4M coupe for less then 33K. I just looked at a used 1M on eBay for a buy it now price of $67,750. While I’m not comparing these cars to the MINI in terms of performance, I am saying when you move away from the ordinary and to the specialty market where the JCW roadster lives, things get expensive in a hurry. I’m looking forward to the wringing out I know this car is going to get…

  • 4fun Akwaba

    Not so beautiful because too classic, ever and ever black, black… look a sidewalk sparkling silver R52 (mine :p)  or a green british racing or pepper white.

  • Andy

    Did a tour of the MINI factory on Wednesday, it would seem you won’t be the only one with a Midnight Black roadster as 9/10 on the production line were that colour (as is mine)


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F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
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F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
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