MF Spec: MotoringFile’s Own Limited Edition MINI Series

For ten years, we here at MotoringFile have been spec’ing cars on MINIUSA’s Configurator, some of which we’ve even bought with our own money. We’ve also spent seat time in every MINI in the lineup, past and present. This gives us a unique perspective on what’s available from MINI. It’s a good thing too, because as long as we’ve been at this, we’ve also been fielding questions from readers about how to properly equip a MINI. Now we’re taking the next logical step.

Today we’re proud to announce MotoringFile Spec. MotoringFile has partnered with MINI of Chicago to create a handful of cars, each carefully crafted as the ultimate everyday MINI for enthusiasts. From JCWs to Coopers, we’ll be using our knowledge of MINI options and accessories to create a series of MINIs aimed squarely at the readers of MotoringFile. Today we introduce the first car in the series: The 01.

What Makes a MINI MF Spec?

What are the qualifying factors for MotoringFile Spec? It starts with performance, meaning you’ll see mostly JCWs. Also expect the optional factory sport suspensions and other options that make MINIs a bit more sporting than base as standards from us. But these cars won’t all be ultra rarified and hardcore. Frankly, if you want hardcore go buy the JCW GP. Done. Instead, these MF Spec MINIs are meant as daily drivers that look exceptional while staying focused on from the factory performance.

As Bespoke as We Can Get

As much as we’d like to, we can’t have these cars hand-built (not yet at least). Nor can we option unique paint or include aftermarket accessories. That’s part of the challenge. Our goal is to stay within the factory and dealer installed options list, but set a unique, thoughtful spec far more enthusiast-oriented than what you usually find on the dealer lot. We will also be adding some subtle touches to make these cars even more unique. For example, each car will be numbered via a unique grille badge and key-fob artwork created by MotoringBadges.

MF Edition: 01

Factory Specification (Accessories list forthcoming)

Each MF Spec MINI will be known simply by its number. Up first is a White Silver Cooper S JCW hardtop that uses a wide range of options and MINI accessories to create a high contrast exterior look. Black will be the color of choice for the headlights, taillights, grille trim, wheels (18″ V-Spoke R133s) and center stripes. All this chosen contrast accentuates the clean look of White Silver yet give the car a healthy dose of aggression. We call it “01” and it sets the tone for the MotoringFile Spec lineup.

Inside, it’s Recaro seats, the JCW dash and JCW red trim to complete the interior package. These contrasting elements will let the window gazers know this isn’t just any MINI.

What else does it have? Everything. Literally. For the 01, we wanted to start with a bang. No, it’s not cheap, but for those who want sports style, speed and daily luxury, this can be your car.

Look for MotoringFile Spec 01 to hit the MINI of Chicago showroom in early September. If you’re interested in learning more about 01, contact MINI of Chicago at (773) 969-5700.

  • minipuma
    • wheels
  • R.Burns

    Nothing unique except the badge (which is not particularly nice) And no JCW suspension, although you’ve said enough it is not uncomfortable… Long live marketing

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      @1f58f20f291c2115d4e0cc305251a602:disqus I am not involved in this MF product at all- but at no time reading the above story did I get the impression that the car would be unique bc as is stated everything is from the factory and nothing aftermarket. (can’t really do that stuff for legal reasons) I just re-read it again to be sure I didn’t miss something. What I read is that MF is speccing a car as readers would enjoy out of a dealer’s allocation rather than the dealer speccing one to sit on the lot for a non-enthusiast. Pretty cool if you ask me and will save an enthusiast the time of building one and waiting for it to land stateside. Adding the JCW suspension is a big cost adder and changes the drive a lot and if someone doesn’t want it the car will not be sold- if someone does want it add it on before delivery and that’s it (keep is simple s….) The MF badge is what it is… I like @MadisonKobalt:disqus ‘s idea of Chevrons on the roof as well. And will agree that something else is in order- maybe custom centers for the wheels?

      Love the idea and it is an overall nice spec- one that I would have never come up with, considering the 8 billion ways to configure a MINI.

      • r.burns

        8 million combinations is theoretical, you know very well that you do not ask 8 million questions, when you order

        But most importantly: So you think that the aim of a Mini enthusiast is to save time when he configures his future Mini?

        But this is exactly the opposite ! Time is crucial to ripen the project it is a huge part of the pleasure of buying!

        Decide how the Mini should be according to Motoringfile, confine to a certain megalomania, to say the least

        The Mini enthusiast never buy a car configured by a website, thank you

  • les

    Get out of town. That’s pretty cool guys.

  • MadisonKobalt

    Would have loved to see the MF chevron graphic on the MCS roof.

  • KO

    This is an ad right?!!? Smh, Motoringfile SMH. I guess you do what you have to to pay the bills. ::sigh::

    • TKO

      Are you paying their bills? No? Shut up.

      • Ephman

        He’s right, though. The usual BMW greyscale bling, because the marketing guys have given stern instructions to keep it butch. Can’t be seen as a chick car, heaven forbid. Let’s find the biggest possible wheels to ensure the ride is awful, and toss in a catalog full of overpriced doo-dads. Fine if this sort of advert pays the bills, but a reminder that the best thing about Mini is the fact that you can customize and NOT build it as the marketing department sees fit.

        • So let me get this straight. You think this is some grand conspiracy where we took marching orders from BMW in spec’ing a single car for a single dealership in Chicago? If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like photos of the (I’m assuming) very elaborate aluminum foil hat you’re wearing this morning.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          We all are drones, controlled by the satellite that launched when Bangle was designing cars… come on now EVERYONE knows that!

          You obviously have not drank your “official” Kool Aid today. The foil hat is a good idea though as BMW/MINI for some reason or another keep getting large sums of money from me and maybe the foil hat is the trick to get me out of good cars and into crap… hmmm.

        • Ephman

          See my response to Gabe above. This whole site is marketing. There’s no conspiracy theory. Selling more BMWs is good for BMW, good for Mini of Chicago, good for Gabe. This enterprise is entirely about creating positive buzz about the product. Nothing evil in that. But no need to get on a high horse about marching orders from Munich … I certainly would hope that the corporate overlords wouldn’t need to line edit every word or approve every effort. And any half-decent web marketer understands that you need to permit a modest degree of “keepin’ it real” product critique. But tinfoil hat comments are a bit over the top. “Honestly it’s not an ad within an ad! It’s just an ad!”

    • Surprised that someone would think that but then again there’s little context on the Internet. So here we go; THIS IS NOT AN AD and NO MONEY WAS EXCHANGED for us to do this. This is a product of myself and a few of the guys from MINI of Chicago (real MINI guys I might add) sitting around and shooting the shit. And it’s not something most dealerships would have the attachments to do. But when I threw it out there they didn’t hesitate. They loved the idea. And they gave us total control. And surely there’s risk for them in having a high priced enthusiast specced MINI sitting in the showroom. But they’ve been nothing but supportive. For that I give them a ton of credit.

      • Ephman

        Oh, come on Gabe. This whole bloody site is an ad. Not saying this is an evil thing, because there is a lot of great content here, and that keeps me coming back. But let’s be honest about how the product-specific blogosphere works.

        • He is being honest. Your expressed perception of why this site exists, how its run, and our relationship to our advertisers is simply incorrect.

    • Jon

      Wow. The glass is half-empty for you, isn’t it? Okay conspiracy theorists out there; get a grip. This is not an ad. This just what Gabe stated it is: is a fun partnership, born from a casual, car-guy relationship that MF has with a local MINI dealership to create an enthusiast’s MINI. Whether or not you like this particular spec is up to you, (BTW, I like it). Why do you Debbie Downers out there in cyberland have to crap on everything with your overactive, imagined conspiracies? Sheesh. Life is too short to take things so seriously!

  • ulrichd

    Not bad but I would make the headlight and taillight trim body color instead of Black. Especially in the front it looks like heavy eyeliner.

    • I thought that too until I saw it in person. But the other issue is that MINI doesn’t sell the headlight rings in body color.

  • oldsbear

    Is the black trim (headlight rings, tail lights…) on the 2013 configurator? I don’t see it online yet.

    • No and it likely won’t be from what I’m hearing.

      • Mark Garrigan

        Is there ANY possible way to get the black trim from MINI?

        • Yes – it’s been for sale outside the US for months. I believe it’s officially available now at all dealers.

        • Mark Garrigan

          Just talked to the parts guy at my dealer. Says they are back ordered til late September. I’ve got an order in. Hopefully “backorder” doesn’t mean out of production.

        • It just entered production so I imagine it’s demand.

        • Mark Garrigan

          Already got an update… from my parts guy… The taillight rings are no longer available in the US.

        • You get it through the parts desk, right Gabe?

        • Yes.

  • Mark Garrigan

    How did you configure the Black trim??

  • 115HP

    It’s a shame that the comments are mostly negative and defensive. When I read the article I didn’t think of it as advertising, just passion for the brand and a fun thing for motoringfile to do. And yeah, just a local thing. I am curious how much the spec will cost. I also like the ideas of the chevrons incorporated and custom wheel centers.

  • ulrichd

    Is the ride with 18″ wheels remotely bearable? It seems that almost every magazine test dings the MINI for ride comfort even with 16″ and 17″ wheels. The 18s do look sexy.

    • It’s not that different from 17s. And 18s with 215/40/18 tires actually rides better than the stock 17″ runflat set-up.

      • ulrichd

        So the 18″ tires aren’t runflats? That would be a plus.

        • They will likely be run flats since it’s a MINI dealer. Unless of course a buyer shows up before the car does. Then he or she can make some tweaks such as non-runflats.

    • I’ve driven the JCW suspension with 18″ wheels on the Coupe and didn’t find it uncomfortable. With the Sport Suspension, it should be fine. It’s all about your expectations though. This is a short wheel-base sports car, not a limousine. Most magazine reviews are comparing the MINI to every other Buick and SUV out there with twice the wheelbase and no plans to take a corner quickly. So it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. A lot of people complain about the ride quality of the MINI here on MF, but in my experience it’s mostly hyperbole. Especially since the car has only gotten MORE comfortable with time. The current JCW suspension (which isn’t even on this 01 spec car) is more comfortable than the Sport Suspension on my 2006 Cooper S.

      • I’d agree with that. We didn’t spec the JCW suspension because this is a dealership located in a city with horrendous roads. If the future owners wants it I’m sure MINI of Chicago would be happy to install it.

      • ulrichd

        I am basing it on my 03 Cooper S lowered with H-Sport springs, Koni FSD shocks and 17″ non-runflat tires. I have not driven a second gen Mini. Just curious how it would compare.

  • Jayparry

    Is there any type of discount? like all this, from the dealer for $40k or something?

    • That’s up to the buyer and the dealer. We just design the car 🙂

  • Ike

    No JCW Shift Knob? That’s my option #1!

  • Ike

    Why can’t you do a custom paint job? If the car was damaged, and your Mini dealership was fixing the car, they’d have to paint certain parts right? Why not do something custom? Also, Mini of Chicago should have enough pull to get SOMETHING custom… maybe custom seating or flooring / maybe borrow from other limited editions where the parts were already sourced.

    I have a deposit down on a GP, but I’m very good at sourcing/ working with mfr’s on this kind of thing. Let me know if I can help someway.

    Also, JCW Shifter – it was one of my favorite things about my last Mini.

    • I love the idea but we’re trying to keep the price down and that would be a huge expense.

      The JCW shifter may end up on the car. I agree – I’ve had two in previous MINIs.

      • Ike


        Instead of having the deal between the buyer and seller, why not do a price that’s a bit of an incentive on such an optioned Mini. It will sell more ‘specialty’ units, and help out the guys that don’t like the haggling business.

        OR, what if some of the margin that the dealer was going to make went into the paint job/ custom options? Then, if someone was paying full sticker, they were being incensitivized to do that with limited features only available to this car.

        I REALLY love the idea, and the initiative. I love that Mini of Chicago was willing to jump on this so quickly, but if you take a look at ‘special run’ products, the really successful ones offer some EXTRA value, or EXTRA limited features that aren’t available anywhere else.

        Without those, this car is much more of a ‘we recommend go buy this’ than a ‘limited edition run.’

  • Diego

    Isn’t the wheel closeup photo a different wheel from the rest of the photos? Looks nice!

  • Kurtster

    Great idea and a pretty cool spec too. Small bummer that it’s badged and associated with one dealership, but still a great idea. I’ve been loyal to my local dealer so I can’t see myself buying from anyone else.

  • Evan

    This is an awesome idea! I love the thought of MINI lovers (who have been for years) putting together a great spec with Motoringfile on it. The ability to do this is one of the best things about Motoringfile and the handful of dealers in the USA who still love MINI for MINI and not because of the sales alone.

  • Wert

    yeah. a bit self-ingratiating and even pompous. I’ve spec’d out a very very similar one. So why exactly would anyone care about yours? Let us do our own. We’re just as able as you are. Go enjoy your kickbacks.

    • jbkONE

      Are you kidding? If I could talk a dealer into putting my name on a spec MINI, I’d be all over it! If I ran a MINI website, that would be just as cool! Sure it’s advertising, but this is the RIGHT way to do it! 😀