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How Should MINI Change their Model Line-up?

mini models

For years we’ve been reporting that MINI’s line-up will expanding. And as you know it has, going from one model to seven models in as many years. But recent comments by MINIUSA head Jim McDowel and several BMW Board members have underlined the fact that more changes are foot. We’ve reported on quite a few:

  1. MINI 3/5dr hatch – Increased demand for utility leads to the next generation MINI, due next year, to feature available five doors for the 1st time.
  2. MINI Traveller – MINI’s version of the Active Tourer. It’s designed to show how both cars can co-exist with individual style and flexibility.
  3. MINI Convertible – The F56-generation version of the popular 4-seat, open top MINI.
  4. MINI Roadster – The next Roadster and Coupe will launch with a sportier look completely separate from the standard MINI. MINI design language will remain but the bodywork will no longer be based on the hardtop hatch.
  5. MINI Coupe – Coupe version of Roadster, and as mentioned above, more individual in appearance than the standard hardtop hatch.
  6. MINI Sedan – A sporty four door MINI aimed at further growing the market for MINIs. Could potentially be MINI’s best seller worldwide, overtaking the Countryman.
  7. MINI Countryman – Next generation of the global MINI juggernaut, the Countryman will finally share its underpinnings with BMW X1.
  8. MINI Paceman and Paceman XL – Next generation of newest MINI member will be offered with the current 3-door version, as well as a 5-door.
  9. MINI Clubman – Current car revisited with more style and more flexibility. Anticipated as more of a Shooting Brake with dynamic raked roof and forward looking proportions.

But is BMW starting to look at this line-up and wonder if there’s too little variation between models? Or if they’re not, should they? Do they have the right product mix? Are they relying too much on larger (for MINIs of course) products and not focusing on something smaller and more in keeping with the original Mini? Let us know in the comment section below.

Written By: Gabe

  • Aurel

    I don’t know … but I tell you one thing, whoever comes up with a cool a** looking and good handling PROPER SIZED family car will make a lot of bucks … SUV, MiniVan, Wagon … whatever …

    • ulrichd

      One person’s PROPER(ly) SIZED is another person’s bloated. MINI should stay mini.

      • piper

        absolutely correct. I concur 100%!

  • CINIMIN

    Like the Mazda 3 family?

  • Aldy

    I wish they would make the Rocketman, rear wheel drive, super light, with 300hp.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      Ha! Well while we’re wishing for outlandish things, I’d like $10,000,000 and diplomatic immunity. ;-)

      • piperbud

        $10m is not enough. wish for $1b. better yet, stop wishing and win the lottery.

    • piper

      … and mid-engined for superior weight distribution.

  • Hoover

    The two models I am most interested in seeing are the Traveller and the Clubman. I am worried that the Clubman is going to lose its utility with the discussed changes in roofline, so the Traveller may offer the best utility. I’m afraid that the Traveller may be too tall for those of us who simply want a good wagon offering. And I can’t imagine that it would be that different in size and utility from the Countryman. What’s wrong with offering a wagon? A true extended wheelbase hatch with adequate room in the back seat and boot? Keep the design clean. My guess is that it wouldn’t be differentiated enough from the hatch–but I think it would sell like crazy in most markets. I think it would offer the real mix of sportiness and utility that we enthusiasts have been craving from MINI. (But I have been beating this drum for years).

    If MINI could only keep one convertible, I would pick the roadster. I don’t understand how a MINI sedan could potentially be the biggest seller for the brand–but I probably don’t have enough intel on global markets to have an informed opinion on that front.

  • m8o

    If a Countryman and Paceman are going to get a JCW badge they also need_more_power!!! I so want to trade my ’09 JCW in for more space. But +400lbs heavier and no added power? No thanx!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671725323 Martin Rake

      But then you’d have those with the smaller hatch saying why can’t I have that more powerful engine in my car? Why is it only available in the larger lardy MINI’s?

      • Kev50027

        As long as the bigger cars match the performance of the hatch (using a bigger engine) I see no problem. Same performance in a smaller car = more efficient.

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

      Get ready for the introduction of the 2.0L 4 Cyl. Turbo in the JCW Countryman and Paceman for the 2014 model year. MINI’s current worst kept secret!

  • swiftaw

    We know the new F56 Hatch is coming in 2014, what are the eta’s on the other refreshes – particularly the refreshed Coupe?

  • http://www.facebook.com/scamper Scamper Robinson

    Electric, electric, electric. Amazing how little we’ve heard about that. If Nissan and Fiat (et al.) can do it, surely BMW can. Gas burners are over. (I may be biased, living as I do in CA.)

    Also, I’ll take this opportunity to jab at the bloated-looking Aztek-inspired MINIs we’ve seen heralded lately. They look like something Chevy Chase would drive in Vacation. Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see how much Rocketman goodness has rubbed off on the F56. I’m hoping for something refined, yet exciting.

    • oldsbear

      RE: “…Gas burners are over.” For a scant few minutes I considered buying the electric Fiat. Then I realized that it doesn’t have enough range to drive home from the dealership.

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      BMW has launched an entire new brand in BMWi that is “born electric”, using carbon fiber and many new technologies- the first model the i3 will hit the market soon- these cars were announced a few years ago now and regularly covered/discussed on BimmerFile.

  • Jon

    For the most part, the trend for MINI has been to get larger vehicles out. I think there’s room for a smaller, entry-level MINI (Rocketman-like). This city car would more directly aim at the Fiat 500 and Smart FourTwo, with a focus on fuel efficiency, and not at all on performance, (no JCW version, at least initially). Later perhaps, a souped-up version could be introduced, like VW has done with the Polo, by adding a GTI version.

    While there is obviously merit in expanding the size of their cars to get more people to buy them, there is unfortunately also a cost associated with that. I fear that the prices of MINIs are already too high, and alienating lots of people from purchasing one.

    This smaller, entry-level MINI might be just the ticket. An opening-pricepoint car that people could purchase for $15,000 US, sliding in under the Cooper, which starts at $20k now. (Back when I got my R53, Coopers started at $16k).

  • http://www.facebook.com/zinfulone Doug Travis

    Rocket Man Concept should be produced soon.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      It’s not happening anytime in the near future due to a lack of suitable platform within the BMW/MINI family.

      • ulrichd

        There was talk of a shared platform deal with the next iQ.

        • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

          Rumors, but nothing confirmed and it’s been a quiet topic for a while now.

        • RedAFMINI

          Aston Martin already has the iQ as the underpinnings for their Cygnet. Does anyone know how well that’s really sold? I think that Aston Martin should take the F56 or Rocketman(if there ever is one) as a base, and use that for a Cygnet replacement. It could have the fantastic MINI handling with a more Aston-like sound and style. Would be fantastic and what would sell much better than the ridiculous Goodwood did…

        • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

          That’s basically just a rebadge though. I don’t think MINI or MINI fans would tolerate a veiled iQ with a MINI badge on it. A possible future car might share foundational components, but the two cars would be very different.

  • Drill

    I think the US market could (maybe) sustain an entry-level model (i.e. MINI One) but a smaller sized model… I don’t think so. The market just wouldn’t be there IMO. As far as MINI worldwide goes… a smaller model like the Rocketman would be nice to see and not unheard of in the Automotive world. I think the Hatch has “grown” enough that a smaller model could find it’s place in the market (the 3 series was the smallest BMW until it grew big enough that the 1 series could squeeze in, remember).

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      In its current form the hatch is lighter but about an inch longer than the R50 (due to pedestrian impact related bumpers). Obviously we don’t know the size of the new MINI but if it stays the around the same size (which is what we’ve heard) it’ll be a hard case to make to invest so much into a smaller platform that doesn’t have the sales volume to support its success.

      And keep in mind when I say sales volume I mean a lot. Keep in mind the current hatch and all it’s derivatives don’t even produce enough sales volume to warrant its own chassis.

  • MiniMonger

    I just need a slightly extended Countryman. Call it the cMan XL or something more clever. So i can fit my snowboards internally. Am sure young families would be interested in a rear sliding door Traveller as well.

  • David Surace

    If anything the “Paceman XL” should just be called the Countryman and just leave it at that. The Paceman-based model will end up being more handsome anyway, and nobody’s going to cry about a couple less square feet in the boot.

  • Evan

    The standard hatch with the new 5-door version should remain the core.

    The Clubman with some interesting styling and second back door as a true MINI niche model.

    The Countryman given the market conditions and its interior room which is quite impressive for its size. It really needs a better platform (stiffer and lighter) which is will get under ULK.

    The Convertible is a fun version of the hatch and should remain.

    The Coupe and Roadster, while limited by two seats, are great niche models.

    After that… I think the Paceman is redundant. If it does handle better than a Countryman, then just infuse that into the Countryman to make it more of a MINI. The Traveller is a forced concept, at least here in the USA. It reminds of the GTs of BMW for the MINI line. The BMW active tourer is very nice and fits well with the upcoming FWD 1ers but the concept is not fun or interesting enough for MINI.

    I love compact, sharp handling sedans but am having trouble wrapping my head around a MINI sedan. I get the fact that the USA and China love sedans. I just don’t think it’s very MINI…. I’m afraid it will be very forced.

    I think by finding some of the R50/53 personality and putting it on the updated and now shared UKL platform, MINI will do very well. It’s a fine line to walk between breeding enthusiasm and losing some boring drivers (people who really like Camrys…).

    If the F56 is not stellar, I’ll be really sad.

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

      A MINI Sedan is harkening back to MINI’s ancestry. Think Riley Elf or Wolsely Hornet.

    • AMS

      I think a sedan could work, especially in America. I don’t know why people like them so much, but they do.

      From a branding standpoint, it seems like it would be less model-overload to combine the Countryman and Paceman into one model, with both 2 and 4 door options.

      As for the Clubman, as much as I dig the current one, I’m not sure I see how the next gen version will fit in. Between a 4-door F56 and a 4-door Paceman, a shooting brake Clubman seems kinda pointless.

    • Kevin Hadap

      The Paceman is already infused in the Countryman – pick up the sport package on the Countryman for a paltry 500, and bam. Instant Paceman handling. Sure, center of gravity is a touch higher, wheelbase shorter, but… not as different as one might imagine. Reading the reviews you’ll find that the Countryman tends to have been tested w/ the normal suspension and considered big and wallowy, whereas the Paceman is deemed sporty and much closer to their smaller siblings. I test drove the Countryman without the sports suspension, and was convinced that the 17″ wheels and sports suspension were the way to go (with regards to ride comfort vs handling). I’m glad I did. Every day I’m surprised by how quickly it can take a corner, how effortlessly it can hold lateral g-forces, and how flat it stays through turns and braking. Not quite as nimble as a hatchback, but definitely night and day (for the better) vs. the standard Countryman Suspension.

  • les

    I’d like to see a very basic F56 that uses the Scion model. Cheap, basic, MINI, and able to add some dealer upgrades. Don’t even offer packages on it and if need be, limit to color options. Make to easy to get into the brand, and not a hurtle. Something like the MINI One or the MINI First, but made for the US.

    Of course, still offer the F56 with bells and whistles.

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

      It already exists everywhere else except the U.S. It’s called the MINI One.

  • AMS

    A four door Paceman makes no sense to me. At least, not while the Countryman continues as its own model. There’s some styling difference, yes, but not enough to justify both models.

    I LOVE the idea put forth in a previous article about the Coupe and Roadster converging into a single, retractable hard top model. Throw in All4 AWD and keep the price roughly where it is now and you’ve got a better driving Audi TT, for a bargain price. Without seeing the new, more singular styling mentioned here, I can’t really form an opinion on that. It could be great. It could be awful. Who knows. But I don’t have a problem with the current Roadster’s styling, so I lean conservative on changes.

    • Kurtster

      What AMS said. Plus, discontinuing the Coupe might make mine worth more in ten years.

    • DaCrema

      I would not like to see the Cooupe and Roadster combined to a single hardtop convertable. That would add so much weight to the car it would take much of the ability to just toss the car into a corner away. I like retractable hard tops on larger cars, but not on sport cars. I second your 4dr Paceman coment.

      • AMS

        That’s fair. A retractable hard-top would add weight. But, with the extra performance coming from the new engines, maybe it would balance out…ish.

    • Dr Obnxs

      After having driven All4 equipped MINIs and Audis on tracks, adding All4 to a MINI is no where close to an instant TT no matter the price. Putting All4 anything other than a vehicle that sees a lot of bad weather adds weight and cost, and rarely, if ever, does the system help you go faster on a dry road.

  • coel

    Totally dreaming: F56, 3-cylinder, supercharger, analogue large speedo with no Connected display.

    Half-dreaming: F56 JCW, 2-seat. (budget GP without aggressive styling)

    Realistic with a bit of dreaming: JCW Roadster/Coupé combo with retractable hardtop, All4, 250hp range to drive 4 wheels.

    • Libertarian1911

      I concur with “Totally dreaming” as long as it is the same size and weight as the R56 with better handling and more hp. Love the supercharger whine.

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

    I would say Paceman Convertible. That would be a winner.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      I saw a Murano convertible in the wild earlier this week. That thing is a crime against humanity.

      • AMS

        I think the Murano Cross Cabriolet is ridiculous, but I love the fact that it exists. I wouldn’t buy one, but it’s a brand of stupid that I can enjoy.

      • Bob Hayhurst

        I also saw one a while back and it (the convertble Murano) truly is particularly hideous…

      • b-

        I saw one today, old lady driving with the top up, what a disaster!

    • ulrichd

      No, just no.

  • Bob

    Regarding Mark Smith note that the 2014 JCW Countryman & Paceman to get the 2.0L turbo, are those the only models to get that new engine? Also at the bottom end, with the current 1.6L non turbo 4 to be replaced by the new 3 cyc 1.5L turbo, what happens to the current S models in the middle that feature the turbo 1.6L…stay the same, go to the 3cyc turbo or in the other direction to the 2.0L turbo?? Having had a 2008 S hatch & my current 2012 JCW Coupe, I’m looking at the S Paceman (2015?) as my next one & any upgrades in the engine department by then is of great interest to me….

    • Eric

      I’d love for some confirmation on this too. I’m going to be in the market for a Countryman later this year and am waiting for details on the 2014 model year changes. I really want more power without having to jump the $40k barrier.

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

        According to an internal bulletin both Cooper S and JCW Countryman and Paceman’s are switching to 2.0L Turbo engines. Put it this way, MINI is already ceasing production of 2013 JCW Countryman’s

  • matt

    A shooting brake-style clubman would be my choice – I just worry about timing. I don’t really want a Paceman because less than a year after buying one, it’ll still be on the “old” chassis – when I can buy a new one. If it comes out quick enough, I’ll bite.

    • AMS

      Meh. There will be a new Hardtop next year, sure, but there won’t be a new Paceman for several years after that. It’s hard enough worrying about what the next MY might bring for the model you’re buying; worrying about updates to a totally different model is a good way to go nuts.

  • stew

    Paceman XL- Wait is that just not a Countryman???????

  • eEighty8

    How about they fix how absurdly underpowered “coopers” (non-S models) are to make them competitive in the US? 0-60 in 9 seconds is inexcusable. That would help sales. That, and start a new sub-brand as someone suggested, ditching the retro jelly-bean look for something more modern.

    • AMS

      A) As someone who has driven the past 15 years getting to 60 in about 9 seconds, it’s really not that bad. That amount of power plus MINI’s steering makes for a pretty fun little car.

      B) They ARE upping the power on the next gen base Cooper.

      C) A sub-brand? Seriously? You’re just trolling, now.

    • ulrichd

      You understand the Mini is sold in other countries where it competes with other subcompacts. It has to compete on price, performance and economy. More performance will usually come with less economy and in places where gas costs $8 a gallon that’s not going to work.

      I owned an 04 R50 and with just an intake for sound I found the car a hoot to drive. There is more to performance than just 0-60.

    • Blainestang

      My “absurdly underpowered” Cooper has passed many, many more powerful cars on race tracks like Sebring. There’s far more to a car than straight-line power and that’s not what MINIs are about. If that’s what you’re looking for, a MINI is a terrible choice whether it’s a Cooper or a JCW.

      • eEighty8

        That’s exactly the problem. While I don’t disagree with you, you are in the 1% category. 99% of people out there, never track the car. I owned both an R50 and R56 for a number of years. While the R50 was, in my opinion, more fun to drive even with less power, imagine that engine pushing the “overweight” Countryman and Paceman. These cars are the volume sellers for MINI, by the way. Imagine that power in normal driving situations (the 99%), like merging into traffic on highway on-ramps. Now put those cars up against a GTI in terms of power and price. That’s my issue with the Cooper variants. MINI wants you to cough up $3500 for more power. That’s a good chunk of change just for a power bump and sport seats, for a car that isn’t meant to be tracked.

        • Blainestang

          OK, if you were talking about the Coutryman Cooper, then I agree, which is why I paid Cooper money for a 4-door GTI that’s more car than the Countryman Cooper S in virtually every way.

        • Blainestang

          Apparently, my next response didn’t go through. Anyway, if you’re talking about the Countryman/Paceman Cooper being underpowered, then I agree, and that’s one of the reasons there’s a GTI in my driveway, not a Countryman. For CM Cooper money, we’ve got a GTI that would wipe the floor with a CM Cooper S in virtually any performance test, has a DSG trans… the list goes on.

  • ulrichd

    I’d like the option of European delivery. BMW has a system in place, so it’s just a matter of getting the cars from Oxford to Die Welt in Munich.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wolfgang-Gullich/100001637967903 Wolfgang Gullich

      Why not Euro delivery in Oxford? It’d be awesome to drive your new MINI around the UK

      • RedAFMINI

        The problem lies with people having to drive on the other side of the road and the potential for accidents. I’d personally love the option as well next time I go for a new one.

    • Eric

      European delivery is bada**! I went to BMW Welt last week as well as MINI Oxford Plant and picking up a car over there would be sweet! Would also like to see ‘MINI Individual’ or some limited editions/options make it to the Countryman line.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Duane-Deines/100000507666586 Duane Deines

    I do appreciate the varied models from the hardtop to the coupe to the suvs…all of them are nice vehicles. There was a time in the USA we had several choices for small pickups and now we have next to none. The time is ripe for MINI to make a small two wheel drive pickup. (yes… bring the Moke into the twenty first century) The Rocketman design needs to see daylight I feel. Wonderful design…and it looks good. Another idea I really liked was the Beachcomber, just set it up with a real offroad four wheel drive system and I’m pretty sure it would sell the numbers the roadsters and coupes do. I do feel the MINI name should stay with the times, and not pass up innovations of their own design to do so. Both the Rocketman and the Beachcomber are such ideas I feel.

    Just keep the MINIs’ flavor and charm!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1144812569 Erik Anderson

      A diesel engine would make a reborn moke a hit. Why does Mini have to be a “sports car” only? I love my Clubman S, everything about it. What other car can be averaging 33MPG with over 110k miles on it, fun to drive, looks awesome, and has lots of utility. If Mini came out with a new moke in its line up with a diesel I would snatch it up in a second.

  • BlitZ

    MMM Long Wheel base Coupe. More coupe then Clubman..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1144812569 Erik Anderson

    Mini used to have a truck-type model. The ultimate utility machine.

  • minipuma

    Whatever they do, I hope they don’t get rid of the Clubman, for me it’s the perfect balance of practicality and MINI go-cart handling.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Agreed.

  • Hassan Idris Hassan

    MINI should not extend the range into unnatural niches. A 5 door would be good especially if it uses rear suicide doors like the KIA CUB concept. A sedan, not so much; because so far nothing tells us the Chinese or the Americans may want it that bad. A shooting brake CLUBMAN would be lovely but a PACEMAN XL may not be, given that the COUNTRYMAN is not going away. MINIS must continue to be small, sensible but quirky.

    Most importantly, MINI should revise its naming strategy. For example, the name HARDTOP is neither British nor exciting.

  • Hassan Idris Hassan

    Today’s Hardtop is better off called a COUPE. From it you have a CABRIOLET or CONVERTIBLE. Today’s Coupe could be renamed the SPORTSTER which will bring it close to its ROADSTER sibling. The other names are okay I think.

  • b-

    Gabe, do we know if all the future hard top cars will have window frames like the Paceman and Countryman? Sure hope not!

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      The frameless windows will continue.

      via mobile

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.nolan.31 James Nolan

    call the next hatch the saloon for gods sake, that’s how all the classic Mini’s were named. I know it doesn’t fit with the modern categorization of a ‘saloon’, but come on, it sounds so much more different, refined and British than the euro-trash classification of ‘hatchback’ or ‘hard-top’. I think if Mini calls the next ‘Clubman’ the traveller, that would work nicely in terms of heritage, and then if they aren’t prepared to invest in badging the sedan as a Riley or a Wolseley, call it either just the ‘Elf’ or name that the ‘Clubman’, then it fits nicely with the 1969 vision of the Clubman being the more luxurious option, maybe making a sporty version of that is a prime excuse to ring back the 1275gt name.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.nolan.31 James Nolan

      Here’s how I’d like the future Mini model range:

      -MINI 3 door and 5 door saloon

      -MINI Traveller shooting-brake (think BMW CAV)

      -MINI City, Rocketman inspired city car

      -MINI Elf/Clubman Sedan

      -MINI Countryman 3 door and 5 door (More of a Range-Rover Evoque competitor, only cheaper. get rid of Paceman name, if a 5 door one i expected, why not just merge it and the Countryman)

      • MINI Cabriolet- based on the saloon

      • MINI Countryman Cabriolet (based on 3 door model)

      • MINI Countryman GT- Estate Version, similar to current Clubman

      • MINI Country-Van- A larger commercial model choice.

      • MINI Roadster- maybe in a style reminiscent of old British sports-cars like the MGB and

      • MINI Coupe- more directly inspired by the MINI Marcos and Broadspeed GT

      • MINI Coupe GT- extended 4 seat coupe based on Traveller platform

      • MINI Sprint- a lower, more sport inspired hatch body with 2 seats and a budget version of the JCW GP.

      • MINI Van (Clubvan if we must)- small-van option.

      • MINI Moke- doesn’t have to be a bare-bone model, but maybe a smaller 4×4 that sits between the hatch and the countryman, and is designed to compete with the Land-rover defender and the Jeep Wrangler.

      and finally to complete the commercial range-

      -MINI Pick-up- it’s been crying out to be done ever since the new MINI was launched, and I believe would sell well in places such as the southern states, and Australasia, who basically invented the car/utility crossover (ute).

      Add in maybe a luxury sub-brand, riley/Wolsey style with exterior and interior design options for the whole range with special editions spawned from the collection (much like MINI Yours only more upmarket). Then JCW options across the range and a GP model for each. If they really want to make MINI into it’s own defined brand then I think the new shared platform is the perfect opportunity to create as many models as quickly as possible and really stretch its appeal.

  • piper

    Aside from British heritage, the MINI design will very likely be cloned and dramatically improved by another manufacturer from Asia such as Hyundai. It is conceivable that ‘spies’ are busily gathering intelligence from sources like MF for the purpose of developing a better than MINI, MINI incorporating most of the virtues that have been mercilessly abandoned by the BMW torch bearer of the brand

  • litlguy

    When they went from the hatchback to the coupe they lost me, and all the rediculous bloated models after that and still badged as Mini, even the new GP looks bigger than the original R53, which in my estimation is the best one they turned out, unless off course they start producing the Rocketman which Im positive you will never see, I know you have to diversify to stay in business but cmon the original seemed to do OK for 50 years without becoming a bloated shadow of the original, but hell what do I know I`m just a Mini lover…Litlguy

  • peter

    to much bmw in mini :(


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'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
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