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MINI USA F56 Cooper Delivery Delay – Update

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Last week we reported that MINI USA had decided at the last minute to delay all F56 Cooper deliveries. Since that time MINI USA has not only sent us an official statement but also spoke with us off the record about the incident. You can read the official statement here. But as usual the off record comments are a bit more telling. They not only speak to the importance of the F56 launch but to the lessons learned from various R56 issues.

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The issue on the F56 revolves around the oil filter housing. Last week (just a few days before the launch) MINI USA discovered that the Cooper could theoretically experience some engine coolant leakage from the oil filter housing. However the interesting thing is that this fault occurred in one situation after a year of testing hundreds of cars. In other words after over a year testing the F56 on US soil MINI USA came across a single issue last week. Why did MINI go to the trouble of mandating a replacement part for all cars and demanding an updated part for our future production? According to our off the record conversation MINI USA, simply didn’t want to take chances with such an important launch. In other words it’s better to nip this issue in the bud now than to deal with a few hundred cars potentially affected by something that could starve the engine of oil.

We’re not trying to be overly kind to MINI here. But in a time when some automakers measure lives in parts worth dollars, it was reassuring to hear MINI representatives sincerely concerned about early adopters and making sure they get the best quality possible. And if you’ve been following various R53 and R56 oil starvation issues, you can understand why MINI is making a point to take better care of their customers early rather than dealing with serious issues later.

For those who have cars affected by the measure, we’ve been reassured that the parts have just been shipped to the US and the fix is currently underway. We’d expect deliveries to resume in the coming week or two.

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Written By: Gabe

  • Jeff R

    Unless MINI redoes the F56 soon, I won’t be buying one. For all the people that pre-ordered before driving, I feel bad for you. The F56 has no character, just like how BMW ruined the 3-Series between the E90 and F30, and I don’t see many things on the inside that appear to have much more quality than the R56. First one I drove had a terrible dash rattle, had no exhaust or turbocharger noises like the R56, and the transmission was so rough. Not that I would buy an auto, but it was the only one available and it wasn’t smooth shifting at all. The car also had a weird biting feel when turning like the car was slipping around unlike the R56 which you can flog. Very sad.

    • John

      There are plenty of R53′s and R56′s for sale, you could purchase another one of them. MINI can’t please everyone but they are making a lot of money and I’m sure they will sell even more F56′s. Ultimately, that’s what they need to do…sell cars.

      • r.burns

        I am a R53 owner et ex-R56 S owner, last week I drove the new F56 Cooper “only”, and by God I’ve been amazed by this machine, what a car to drive ! The best Mini ever made for sure

      • TurbochargedChili

        I drove an F56 S and I wasn’t impressed either. Being an R56 owner, I was expecting so much more. BMW has tuned this new Cooper S for less of a performance machine. I too thought it was lacking character, and was disappointed in how quiet the exhaust and engine noise was. As an avid lover of the sound of turbocharger’s and BOV’s, the lack of any hint of turbo noises made me sad. I liked the little bit of added size, but I don’t think the interior is that much nicer. There are still a TON of plastic pieces, just like every other BMW product, and the light ring around the radio is distracting and pointless. Good thing I figured out that you can shut that off completely. The biggest problem though for the Cooper S, has three letters, GTI. The MKVII GTI will completely annihilate this newest MINI, on a track and in everyday use. It’s also significantly more comfortable, built with higher quality, and will run you less money considering it’s standard options list, and even in Autobahn trim, 4-door spec, it’s roughly about the same price as an F56 with the bare minimum of goodies. I can’t see how BMW thought this was a big enough step forward in performance, efficiency, or style. Besides the kinda boring drivetrain, the front nose is hideous. That black bumper trim needs to go.

        • Spike

          Did you just try and compare the biggest selling car in Europe with the F56?

        • TurbochargedChili

          I compared one of its most direct rivals, that is going to probably impact US sales. If MINI’s entire goal was to gain sales and abandon their roots, why not make a vehicle that is more competitive with the rivals? I bought the ’11 Cooper S over a Mk6 GTI, because of how it drove, the power, the taut suspension and way it had a great engine and exhaust noise. Now, the F56 S I drove, had nothing that made me think it was so fantastic that I would get one over a Mk7 GTI, which I’ve already driven extensively in Europe. So, yes I compared the Golf to the Cooper S, which is exactly what MINI wants since they will be coming out with a 4-door variant soon to head up the 4-door Golf/GTI. I don’t know why that is so terrible to compare the two. I could compare the Fiesta ST as well, which from a driving standpoint is much more pure and fun.

        • Spike

          The Golf is not a direct competitor of the F56. Fiesta ST is a great car to drive, Fantastic engine.

        • RacerX

          However, I must add that when MINI launched the new F56 Cooper and Cooper S to employees, it provided a Golf and GTI respectively for comparison (albeit Mk6 examples) as direct competitors. While you may not believe the Golf to compete with the F56, MINI certainly does. In addition to the Golf/GTI, MINI also provided the Prius C (eeek) and Scion FR-S as well. Each competing model was provided to highlight certain advantages of the F56 and disadvantages of the competitor. In regards to the Golf/GTI, however, I agree with the above comments as the Mk7 is a much superior product (to the Mk6).

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          I agree it’s competition in the US market. and having driven the new GTI i can both attest to it being a solid option and the Cooper S being more lively and interesting.

        • R56Speedster

          Every other car magazine would disagree with you. The MkVII GTI is a much better all around car, and is able to be driven harder when needed than the F56. It offers more power, torque, space, an actual LSD, dampers that change from cushy to ultra-taut, and a lower price when loaded.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          There are no comparisons out there yet so I’m not sure where you’re getting that. The GTI is great but they’re different answers to a slightly different equation.

    • iancull

      Interesting; apart from this, I’ve only heard of huge pleasure from anyone that’s tested the F56 Cooper or S

      • TurbochargedChili

        Have you driven one yourself? If not, I suggest you hold your comments until you have. The Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ also got critical acclaim and it’s sold like a dud. It wasn’t a fun car to drive, had no power, and has the cheapest and ugliest interior I’ve ever seen. When big companies like BMW fly journalists all over the world, they watch what they say so they aren’t taken off of the lists of who gets to write the first articles about the new car. Sorry, it’s true.

        • iancull

          My comments refer to real people, friends, that have driven the car, not to journalist reviews. Their opinions as just as valid as the original poster

        • TurbochargedChili

          I understand, but I’ve driven the car personally, and so has Jeff R. and Kevin Bartlett, and we all weren’t too impressed. If you go into it expecting this to be anything like the R53/56, you’ll most likely be disappointed. If you don’t really care how the engine sounds, or if you can hear the exhaust and turbocharger, you’ll probably like it, but to me, a MINI isn’t supposed to be an isolation chamber devoid of any engine and exhaust noise. I didn’t drive the non-S, simply because I don’t want a car that’s slower than my R56 S, but the Cooper S wasn’t a knock your socks off kind of car. Yes, it may ride marginally better and have prettier looking interior plastic, but it’s not like it was 100 steps froward in quality, and it’s powertrain was lacking that elasticity of the R56 S. I care more about how the car drives than it looks. I was hoping MINI hadn’t taken out the thing that set the MINI apart from other cars, but they did.

        • Spike

          I have driven the Cooper S everyday since its UK launch, and I have never failed to be impressed. It is a far superior car in every way than the R56. However there are parts of the F56 that I would wish to change or be redsigned. Access to the rear seats needs to be improved especially when fitted with leather sports seats.

    • Kevin Bartlett

      I won’t go as far as Jeff R does. But I did get to drive a manual F56 S briefly last weekend. I’m coming from an R53 S w/JCW engine package, and the F56 didn’t feel quicker. It was certainly more buttoned down and higher quality. It was very quiet, and very smooth. The shifts were really easy and the transmission made it easy to drive smoothly (only experienced the rev matching once as it wasn’t a route that was made for aggressive driving). The clutch was quite light and easy to drive, but seemed to have a very long travel.

      I wouldn’t say I won’t be interested in one, but my initial excitement about a new mini has been tempered quite a bit. I will want to drive one on a more exciting route and for more than a 5 minute trip…..but I wasn’t won over and will drive some other cars before making a decision on my next car.

      I’ll be interested to see Motoringfile’s take on a Manual S, maybe I missed something (part of me hopes I did).

      • John

        Longer test drives (or several days worth) are what people need to really review the car. For both people who have positive and negative reviews, a quick test drive for any car doesn’t do it justice.

        I am curious to hear what buyers of the F56 have to say after several months of ownership.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          FWIW I have yet to read a negative review in the press. And my reviews are both positive because the car is a huge leap in almost every conceivable area over the R56. Everything from steering feel to quality has been addressed along with increased efficiency and performance. But that doesn’t mean everyone appreciates the changes – especially the small ones. And there is always a subset that hates the continual refinement that new platforms and technology introduce to cars.

          Additionally individuals will always have very particular things they grade a car against. And considering people tend to gravitate towards what they know it’s very typical to get less that glowing reviews of a dramatically new car from owners of the previous generation(s). This was the case with the R50/53 and R56 and I’d be shocked if it wasn’t the case with the F56.

        • fishbert

          I think that XCar reviewer really nailed it; MINI is growing up, and while a lot of people might hate it, it’s probably for the best. http://www.motoringfile.com/2014/03/19/xcar-drives-and-reviews-the-f56-cooper-s/

          Now if only there was a way to talk MINI into providing an alternate option to those fattie-hating sport seats…

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          Being English I think the hating he was referring to is not necessarily about the F56 vs the R56 or R50 but more of the general fact that they keep getting further away from the original in size. Of course the biggest jump by far there is from the classic to the r50.

        • Guest

          He definitely points back strongly to the classic, but I think he also implies that it’s been a steady progression in which the F56 is yet another step down that path.

        • RakSiam

          The fact that they keep on making it bigger and bigger is definitely the largest negative to me. I enjoyed the more refined feel and the instrument panel is light years ahead. I might even be able to get used to the gimmicky light ring thing which initially struck me as pretty dumb. But I want a small car for easy city street parking. By continuing to add inches to the overall length it starts getting into competition with a bunch of other cars it used to have a major advantage over.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          Totally agree. And MINI needs to hear this opinion frankly. There are a bunch of people inside the company that would love to find a way to do a smaller car. It’s tricky but with enough demand the chances are good they’ll do it.

        • TurbochargedChili

          Personally Gabe, it seems like even if BMW/MINI made an abysmal car, MF and BF would be all on it being fantastic. Do you not think that is partially true? Do you think BMW has strayed away from what made it unique in the dull world of luxury cars? As a FORMER BMW employee, I couldn’t believe what BMW did to their cars after introducing the F01. The interior quality on all of their cars has tanked, they have made all of their cars less enjoying to drive, and they have gone hog wild with pricing, and what is and isn’t standard. The quality just seems lacking across the board. I enjoy reading MF for the inside scoop, but I feel the reviews are highly biased in favor of BMW. You have to admit that the F56 S doesn’t have that same character of previous MINI’s.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          If the car was abysmal we’d let you know about it (as would the rest of the automotive world). As it stands reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.

        • TurbochargedChili

          I wasn’t saying that the F56 was abysmal, I was just saying that it’s a lot of MINI owners opinions that you are heavily BMW biased, because it’s a rarity for you all to point out dislikes about MINI/BMW products.

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

          And by reviews, he means reviews in the automotive press besides MotoringFile — which have been overwhelmingly positive. The MINI has never been a darling of the automotive press at large, so that the reviews are so positive is significant. Also, don’t fall for the typical internet outlook on product reviews and mistake cynicism for objectivity.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          This hurts- we have always viewed each car in its own right and have called BMW out many times. We were one of the reasons that the 1M was repackaged and I can think of three cars over as many years that we had significant issues with and made that clear.

          Truth is though- BMW will never bring a completely abysmal product to market; its just not possible in this day in age and all of the focus groups and testing each car goes through. They will build some cars with issues and we will certainly point them out ( R56 dash, Countryman with All 4 and a Manual?) but it will be a cold day in hell when everything about a car is just crap.

          I am not sure what you are referring to with interior quality going down- the complete opposite occurred as has been evidenced by hundreds of other reviews, JD Power surveys etc. They had to redesign the E60 completely mid cycle because the interior was so horrible quality and build wise- the E36 was VW quality in every way (climate control were replaced regularly and fan blades would explode).

          The LCD displays, black panels, HUD, soft touch materials are much better in all the current products- BMW is spending comparable per unit as Audi on interior now.

          Sure seats are no longer completely leather- the surfaces that make body contact are but the leatherette is high quality and 90% of the population will never even know the difference.

          The build of the F56 on the interior is leaps and bounds better than any MINI ever.

          Nothing has the same character in today’s world and if it does it is small brand on the verge of going bust; that’s reality as certain priorities are not important to 99% of drivers. If you want something with character drive an older model or get a Lotus (which is also softening).

          Just my independent and often opinionated view but I for one always say it the way I see it- Gabe also usually let’s his opinion fly as that is why this whole ‘File thing started years ago.

        • TurbochargedChili

          What I’m referring to is the F30′s interior quality is less than stellar. It’s cost cutting at its worst. The same thing has happened across the board with ALL BMW’s from the 2 to 7 series. They all have the same cheap plastic center stacks that rattle, buzz, etc… I worked for BMW for years, and was mortified by their newest products. They have made abysmal products, see the X4, X6, and 2AT.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          Sounds like you are bitter- the 5, 7 do not share the same center stack with the 2 or 3. I have a ton of miles of that center stack (about 80k total) with no rattles or buzzing. The stack is the same material as before without the “soft touch” paint as it was prone to peeling when touched by hand lotion and many panels were being replaced for that reason- this is a standard move in the industry, if you want to see “cheap” plastic please go look at a Suburu or a Ford Fiesta- not even in the same world.

          The X6 is a niche product that far exceeded its target. The X4 is out? You’ve driven seen it? The 2AT- really? It’s meant to compete with the B Class in Europe, its not coming stateside for sometime if ever…. The cars you mention are vehicles that have a target demo- notice how Land Rover and Mercedes went into the same market as the X6- there is a customer for these vehicles and they are profit laden.

          Just out of curiosity- what brand is building a better product?

        • TurbochargedChili

          My issue with these products are that they don’t fit the “Ultimate driving machine” slogan. The center stacks in the 6, and 7 aren’t the same, but are made of the same hard plastic. If you check online forums, you can find lots of posts of center stack rattles. Maybe you got a specially made car, because right before I quit working for BMW, the service center was having problem after problem with rattles in the dashes of all models. The textured “leather” armrests are prone to peeling, as well. When talking about cheap plastic pieces, I can’t believe you are comparing the Ford Fiesta, and Subaru to a 50-100K dollar BMW. I’m guessing you obviously haven’t seen the S-Class or new C-Class’s interior. Besides the screen which is mounted separately, the entire interior of the C-Class looks and feels expensive. I also forgot to mention how bad the 3GT, and 5GT are, and I can tell you that they do not sell. Yes, I mentioned the 2AT. If BMW wants to compete in any segment, there has to be something about it to make it a BMW. The 2AT is one of the ugliest cars of all. It looks like an anteater and a 3GT had a child. I mentioned the X4 and X6 because the X6 is uber heavy, it doesn’t drive well, and it’s ridiculously overpriced, and ugly. The X4 literally could be the spawn of a Pontiac Aztek. The X4 is based on the X3, so yes I can say that the X3 doesn’t drive well either. Nothing that a BMW is making currently is worth it’s price, or deserves to be called an ultimate driving machine. BMW has changed their focus on being the brand for enthusiasts, to now trying to make something that appeals to the Lexus crowd, just minus the Lexus reliability, or obsession with build quality. The ATS and IS both beat the 3-Series in several comparo’s.

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

          He mentioned the Aztek, everybody take a drink.

        • TurbochargedChili

          If you haven’t realized, I’m not the first or last to make the statement that they share a common shape, and look like an Aztek in BMW drag.

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

          The MotoringFile Comment Drinking Game® realizes a great many things.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          It was a consecutive Aztek-> water fall!! (everyone finish their drinks and pour another!)

        • TurbochargedChili

          Never seen a publication respond so unprofessionally as this. Pretty sad. Guess I’ll be getting my only news updates from other sources

        • TurbochargedChili

          When people like yourself don’t speak up about BMW’s departure from being heralded as the brand that makes the best driving cars, they will continue to go farther and farther away from what they had been. The E90 335i was a much better made, and much more fun to drive car than it’s F30 successor. If you deny that, I will just lose all respect in you and your publication. It’s a well documented subject that all BMW’s have now incorporated steering with as much feels as a Camry, and they’ve made their suspensions squishy even with dynamic damping. The 335i F30, also doesn’t have nearly as much soul as it’s older brother. They’ve taken out most of the exhaust and intake noise, and have muted the entire driving experience. I’m just tired of hearing the excuses for how they have added tech, and efficiency, and basically that trumps the driving experience. They built their brand on being the ultimate driving machine, not the ultimate computer on wheels.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          I agree with this as an enthusiast. Problem is that BMW is offering cars that are geared towards those that like the drive, like the exhaust and offer a full product range to take the car to that level. (M, M Performance and Accessories).

          What BMW has for better or worse realized is that the vast majority of buyers want some sport and all the rest rather than a lot of sport and a few luxuries and gadgets.

          The E90 was probably the best driving and built BMW in a base product (hands down), even more so to me than the E46 (which size wise was perfect).

          The 3 series has become BMWs Camry (I’ve said that before), what will be interesting is to see how the M235i is received as I have had time in the M135i and loved it and The M235i has everything one would want minus 2 doors (but that should come!).

          There is a fine line with all of this as BMW is trying to stay independent, trying to compete and not be just another belly up luxury brand but they also must stick to roots as well…. Outside the US the “Ultimate Driving Machine” is not used and while the US is the volume seller it is not the leader in profit and I think sometimes that is forgotten.

          We are a crossroads in the auto industry, new technology is flourishing and in the next 10-15 years cars of today will seem involved and raw- it is just the way of the beast…. safety and technology will rule the day look back 15 years.

          The same transition is coming to MINI- Notice how Chili Red is absent? This will be JCW exclusive for those that want performance….

        • Michaela Michaels

          The M-cars are too expensive. Why did they abandon the 3-series’ roots? It sold fine before when it doubled as a great drivers car, and a comfortable cruiser. The M235i isn’t an M anything. The M-performance line is a sham. It doesn’t come standard with an LSD, performance exhaust, hydraulic steering, etc…I shouldn’t have to get an M car to have a great drivers car. BMW prides themselves as “the ultimate driving machine”, but the new F01, 10, 30, etc… Are all less involving than their predecessors. They aren’t cheaper, or better to look at and play with, and they are going further and further away from what made them so popular with enthusiasts in the first place. There are plenty of great drivers cars that are more luxurious, just as efficient, and have higher quality interiors. It’s disappointing that the “New BMW” has gone so far from the E90 in just one generation of 3′s.

        • Andrew Vella

          BMW is was a great brand until they released the F Chassis. They lost the touch from that point on. Although the IDRIVE interface is by far the best in the business, the constant problems they have with there engines is what scares me. If you drive any BMW with the V8 Twin Turbo (M Cars included) you are going to have SERIOUS issues when you hit 60,000kms – 80,000kms. Sorry, One litre of oil for every 1000kms is normal consumption? Are you kidding me?

        • Jose Perón

          If BMW is spending as much as Audi/unit , then their suppliers are ripping them off. Audi’s interiors look a lot more well made, and with much higher quality materials. BMW is on par with the new Jetta in terms of materials, and that’s after VW went on a cost cutting mission to lower the starting price. Other VW’s have much higher quality materials, such as the CC, and in Europe, the Phaeton compared to the 7

        • R.O

          I understand and agree about the “bigger” concern. The problem is car buys in the US want larger cars. The press (and reviewers) write that the MINI is nice, etc, etc, but not enough room (just in general – not specific to the F56). As long as the car buyers (not enthusiast) complain that car is too small, not enough room in the back, etc, Car Mfg will make small cars larger. They want to sell cars.

          I personally don’t get the “MINI is too small” thought pattern, if a person needs or wants a bigger car (MINI) buy the Countryman or Paceman. I would like to see MINI come out with “The Classic” (not the original classic). Just call it that and make it the size of something between the R50/53 and R56. If they sell enough of all the other cars, the classic could be done.

        • TurbochargedChili

          My dislike of the F56 has nothing to do with “added refinement” or it’s gain in size. The size increase is negligible, but when I buy a Cooper S or JCW, I want to have a machine honed for driving, and the joys that come along with driving, such as hearing the exhaust, engine, turbo spool, blow off, etc… Personally, the 1.6T in the R56 has a much more flexible demeanor. Unless I got a specially made car with a unique engine, the flexibility that the N18 has is unprecedented. From 1000RPM-6500RPM, it pulls hard. I can lug at 35mph in 6th while behind a car on an exit ramp, and when merging, it has the flexibility to pull itself up to 70mph with ease without a downshift. If I’m winding the car out, it never loses steam up to redline. When I drove the F56, it seemed like it ran out of steam a lot earlier than redline. The 2.0L sounded like it was asthmatic at higher revs, and it didn’t have that guttural growl that I’ve become accustomed to since I purchased my 2011 S Hatch. I feel like the entire BMW group is turning itself away from what made it such a success in the first place. It’s been a brand that prides itself on being performance oriented, but as of recent years, it’s lost that uniqueness. My fears of the same thing happening to MINI were realized on my test drive. I agree with everything Jeff R. said.

        • Kevin Bartlett

          I hope a longer test drive would sway me back. The dealer already had a quite short route setup (all right turns) for anyone who went on a test drive (they were handing out maps). I can forgive that since many people were waiting to get to drive an F56, another trip out will be needed on a “normal” day where I can drive the car on roads of my choosing (assuming they aren’t one of those dealers who frown on such things).

    • Gareth

      I’ve had my MCS F56 for nearly a month now, and I preordered it, without driving one. I knew it would be awesome. The F56 has bags of character. It still is a MINI but is refined for today’s audience (myself, Apple generation). The ride is such a step up from the r56, the interior is far superior, yes there are some negatives like the lower door panels being plastic and the quality on the petrol gauge, but overall the interior is superb.

      Everyone has an opinion, fair enough, but if you give this car a chance, it beams, this is my 4th MINI and this one is giving me the biggest smile so far, it’s such a great package.

      • TurbochargedChili

        The fact you preordered a car without driving it, is scary.

        • Gareth

          If I didn’t like it, I’d just get shot of it, but I knew I wouldn’t :)

      • TurbochargedChili

        I’m also in the Apple Generation. I’m in my 20′s.

  • Chris Samyn

    Did you try the same car has we all did

  • iancull

    If it took a year for this issue to be found, how do they have any knowledge that the “fix” is better?

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      I asked them basically that question and they were very confident of what the issue was, how it happened and what they needed to do to fix it.

  • LagunaMan

    It’s nice how MINI is now showing concern for their customer while in the past they treated us very poorly…..hose of us who who bought the R56/R55 Turbo cars are stuck with bad timing chains, high pressure fuel pumps routinely going out, not to mention carbon build up problems. No amount of press or hipe will ever warm me up to the F56 MINI. After 3 MINI’s I’m done with them and BMW

    • SPICYJCWCOUPE

      Then there are MINI owners like me that have been very happy with minimal problems. Over the past 6.5 years, 70+K miles and 2 MINIS (’08 MCS hatch & ’12 JCWCoupe), both manual, I’ve only had 2 issues…the AC on the ’08 MCS had an issue that was taken care of at 20K miles & the ’12 JCWCoupe had a Bluetooth issue that was fixed, also about 20K miles.

      That’s it!!!! I’d say that’s pretty damn good! I WILL go for a 3rd MINI…likely the F55 4 door S hatch late this year. My current JCWCoupe has been lots of fun but time to move on to a more usable/practical MINI as I approach my 74th birthday…will even go for the auto with paddle shifter after having the manual on the previous ones. That would be sacrilege for some MINI owners!

      • DeltaLimaXray

        I’m a die hard Mini fan, (owned 02 MCS, and 04 MCS JCW), but I’m wary too.

        I sold my 09 JCW immediately after all the problems listed above and dealer indifference.

        If it wasn’t for the BMW drive train I wouldn’t be coming back. Glad Mini is taking the time to do things right, and hopefully work out most of the bugs. This car is brilliant to drive, but quality will be key.

      • TurbochargedChili

        My 2011 Cooper S manual hatch had to be serviced 30 times in 6 months. Not what I would call quality. Finally, after contacting BMW corporate several times, they shipped my car to another dealership hours away that finally fixed MOST issues. However, the most annoying issues such as the door panels continually buzzing and rattling has never been fixed. They put so much felt tape behind the door armrest speaker grille that they both fell off over bumps. Thankfully, I haven’t had any more oil leaks, dead batteries from radio modules failing, or loose engine mounts.

  • R.O

    “MINI USA discovered that the Cooper could theoretically experience some engine coolant leakage from the oil filter housing.” I’m assuming (oh – ooo) by engine coolant you mean engine oil?

    Yes, coolant (oil?) leaking would be a problem considering you can’t check the oil level anymore since no dipstick (dumb idea).

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

      Engine coolant (water-based) does run through channels in the engine block of any water-cooled engine. It’s actually cooling the oil through the block, if you will, and the oil helps cool the engine. So it is completely plausible that actual engine coolant might pass through that area. Without knowing more about it, it’s a reasonable statement. And yes, not having a dip stick is a bit silly, but given all the issues that MINI had with owners never checking their oil in the first place and leading to problems, an idiot-light approach actually makes more sense for the vast majority of their customers.

      • R.O

        Thanks. Yup coolant to dissipate the heat from oil lubrication and cooling. Thanks. As for “idiot-light approach actually makes more sense for the vast majority of their customers.” We’ll see how well that works. Know people that drive for long periods of time with check lights on.

        Curious, will the light tell me that I need to add oil or only reference the manual which will say “see your Dealer” (i.e. see dealer = pay them to add oil).

        • fishbert

          I asked my dealer about how to check the oil level sans dipstick (as this was important with an oil-consuming turbo). He said the car computer gives you a reading in one of the service menus … that it’s not just a dummy light. Snark: I bet the reading from this sensor will prove to be more accurate than the hard-to-read stock dipstick of the R56.

        • Kevin Bartlett

          I second that the sensor will probably be more accurate. My R53′s dipstick is finicky to get out or back in and hard to read.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          BMW killed the dipstick in 2007. The system works well, gives you a read (engine running on flat ground) takes as long as opening the hood, pulling the dipstick, wiping, replacing and pulling again, replacing closing the hood- we checked this early on.

          There are idiot lights as well. For the vast majority of drivers this is more effective than a dipstick.

        • glangford

          The BMW system has one flaw. It doesn’t measure an overfill condition well. I have the 328d. One forum member had the dealer change oild with like 7 quarts thinking it was the same as a 335d. It’s not and it’s 5.5 quarts. The BMW system registered full. The D which also has a dipstick measured a rather large overfill condition. I’ll take the dipstick anyday.

        • TurbochargedChili

          It works great, until it doesn’t work at all. Knowing BMW’s history of “quality” sensors, and faulty everything, it’s more than a little worrisome. How hard would it be to have a sensor AND a dipstick?

  • mbatech

    MotoringFile, have you heard about the production delays for custom F56 orders in the US if the order is configured with Harman Kardon speakers or have a white or black roof? Dealers are quoting production delays until at least June for those orders configured with Harman Kardon speakers due to supply constraints and July production for those orders configured with white or black tops due to an unknown manufacturing issue. What have you heard from your sources?

    • Vero

      My dealer also told me there would be a delay due to the contrast roof and the HK speakers. I wonder if the delay was actually related to this issue rather then the roof and HK. I would also like to know if the roof and HK issues still stand.

      • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

        Contrast roofs are delayed due to expanding the paint dept at the plant.

        • SPICYJCWCOUPE

          With these production delays on the F56 per the roof paint & HK speakers until at least June, what would that do to the rollout timetable of the 4 door F55 around Aug/Sep??? Could these issues translate to delays with that model?

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          I don’t know if they’re delayed to June. I think it’s less than that.

        • Spike

          The paint dept at the plant will be closed for 2 weeks for improvements and upgrades to the manufacturing process. F56 D’s now have an engine fix, customers can expect delivery in May.

  • Dr Obnxs

    Some statistics….. So, they tested “hundreds” of cars over a year and had one problem. If it’s two hundred, that’s half a percent failure rate. If it’s nine hundred, it’s about 0.11%. While that seems low, when you are shipping 40k cars in the US (rough estimate), that’s from 45 to 200 cars that will have a FIRST YEAR warranty failure in the US alone. When you consider that the problem will only get worse with time (say 2 in the second year and beyond), your looking at a lot of warranty work that comes straight out of profit.

    If we go back in time to the leaky thermostat housing on the Tritec engines, I’m sure that the bean counters at MINI/BMW figured that it’s cheaper to fix it now than later. And with the public pillorying that GM is going through, I’m guessing that a lot of manufacturers are (rightly, I hope) assuming that the attitude of “it’s not a problem unless we say it is a problem” of past safety issues won’t be the norm, it’s time to get it right before the class action lawsuit lawyers start lining up!

    Heck, when I think of how hard it was to steer my 02 S when the power steering pump died, I’m wondering why MINI isn’t getting hauled in front of congress to explain why such a safety issue didn’t even get a TSB, just a warranty extension!

    But back to now….. It’s always more expensive to ship the problem and fix it later than to deal with it now…..

  • Michaela Michaels

    I drove an automatic S and a manual base. I hated the new S in automatic trim. I was worried I would hate the base as well, but the manual made it a lot more like the R56 in terms of fun to drive. I wish both had more engine and exhaust noises as well, as you can hardly hear the 3 or 4 cylinder engines in both models. The base radio looks awfully cheap, maybe even cheaper than the R56, and I wasn’t a fan of the LED lights around the radio. Overall, there is still a lot of room for improvement before it reaches VW Golf/GTI quality, but I’m hoping they will keep moving up in terms of quality, without dulling the experience anymore. I don’t know if I would say the driving experience is an improvement at all, but it’s decent. Maybe MINI will hear complaints about the engine and exhaust being too quiet. At the least, the S should be louder. My biggest issue is that with the Fiesta ST, Focus ST, and VW GTI all within the same price class, what sets the MINI apart anymore? The new Golf GTI has the same level of optional extras, outperforms the Cooper S, and costs less in loaded trim. I don’t know, but to me, the MINI has lost some of what made it so special. It felt like any other hatchback now. I didn’t hate it, but I too probably wouldn’t upgrade to the new F56.

  • Jim H

    Our S demo over here in the UK has just lost all it’s oil, looks like engine damage as a consequence! Currently a recall out for oil filter housings but only mentions for “possible coolant leak”


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
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'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
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JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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