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Section: F56 Hatch

The JCW Aero Kit Hit Showrooms (w/Gallery)

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, JCW Nov 6th, 2014 49 Comments

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The JCW aero-kit, a visual preview of the 2015 MINI JCW has hit showrooms in the past few weeks. The option is part of the JCW exterior pack and brings back the classic Chili Red color the MINI range.

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Navdy, I Want One. Now.

MotoringFile Sections: Accessories, F56 Hatch, In the Press, Technology Nov 6th, 2014 13 Comments

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During a short afternoon break today, I nerded out with a couple of friends about online back-up. The conversation turned into a Who’s the Biggest Nerd contest and for once, I lost. The winner came up with Navdy. If you don’t know what it is, I’m sure you’ll want once after reading this post. continued →

US Bound MINI Diesel Previewed

MotoringFile Sections: Diesel, F54 Clubman, F55 Five Door Hatch, F56 Hatch, F6X Countryman Nov 1st, 2014 4 Comments

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We know. You’re wondering how we can be so confident about the US finally getting a diesel MINI when MINI USA has either shown ambivalence or pulled plug on the program in the past. Five years ago the US was on the verge of getting an R56 diesel. However due to the global economy meltdown the business case just didn’t make sense. However this time things are different. The UKL platform from the beginning has been designed to accommodate the urea tank required for US diesels making modifications less expensive. Then there’s the increased interest in higher MPG and diesel in the US that are both consumer cost (never mind the currently low fuel prices) and legislation driven.

So what diesel MINI will the US get? We originally reported that the US would be getting a MINI Clubman SD for 2017. While we believe that’s still likely, we believe that a Countryman SD is actually more likely for the 2018 model year. What’s the SD? Simply put it’s a diesel Cooper S drivetrain that produces 168bhp at 4000rpm and 266lb ft lbs at 1500rpm. MPG? That’s where things get really interesting. continued →

MINI Cooper S vs. VW GTI Rematch

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch Oct 29th, 2014 5 Comments

6a00d83451b3c669e201b8d08605c2970c-800wiIf at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Not too long ago there was a comparison between the VW GTI and a MINI Cooper S. They’re baaaack! This time the results were different. continued →


MotoringFile Review: the 2014 MINI Cooper S at the Track

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, Reviews Oct 29th, 2014 5 Comments

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We’ve driven the new F56 MINI Cooper S plenty since its launch early this year. But so far track time with MINI’s latest has eluded us. With our recent trip to MINIUSA’s Miles Ahead at the Indianapolis Speedway, that finally came to an end.

While typically all of the Cooper S at Miles Ahead are automatics (the best choice for the vast majority – even most enthusiasts) I was lucky enough to be handed the key to the one manual in the fleet. Given my affiliation with MotoringFile and my previous track experience they wanted to give me an extra challenge in the form of a third pedal. It was welcome.

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Pulling out of the garage and into pits for the first time you’re once again struck by the scale of the place. IMS isn’t as large a track like Talledega but due to its design and layout it feels infinitely more impressive and almost majestic.

First up was getting acquainted with the car and the track. My very first session was full course lapping behind current Indycar driver Pippa Mann. My initial focus was of course the reacquaint myself with the car and the track. But the F56 felt so immediately comfortable and confident and moderate track speeds I was able to focus on strictly learning my braking points, shift points and corner angles. From there I shifted focus trying to better understand what I had in my hands and how it compared to the MINIs that came before it as a track tool.

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The verdict? Like all MINIs before it, the F56 makes for a respectable track car right out of the box. And with some tweaking of tires, brake pads and maybe light suspension changes it could be a giant killer.

In stock form grip levels are up thanks to improved tires, redesigned suspension and a stiffer chassis. The extra power and more importantly torque allowed for much more speed coming out of corners not to mention the ability to chirp the tires going into third at times.

One area that’s also improved upon is steering feel and feedback. Again thanks to that stiffer chassis, revised suspension and tires design from the ground for the car, the wheel feels more alive in your hand and connected to the outside world. There’s an eagerness to the car on initial turn-in that stock R56 at times lacked. The result is a MINI that feels utterly engaging and quick witted while not being overly dramatic as the R53 or R56 could be at times.

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At 120 mph on the front stretch of IMS an increase in vehicle stability was also obvious. The extensive aero work done by BMW has clearly paid dividends in a car that feels at home in triple digits. While a MINI will never quite match a 911 or M4 due to its shape, the F56 feels much more confident at 120 mph as compared to the R53 or R56.

Braking from 120 down is another story. Obviously you’d want to swap pads and fluid for any track action. But in stock form there was clear fade by the end of the day and a lack of stopping power that R56 JCW owners are used to.

Having a chance to drive the manual also meant I got to experience the new rev matching feature in some extreme situations. While part of the charm of manual driving has always been blipping the throttle for that perfect gear change, this addition allows for greater concentration at critical moments in and out of corners.

The F56 at the track was everything I hoped it would be. With the new Cooper S MINI has built on its tradition of producing giant killers that are immediately quick and (more importantly) utterly engaging on the edge.

In short if you’re thinking about upgrading to an F56 and plan track time, don’t hesitate. While a few light mods would be welcome for extended track use (like all previous MINIs), the F56 was a fantastic track companion offering up an excellent mix of speed, stability and feedback throughout the day.

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Miles Ahead – The Ultimate MINI Track Day& Driving School

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, Reviews Oct 27th, 2014 12 Comments

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You enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through a tunnel on 16th street with little pomp or circumstance. You exit into the infield with awe. Such is the scale of the place that there’s a golf course in the infield. And it only takes up a 1/3rd of the infield.

These are hallowed grounds for the Motorsport obsessed and it’s a treat to simply be allowed inside. But today is special. Today I will be one of the first civilians to drive the road course at IMS in anger. And my ride couldn’t be better – a 2014 Mini Cooper S. continued →


MINIUSA Responds to the Lowering of MPG Figures by the EPA

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch Oct 24th, 2014 17 Comments

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When the EPA re-released 2014 MINI MPG figures we reached out to MINI for an official response on the matter. What you see below is that response. While it doesn’t give us insight into why, we can certainly assume that spot checking the original figures proved uncovered discrepancies that led to this re-test. The big question however is what this does to consumer expectations of the new MINI and its efficiency.

Read on for the official statement.

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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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'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
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'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
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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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