Section: MINI Competitors

World Premier: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (The First Front Wheel Drive BMW)

MotoringFile Sections: MINI Competitors Feb 13th, 2014 51 Comments

P90141704 The first front wheel drive BMW is finally here. Why should you, the MINI enthusiast care? Because this BMW, under all the metal, glass and composites lies the same chassis and drivetrain as the new MINI. In other words this is the BMW version of the F56 MINI. Or more specifically this is BMW’s version of the new F55 Four door and F54 Clubman in terms of a size comparison respectively.

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Opinion: Peugeot Shows Us the 270 hp MINI Prince Engine That Could Have Been

MotoringFile Sections: Best of the Web, MINI Competitors, Opinion Nov 14th, 2013 24 Comments

Peugeot RCZ R

Pictured above is the Peugeot RCZ R — a 270 hp sport coupe that’s powered by a version of the same engine found in second generation MINIs like the R56 and R60. You read that right: 270 hp. We’ve known this was possible (in fact nearly seven years ago MotoringFile reported that BMW was able to reliably get 300 hp out of the Prince), but Peugeot has finally put that into reality. What does it mean for MINI? First a little backstory.

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The Classic Mini says “Happy Birthday” to the Porsche 911

MotoringFile Sections: 50th Anniversary, Classic Mini, MINI Competitors, Official News Jun 6th, 2013 9 Comments

Happy b-day 911

Official News from MINI: In September 2013 the flag-bearer of the German sports car fraternity, the Porsche 911, will celebrate its 50th birthday. And among the hoards of well-wishers will be MINI, not least because its model history also includes – in the classic Mini – a similarly compelling work of art characterised by a similar reluctance to abandon the exuberance of youth.

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MF Vault: Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 Review

MotoringFile Sections: MF Vault, MINI Competitors, Reviews Dec 26th, 2012 3 Comments

MotoringFile is about as marque specific as they come. We unapologetically focus on MINIs and only MINIs. However once in awhile we dip our toe in the water with other cars as something particularly interesting or relevant comes along. The all electric Tesla probably fits into the former category more than the latter. So today we present you our latest review of the Tesla Roadster. Original posted over two years ago this was our second review of the Roadster and the last as it has now officially gone out of production. What does it mean for MINI fans? BMWi is the BMW Group’s answer to all electric cars like Tesla and they will be launching a small two and four door rear wheel drive hatch in the next 18 months. But until then this is the closest thing we have to a pure electric car with sport potential.

A huge thanks to Tesla Chicago for not only giving us time with the Roadster Sport but pretty much carte blanche for the time we had it. If you’re in Chicago be sure to check them out. If you’re not you can find an entire list of Tesla Stores worldwide here.

It was the smell. More specifically, the smell of melting rubber that caught my attention. So like you will do, I began to slow and was on alert. And there it was, around a blind corner — a tanker truck that had just locked up the rear to avoid an unexpected traffic tie-up. It was an accident waiting to happen and I smelled it.

The Tesla does many incredible things. But none more than amazing what it doesn’t do. perhaps More specifically, what it doesn’t make you live with. There’s no smell of fossil fuel burning. No sound (except a subtle Jetson’s like woosh on take-off) No pings, no vibrations and nothing to ever worry about other than the road ahead and the remaining range in the batteries. People talk about range anxiety, but consider that a tradeoff for all the other typical driving concerns a Tesla lacks. continued →

Motor Trend Pits the MINI Clubman vs. Hyundai Veloster Turbo

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, MINI Competitors, R55 (Clubman) Aug 8th, 2012 23 Comments

There’s a pattern for MINI “shoot outs” in the mainstream press that I think is pretty interesting. It goes something like this:

  1. Match a MINI against some other small car
  2. If possible, choose a non-hardtop variant from the MINI lineup that doesn’t quite make sense for comparison
  3. Emphasize the price difference, even though there are less expensive MINIs than the one tested
  4. Complain about the MINI’s weird interior while, ironically, yawning at the competitor’s
  5. Drive the cars
  6. Point out that the MINI is less comfortable (Thanks, runflats!)
  7. Point out that the competitor is less fun. A LOT less fun.
  8. Bring up the price difference again
  9. Declare the MINI the better car for people who like to drive, but include some sort of back-handed statement about “value”

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just interesting how consistent it is. continued →

MF Review: Fiat 500 Abarth vs MINI JCW Coupe

MotoringFile Sections: MINI Competitors, Reviews Jul 3rd, 2012 43 Comments

Ever since Fiat announced it was building an Abarth version of the 500, MINI owners have been raising their eyebrows. Sure, the basic 500 is a decent car but, as we found out last year, it simply doesn’t compare well to the MINI in either build quality or performance. Enter the Abarth — the car conceived to go head-to-head with the MINI Cooper S and (if you listen to Fiat) even the JCW. So instead of reviewing the 500 Abarth on its own, we took up Fiat’s JCW challenge. We threw it into the ring with the newly-release MINI JCW Coupe. Apples to oranges you say? There’s only one way to find out.

Righting the Wrongs of the 500

The Abarth addresses the 500’s lack of sporting credentials exactly as we’d hoped. First up, a revised engine revs quicker and higher. It’s built stronger too. Abarth also updated the transmission (an obvious issue with the standard 500) with a new five-speed that, with a 3.35 final drive ratio, makes for a quicker 0-60 time. Other driveline upgrades could have been made, but with only 170 ft lbs of twist, at least torque steer isn’t much of issue.

Then there’s the suspension. Revised Koni struts up front give the car a 40% stiffer spring rate and a 15mm drop. Both were desperately, desperately needed over the base 500. Larger constant velocity (CV) joints (53% stronger to be exact) also help deliver a better ride and control over the original car. Finally, the steering rack has bee quickened 10% to help solve some of the laziness we found in the 500 Sport we tested last year.

Sense a trend yet? The mad scientists at Abarth apparently shared some of our opinions when it came the stock 500. They’ve upgraded the Fiat to address the exact deficiencies we bemoaned last year. And we’ll be damned if they didn’t produced something very compelling.

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Businessweek: MINI Wins Big Over Smart

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, MINI Competitors Feb 4th, 2012 14 Comments

2011 was a banner year for BMW and MINI. MINI sales were up 22%, making for its strongest sales year ever. With sales, came profits. Smart on the other hand, not so much. Recently Businessweek did a comparison piece contrasting MINI’s success against the dismal, -$100M loser that is the Smart car. Even though the Smart debuted several years earlier, and at a much lower price point, the MINI has managed to out-sell the Smart three-to-one. In their analysis, Businessweek sites growing model diversification as a key part of MINI’s success over the Smart. continued →

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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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MotoringFile Reviews

'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
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
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range