Nov 14th, 2013
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.
Jun 6th, 2013
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.
Dec 26th, 2012
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 â€” 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. Thereâ€™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 →
Aug 8th, 2012
There’s a pattern for MINI “shoot outs” in the mainstream press that I think is pretty interesting. It goes something like this:
- Match a MINI against some other small car
- If possible, choose a non-hardtop variant from the MINI lineup that doesn’t quite make sense for comparison
- Emphasize the price difference, even though there are less expensive MINIs than the one tested
- Complain about the MINI’s weird interior while, ironically, yawning at the competitor’s
- Drive the cars
- Point out that the MINI is less comfortable (Thanks, runflats!)
- Point out that the competitor is less fun. A LOT less fun.
- Bring up the price difference again
- 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 →
Jul 3rd, 2012
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.
Feb 4th, 2012
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 →
Dec 31st, 2011
We love a good comparison test here at MotoringFile, especially when the MINI gets its due as a driver’s car – especially the Cooper. While MINI doesn’t always come out on top in these small car shoot outs, it’s always interesting to see how the automotive press compares the Cooper to its rivals. This month, Motor Trend published a story pitting the MINI against the Scion tC, Honda CR-Z, Volkswagen Beetle, Hyundai Veloster, and of course, the Fiat 500. These, as the misfit group of the automotive world — the odd balls. Spoiler alert, MINI came out on top. continued →