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Section: MotoringFile Garage

Cross-Shopping the F56 JCW with the MkVII Golf R

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, JCW, MINI Competitors, MotoringFile Garage, Opinion Apr 15th, 2015 14 Comments

2015_golf_r_4411As discussed in the last episode of White Roof Radio, Todd spent most of last week driving a 2015 4-door Golf GTI. His impression was rather positive, so positive in fact, that we dedicated almost half of the show talking about his experience and how it compares to the F56. While Gabe has also praised the GTI in the past, this weekend was our turn to test-drive Volkswagen’s Hot Hatch. continued →

MF Garage: Snow & Ice vs the Cooper S (In Praise of Plastic)

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, MotoringFile Garage, Reviews Apr 15th, 2015 6 Comments

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There is nothing glorious about doing damage to your car. And there’s definitely no glory in doing it to someone else’s. Cue the crunching sound of ice breaking plastic. That was the sound I heard as I was parallel parking a few days after particular bad 24″ Chicago blizzard this winter. As anyone will tell you navigating the unplowed side streets of Chicago are bad enough. But trying to parallel park in them is even worse. Alas that was my mission and unfortunately I missed accounting for a rather large glacial like piece of icy snow. I rolled over it with my back and onto it with my right plastic side skirt. And that side skirt did exactly what its engineers have designed it to do. It broke. continued →

Opinion: Coupe Confessional

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, Opinion, R58 (Coupe) Mar 24th, 2015 18 Comments

Oswin side 1280x720Owning a MINI Coupe has been quite an experience so far, and the news that the Coupe and Roadster are finished this month leaves this Coupe owner looking back, and confessing that he is feeling good about the future.  continued →

MF Poll: Help Our Man Todd Choose The Right Car

MotoringFile Sections: MF Poll, MotoringFile Garage, Podcast Mar 18th, 2015 15 Comments

F55_ClubmanConcept (26) Friend of MotoringFile and White Roof Radio co-host Todd Pearson is possibly on the hunt for a new MINI. It took some time to get him there as he was originally seduced by the dark side, and the idea of owning a Range Rover Evoque. While he is coming to his senses, there’s still great hesitation in him in regards to the car or MINI he should buy next. Bear in mind that he owns a GP1 – a car he will most likely keep whatever happens – and that his better-half drives a 2014 F56 Cooper. To help our friend make up his mind, we’ve decided to crowdsource to the MotoringFile audience his choice of vehicle and options (e.g. Todd wonders if H/K is a must). Not that he will strictly follow the final results of this poll, but we believe it is still a fun exercise to go through. With that in mind, let’s get him into the right car! continued →


Surviving Winter on Summer Tires – Why You Should Never Try It

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, MotoringFile Garage, Reviews Mar 9th, 2015 6 Comments

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We don’t advocate summer tires in cold conditions. We never have and we never will. However through a series of unfortunate events our long term F56 Cooper S ended up not just with little 16″ wheels but summer-only tires. In the dead of winter. In Chicago. Hilarity did not ensue. What it did was create a wild few months that included more than a few white knuckles and e-brake turns. How did we survive? Read on. continued →

Steering Feel: F56 Cooper S vs R56 Cooper S

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, MotoringFile Garage, R56 (Hatch), Reviews Feb 16th, 2015 13 Comments

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After a few weeks living with our F56 Cooper S we had a moment to step back into an R56 Cooper recently. While there’s plenty to compare and contrast, the single biggest difference is in your hands. Put plainly the F56 is a big step forward over the R5X platform for steering feel and response. With the R56 (and even the R53 at times) there could be a knife’s edge between satisfying feedback and a car that was working against you when you pushed them hard. With the new F56 generation of MINIs, we have a driving experience that feels both more communicative, more balanced and more forgiving at the same time. Why is this? Read on. continued →


MF Challenge: What Would You Buy for $40,000?

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, JCW, MotoringFile Garage, Opinion Feb 11th, 2015 92 Comments

P0039382 Since we published the Ordering Guide for the 2015 F56 John Cooper Works, there has a been a lot of debate across the MotoringFile and White Roof Radio teams regarding the MSRP of this new car. With a base-price of $30,600, we believe the JCW is actually good value compare to a “JCW-equipped” standard Cooper S. However, when you add a couple of technology and convenience options, the final price tag approaches the $38K-$42K range rather quickly. At this point, anyone contemplating a decently equipped JCW – even the most hardcore MINI fanboys – would probably ask themselves whether or not it is reasonable to spend close to $40K on a MINI. Wouldn’t it make more sense to buy a low mileage certified BMW M3 for instance? So instead of restricting this conversation to our little group, we decided to open the debate to the fine MotoringFile readership. Here is the challenge: With a budget ranging from $38,000 to $42,000, what would you buy instead of a F56 JCW? To answer this question, you will have to comply with two rules:

  • You can choose to spend your budget on a new or a used car (excluding taxes, title, etc.)
  • The car you choose has to become your daily driver

There you have it. Speak your choice in the comments section and tell us why you selected a given car. 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

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
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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