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Section: MotoringFile Garage

Steering Feel: F56 Cooper S vs R56 Cooper S

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, 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 Hatch, 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 →

MF Garage: The F56 Sport Suspension Has Made Believers Out of Us

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, MotoringFile Garage Jan 29th, 2015 16 Comments

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When speccing our Cooper S we had originally planned to have the Sport Suspension optioned, hoping to properly compare the most hardcore factory Cooper S to all the sporting MINIs that came before it. Then last second we decided we’d be better off going with the variable dampers since that’s what many of you would likely be more curious about. However as luck would have it, an ordering snafu produced a Sport Suspension shod Cooper S just as we had originally intended. And after two weeks and 1500 miles we’re pretty pleased with the happy accident.  continued →

MF Garage: Our Long-Term F56 Cooper S is Here – Most of It

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, MotoringFile Garage Jan 26th, 2015 20 Comments

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After an excruciatingly long wait our long term Cooper S test car is here. Well most of it. The process of ordering a press or corporate car at MINI typically takes longer and is less of a science than ordering from your dealer. Therefore when production issues at Oxford slowed output, our car and other similar press cars were bumped back in order to get customer cars out. At the time we thought that seemed more than fair. However, the result was our car missed its late June build slot, which meant it officially became a 2015 model. That in turn meant it fell victim to the EPA issue that saw all 2015 model year cars held at the port until October 1st.

October 1st came and went and our MINI was once again bumped back so that the company could focus on customer cars. Rightly so we thought, but boy was this getting old. Finally in late December we were told our car was shipping out. After another excruciating delay due to weather we got the call. Anticipation was hardly the word. continued →


MF Garage: Hard Choices

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage Nov 25th, 2014 30 Comments

2006 MINI Cooper S -  594

I’m not going to bury the lead here. After nearly nine years of enthusiastic ownership, the time has come to sell my 2006 MINI Cooper S. The journey that brought me here, and what it means going forward is something I wanted to share with MotoringFile readers, as I’m sure other MINI enthusiasts have wrestled with this difficult decision as well.

continued →

Introducing MotoringFile’s Longterm F56 Cooper S

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, MotoringFile Garage May 2nd, 2014 91 Comments

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Writing for MotoringFile has its highs and lows. Constant personal attention from the few of us that run it can be taxing given day jobs and the business of life. But the rewards of writing about a subject that we find interesting and seeing a community of readers build around that is nothing short of inspiring.

And then there are the cars. Within the guise of MotoringFile (and BimmerFile) we get behind the wheel of a ton of them, and most pretty interesting. The best examples of this are new vehicle press launches which are great ways to evaluate individual models for our readers often before they’re even in showrooms.

But it’s the longterm press cars that MINI has graced us with that are perhaps the ultimate test drive. And they also represent the best way to truly review a new car. Which brings us to what’s next for the MotoringFile garage. continued →


MotoringFile’s Longterm JCW Roadster For Sale

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, R59 (Roadster) Apr 14th, 2014 7 Comments

MINI JCW Roadster

When our long term cars test cars go back to MINI they get washed, waxed, refurbished and sold to a new owner. And during this process we lose track of where the car goes and who it ends up with. However thanks to MF reader John Calder we now know where our JCW Roadster test car ultimately ended up. 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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