Section: MotoringFile Garage
Nov 25th, 2014
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.
May 2nd, 2014
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 →
Apr 14th, 2014
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 →
Jan 6th, 2014
There’s blood, and then there’s your brother from another mother. Sometimes, the other mother gets remarried in Tennessee and when that happens, you go to a wedding. That’s what had me and my wife blasting down HWY 94 out of Chicago and into northwest Indiana this past summer. Our transportation was none other than the MotoringFile long-term loaner car, a MINI JCW Roadster. With the clock winding down on our year with this car, this trip was my last chance to spend some real, quality time with the Roadster. It was also an opportunity to put some highway miles on the car and see what it was like to live with a soft top on the freeway for 20 hours. Would the road noise drive us crazy? Would the southern heat keep us hiding under our cloth roof? Would this little black car and its black leather seats turn into a torture chamber in the parking lot? These were all pressing questions as we headed southeast toward a family reunion of sorts – my own personal episode of Justified.
Aug 14th, 2013
It’s no secret that our MotoringFile long-term review car, a MINI JCW Roadster, has won us over to open top motoring. Between the grunt of the turbo, the overall refinement of the options we chose, and the infinite sky above our heads, driving the Roadster is a MINI motoring experience unlike any we’ve experienced before. Gabe has likened this visceral, out-in-the-world experience to riding a motorcycle. That’s his estimation, anyway. Gabe’s never actually ridden a motorcycle through the open countryside.
I, on the other hand, have a running motorcycle for every day of the week. I’ve been riding since 2007, and that open air riding experience is a big part of the lasting appeal. So in short, I can confirm Gabe’s assertion that driving the JCW Roadster has many motorcycle-like qualities. Yet it wasn’t until I spent a week with the Roadster myself that I understood just where those overlaps are.
Jul 10th, 2013
Heading north on Michigan’s famous M22, I realized something about our little JCW Roadster. In all my years of driving all sorts of cars, I can’t remember bonding with a car more than I’ve bonded with this one in just a year. Sure, I’ve driven better cars that I’ve probably enjoyed more (my BMW 1M comes to mind), but never has one car slotted so comfortably and happily into my daily life. Heading into northern Michigan on one of the best chains of roads in the country seemed like a good way to bond further.
As a vehicle, the MINI Roadster is built perfectly for one or two people. The car has a decently sized boot with a pass-through, and driving capabilities fit for any weather. Dry, wet, hot or cold; the Roadster can handle it with comfort and style. Mostly the past ten thousand miles have proven the Roadster as a brilliant everyday car. Yet it’s on these sorts of driver’s roads, on this kind of perfect summer day, that the Roadster is truly in its element. continued →
Apr 23rd, 2013
Bold claim for sure. But the recent warm and sunny weather in Chicago has me thinking the JCW Roadster may just represent the best every day car money can buy. Obviously, a statement like that should be filled with asterisks and qualifiers. But before we get into all that, lets back up and talk about why. First off, I’m specifically referring to urban commuting. Small parking spots and lots of tight streets. What the Roadster offers is a tidy package that provides plenty of thrills while being efficient in both its use of fuel and space. In terms of raw numbers consider this; I’m seeing (with a very heavy right foot) close to 30 mpg (US) in the stop and go commuting duty.
There’s also the simple thrill of driving a small MINI. A quick steering rack and all the visceral thrill you can stand in a day to day car. In short, stepping foot into any MINI every day should put a smile on your face. continued →
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