Section: MotoringFile Garage

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

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, MotoringFile Garage Jan 29th, 2015 16 Comments


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 Two-Door Hardtop, MotoringFile Garage Jan 26th, 2015 20 Comments


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.

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Introducing MotoringFile’s Longterm F56 Cooper S

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, MotoringFile Garage May 2nd, 2014 91 Comments


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 →

MF Garage: Top Down in Dixie

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, R59 (Roadster) Jan 6th, 2014 6 Comments

Roadster in Dixie

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.

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MF Garage: Open Top Showdown. Roadster vs. Moto

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, Opinion, R59 (Roadster), Reviews Aug 14th, 2013 20 Comments


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.

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Reader Review: JCW GP
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'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range