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Section: MotoringFile Garage

MF Garage: Is the MINI JCW Roadster the Best Commuter Car Ever?

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, Opinion, R59 (Roadster) Apr 23rd, 2013 28 Comments

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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 →

MF Garage: Our Roadster’s First Spring Road-trip

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, R59 (Roadster), Reviews Apr 15th, 2013 12 Comments

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With a quickly packed bag in the trunk and the Valentine 1 mounted on the windshield, the MINI Roadster and its first spring road trip gets underway just as the sun begins to climb into the morning sky. Our little JCW Roadster has done countless miles on this kind of road trip already but it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to go on one with weather worthy of top-down motoring. If all goes according to plan, that should happen today.

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MF Garage: The JCW Roadster Tackles Winter

MotoringFile Sections: JCW, MotoringFile Garage, R59 (Roadster), Reviews Feb 28th, 2013 14 Comments

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When we took possession of our long term JCW Roadster we told you we wanted to find out if the soft-top could indeed be an everyday, all year car. In the sun of California or other warm climates, it’s easy for the Roadster to make sense. Yet what happens when you throw it at the upper midwest? After six months of time with the car we’re starting to get a good answer to that. continued →

MF Garage: December Roadster Road-trip

MotoringFile Sections: JCW, MotoringFile Garage, R59 (Roadster) Dec 14th, 2012 12 Comments

It’s pitch-black, 43F and my top is down as I head into Michigan. This isn’t the sunny coastal drive that this car was made for but it’s doing this late Autumn Midwestern drive justice nonetheless. It’s no surprise that our Roadster has been a healthy dose of fun since we picked it up fresh from MTTS. From the weekend road-trips to the day to day, it’s proven to be a delightful combination of performance, style, and usability. And if you follow any of my Instagram feed you’ll know how often this car has been thoroughly tested on long midwestern jaunts. But this one was to be different. The goal was to go top down as long as possible through Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and then finally to Wisconsin. And it’s December. continued →


MF Garage: Cold Weather in a JCW Roadster

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, R59 (Roadster) Nov 27th, 2012 19 Comments

The nights growing long and the weather is getting cold yet the JCW Roadster continues to soldier on. When we originally pitched the idea to MINI of running a Roadster on longterm, the idea was to see if it was plausible as a year round car. While the snow hasn’t hit the ground yet (in Chicago) we can report that our love affair with the soft top hasn’t slowed. continued →

MF Garage: JCW Roadster Michigan Road-trip

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, R59 (Roadster) Oct 28th, 2012 7 Comments

Top down. Exterior temp: 53F. This was the beginning of what I was billing as a “Weekend for Men.” A glorified guys weekend of brewery visits, football and cars. And I was determined to make it the full three hours from Chicago with the top down.

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MF Garage: 2000 Miles Behind the Wheel of the JCW Roadster

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, R59 (Roadster) Oct 8th, 2012 11 Comments

Our JCW Roadster arrived just in time for Todd, DB and Axel to bask in the sun during MINI Takes the States earlier this year. But our real test wouldn’t begin until late August, starting with a call that the car was in Chicago and ready for it’s day-to-day duty.

2,000 miles later it’s safe to say the Roadster has been one of the best MINI experiences we’ve ever had. Until we literally hit some issues earlier this week. 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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'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)
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'09 JCW Hatch
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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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