Mar 9th, 2015
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 →
Feb 16th, 2015
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 →
Feb 11th, 2015
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 →
Jan 29th, 2015
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 →
Jan 26th, 2015
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 →
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 →