Dec 30th, 2013
There is little question the original JCW GP is a special car — an incredibly special car. It was thrown together at break-neck speed with off-the-shelf parts and yet it’s one of the most satisfying cars I’ve ever driven at any price. Sure, MINI had some trouble selling all of them at the time, as they have with the GP2, but since then it’s become a classic with ever-slowing depreciation. That original MINI JCW GP will surely be a classic.
In contrast, the new GP is a much more serious car. Road testing and development took place primarily at the Nurburgring, led primarily by a MINI race car driver. Instead of a few months, the second generation JCW GP was two years in the making. In those two years, MINI JCW fitted an entirely new, bespoke suspension. MINI spec’d unique tires and a specially-matched six-pot braking system that was designed to stop cars almost 1,000 lbs heavier. The result was nothing short of phenomenal. Whether on the track or on the road, the 2013 JCW GP is astonishing in its ability to change direction, stop, and go. Yet it’s not just the quickness of the new GP that exhilarates. It’s the car’s feedback at every touch-point.
Dec 16th, 2013
After spending a few days with the new MINI we’ve come away convinced that photos don’t quite do the car justice. There’s so much nuance in three-dimensions that is lost in a flat photo where you’re really only getting part of the picture. So we wanted to bring you ten things that we love about the new car that might not be obvious in any of the photos released to date. We’ll then list five things that we’re not so sure about yet. continued →
Nov 14th, 2013
Pictured above is the Peugeot RCZ R — a 270 hp sport coupe that’s powered by a version of the same engine found in second generation MINIs like the R56 and R60. You read that right: 270 hp. We’ve known this was possible (in fact nearly seven years ago MotoringFile reported that BMW was able to reliably get 300 hp out of the Prince), but Peugeot has finally put that into reality. What does it mean for MINI? First a little backstory.
Aug 29th, 2013
This weekend I took a few photos of our longterm MINI Roadster parked on the side of the road and posted one on Twitter. Top down and spoiler up. Natural right? In response to our tweet @justoffstage made this astute observation:
justoffstage: @MotoringFile I’ll make an exception for taking a photo, but in general, parking with your automatic spoiler up is a Class B Douchedemeanor.
That got me thinking about proper spoiler etiquette with the Coupe and Roadster. So I thought we’d come up with an official MF take on the matter. continued →
Aug 20th, 2013
Yesterday we shared a story from Advertising Age about how MINI is expanding its Not Normal campaign. According to the AA story, MINI is intensifying their marketing efforts because “competition has started to ding the brand as rivals like Chevy introduce a widening array of small, fuel-efficient cars.” That Chevy they’re referring to is the Chevy Spark, a car which starts at just $12,999. While yes, both cars are small and fuel-efficient, there’s something about this premise doesn’t quite line up for me. Sure, Chevy sold more Sparks in the US in July than MINI sold MINIs, but is MINI really competing with Chevy for the same buyers?
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 23rd, 2013
BMW’s foray into electric vehicles began in the early ’70s. Since then, the company has dabbled in electric powered vehicles in proof-of-concept form for motor shows and even internal engineering studies. However it wasn’t until the formation of the “Megacity” program, MINI E trial and ultimately BMWi that things got serious. With the learnings of the MINI E and the BMW Active E, BMWi is now ready to launch its first product – the BMW i3
The i3 will arrive in showrooms early next spring with base price of $41,350. However with the US $7500 tax credit the adjusted price will be a surprisingly affordable $34,725 (destination included). Moderately equipped the i3 will go out the door for $40,000 and in turn BMW hopes will usher in the start of an electric mobility revolution. To us that could be one of the best values in all of the automotive world not just because of the price. In our eyes, what makes the i3 so interesting is the packaging, platform technology and of course how it will likely perform as real world, premium transportation.
Why should MINI owners care? Let’s talk about some of the formulas the i3 follows, both new and fundamentally old. continued →
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