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 →
Apr 29th, 2013
In Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, the narrator takes the reader on a journey that explores the nature of “Quality” as a thing we all instinctually understand, but none of us can adequately define. His conclusion [SPOILER ALERT] is that what we perceive (if only peripherally) as quality is itself the source of all existence, and that quality is achieved when a person takes care to do, or build, or fix something well. That’s a rather inadequate summary of a book full of interesting ideas, but that concept of quality, and especially its definition, has me thinking about the word and its relationship to the next generation MINI, the F56. In fact it has me thinking about what the real secret sauce is when it comes to making a MINI a MINI. Hint – it’s not a central speedometer.
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 →
Apr 2nd, 2013
I’ve been reading a lot of criticism of the new MINI interior. These critiques range from smart, to blunt with no real rationale. So I wanted to weigh in not as MotoringFile, but just as Gabe Bridger, the person who founded this site and has (for good and bad) an intimate knowledge of the cars, the design team, and the technical realities surrounding this next generation MINI.
The problem many of you have pointed out is a lack of clear direction. A “square peg in a round hole” both figuratively and literally. First, let’s back up a bit and start at the beginning.
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