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Section: Opinion

The BMW i3 & The Future of Motoring

MotoringFile Sections: BMW i, Opinion Jul 23rd, 2013 27 Comments

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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 →

Opinion: Quality, Change and What Makes a MINI, a MINI

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, MF Feature, Opinion, Quality Apr 29th, 2013 18 Comments

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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.

continued →

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 →

Opinion: An Early Take on the 2014 F56 MINI Interior

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, Opinion Apr 2nd, 2013 45 Comments

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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.

continued →


Review: MINI Paceman Cooper S ALL4

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion, R61 (Paceman), Reviews Feb 25th, 2013 41 Comments

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MINI is a car brand that means a lot of different things to a great many people. For some, it’s about economy. For others, it’s style. For many, MINI is about performance. Thing is, they’re all right. MINI is a brand and a range of cars intended to live in a variety of sweet spots at the intersections of these often conflicting areas of focus. As I left the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, behind the wheel of a Starlight Blue MINI Paceman Cooper S ALL4, I wondered just where on that multi-axis spectrum of MINI-ness this particular car would land. For MotoringFile, this would be our second time behind the wheel of MINI’s larger 2-door. Gabe drove the R61 back in November of last year. You can find his thoughts here, but this time around it was up to me and the beautiful island of Puerto Rico to see what MINI’s new slope-backed 2-door was all about. continued →

MINI Goodwood – How Would you Change it?

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion, Rolls Royce Special Edition Jan 1st, 2013 62 Comments

We love MINI and we are pretty fond of the Goodwood as well. But over the years we haven’t pulled any punches in second guessing some design and specification choices are various MINI models – especially JCW. And now it’s your turn. We want to hear how you’d change MINI highest priced model – the Goodwood. continued →


MINI’s Exclusive Goodwood Edition Priced to Sell at $39,995

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion, R56 (Hatch), Rolls Royce Special Edition Dec 29th, 2012 51 Comments

The following is an editorial that wasn’t influenced by advertising on this site but more inspired by what it and what it means for the future.

As those of you in the US have likely noticed, MotoringFile’s advertising partner MINI of Chicago is now offering the $52,000 MINI Goodwood for an astonishing price of $39,995. That’s over $12k off the list price and surely not what MINI had in mind when they created such an exclusive car. For the right buyer it represents an incredible value. But for any future MINI high-end special editions, it could be a little troubling.

The Goodwood has no exclusive exterior styling or even wheels. Designers at Rolls Royce didn’t want to create a car that was an extrovert. As is their philosophy, they simply wanted to created understated elegance that led into a rich and sumptuous driver environment. For a MINI owners used to seeing Union Jacks decals and white wheels, it’s a foreign idea. But for the Roll Royce owner (or anyone with a similar mind-set) the exterior is for the world, the interior is for them. 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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Reviews:
'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)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
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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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