Section: Opinion

The Top Ten Things We Love About the New MINI (And Five We Don’t)

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, Opinion Dec 16th, 2013 32 Comments


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 →

Opinion: Peugeot Shows Us the 270 hp MINI Prince Engine That Could Have Been

MotoringFile Sections: Best of the Web, MINI Competitors, Opinion Nov 14th, 2013 24 Comments

Peugeot RCZ R

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.

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MINI Coupe & Roadster Spoiler Etiquette

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion, R58 (Coupe), R59 (Roadster) Aug 29th, 2013 49 Comments


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 →

Opinion: Who Is MINI’s Real Competition?

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion Aug 20th, 2013 124 Comments

Chevrolet Spark

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?

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MF Garage: Open Top Showdown. Roadster vs. Moto

MotoringFile Sections: MotoringFile Garage, Opinion, R59 (Roadster), Reviews Aug 14th, 2013 20 Comments


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.

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The BMW i3 & The Future of Motoring

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


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


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.

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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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