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Section: Opinion

Is the Manual a Dying Breed?

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion Mar 17th, 2014 34 Comments

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Is the manual a dying breed? According to Road & Track who looked at the numbers, the answer isn’t what you might expect.

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Opinion: Why the New GP is MINI’s First real JCW Product

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Hatch, JCW, JCW GP, Opinion, R56 (Hatch) Dec 30th, 2013 33 Comments

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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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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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MotoringFile Reviews

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
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
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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