Feb 19th, 2013
As MINI gears up to release the entirely new MINI Cooper and Cooper S in early autumn it’s time for a look back and where the model has come from. The idea, hatched by brilliant Formula One designer John Cooper, to fuel the agile small car with an extra hit of performance and a car for the road and track has lost none of its appeal. But the Cooper has never been about horsepower, as a comparison between the classic Mini and its two successors resoundingly proves. The key here is the basic principle of the creative use of space, combined with the inimitable go-kart feeling that runs like a thread through the three generations.
Whether your a classic, R50/53 or a R56 fan, it’s hard to argue with the incredible success of the little car from the UK or the experience behind the wheel.
May 4th, 2012
Download (36 MB MP3)
This show will not automatically download if you subscribe to WRR. To listen you’ll either need to hit play above or download the MP3 (also above) and move to iTunes.
What is Red Roof Radio? It’s when a few of us get together when we’re not suppose to be doing a podcast this week and just talk. Consider this a behind the scenes show without the normal production values or even sound quality you might get from WWR (although it’s not half bad). But what you get are unbiased opinions. Sort of like Black Roof Radio but something we can actually post. continued →
Sep 28th, 2010
Tuesday the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into potential power steering problems of the 2004-2005 MINI. The site lists this as involving MINI “Coopers” but we believe this could likely include both the Cooper and the Cooper S given that the agency says that this could involve about 80,000 vehicles. continued →
Jul 14th, 2010
The stock MINI out of the box has a remarkable stiff chassis. But, that’s not going to stop aftermarket accessory makers from trying to make an even more rigid car. That’s where M7 Tuning has worked their magic. Gabe previously reviewed the understrut system by M7 here on MF, and so this is my review of their rear chassis brace.
Jun 7th, 2010
With this article we are introducing our latest MotoringFile contributor Brendan Nystedt. Brendan has been a MINI enthusiast for quite a few years and currently owns a 2006 MINI Cooper (R50). Look for more from Brendan – especially on the topics of modifications and the R50/R53.
One of the greatest things about owning a MINI is the variety of ways to make the car yours. Â Numerous vendors offer all sorts of add-ons from full chrome interior kits to skid plates to rear wiper delete kits.Â These five mods are my favourite mods which didn’t cost me very much and have added even more enjoyment to my 2006 MINI Cooper.
Mar 22nd, 2010
BMW has a history of producing enormous amounts of parts and sitting them on shelves for many years. However when it comes to accessories long-term availability is something less than a certain thing. And when it comes to a new brand and a new sub-brand within it, you can imagine BMW was relatively safe with their production numbers. This all means that those R50/R53 JCW parts that you’ve been lusting after since 2005 have quickly dwindling inventories and could be gone within the year. Perhaps the most telling example is the full leather JCW steering wheel. According to our sources there are only two new examples left in the US parts system (dealers or warehouse). We’re told that invetories aren’t much (if any) better in Europe either. The leather/alcantara version (see our review here) is also in short supply but we’re told is in slightly better shape.
Other than the steering wheel we’ve also been warned that the R50 JCW aero kit (and to a lesser degree the R53′s) has dwindling numbers and could be gone soon as well.
Perhaps the most sad personally is the leather dash that we lavishly heaped praise on a few years ago. Most of those unique stitching color examples are gone and the black with contrasting red leather we reviewed is very low in numbers as well.
The worst part? MINI has no plans to produce any of these accessories for the R50/R53 again. They will simply become sought after collectors items on the best examples of first generation New MINIs.
+ MF Review: JCW Alcantara Steering Wheel (R53) / MotoringFile
+ MF Review: JCW Leather Dash / MotoringFile
Nov 18th, 2009
Ah the CVT. The answer to all of our problems. Its step-less shifting was to be both good for performance and economy while giving you a wafting cloud like experience. That is until it fails costing the owner $8,000 to replace. It’s been a huge frustration for quite a few R50 owners who opted for the CVT over the manual with many failures happening just around the time the warranty expires.
One automaker who also embraced CVTs around the same time period is Nissan. In fact they are still putting them in cars while MINI has very publicly shifted back to torque converter automatics. And as you’d expect there are many Nissan owners with similar CVT failures. So much so that Nissan has just announced a doubling of it’s warranty to 10 years or 120,000 covering the CVT. In addition to that Nissan is also reimbursing owners who have already shelled out thousands on replacements overly slushy slush boxes.
At this point MINI hasn’t acknowledged the issue and it’s not clear that they will ever do so. However if you’ve had your CVT fail on your R50 MINI, make sure you’re voice is heard both at your local dealer and at MINI USA corporate. BMW has a history of eventually taking care of large scale issues. We have no idea if this will be one of them but it’s certainly worth taking up the ladder so to speak.
You can read the corporte letter to CVT owners from Nissan at Autoblog
Detailed Technically Assessment on the CVT / MotoringFile
Random Thoughts on MINI Loaners and the CVT / MotoringFile
MF Review: 2003 MINI Cooper CVT / MotoringFile