Section: R52 (Conv.)
Jul 18th, 2014
It’s been ten years since the R52 MINI Convertible was launched and a new MINI model was born. Since that time we’ve driven every model variation from the very first 2005 R52 to the latest JCW Convertible (across the US during MTTS no less). And then there’s the full-on love affair we had with our long-term JCW Roadster last year. Through it all we’ve grown to love open-top motoring and the visceral qualities it brings to an already emotional driving experience.
As much as ten years is worth celebrating, there’s something else happening here. MINI is subtly prepping us for the all new F57 MINI Convertible. That car will debut next February at Geneva and should hit dealers sometime in late Spring worldwide. Much like the R52 and R57 before it, the F57 will make use of a dual stage top, four seats and a fold-down rear boot. However it will also leverage all of the advancements that the F56 brings with more power, more efficiency and greater technology on-board.
Read on for the full press release covering the last ten years of MINI Convertibles. continued →
Sep 24th, 2013
For so many years MotoringFile has focused on whats new and recently released. However with the price of 2002 MINIs now well below $10k there are great used MINI deals to be had. So great that I’ve recently found myself magnetically drawn to eBay looking for a MINI project car.
But that’s another story for another time. Instead we want to hear your stories. Who’s bought a used MINI? What was the experience like? What was it like to buy someone else’s creation and make it your own? continued →
Jun 1st, 2013
Do you own a ’02 – ’05 MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S or MINI Cooper Convertible in the US? Have you had to replace your power steering pump at your cost? Did you get the letter?
In the interest of customer satisfaction, we are extending the warranty coverage for the power-assist steering pump and associated cooling fan on your vehicle to 13 years/150,000 miles, whichever occurs first, starting from the date of first retail sale or the date the vehicle was first placed in service as a demonstrator or company vehicle, whichever is earlier.
If you have not had to replace yours, and if it should fail before your MINI is 13 years old or has 150K miles, the repair will be covered. If you have replaced yours out of warranty and at your own expense, you have a very good chance of getting reimbursed. I received an email from MINIUSA earlier this week and that was indicated.
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 →
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
May 16th, 2009
Let’s say you missed the boat on ordering park distance control or bought your R50/R52/R53 MINI without it used and suddenly realize it’s a must have. While it can be retro-fitted, it’s not easy. Luckily MINI has a solution. It’s the new license plate based PDC. And as you can guess, installation is a little simpler. If you park in tight quarters in an urban environment, it may be worth taking a look at.
This should be available at any MINI dealer in the US (via special order).
[ Rear Plate PDC ] Official MINI PDF
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