Section: R53 (Coupe)
Jul 7th, 2013
When we got an email from Jerry Bradbury, the team manager for the TWINI racing effort, we couldn’t quite believe what he was telling us. He and his team have put together an R53 race car to compete in the 25 hours of Thunderhill this coming December. While every MINI race car is something great, Team TWINI gets special credit for building a twin engine MINI. Not one, but two supercharged 1.6L JCW engines power this unique racing machine. For all of you who’ve always wanted an AWD, 400 hp MINI, this is one way to do it! Most entertaining of all, they got the idea from a twin engine Mini built back in the day by John Cooper himself.
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.
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.
Nov 16th, 2012
As aptly pointed out by a reader both the first GP and early R56 JCWs are priced similarly in the mid-20s these days. So which one to get? The first question we’d have to ask – is this a daily driver? If so the more modern R56 (presumably with some options and nice to haves) would be the easy logical choice. However things get much more interesting when this isn’t about solving the problem of finding a daily driver. continued →
May 4th, 2012
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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 →
Dec 11th, 2011
First we gave you another look at our full review of the JCW GP. Then we took you back to our last drive in the R53 JCW. Today, for MF’s month long celebration of JCW, we give you one of our most memorable drives in the GP – from St Louis to Indy during MTTS. We pick up the story just as our bags hit the ground at home after the trip.
I had just one day – St Louis to Indy. And I was dedicated to making it one to remember. So early this morning Todd and I (up way too early) shook off the cobwebs and headed out to the official MTTS meeting point – the St Louis Arch. At this point the GP was starting to sink in as a real live car and I must say that it was getting better looking the more I saw it.
After our Arch photo opp was over I was handed the keys to a GP courtesy of MINI USA. I might add that this particular car was broken in by none other than Fireball Tim and Hubie (the men responsible for the fastest MINI drag-car in the world). So I got some quality time to the tune of about four hours with the GP. First impressions: better than wow. This car is a complete package like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It’s not the fastest MINI out there, just the most complete MINI I’ve ever drive. MINI and BMW did a great job inside and out with the small details. The look of the car really makes sense in the real world as compared to the 2D world as seen on this site or countless magazines. In other words, don’t make your mind on this car’s looks until you’ve seen it in the flesh.
Dec 7th, 2011
Last week we kicked off JCW month with a look back at the JCW GP five years later. This week we take a look at the other JCW of the time, the MINI Cooper S factory JCW. This was a time of transition for the JCW brand as it moved from a dealer installed kit to a factory installed package. It also represents the pinnacle of the factory R53 (not counting the special edition GP).
Over the last week or so my respect for the Cooper S JCW kit has grown immeasurably. Driving almost 1,500 miles in seven days is a great way to find a car’s potential and its faults. Yet with the JCW MCS, the latter was almost impossible.
But before I get to my final thoughts on the car let me recap a bit. MINI USA gave me the keys to a 2006 MINI Cooper S with the JCW package and basically said, have at it and let the world know what you think. As the owner of a Cooper S with a pulley and a number of other modifications, this was a chance to do a direct comparison between the two cars and see what it was like to actually live with the JCW MCS. The test car was lightly specced. Chili Red/White roof, Sport package, JCW package and 18″ Matte Black JCW wheels. From a performance standpoint one couldn’t ask for anything more save for the JCW suspension or a full-on GP.
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