Mar 9th, 2015
We don’t advocate summer tires in cold conditions. We never have and we never will. However through a series of unfortunate events our long term F56 Cooper S ended up not just with little 16″ wheels but summer-only tires. In the dead of winter. In Chicago. Hilarity did not ensue. What it did was create a wild few months that included more than a few white knuckles and e-brake turns. How did we survive? Read on. continued →
Feb 16th, 2015
After a few weeks living with our F56 Cooper S we had a moment to step back into an R56 Cooper recently. While there’s plenty to compare and contrast, the single biggest difference is in your hands. Put plainly the F56 is a big step forward over the R5X platform for steering feel and response. With the R56 (and even the R53 at times) there could be a knife’s edge between satisfying feedback and a car that was working against you when you pushed them hard. With the new F56 generation of MINIs, we have a driving experience that feels both more communicative, more balanced and more forgiving at the same time. Why is this? Read on. continued →
Nov 24th, 2014
In 2007 MotoringFile took delivery of our first R56 and with it a number of JCW accessories – most importantly the JCW Tuning Kit. With the F56 JCW Tuning being released this fall we thought we’d look back to remind ourselves what came before.
The kit for the R56 is extraordinarily straight forward. In the US it simply consists of a more aggressive air intake, a free flowing exhaust, a turbocharger air filter air guide and the all important ECU upgrade.
This is quite a contrast to the previous kit available for the R52 and R53 that included such items as a new head and inter-cooler and pretty big freakn’ check from the new owner. In fact the new kit is almost 1/3 of the $6000 price tag the R52/R53 dealer installed version rang up. But is it even worth the lower $2000 price tag? Especially now that there are so many aftermarket tuning options for the R56?
Oct 29th, 2014
We’ve driven the new F56 MINI Cooper S plenty since its launch early this year. But so far track time with MINI’s latest has eluded us. With our recent trip to MINIUSA’s Miles Ahead at the Indianapolis Speedway, that finally came to an end. continued →
Oct 27th, 2014
You enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through a tunnel on 16th street with little pomp or circumstance. You exit into the infield with awe. Such is the scale of the place that there’s a golf course in the infield. And it only takes up a 1/3rd of the infield.
These are hallowed grounds for the Motorsport obsessed and it’s a treat to simply be allowed inside. But today is special. Today I will be one of the first civilians to drive the road course at IMS in anger. And my ride couldn’t be better – a 2014 Mini Cooper S. continued →
Sep 16th, 2014
For those of you who listened to recent episodes of White Roof Radio, you probably heard that we are currently testing Automatic. This accessory acts as a smart driving assistant that communicates with a car’s on-board computer and uses a smartphone’s capabilities to provide insights and data points on how to improve your driving style. Additionally, Automatic partners with car manufacturers to have their platform integrated into infotainment systems. continued →
Aug 25th, 2014
Photo Credit: Eileen Dugan
Preston Thomas Tucker. Most people know him as the car manufacturer Jeff Bridges portrayed in the critically acclaimed film Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Others know him as one of those formidable entrepreneurs that only the United State seems to have the recipe for. Following the end of World War II, Tucker strongly believed the US car market was ripe for disruption and that unprecedented car designs would bring people back into the dealerships. With that in mind, he started the Tucker Corporation with the ambition of building the car of tomorrow. Even though it would never fully reached production status it would be revolutionary in its form and function by boasting a fuel-injected engine, disc brakes, side impact protections and adaptive headlights. While one can argue about the relative success of Mr. Tucker’s venture, he was, by any measure, a visionary; he saw the future and acted to change the world regardless of the obstacles he faced. Though we must remain objective in evaluating what the Tucker Corporation achieved and what MINI is doing today, our favorite car brand had to overcome serious challenges to remain the undisputed contender in the premium small-car category. After a 5,142 miles MTTS rally, not only has our F56 surpassed these challenges, but moreover MINI might have a serious sales hit on their hands, especially with the soon-to-be-released F55. continued →