First off a huge thanks to everyone who offered advice on this second step of the process in the initial comments. I’m happy to say that my next MINI has been ordered and I expect delivery sometime in late May. Those who kept saying to just get it all, thanks for your persistance. That’s about what I did. Here’s the quick run-down on what I ended up getting:

2005 MINI Cooper S

  • Black/Black – The Darth Vader of MINIs. In many ways the opposite of what I had before.
  • Chrome Trim (exterior) – I just could not say no to the bling. And since it’s a MINI, it just makes sense. And of course my wife likes the look too. That said I may eventually add the black aero kit grille.
  • Limited Slip Differential – Simply a must have now that it’s finally available.
  • Rear foglight – A bargain at $100. Also gets rid of that nasty black plate.
  • Sport Pack – love the features and it’s hard to re-sell it without.
  • Premium Pack – The sunroof is just too nice to pass-up. Being tall it’s also nice to have a little more room up there 🙂
  • Cold Weather Pack – This is the one non-negotiable option that my wife demands.
  • Cloth/Leather: Octagan Tartan Red. – Not only does it introduce some color into the car, but it’s great combination of materials. The fabric allows the seat to stay cool in the summer and warm quickly in the winter while the leather looks and feels great.
  • Chrome Trim (interior) – Living without it for three years I just felt I needed a bit more bling in the cabin.
  • Anthracite Dash – Looks so good with the chrome trim.
  • Anthracite Headliner – I feel obligated since MotoringFile may have played a part in this option coming back.
  • JCW 18″ Wheels – S-lites w/All Season tires for the winter, JCW 18s for the summer… the perfect OEM combo IMHO. And living in Chicago with 17’s for the past three years has taught me how to miss potholes… so I’m upping the ante a little bit. That said wheel and tire insurance is starting to actually sound like a good idea at this point.

There you have it. The most popular option missing has to be H/K. It’s sort of an odd omssion since I’m a huge music fan (500+ cds, 80 gigs of music in iTunes). However I figure since I don’t have it now, I won’t miss it in the future. That and I really don’t feel like waiting an extra four weeks (due to the fire).

Here’s a few others options that didn’t make it and why:

  • Chrono pack. – I’m personally not a fan of the look and prefer the center speedo.
  • Navigation – For many of the same reasons as above (and wanting to use the cash elsewhere).
  • iPod adapters – I’ll be moving my ICE-Link Plus over from my current car so no need for the BMW version.
  • Convertible – While I really enjoy the MINI Convertible, I’m just more of a coupe guy. I like the weight savings and the extra rigidity. Plus I need at least the Sports Suspension Plus, which is not available on either the MCc or the MCSc.
  • Automatic – The MCSa is a fine car but I’m just not one to own an auto. Besides, I think my wife would disown me.

And finally here are a few things I might add down the road:

  • Aero Grille – I typically love the look of the OEM chrome but a black grille on a black car just seems pants to me.
  • JCW Brake kit – I’m going to have some space to fill with those 18″s.
  • JCW Cold Air Intake Kit – The sound is just too much to pass up.
  • H&R Rear Sway Bar – to add just a touch more flatness to the cornering.
  • Exhaust – A JCW exhaust would be nice (and would go along with the theme) but I know that there are others out there that are just as good at a lower price.

As you can see, with this new MCS I’m sticking to my long-held practice of OEM Plus upgrading. That means sticking with OEM upgrades when possible and when it’s not go with the best aftermarket products. There are certainly cheaper ways of doing it (not to mention ways of getting lots more power) but that’s not really what I want or need in this car. But of course these are just my opinions and really don’t count for anything other than what gets put on my new MCS 🙂

Now I just have to wait for step three…