Last week I announced that I was selling my 2005 MCS and buying an 2007. This week, my ’05 MCS was officially sold and the order went in for my new R56. There was a slight delay as I refined my specification a bit but I’m happy to say that everything is now a go. But before I go on about the various choices I’ve made, I need to thank all (almost 100) of you who gave me some great ideas for ordering my 2007 MCS. Seeing all that feedback did help me make a couple tough decisions I had been wavering on. But more on that later.

I put my order in a few days later than anticipated but my MA (and good friend) David Olenick was still able to get me a week 23 (early June) build slot. That should be perfect timing considering my MINI United schedule and that I’ll just be getting in the country a week or so earlier than the car will be arriving.

So let’s take a look at what I chose. As I mentioned before, the car had to be black. But what I didn’t mention is that Pepper White was my first choice. However after some consultation with some close friends, I realized that black just makes more sense for me. So with that out of the way, I present you the specs. I’ll go through each one and give a quick reason why I chose it:


Astro Black Body Color w/Body Color Roof/Mirrors $450 – Yeah, it’s not actually black. But the truth is it’ll be a nice change from th Jet Black MCS I currently own. And of course this continues my tradition of sinister all body color MINIs.

White Turn Signals $100 – it’s tough to pay $100 for something that is white rather than yellow but… they do look fantastic on a black car.


Premium Package $1,400 (Automatic AC, Dual Pane Panoramic Sunroof, On-Board Computer, 3-Spoke w/Cruise and Multifunction, Leather Sport Wheel w/Multifunction) – Really a must have for me. The sunroof, while heavy, is a high point of the interior for me.

Sport Package $1,400 (Dynamic Stability Control, Front Fog Lamps, Xenon Headlamps w/Power Wash, 17″ Crown-Spoke (all-season), No Bonnet Stripes) – I thought about not getting the package but at the end of the day it just makes sense. If you’re wondering, yes the 17″ Crown Spoke w/all-seasons will be my winter wheels and tires. My 18″ OZ Ultraleggeras are coming over from my current 2005 MCS.


Sport Suspension $500 – Normally this would have been a no-brainer similar to LSD. However I’ll be going another route that makes this $500 option reduntant. More on that in the days ahead.

Front Fog Lamps STD

Rear Fog Lamp $100 – An essential safety feature in my book.

Limited Slip Differential $500 – If you ever plan on driving your car aggressively on the track or on a deserted road, you need limited slip.

6-Speed Getrag Manual STD – See above.

Power-fold Heated Mirrors $300 – This is the reason I’m not getting the cold weather package. And it’s also sort of a long story. I’ve been critical of MINI USA not offering power folding mirrors for years. Critical as in I’ve told them for years I wanted to buy them. And for their part I’ve been offered a set for my R53 in the past. However that did little to resolve the lack of a factory option in the US. So yes, I feel a little obligated to actually get them with this latest MINI.


Sport Seats STD

Heated Front Seats $270 – I’ve found this an essential option for a happy marriage.

Chrome Line Interior $200 – Since I’m going with the classic look in the cabin, I felt chrome was mandatory. Even though I’m well aware that this is probably the single most marked-up option in the entire range. Except for maybe those white lights I’m getting.

On-Board Computer STD

Bluetooth $600 – Yes this is the cost of five really nice bluetooth headsets. But once you actually see it in action and use the address book integration available with the Nav system, it’s hard to not come away impressed. The only issue (and it was potentially a big issue for me) is the mandatory armrest. My arm simply doesn’t fit in between the shifter and the armrest. And having the armrest in the up position 100% of the time is not the kind of aesthetically pleasing solution I’d be willing to live with. Luckily it only take a few screws and it’ll be in my bin ‘o’ MINI parts in the corner of my garage along with my ’05 US spec cup-holder.

6-spkr AM/FM CD Player STD – Yes, I’m not getting the Hi-Fi upgrade. Nor do I care for satellite or HD radio. I simply don’t drive enough to take advantage of it. And when I do, I have an iPod (soon to be an iPhone) full of music to keep me going.

Leather: Lounge Carbon Black w/Cream White Piping $1,900 – I’m not one to typically spend unnecessary cash on seat coverings. But my Lord, these are sweet. The black and white piping is simply stunning in an otherwise black car. They will surely be a focal point of the interior. I had planned on going with Redwood Red Lounge Leather but the thought of an entire white/black look was too much to pass-up.

Color-Line: Cream White INC – Yes you heard that right. Adding more white to the interior, the color-line will also help make the center navigation unit look even more pronounced as it naturally leads your eyes to the center of the car. And this combination will surely set my car apart from the crowd.

Anthracite Headliner $200 – Another mandatory with an all black car. It also adds more visual drama to the interior considering the white and black contrast elsewhere.

Interior Surface Piano Black $200 – Again this helps with the black/white theme by adding yet another material to the mix. However this trim also has the ability add quite a bit of depth when waxed.

Computer Nav. System $2,100 – I’m a sucker for tech and I’m a sucker for cool. The new navigation unit is both incredible looking and incredibly functional. But let me back up a bit. BMW’s new electronics system in the 1 Series, 3 Series and MINI are really best used with a large screen. Using the radio to interface (in non-Nav cars) can be a frustrating experience at best. The Nav liberates the system and allows it to become the focal point it needs to be considering the functionality is houses. With the joy-stick controller, the system is intuitive and very full featured with traffic, optional bluetooth and PDC integration. And don’t forget the optional yet exceptional iPod integration available as a dealer or VPC accessory.

Total (MSRP): $30,970

Notable ordering exceptions: I actually was more impressed with the HiFi stereo option than I remembered at the press launch last February. However, since I don’t consider my car as the ultimate place to listen to music (I tend to do that at home with my Grados or Sure EC3s) I skipped it. Satellite radio and HD radio are also two other options (all part of the Audio package) that I didn’t have any interest in. Since I only listen to one radio station and my iPod (soon to be iPhone) pretty much exclusively, I don’t see a need for the added expense.

Also not here is the ever popular convenience package. While I love the idea of keyless operation and bluetooth, the other options I could do with out. And since I’m getting the bluetooth a la carte (and ditching the armrest) I see no need for the other luxuries.

Update: The rumors are true, I bit the bullet and got the HiFi stereo. It just sounded to goog to pass up.


Later this week I’m going to talk specifically about the accessories, what I’ll be ordering from MINI and why. So consider this just the tip of the ice-burg. And of course if you think those crown-spoke wheels with all-season tires are staying on the car, think again. I’ll be moving my OZ Ultraleggeras over the minute I drive it into my garage. I’ll also be trying a new set of tires in a larger size than the R53 would allow.

Again a huge thanks to my good friend and MA David who has been stellar to work with as usual.

I’ll have plenty more on the “youification” of my new R56 in the days ahead…

[ Full Spec List PDF ]

Update: you can check out my accessor plans (including all sorts of JCW goodies) below:

[ Buying a 2007 MCS: The Accessories ] MotoringFile