Mini Cooper S - An ode to the lost pleasure of driving...

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Hector Arcadius, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Hector Arcadius

    Hector Arcadius Senior Member

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    Hey everybody,

    for the present week and maybe a few days in the next one, I have been given a 10-year old (approx.) Mini Cooper S Convertible, as a replacement car. Mine has been sitting at the body-repair shop waiting for a replacement rear bumper. This is a stock photo of the little Mini, just to give an idea to those not familiar:


    [​IMG]



    It's the first time I have been driving one of these cars and my first experience driving a convertible ever. I have been driving it since Monday and I have come from utterly hating it at first, and wondering how is it even possible that people are actually paying the asking price for it (new), all the way to secretly falling in love with it (well, with certain aspects of it, at least).


    Let's start with the negative ones: it's certainly the least practical car I have ever driven. The turbo engine is petrol-hungry, it's noisy, it has practically no space at all (I can barely sit comfortably, entering and getting off is uncomfortable, it barely fits me, my 2 boys and their school bags when I drop them off at school), it's the definition of the ergonomic nightmare (it took me forever to find certain switches and the dashboard is full of unecessary dials & info), the built quality, well, leaves a lot to be desired and I know from it's owner that every other week something breaks down / malfunctions so it is really a pain in the a$$ to maintain and it eventually costs a lot! Oh, and shifting gears is also a literal pain, that my left knee has started feeling already!

    The positive ones are really a few: it has a very powerful engine that has an abundance of torgue to provide at any speed and at any rpm, it has a really precise steering wheel (smaller than what I like, however), the driving position (since you are sitting really low) is fantastic for sports driving and... pretty much that. The fact that you can drop down the hood is nice, but, apparently in mine something has broken, so I can only roll it back but not tilt it back (what a surprise! - not).



    But...

    despite all the negative ones that make it a really bad purchasing decision, in my opinion and make this car totally unpractical as an everyday / family car, it has brought me back several years. Back to my younger days (approaching 40...) when it was all about feeling the rush of sports driving. This car practically begs you to step on it, control it as it takes the curves with the utmost precision and (if you manage to tame the really stiff shifting stick and pad) make the most out of it. I caught myself using my lunch break today doing some stuff in the city that were certainly not urgent and then spent the next 40 mins driving around the coastal road, letting the sun & the air hit me straight on my face, featuring an ear-to-ear silly grin... I barely made it back in the office on time.


    I would not want it as my main car. Just so that you can get an idea, this is (stock photo) my main one (Toyota Avensis), just to see how much of a different world we're talking about:


    [​IMG]


    But if I could afford the Mini, maaan, I would keep it as my 2nd / weekend / fun / for the heck of it - kinda car. Like a wife/mistress situation. But one that's actually allowed. ;)


    Thanks for reading!
     
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  2. bilbarstow

    bilbarstow Premium Member

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    Hector,

    Mini's can be great cars. That era model was spotty, quality wise, particularly the convertibles, but others were great cars, and the current models are much better on average. They are a fun drive (too bad that one shifts stiffly), and I auto-crossed with a group of Mini drivers and they were always competitive. BMW ownership of Mini has actually done them quite well, and the expanded model line has versions that are actually roomy, comfortable and have (some) good utility. And they are still fun to drive assertively !

    I wouldn't give up my BMW for one, but if I couldn't have the BMW, a Mini might be on the menu for a replacement.
     
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  3. LeftyF2003

    LeftyF2003 Premium Member

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    I thought about a Mini, but I've heard bad things about mechanical reliability (especially on the old ones). A Mini is like a boat - the best one's are someone else's! :laugh2:
     
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  4. Olds442

    Olds442 Senior Member

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    they are fun to drive but i'm 6'3" and i look like a clown getting out of one.
     
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  5. redcoats1976

    redcoats1976 Senior Member

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    youre hooked.just dump the toyota and buy a nicer mini like a clubman.
     
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  6. acstorfer

    acstorfer Senior Member

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    There is nothing as mentally therapeutic as a convertible in a fun car.
     
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  7. cjpeck

    cjpeck Senior Member

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    I dig my cooper s. Paddle shifters, sport everything. moves like a scalded cat. If I keep it under 3k rpm I can keep the milage over 30mpg.
    My previous car was a BMW z3m. Couldn't haul any gear at all in it. couldn't fit anything bigger than a 1x12 combo in the boot. With the mini I can fold down the back seats and toss in the tremolux, 2x12 cab, a strat, a jazzmaster, the J200 and a bag full of stuffs and the passenger seat is empty AND I can see out all the windows. I can even haul my 3/4 double bass but I have to fold the front seat forward so there's no room for a lady after the show....
     
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  8. Hector Arcadius

    Hector Arcadius Senior Member

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    I think I got the bug, alright. But as a main car, I am not tempted. Now, if I could find in the next years an affordable to maintain, nice driving convertible with a decent engine at a good price, I could be seriously tempted to add it next to the Toyota. In the local adds, I see a lot of people unloading their Mazda MX-5s (even MKI but mainly MKII) and Audi TTs. Mmmm....



    Ok, that's seriously impressive! :eek: But now you got me curious, how was the Z3m driving compared to the Mini (if it can be compared at all). That's a serious sports car!
     
  9. Thermionik

    Thermionik Not Fade Away Premium Member

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    A Mini Cooper 'S'...
    [​IMG]
     
  10. JimmyT

    JimmyT Senior Member

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    I'm 6'4", and I hate that I miss out on a load of seriously fun hot hatches and small sports cars because I either couldn't daily drive them don't fit in them at all. The new RS3, the M2, Golf R, M140i, CLA 45, 718 Cayman, 500TT... All fantastic cars that I don't fit in.
     
  11. Hector Arcadius

    Hector Arcadius Senior Member

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    I am 184 cm (if I'm doing the conversion right, 6.03' ) tall and I barely fit in the Mini.
     
  12. redcoats1976

    redcoats1976 Senior Member

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    true.i looked at s-2000s,had wanted one for years until i tried to fit into it.what a letdown...
     
  13. Bigfoot410

    Bigfoot410 Premium Member

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    The closest thing to a "Mini" I'd ever drive is my shortbox Ram.

    [​IMG]



    I do like the Clubman, but I hate BMW with a passion (assuming they still are responsible for these cars) and would never buy one.
     
  14. The_Nuge

    The_Nuge Senior Member

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    Oh rubbish! I'm 6'7" (201cm) and work in the auto industry. I've driven all sorts of new and vintage cars, and rarely find that I don't fit!
    Vintage Minis are OK as long as they have a small steering wheel (otherwise 2nd gear is tricky), whereas (vintage) Fiat 500 are too small. New Minis are a breeze!
    Anything made by VW (Porsche, Bentley, Volkswagen, Audi...) , except Lamborghinis and R8 Spyders, is fine! Mercs and BMWs are fine too!
    Tricky are Lotus Super 7s and Elise' - getting in and out takes several minutes!
    The only car I've ever encountered that I couldn't drive, was a 1968 Triumph GT6, and that was because the steering wheel was so big I couldn't turn it!

    So yes, they may not be comfortable, but most people will fit in most cars!
     
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  15. Tone deaf

    Tone deaf Senior Member

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    It is a sporty go kart. My BIL (6'5") tools around in one. He can afford to drive whatever he wants and that is what he chose for a daily driver. Now, his oldest has it at college.
     

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