GBMINI gets ordered at the factory

Called by MINI of Peabody with news that my MCS order had been placed; quickly I worked with my salesman to get the order exactly right – after having driven a MINI for 6 months, I knew what I did and did not want!

I did not want the sunroof, because you cannot completely shut out the light (at night, the streetlamps still shine through the cloth, which annoyed me!)
I also did not want the automatic a/c, since it has a number of irritating quirks:

  • it will blow cold air in the middle of winter, since it does not wait for the engine to warm up [UPDATE: This was fixed in the 2005+ MINIs!];
  • it will blow cold air to your face and warm to your feet, when you want warm everywhere;
  • it sometimes continues to heat the air when you switch it off;
  • the controls are fiddly if you want to control air flow manually.

On the other hand, it does look very cool, shaped like the MINI logo.

I also did not want 17″ wheels since general opinion is that the ride is harsher – and the 16″ wheels are already harsh (there is also some negative discussion about wheel weight).

What I did order!

Having been driving a MINI with black leatherette and silver interior for some time, I wanted my new MINI to look different inside …
I would have liked to order a Chili Red MINI with red interior, but this is not available for the MCS, so instead I ordered Lapis Blue interior (the only non-black interior available in early 2003), with an Indi Blue exterior.
Here is the GBMINI sticker when the car arrived at MINI of Peabody:

The options I chose are:

  • Indi Blue exterior with Lapis Blue interior – as discussed, I wanted a different colour from the MINI Cooper;
  • White roof – I planned to put a Union Jack flag on the roof;
  • Anthracite finish to the dash and doors – I did not like the patina finish and again wanted something different from the MC;
  • Because I did not want auto-a/c or a sunroof, combo #1 premium package is no use to me, just these options from it:
    • Multi-function steering wheel – volume controls on the steering wheel are very useful;
    • On-board computer – it does not go much, but I like gadgets!
  • Because I did not want the 17″ wheels, I could not buy the Combo #2 sports package so I bought individual options:
    • DSC – as much safety as I can buy!;
    • Xenon headlights – better night visibility;
    • Front fog lights – I don’t want empty gaps on the exterior (or on the toggle switch panel!);
    • White bonnet stripes and mirror caps – MINIs look much better with bonnet stripes;
  • Combo #3 cold weather package – heated seats are essential, and heated mirrors and washer jets should be useful;
  • Harman-Kardon stereo upgrade – I hoped for better sound than the MC;
  • Rain-sensing wipers with dimming mirror – the dimming mirror was the important bit, but the rain sensing wipers are included and might be useful

UPDATE: One year on, what would I change?

If I was choosing another MINI today, what would be different:

  • I’d probably go for Chili Red – perhaps try to get an MC40 with the red interior!
  • No idea about the roof – they all look good; might even try a sunroof again to make Margaret happier!
  • I might get the premium package again – the auto a/c is improved for the 2004 year, and if I did not do another Union Jack roof then the sunroof might be an option again. Otherwise:
    • Multi-function steering wheel – essential!
    • On-board computer – it does a little more on the 2004 year, and I still like gadgets!
  • I would still avoid the 17″ wheels (and the sports package), so:
    • DSC – it has not saved me yet, but one day it might …
    • Maybe stay with standard headlights – the Xenons have a cool wash feature, but their light is not much better than standard and I have had a couple of reliability issues with them;
    • Front fog lights – used a couple of times, and like I said, I don’t want any toggle switch gaps;
    • White bonnet stripes and mirror caps – definitely;
  • Combo #3 cold weather package stays – very useful;
  • Stock stereo (not the Harman Kardon) – then an aftermarket upgrade;
  • Rain-sensing wipers with dimming mirror – the dimming mirror works well and the rain sensing wipers are useful more often than not. It would be nice for the rear wiper to be rain sensing too …

2005 changes make for different decisions!

If I was choosing a 2005 MINI, some of the above opinions might change:

  • Roof – the convertible offers a different possibility; no roof at all!
  • Headlights – the 2005 Xenons are really cool and I would definitely order them!
  • New gadgets – now we can have automatic headlights, automatic transmission, and probably some other toys that GBMINI#2 is missing!

Ian buys a MINI

I cannot wait 9 months for a MINI! I have signed on to MINICooperOnline and learned everything I can about these great cars, and I simply cannot wait.
So today I discovered there are two dealerships near Boston; I called the other one and found a Black non-S available with all options except Leather and Navigation. We drove into Boston to the other local dealership, test drove the MC and bought it immediately.
It has all the options (except navigation), including a sunroof, automatic a/c, heated seats, etc. I saw a MINI ready for pick-up with these cute “driving lights” on the front, so I ordered them for my MINI too. The dealership also insists on some “extras” (Lojack, paint protection) for the privelege of getting the car immediately. I can live with that … now I just need to wait a few days until I can pick it up.