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!