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!