It’s been more than fifteen years since I purchased my first (BMW designed) MINI; my original reasons were because of the beautiful design of the R50 with it’s many nods to the class Mini (which I’d owned for a while in the 1980s), along with handling and steering response providing for an incredible fun driving experience!
Over the years I’ve owned 8 different MINIs – I’ve upgraded to gain better performance, better interior technology, or better comfort …
What’s clear though is that those last two cars are not really from the same family as the earlier ones! For sure GPMINI was the most amazing fun of all those cars; it’s handling and performance beat all other MINIs, the Thunder Blue looks incredible, but it was noisy and a harsh ride for sure! Since then, MINI has tried to appeal to more people; my Clubman is by far the most comfortable of all – but it’s also $40,000 compared with the about $25,000 of my early MINIs (even GPMINI was only about $31,000).
In the past too, MINIs kept their value well; I think I’d lose about a third of their value after a few years ownership, meaning that driving a MINI cost me perhaps $3,000-$5,000 per year. But I’ve found recently that my two year old under 10K miles Clubman has lost more than half it’s value, meaning it’s cost me more than $10,000 per year! OK, I chose a very well equipped vehicle so the price started high, but to crash so far / so fast is just horrible!
So for that reason, my Clubman is my last MINI. At the price of a well equipped MINI, there’s many other choices – and when I factor the poor resale value of these cars, it makes choosing something else even more sensible.
The other thing that makes owning a MINI a fun experience is the community; here too that experience has reduced over the years – in central Florida there’s very few events other than the annual Mickey & MINI but my MINI owning friends are still friends even if I don’t own a MINI. I don’t think they’ll mind too much about my next choice (well, one of them might but that’s ok) …
I got this letter in the mail recently, encouraging me to sign up for continued roadside coverage now that my included four year warranty has expired …
Two slight issues, that make it a bit late …
First, I sold this car, GBMINI#3, almost three years ago – and it was sold to it’s new owner through MINI of Peabody, which you’d think would ensure that the database would be up to date;
Second, coverage for the car expired one year ago (as indicated on the letter), yet only now is coverage being offered! What about the last 12 months?
Wierd, MINI, very wierd!
I was wondering today what the Audi Q5 average MPG is – recently it’s on-board computer has been showing figures as high as 27mpg for my easy drive home from work (a bit lower to work in the morning, when the engine is cold).
So … on 2,305 miles at 111 gallons, the Q5 averages 20.8mpg. Not great, but comfortable!
And seeing I have spreadsheets for my MINIs too (except GBMINI#1), let’s compare:
GBMINI#2: 28,676 miles, 1058 gallons -> 27.1mpg
GBMINI#3: 23,803 miles, 902 gallons -> 26.4mpg (not so much of a hit, really, for an automatic!)
GBMINI#4: 28,599 miles, 1049 gallons -> 27.3mpg (I always claimed GPMINI was more economical, there’s the proof!)
GBMINI#5: 716 miles, 25.2 gallons -> 28.4mpg (Of course an average on so few miles isn’t very indicative, but 4% better than my GP isn’t close to the claimed improvements of the “Prince” engine, and no way justifies the downsides!)
GBMINI#6: 6,747 miles, 256 gallons -> 26.3mpg (not much of a hit for the convertible, either)
I know other MINI owners get much worse mpg (and doubtless some get better) – but these figures are pretty comparable since it’s the same driver doing largely the same driving on the same routes!
GBMINI#3, that is – now to be known as “REDSX1” and owned by Paul & Pauline, who collected the car from MINI of Peabody today:
Coincidentally, Paul & Pauline are also British ex-pats, who lived within about 10 miles of me back in the 1980s (near Bath)! Hope to see you again next weekend, at the MINI of Peabody Spring Rally!
And here’s another coincidence …
Saturday, heading back from Pasta For Pat and having recently been listening to Gabe on WhiteRoofRadio singing the praises of the BMW Z4 M coupe, what passed me on I93 north of Boston but that very car!
The Z4 M slowed as it reached me, and checked out the GP, then pulled ahead and then pulled over – so I pulled up to it’s side and returned the compliment 🙂
Thumbs up for both drivers, and then the Z4 headed off …
Today, while I was meeting Paul & Pauline, tech Kevin introduced me to Robert – who had come in to learn more about the cool looking MINI he’d seen at the weekend, while driving his Z4 M coupe!
Robert also drives a very loaded MCS, with HK, NAV, JCW 210 upgraded engine, suspension, etc, etc …
This evening Margaret picks up her new BMW, and we leave behind both her old Audi and my ’05 MCSa! I haven’t needed two MINIs since I put winter wheels on the GP but I didn’t want to deal with private selling, so this way is simpler (and with the MA sales tax saving on the trade, I’m close to a no-win if I’d tried to sell, and it’s much less hassle).
However, it’s still a bit sad even though it’s sensible …
Today, for the first time since the snow a month ago, I decided to drive GBMINI#3. Because I feel guilty leaving it parked up forever.
The brakes were very noisy for a while, after sitting so long and getting rusty, and there was a sort of knocking/bumping sound from the back for a while – not sure if it was flat-spotted tires, or just the brakes rubbing.
What surprised me most was the stereo – the $2500+ install in GBMINI is great, and has lots of nice (but not nauseous) bass … although GPMINI with the new Alpine head unit can’t match the bass, it does win on clarity – a bit like comparing the stock MINI system with the Harman Kardon version … so maybe I need to replace the Kenwood in GBMINI with another Alpine!
Other than that, there’s of course the fact that you don’t have to change gears, and that there’s much less “audio feedback” from the engine! Less power too 😦
I did notice that it was smoother on the bump where a bridge is on my route home, so although the GPs suspension is amazing, it still can’t quite make up for the runflats (GBMINI is on 16″ non-runflats).
One other HUGE difference is the steering wheel – after a month driving GPMINI with its JCW wheel, the stock 3-spoker in GBMINI feels cheap and not pleasant to hold! It’s amazing how important the little things are 🙂
Overall, I just don’t have the same “smile factor” in GBMINI now that I get every day in GPMINI. And with tomorrows trip to MINI of Peabody to winterize the GP (although it doesn’t seem necessary so far this year), I’m wondering if I really need two cars … anyone want to buy a nice ’05 MCS auto? 😉
When it’s 50 degrees outside, dry and sunny, why not! Of course, you have to do twice as much washing when you own two MINIs – And here’s a surprising admission: I think this is the first time I’ve personally washed GPMINI – up to now it’s been washed by people during MTTS, or washed at MINI of Peabody, or “spa” detailed …
Now I’m ready for tomorrows MINI meet … I wonder which car I’ll take 😉