Mini Matters

This topic contains 24 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Tharg 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #116221 Reply

    Tharg

    Hi, all. I have a Mini 2.0L Cooper S 3-door on Motability. Whenever I mention this in posts, I often get questions, suggestions etc so, rather than clog up other folks’ topics with off-topic Mini stuff I thought I’d start this thread just for questions, answers, opinions, pix, anything at all about Minis.

    First, proper answer to Gordon (from coversation in Finally Picked Up New Car thread). I went for the Mini because I wanted to downsize. No longer needed long-range comfy-bus (Skoda Superb). Mini fitted bill perfectly as enjoyable shopping-trolley. Only done a few hundred miles but seems to do job. Engine/gearbox very good; former will never be stretched, latter seems to have AI controller sensing what you want. More room for driver and front passenger than you would imagine, v comfy. Back seats OK for small dogs/children. Only reservations are the suspension which, despite an OK test in a 5-door, seems rather hard. I spec’d the adjustable dampers which help a bit but are not as adaptable as VAG’s excellent system on the Superb. The “Sport” setting is only for track work. Other reservation is the Active Sound Design which puts out vroomy noises through the car’s speakers. Fun for first five minutes, thereafter, quite annoying. Trying to get it turned off.

    Overall, very happy with the car. Enjoyable to drive and, if I was ordering again, would probably choose the smaller engined Cooper. Nicer ride and the flat-out 2.0L is really only usable on a race track. One paramount thing before choosing Mini is go and try the one you want as the handling varies considerably between models.

    Second answer, to Mitch (from Weather thread). Have v similar mobility probs as you and was amazed to find that entry/exit from Mini was fine – as long as it was the two-door. Four-door ones were tricky. Am hoping that suspension continues to loosen up as the car is used more; as above, a bit rough, especially on bad British side-roads.

     

     

Viewing 24 replies - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
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  • #116228 Reply

    joss
    Participant

    Good call Tharg in setting up the Mini specific thread. I did one for my BMW 2X.

    It helps keep things neat and tidy regarding Minis, and any other car for that matter.

    Joss
    Current car BMW X2 2.0 Sport sDrive Auto 2019
    Last car Ford Focus Titanium 1.5 TDCI
    Builder of Gaming PC's
    "It is a great ability to be able to conceal one's ability."

    #116268 Reply

    Tharg

    Thanks, Joss. Thought it more polite to do it this way and not clutter up other folks’ threads. And a legit way of discovering if any others find the vrooom-generator really annoying!

    #116326 Reply

    mitch
    Participant

    i agree tharg the 3 door mini is much easier to get in and out of and i was fine with mine with just the arthiritis and stuff to deal with, as you say the front seats have plenty of adjustment and really quite roomy.

    i aint small any more lol.

    it became awkward when i slipped a disc 2 yrs ago in my lower back and its pressing on the sciatic nerve so it doesnt like going down to sit if that makes sense. i almost made it to lease end but in jan it was decided that even with the benefit of a spinal injection i would have to change. motability were great and fortunateley have recently changed the rules and now pay a pro rata gcb.

    so with the gcb and a discount of £500 from stratstone chesterfield i was able to go for the countryman cooper s with the comfort nav pack so i only had to find about £50. i am on wpms so the ap is a bit lower. like you i think that for day to day use the cooper engine would be ok the s just adds the extra fun factor even in the countryman. i do like the handling and as you say the ride maybe a tad firm but i think with the disc issue i may be a little more sensitive than i used to be.

    i went for the exclusive trim with the light grey leather and it looks great with the brg paintwork.

    its fun to go out on the recent hot days and turn up the aircon and bimble around the derbyshire back roads.up to about 400 miles now all on twisty lanes great fun.

    #116331 Reply

    Tharg

    Hi Mitch

    I DO know what you mean by  “it doesnt like going down to sit if that makes sense.” Have exact same problem; four or five “prolapsed intravertebral discs” (that’s “broke” to you and me) which I’ve had for decades, put pressure on sciatic nerve and cause sitting probs plus disconnect leg from brain so that I can never be quite sure where it’s going to go. (I list hobbies as “trying not to fall over”).  Long-term you have to work out how to do simple things (like get in and out of car) so that they don’t screw you up. Have found this generally means doing stuff really slowly. The car-access thing is one of the worst – had a Mondeo which was always locking me up; tried an Antara SUV, even worse. Best was the Superb, easy to enter/exit and really comfortable. Just don’t need the big beast anymore so tried downsizing. MCS makes a nice shopping trolley, which is all I need right now.

    Like you, I “ain’t small no more” and a small criticism of the Mini is the thigh-supports on the Exclusive trim seats. Hope that constantly dealing with my width will push ’em down. Maybe BMW should offer “Fat Bloke” seats as option. Or make the supports adjustable by electric motors – had this on a Supra many years ago.

    Agree that the 2.0L is a bit extra for the three-door but hindsight is 20/20 vision! Must be really good in the Countryman though, the extra weight will give it some work to do AND ease the ride a bit. It really is a nice engine – top-end speaks for itself but there is so much torque in there too. With auto-box in Mid setting it barely goes over 1,500rpm. But for real grunt, I set it in Sport mode and use the paddles or stick in manual to make it pull from really low rpm. Even at 1,000 rpm in, say, third gear, it’ll take roundabouts or corners with no problems at all.

    That’s another “issue” with the Mini – there are so many drive/gearchange options, how do I make up me mind which to use? Do you find you use one setting all the time or do you change ’em around to fit road conditions?

     

     

     

    #116660 Reply

    mitch
    Participant

    as i dont do many miles and mainly local the derbyshire lanes just scream for sport mode and even in the countryman its a blast. i do put it in boring when i go to nottingham and have to use the motorway.

    occaisionally i do the shift to manual but the auto box is so good.and the extra umph of the cooper s does come in handy. the cooper would be fine even in the countryman just not as much fun.

    i do like the exclusive trim but agree the seats could do with being a tad more forgiving. i am glad i went for the light leather as i think the black this time would have made it a bit dark. whereas the cabin is a nice place to be and even the standard sound system is good.

    #116710 Reply

    Tharg

    Mitch, hi

    Like you, I do sometimes kick into manual but find the auto so good, why bother? In Sport mode, however, it does let you use the engine’s torque and play at keeping rev’s below 1,500.  Roundabouts in third are easy! Also does a moody blip on the downshift. Problem is these’s so much choice; make changes by hitting a paddle or push the selector stick or flip the dash-button? Most of the time, I tend to leave in Mid with the Stability Control off (seems to go more smoothly). Just flick to Sport if it might be needed, say, at roundabout or joining motorway. OK, sometimes just for fun as well. Boring mode seems much smoother, probably deceptively so because the Vroom-speakers are turned off. Has Boring mode got its own softer suspension setting or is it the same as Mid? Tried googling this but can’t find a straight answer.

    Wish the Sport hard suspension setting was less rigid; gives great, accurate positioning and the stiffer steering is great, but a chap’s knackered spine won’t take it! That said, however, I’ll give it a little while and try again – the standard suspension setting is loosening up the more I use the car. The many pothole infested roads round here are becoming more bearable. Have you noticed anything like this?

     

     

     

     

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    #116725 Reply

    mitch
    Participant

    not sure if the suspension changes as well with the change in mode, but the 3dr definateley wore in so to speak it did get easier with age. also theres a lot of speed bumps here 8 just to get off the estate.

    #116739 Reply

    Tharg

    Thanks, Mitch. Thought I was imagining it or just indulging wishful thinking! Definitely is getting better. Speed bumps can be most uncomfortable. Found one way to deal, if road conditions allow, is to cross them at 45 degrees; makes it a longer and, thus, flatter bump. But does leave you on wrong side of road so care needed.

    #118761 Reply

    Tharg

    Progress report: suspension definitely seems to be moderating its rigidity (600 miles on clock now). Mid mode seems pleasantly softer and Green feels slightly more comfy than Mid. Sport remains tooth-shatteringly firm.

    I read that almost no-one uses Green (or Boring) mode. But gave it a go anyway. Once I got used to the slower pick-up from stationary or a quick push for overtaking (solution: push the go-pedal harder) it became quite entertaining. It’s all decently quiet with the vroom-noise generator turned off and feels quite sedate. But it ain’t boring – the Green-mode pattern makes use of the engine’s amazing low-rev torque. Revs barely get above 1,250rpm, burbling away at 1,000ish most of the time. Its only because it’s all so quiet that it seems restrained. It isn’t actually that much slower and becomes most enjoyable managing the massive grunt pumping you along at low-revs.

    #119022 Reply

    Mike 700
    Participant

    My number 1 son, who lives in Copenhagen, has recently started renting Minis when he is over in the UK on business., and also when he and the family come to Stay.

    He likes them so much, that he has now given up his 5008 , seven seater and Has leased a new Mini drop-head, and there is plenty of room for the three kids in the back seat.

     

    #119072 Reply

    Tharg

    That’s some difference in car – from 5008 to Mini ragtop! Bet he notices the difference, not least in the enjoyable elements of driving them. Had an SUV once, had to send it back because of access problems. Was also like driving a pudding along roads made of treacle. Considered the droptop myself before deciding on 2 door hatch. Didn’t think the 3-cylinder lump was strong enough with the extra weight of the convertible. Experience with the 2.0L hatch tells me it would probably have been OK, though. So, maybe next time…

    #119748 Reply

    Tharg

    Being still a bit concerned with the Mini’s jiggly, not to say, thrashing ride – even in Mid- or Green-mode – I wondered whether something as simple as tyre pressures could address the issue. Well, it certainly does. Dropped pressures by some 2psi front and back – that’s about 5% on “standard” pressures. Ride much smoother with no effect on roadholding – in fact, grip seems a bit better. Sport-mode is almost bearable for long-term use. Don’t think a 5% drop will do any harm and/or create a safety problem. Any thoughts..?

    #120219 Reply

    Tharg

    Serious second thoughts on the tyre pressure idea. Researched a bit more and lowering pressure can lead to grip disappearing with no warning at all, particularly in wet. Also grip and steering were feeling unpredictable. So back up to BMW’s quoted figures and waiting for suspension to soften up a bit more.

    #120224 Reply

    joss
    Participant

    What’s the profile on the minis tyres Tharg ?

    Joss
    Current car BMW X2 2.0 Sport sDrive Auto 2019
    Last car Ford Focus Titanium 1.5 TDCI
    Builder of Gaming PC's
    "It is a great ability to be able to conceal one's ability."

    #120282 Reply

    Tharg

    Well, the details on tyre are 205 45 R17. There’s also 88W stuck on there as well. The speed-rating letter is impossible to find but they are Hanooks rated up to 167mph. If it was MY car not a MB lease, I’d drop the wheel size to get more rubber in tyre and, hopefully, a better ride.

    #120292 Reply

    joss
    Participant

    That’s low profile tyres for you Tharg. Mine are Continental  220 40 R19 great for handling but not so good for soft ride.

    Joss
    Current car BMW X2 2.0 Sport sDrive Auto 2019
    Last car Ford Focus Titanium 1.5 TDCI
    Builder of Gaming PC's
    "It is a great ability to be able to conceal one's ability."

    #120297 Reply

    mitch
    Participant

    nice to see the countryman back on the scheme lol. but boy am i glad i got mine when i did, a £500+ hike in ap is not good and would have stopped me getting the model i did.

     

    #120299 Reply

    Tharg

    Low-profiles and soft ride… hmmm. Don’t think any profile is going to make the Mini ride “soft”.  I thought 39psi front/32rear sounded a bit high but, given experience of lowering them, I suppose it’s right. Nevertheless, quite amazed at how much difference 2psi made to ride.

    Also pleased to see Countryman back on scheme. Pity about hike in AP though. Still, it’s a jolly useful and adaptable vehicle with some character and, as I’m sure Mitch will confirm, not underpowered or bad handling! Interested to note that the “Mini” Countryman is actually a good lump larger than the original Maxi AND nearly twice the weight of the Maxi too! Today’s 3-door Mini is only a few inches smaller than the Maxi AND it’s 30% heavier. Just goes to show what an extra load of stuff we have to pull around with us, I suppose.

    Could waffle on about the Maxi (had one once) but, suffice to say I thought it was a superb, ground-breaking design (about 2nd hatchback after a Renault) let down by a useless, noisy and nasty complicated engine.

    #120301 Reply

    Tharg

    Sorry, nearly forgot… Is it just my crap memory or are there loads more 4×4 Countrymen on the scheme now? And they’re proper all-petrol engines too. Would have been well-tempted by 4×4 if they were available when I ordered my “small” Mini.

    #120304 Reply

    mitch
    Participant

    yes i noticed that there used to only be one,i think but i tend only to look at autos, now theres several i didnt look at the prices i will have to revisit as that would have been tempting to me too as the roads round here arent great at the best of times let alone in winter.

    #120307 Reply

    mitch
    Participant

    27 auto 4×4. thats brill.

    i got the cooper s exclusive comf/nav for £785, but 0 after gcb and a dealer £500 contribution.

    that would now be £1290 that i wouldnt have been able to get to.

    but the cooper s auto exclusive all4 £640 would have been ok i could manage without the packs.

    to get mine with all 4 £1540 would have been out of the question.

    if you dont need to lug around a load of kit it would be a good choice  in 4×4 even in the 1.5 version it would be plenty the cooper s 2.0 is overkill fun but not essential.

    by the by i get wpms so you would need to check for your allowance.

     

    #120308 Reply

    Tharg

    The reason I fancy the 4×4 is for the road-holding and elimination of front-drive scrabble. Have had two Skoda Superbs – one 4×4, one front-drive. The latter would spin and clatter front wheels out of a corner in all but the slowest conditions. The 4×4 never did. It just went when you told it. Really fancy that in the Countryman – not without note that the Countryman Cooper S version has a de-rated engine compared to, say, 2-door hatch and has a fair bit of extra weight too. However, the 0-60 time is only fractions of a second slower. Got to be down to grip from the 4×4.

    #120316 Reply

    mitch
    Participant

    i agree the 4×4 with the cooper s 2.0 would be an excellant combo. given a go around even with the incresed ap i would give up the comfnav+ pack to have the 4×4. so it stayed within my budget.

    mine is quick enough for me poss a bit too quick at times the all4 would just improve it.

    #120321 Reply

    Tharg

    Your’re right there, Mitch. I find 4×4 just makes everything feel more controlled and safer. Best 4×4 I ever drove was a mate’s old, old Range Rover: two doors, nearly all aluminium and that great Rover V8. Despite size, it went and handled like a well sorted Mini and you only needed 2nd and top gear. So much torque, it would pull away in third!

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