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Should I buy a MINI?

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Old 06-08-2013, 03:53 PM
mkydsm
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Should I buy a MINI?

Hello,

Im new to the forum, and possibly going to be a new MINI Cooper S driver in suburban Chicago area. Ive been to a few dealers, and have narrowed down my choice to 3 cars:

2006 BMW 325i w/106k @12,399
2006 VW Jetta 2.0T w/63k @11,900.
Lastly and completely unrelated, a 2003 MINI Cooper S w/62k @10,900

I am going to test drive them all tuesday. I was shooting for a BMW at first, but most were out of my price range, and the cheaper ones had high miles. The one listed above was the best in my range. Basically I was looking at sport sedans. Then I saw the MINI, and thought of how ridiculously fun the car looks. It would have the lowest payments of the three, but obviously sacrificing space.

My question is, how reliable are the cars? What maintenance should I expect with 62k on the car? Is it decent in the winter? Is the MINI the best performance wise in the group?

I would probably opt for a 17% reduction pulley soon after.

Thanks in advance for any advice,

-Mike
 
  #2  
Old 06-11-2013, 08:34 AM
bishop_gideon
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I had a 2003 Mini, but not the S model. I drove it till this weekend and when I got rid of it, it had 170k on it. At those miles it needed a serious tune up as well as maintenance work. The person who had it before me didn't take care of it at all, so it was just a lot of me fixing things he didn't.

But, if you take care of them, they'll last a long time. My current Mini is a 2005 S with 68k on it. The 2 owners before me took really good care of it as far as I can tell. So I'll probably hold onto it for about 40k or 50k before I look for something new.

I have a thing for 06 and earlier mini's though... so take that with a grain of salt. The new ones are nice, but there's something about those years that I like. I dunno.

I just did a lot of looking around and I suggest checking cars.com... I found some nice ones on there.
 
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:38 AM
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CR&PW&JB
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I think that's an easy one to figure out, Bishop.

The first gen body was sleeker, the R56 appears a bit bloated.

But the power train of the 2nd generation is an improvement, IMO.

And I just ordered a JCW R56, a bit bloated and all, because I think I'm going to like the 3rd generation less.
 
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:42 AM
bishop_gideon
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I think that's an easy one to figure out, Bishop.

The first gen body was sleeker, the R56 appears a bit bloated.
I think you're right... there's just something about this looking a little sleeker I guess.

It's one of those things I couldn't put my fingers on until you said it...
 
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:43 AM
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Ueed Mini

In my opinion I would look to buy a used Mini from 2005 on. There appears to be fewer issues with these cars unless you know the service and maintenance history of the particular car you are going to test drive.
Mini's are very good in the winter when equipped with snow tires etc.
My 2005 has been excellent with no major issues and its' performance is still top drawer.
As with any used car there is an element of risk but if they have been well maintained you can get yourself a great ride.
Good luck with your search.
 
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:51 PM
mkydsm
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Thanks for the feedback, I drove the cars, and honestly that MINI was not in good shape. Its interior was not clean and scuffed up, etc. When I opened the hood the fender guard came off, and I found 2 oil spots on the ground underneath it. So it was a no go.

I went and looked at a 2010 S at a dealer called Platinum Auto Exchange. They had it listed at a real good price of $13,980 w/54k miles. However when I got there it looked like the sketchiest place ever. It was a garage in a business park. They also had the car blocked in so I couldn't drive it. They have mostly horror story reviews mixed with some good ones that may have been the dealer trying some damage control. So im not sure what to think about that one....

I then went to a MINI dealer today and found a great deal on a 2003 S with <20k miles for a great price. Its extremely clean, super low miles, I drove it, and really like it. Im waiting to hear back from the bank, which will likely give me a higher rate because its 10 years old. But its still definitely in my payment range.

Heres the BUT. They also said that with the Owner Choice plan I could get a new 2013 model, for about $100 more a month ($0 down). Pay for it for 3 years/45k miles, then trade it in, sell it back, or buy it. So just when I was ready to fall in love with the 2003, I test drove the 2013. WOW, the 13' is either way faster, or I just wasn't hitting the power band in the 03', and I was driving them pretty aggressively even with the sales rep in there. I've officially ruined the 2003. It was like night and day, I didn't realize how much different the turbo car would be.

So I have real dilemma now. Lower payments=slower car, but I am free to modify how I see fit. Higher payments=faster brand new car, but cant risk voiding warranty or program stipulations with modifications.
 
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:41 AM
bennettskis
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Drive a good one

We're on our third MINI. Just traded in #1 (2005 MCS) for no other reason than it had a ton of miles and the a/c went out. It also probably could have used a new set of shocks and sooner or later a super charger, although there were no current issues.
What put us over the edge was the current great financing on certified used MINIs; .09 for 60 months.
It was a three way toss up between three cars, finally taking a beautiful Mayfair MCS.
Have fun
 
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Old 06-16-2013, 01:49 PM
mkydsm
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Thanks for the input, I ended up getting a good deal on a 2011 S w/24k miles. Payments will be a little higher, but its much newer and under warranty. Although from my understanding, tuning is much more difficult with the N18 engine, so probably just add an exhaust, suspension mods, and possibly an intake if there is one that actually increases performance. Maybe get a tune down the road if RMW will do it.
 
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