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R52 - R52 Convertible Beetle vs. Convertible Mini

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R52 - R52 Convertible Beetle vs. Convertible Mini

  #1  
Old 12-22-2010, 09:50 PM
Cxracer
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Convertible Beetle vs. Convertible Mini

Hi All,

I'm planning to get my wife a fun (used) car for Christmas.

I have a 91 Miata project / track car that I have done a lot of work on. This was supposed to be a fun car we could share but the truth is that with two kids it's pretty hard for her ever to get a chance to drive it and with all the mods for track you have to be careful driving over speed bumps etc. My wife is used to driving her Toyota highlander so sometimes she forgets about the clearance issues. I got a '72 Datsun 240z that needed a new engine and that was going to be her "classic" sports car to drive around but it has proven to be really difficult for me to get the parts and time to get it going. Also, once again with the kids there are few times she could drive it since it only has 2 seats.

Ok, so my wife deserves a fun car two and she really wants something "cute" with a convertible top and seats 4. We will hold onto the highlander since it's paid off and very useful but not "cute" or "fun". Now, I like cars that are small and sporty so I'm leaning towards a convertible Cooper but I have a feeling my wife may like the cute factor of the convertible bug more.

So as owners of the Mini (particularly the convertible) please tell me some of the tactics I could take to convince my wife that the Mini is a better car and just as "cute" as a beetle. Also if we do decide on the Mini what should I be looking for and watching out for when evaluating used convirtible Minis on the market.

I really want my wife to feel she got the car she wanted so I have to play a very low pressure game when steering her toward the Mini.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

P.S. sorry for the cross post but I found this specific forum after I posted in the New Owner forum.
 
  #2  
Old 12-23-2010, 11:19 AM
marcel74
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I'm not going to indicate that the MINI is a fantastic car and the beetle is not. Because most people here probably already think that.

A good argument would be the good value that the MINI will keep, so if you want to trade in the car in a couple of year's time for something else, you actually will get good money value back then.
That has to be an useful argument to your wife.

I'm not convinced that the mini cabrio has good back seat area, but then again: I don't know whether it's any better in the VW Beetle cabrio.


if you do decide to go with MINI, you will want to check there are no wear marks on the convertible roof.
 

Last edited by marcel74; 12-23-2010 at 11:20 AM. Reason: typo's
  #3  
Old 12-24-2010, 05:30 AM
THE ITCH
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Find a couple of used cars and let her take them for a test drive. If she is a spirited driver your problem will be solved.
Steve
 
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:03 AM
pstur1
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VW vs. Cooper Convertible

Cxracer,


You might have a hard time selling this to your wife. I have an 06 Cooper S convertible and my wife has an 06 Beetle convertible. I much prefer my Cooper to her Beetle, but the Beetle has some features that your wife might prefer.


The Cooper S is a much faster car that handles much better than the Beetle. It is difficult to drive the Beetle fast because it has a lot of body roll. However, if you are comparing the non S Cooper to a Beetle, the Beetle would probably be faster, as the Beetle with the 2.5 liter engine makes about 150 horsepower, and I believe the non S Cooper makes around 120.


Both cars are about the same as far as back seat and trunk capacity (neither are good). Both cars get about the same fuel economy; however the non S Cooper would probably be a little superior. However, the Beetle runs on 87 octane fuel, so if the non S cooper requires 91 octane, that would obviously reduce the Cooper’s advantage.


As somebody already mentioned, the Cooper has much better resale value.



If the Cooper that you are looking at has a power top, that would be an advantage, as I don’t think the VW offers a power top.


The main advantage of the Beetle is that it has a much smoother ride than the Cooper. The Cooper has a much stiffer suspension than the Beetle, so if you have a long commute, this is something to consider.


I think the Cooper is much better looking than the Beetle, but the Beetle is not a bad looking car.


We have had the Beetle for about two years now, and I have been somewhat surprised by its reliability. So far, the only thing that has broken is the driver’s door lock, which unfortunately is somewhat of an expensive part.


I have only had the Cooper for about four months now, but I haven’t had any problems yet. I have done routine maintenance on both cars, and I would say that they are about equally difficult to work on. If you have some experience working on cars, neither should be a big problem.


If you are looking for information on the Beetle, this is a good site:
http://newbeetle.org/


If you have any specific questions, let me know, and I will try to help.


pstur1
 
  #5  
Old 12-24-2010, 11:45 AM
Cadenza
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I have test-driven the NBc many times as it's been on my list to buy. I have a NB coupe since '01 and bought a '06 MCSc 20 months ago.

- '01 NB 1.8T coupe (180,500mi)
- '06 MCSc (36,500mi)

NBc...
Get the latest year possible unless you're looking for a 1.8 Turbocharged version, which ended in 2005. The 2.5L 5-cylinder is rated 170HP and has better low end torque than the MCc. The NB gives a better ride and feels more substantial. Front seat space is larger than MCc and rear space is about the same as MCc. Convertible top comes in manual and power but the latching onto the windshield frame is manual. The 2.5L has been out since 2006. Basically VW took the V10 5.0L Audi/Lamborghini engine, sawed it in half and tossed it out a 30-story building... and it became a VW 2.5L engine. Have not heard bad things about it besides gas mileage is okay ~24-25 MPG average.

MCc/MCSc...
Definitely a driver's car. More sporty but much less comfy than the NBc. Front seat space is less than the NBc; rear seat space is about the same. Look wise it's more masculine than the NBc. The "Justa" Cooper with manual gearbox will give better gas mileage (~30 MPG). Be careful if you're looking for an automatic (CVT), which is a lousy tranny. Not only is it sluggish but VERY costly to repair. There're many threads on the CVT. The MCSc has the better AISIN 6-speed auto that's also used in the NBc. The 1.6L has been around many years and is solid. The supercharged version has some problems with the supercharger and H20 pump.

Resale value...
The Mini is definitely better but this is not a factor to me because I generally keep my cars for at least 10 years. Long term cost of maintenance and repair is more important to me.

Maintenance/Repair Cost...
- '01 NB 1.8T coupe (180,500mi)
: $1000 in dealer work (covered by 7yr/100k powertrain warranty)... 1 MAF sensor, 2 x 4 coil packs, sunroof drainage hoses, brake-light switch. To-date maintenance is $6225 out-of-pocket excluding reg fee, insurance, gas. Maintenance and wear-n-tear parts are cheaper than Mini counterparts.

- '06 MCSc (36,500mi, of which 7k was mine)
: $3000 in dealer work (covered by 4yr/50k powertrain warranty)... Mini has more problem parts replaced than the NB at 36k - motor-mount, thermostat & housing, convertible top moulding, LCA bushings, improved MTF fluid, front brake rotors/pads. Currently the oil pan has a slow seepage and I'm tracking a slow coolant leak at the H20 pump. So far, out-of-pocket is $309 excluding reg fee, insurance and gas (also excludes spare Supercharger). I suspect the Mini will be more costly to own in the long run.

So far my "Hecho in Mexico/Germany" is better taped together than my "Made in England/Germany" MCSc...
 

Last edited by Cadenza; 12-24-2010 at 12:18 PM.
  #6  
Old 12-24-2010, 02:08 PM
Cxracer
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Thanks for the comps. On newbeetle.org it seems most only have direct experience with the beetle and not the Mini.

I've managed to get my wife on the fence at least at this point. If I can get the color and spec I hope to seal the deal without her feeling short changed.

Her quotes:
"The Mini is a better car, it's like a 4 seat Miata" (she owned a 93 Miata for about 3 years before we had to sell it when we had our first kid)

"Still, I like the looks of the beetle more and I've wanted one ever since the convertible came out. However it drives like any other car."

We are keeping the Highlander so longer trips or bigger loads aren't an issue. She did say "this is a big purchase and it will really be our's" but I hate to play that card since in truth if she gets the beetle I probably won't drive it and I don't want that pressure on her.
 
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:19 PM
Cxracer
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If she picks a mini, I think she wants a stick but we haven't had a chance to drive one yet.

Is there anything I should know about the Mini stick to make sure it is an easy and fun test drive? Is reverse to the far right and down as normal or is it like the beetle and you have to push down and to the left?

There is a Cooper S with a 6 speed not too far away I was thinking of getting her to test. Any thing I should know / be conserned about with the 6 speed and supercharger? I want her to have as much fun on the next test drive as her last one.
 
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:48 PM
marcel74
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On a One/Cooper (first generation) with manual gearing, the reverse is just far right and down. No additional latches, rings you'd have to pull, sticks to push down or anything like that.
You don't have to be scared to accidentally shift into R instead of 4th gear, because while driving it's nearly impossible to shift into Reverse if using normal strength. (because of the way gearboxes are designed). Unless you've married Superwoman.


There are no concerns for the 6-speed S-gearbox , or for the supercharger. Only that it might be too much fun .

Enjoy!
 

Last edited by marcel74; 12-24-2010 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 12-25-2010, 12:34 AM
Cadenza
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The 6-sp manual (S) is a bit stiff to get into Reverse. The clutch pedal is also stiff and clutch feel is grabby.

The Supercharger is American made (Eaton). According to Mini, the oil (front & back) is lifetime but Eaton recommends replacing it every 30-40,000mi. The H20 pump is attached to the rear of the supercharger. To service these parts require removing the front bumper cover and putting the front-end into service mode.
 
  #10  
Old 12-25-2010, 09:23 AM
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HeavyMetal
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Cxracer, I own a MCSc since 2years. When I looked up for a car in that time, I was looking for a small sport car with backseats.

My father was a car dealer and he had many Miata to sell in that time when the Miata was very popular. So, I drove a lot of Miata ('99 GS, '00 SE, '01 SE, '02 SE) and I was looking for car with the same behavior of the Miata but with a backseat. After a while, I found out the MCSc was the best car suitable for my needs.

I have to say, my MCSc is now a money pit: not because the maintenance cost or repair cost but because I put few thousands in engine modifications... it really worths it!


I did some lapping with my MCSc and here is a footage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK_s3BZSE84

Note: that footage was done top down, all windows down and no helmets on. My passenger talks french and his sayings meant: "holy sh.it" "holy fvck"
 

Last edited by HeavyMetal; 12-25-2010 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:52 AM
Yazon
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My friends just got rid of a beetle about 4 months ago. It was about 6 years old and was having way too many issues - the speedo/dash cluster was cutting out, the car would not start from time to time, the window motors/computer would die, etc. The girl loved it, but they couldn't continue dealing with the problems - just bought a new Acura to replace the beetle.
 
  #12  
Old 12-28-2010, 08:08 AM
Fly'n Brick
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I posted something on your other thread and this one seems to be getting traffic as well. I'd vote to forget the whole quandry. You posted this in a MINI forum so you should expect MINI enthusiasm. Go with the MINI because of the fun factor, there's not another like it. She'll get into the zen of motoring and knowing that her MINI is or can be totally unique to her. The VW is just a car made for the masses. Anybody can get one of those things, but a MINI says "I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference". What does "Volkswagen" translated mean anyway?
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:27 AM
Fly'n Brick
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I had an afterthought. There are two VW rag tops where I live and one MINI cabrio, otherwise, the MINIs outnumber the VWs. I have never seen either of the VW's topless. The top is down all the time on the MINI unless it is raining or the temperature drops enough for my co-pilot to say she's had all the fun she can stand.
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:37 AM
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not sure about the beetle but the LOS (line of sight) in the cooper is pretty horrible... power top is a huge + but I would definitely look at the issue of the tops rubbing and not being replaced under warranty in the MINI..
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:14 PM
Fly'n Brick
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Good point. I had a '64 XK-E roadster for several years. I had to balance those dang SU carbs. Took all the fun out of driving.
 
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:38 PM
inimini2007
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My wife traded her 07 Red VW Vert for the 07 Red R52 MCS...I just got tired going to the the Dealer for electrical problems...wasted my time (work)...
 
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:52 PM
Cxracer
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Funny ending in my quest

So, after test driving both bugs and Coopers my wife felt the Cooper was the better, more fun to drive car. So we checked out a Cooper S locally (a really classic used car buying experience). It was green and had some trim issues but it was a pretty low 36K and all the options including nav. We almost bit but my wife made the good suggestion that we sleep on it instead of getting pressured into the sale.

The next morning we talked about and my wife let me know that she was stressed when she thought about the car payment. We paid off her daily drive about 6 months ago and it has been nice only having one payment right now. The last thing I wanted to give my wife for Christmas was stress so in the end I bought her a 94 Miata.

It was cheap but in pretty rough shape but I've fixed them up before. She won't be able to use it as much as if it had 4 seats but it's hers and we can always go on fun drives on the weekend with one kid in each car.

Someday we may get a Mini, probably as they get cheaper, but for now she has her own personal convertible.

Funny journey!
 
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:35 PM
Cxracer
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By the way, if anyone in the NorCal area is looking for a Cooper S Convertible you should really check this one out: http://sacramento.craigslist.org/cto/2134421999.html

I haven't seen the car in person but talking to the owner, it sounds really well maintained and a very reasonable price. My wife was looking for a Blue or Green car so it didn't fit the bill for her but I think it is a very classy looking car from the photos I've seen.
 
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:55 PM
dannyhavok
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Congrats on your new Miata, Cant go wrong with keeping your monthly expenses low. I'm sure it will be a fun addition to the garage!
 
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Old 12-31-2010, 03:24 PM
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Congrats on the Miata purchase. I had a 1993 back then and the guy I sold it to is still loving it. Good decision and Great Christmas gift for the wife.
 
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