October 28, 2012:

A Not Normal Roadster

Honestly, any MINI with more than $1000 off it’s MSRP is “not normal”, but that’s what the sign said on this Roadster that I looked at on Saturday at MINI of Peabody. I don’t have much interest in the car, but I’d never sat in one so did so (didn’t drive it though):
Not Normal MINI Roadster

When I first sat inside, immediately noticeable was how quiet the interior WASN’T; just like the convertible I owned, a thin cloth roof provides little sound (or temperature) insulation. But once the roof was open, the car has a good looking interior, Piano Black and Polar Beige is what I’d choose – but it lacked most upgraded technology (which at least held the price below $30K):
Not Normal MINI Roadster

But driving home in Margaret’s Z4, taking the Gloucester rotary at an easy 50+ and realizing that the Z4 handles so much better than any MINI I’ve ever owned; and then I think of the 2012 GP, and how it surely can’t compare with a Z4 that’s within $10K of that excessive $40K GP price … Makes me realize that I’ll probably not be driving a MINI again any time soon …


Comments: 4 (post new comment)
  1. db (2012/10/29 @ 2:57 pm)

    Actually, with the top up, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Also, it’s a soft-top convertible, so it’s never going to be great with the top up.

    Maybe one day they will release a hard top option.

    I’m with you on the GP price. That’s a lot of money for a car that is bested by many other cars at a lower price point. And bested by cars like your Z4 at a not much higher price point but with better value.

  2. ROBERT (2012/11/04 @ 10:04 am)

    The amazing thing here is how much us MINI zealots have changed our tune in the last few years. Seems to me it all started to change around 2007. Fat expensive cars, but they keep selling like crazy? For me… they cost too much, they are too fat, to many silly models, too computerized. Plus, really, most aren’t trouble free and expensive to repair and many keep, as I did, only for the driving thrill and the camaraderie.

    Loving my FIA 500 ABARTH, haven’t been to MotoringFile in ages and that was part of my AM routine. My ABARTH has been trouble free for more miles than any of my MINIs, sadly, and though the handling isn’t MINI-ish it still great fun to drive like my 2002 & 2004 MINIs were.

  3. GBMINI (2012/11/04 @ 1:53 pm)

    Glad the Fiat is good for you, Robert. It’s too low headroom for me.

    Clearly MINI the brand is doing good stuff, though as you say, they’ve left behind some of the early owners now …

  4. Frank G (2012/12/13 @ 1:15 pm)

    Same here…. Early last month I traded my 2005 R53 S Hatdtop with nearly 100K miles. Car was in pristine condition but decided it was a great time to part ways while the car was still running strong. Traded for a 2011 E90 BMW 328i sedan and I haven’t looked back. While I truly loved my R53 S, the Bimmer is simply on a different level, from fit/finish, interior materials, driving dynamics (My first RWD car and lovin’ it!) and the buttery turbine smooth N52 3 Litre straight six cyl N/A engine that symbolizes what BMW is all about. I looked at the new 2012-13 F30 328i Bimmers but that new DI and turbocharged four pot engine has no place and doesn’t belong inside a $40K premium quality automobile. We still have our 2008 R55 Clubman S and plan to keep it for a few more years, but the N14 turbo engine has had two instances of failed timing chain tensioners (Fortunately, the engine survived both episodes). For this reason, I have no much confidence in the ability for BMW to craft a reliable direct fuel injected, turbocharged 4 cyl engine that will be troublefree for 100K miles or more.

    I just don’t feel the new MINIs. The only model I like from the second gen is the Clubman. But the reliability of the Prince Turbo engines has been disappointing. The cars are fatter, heavier and stupidly expensive. My 1 year old CPO E90 Bimmer was less than a 2012 Clubman S and the Bimmer has way more equipment and gadgets. A new R55 S with auto transmission, Harmon kardon and a few things here and there tops the charts at $31K. No way Jose! And this is a car with no leather seats or sunroof! BMW/MINI is out of their minds with the pricing of these cars. Sadly the interior material quality and powertrain reliability does not match the price tags. BMW is a much better proposition. No matter how you cut it or slice it, a 3 series or Z4 is a vastly superior car to any MINI.

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