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ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
8/30/23 7:42 a.m.

I've had a few track day students with various ones. Great track cars. But every single one had the dash lit up like a Christmas tree and at least one thing not working.

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand UberDork
8/30/23 9:14 a.m.

Mine had most of the Dinan catalog thrown at it.  IIRC is had 205whp.  Had to put an ATI harmonic balancer on it after the OE one failed, which I thought was weird.  Went through a couple PS units.  Mushroomed the a strut tower hitting a pretty mild pothole.  I knocked it back straight with a 2x4 and hammer and put an IE strut tower brace on to mitigate further damage.  Konis, springs, adjustable rear control arms. 

The steering shaft is a weird triangular aluminum pipe and the coupler or bearing got sloppy and clunky and was a PITA to replace.  The suspension felt very clunky and that's what it wound up being.

It was fun to drive around, but on track it couldn't put any power down and the stock brakes were marginal.  It really, really needed an LSD, even in stock form.

The thing that killed it for me was getting the 3rd windshield cracked  the morning after I had it replaced.  Another weird MINI thing:  If you are first in line at a  strand-mounted stoplight, you usually cant see it .  Some folks put a fresnel lens sticker on the windshield so you can see up.

Oh, and all of this was with ~50k miles on it, but it did get tracked a lot.  Honestly, the MINI is great if you're down for the maintenance.  The additional power, RWD, and utility of a BMW sedan in the same price segment is the only thing working against it for me.  

My in-laws got a Clubman base with a manual for like ridiculously stupid low money.  I think like $2k.  They don't drive it much, but other than leaking some oil, it hasn't had any other issues at all.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
8/30/23 9:14 a.m.
bobzilla said:

In reply to Chris_V :

I can tell you from the body shop side these are fwd bmw. Everything comes in bmw packaging, almost all the parts have bmw stamps etc. 

I can tell you from the body of it, all the stampings are done at Swindon. All the chassis is done there, too. The engines are completely built at Hams Hall. The interiors are done at Crowley. Yes, the packaging will have BMW stampings/markings as BMW owns them. Doesn't mean they are made at any BMW or German factories.

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
8/30/23 9:32 a.m.

I hated these when they came out but eventually softened. So when they started to get affordable I asked around if I should, or for recommendations, and the answer was universal among a pretty significant amount of people.

Don't even think about it.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/30/23 1:16 p.m.
Chris_V said:
bobzilla said:

In reply to Chris_V :

I can tell you from the body shop side these are fwd bmw. Everything comes in bmw packaging, almost all the parts have bmw stamps etc. 

I can tell you from the body of it, all the stampings are done at Swindon. All the chassis is done there, too. The engines are completely built at Hams Hall. The interiors are done at Crowley. Yes, the packaging will have BMW stampings/markings as BMW owns them. Doesn't mean they are made at any BMW or German factories.

Is an X5 built in Alabama with a lot of locally sourced parts an American car?

Is a Mazda 3 made in Salamanca a Mexican car?

My old S40 was built in the Netherlands, on a Mitsubishi chassis... is it a Danish car, or was it a Japanese car... hmm

 

My favorite are all of the Hondas engineered and built here in Ohio specifically for the US market.  I don't think anybody would call Honda an American manufacturer, except for the people whose job it is to mathematically determine these things for tax reasons.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
8/30/23 1:53 p.m.

Can we just...not argue about where it's from? It's owned by BMW. It's built in england. It's got all manner of parts on it. It's a global car, like most vehicles are these days. Nothing is where it's from anymore. 

 

 

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/30/23 3:33 p.m.
Mndsm said:

Can we just...not argue about where it's from? It's owned by BMW. It's built in england. It's got all manner of parts on it. It's a global car, like most vehicles are these days. Nothing is where it's from anymore. 

It's built like the British and the Germans were STILL fighting.

MiniDave
MiniDave HalfDork
8/30/23 5:29 p.m.

I ordered my 2009 Clubman S new (R55) and it now has 110K miles on it. I have had 0 problems with it, and it has done quite a few track days.....oh, and it's an automatic! (I have to amend that - I did have the timing chain replaced under warranty as these early turbo cars had issues with it - once replaced I haven't had any further issues)

Everyone poopoo's the auto trans but I love it - it has the same number of gears and can be manually shifted, it's smooth as can be but quick to shift when I ask it to, never harsh (it's actually an Aisin gearbox) .....all I've done so far is change the fluid in it.

Other than a water pump and thermostat, I've done no repairs other than pads and oil changes, the usual tune up parts and filters. 

Oh, at 50K I did pull the intake and do the walnut shell cleaning of the valves and ports and I'm probably due to do that again, but I look at it like a maintenance procedure.

The only mod on my car is a bigger adjustable rear sway bar - coming out of slow speed corners on track it would smoke the inside front tire, with the bigger bar it stopped that. I also went to 17" wheels and tires and sold the 16" runflats.

My attitude is if you want one, don't go for the cheapest one you can find unless you want to do all the deferred maintenance, but rather spend a bit more and buy the best one you can afford. The real choice is whether to get a supercharged car or a turbo. There are positives to both..... the supercharged cars have that whine, but the turbo cars have more low down torque and get better fuel mileage. The turbo cars have better brakes (even tho the stock brakes have always been great) and the lighter aluminum rear trailing arms. 

When you get into the "F" series cars, you're in a different ballpark as those cars have the BMW engines

GopherBrokeRacing
GopherBrokeRacing New Reader
9/1/23 2:40 p.m.

I had an '04 R53 that I really loved.  I took a chance and bought it with 96k on it already.  Reliable?  Nah, it always needed something, but I knew of that going in.  However...it was the MOST fun car to drive on a twisty road!  It had a bunch of mods; poly front lower control arm bushings, a rear anti-roll bar out of a JCW,  stainless header, home brew sport exhaust (just bypassed one of the two mufflers).  I found that by taking out both rear spring hats, cutting an inch out of them and welding them back together, I could get the rear end down to the ride height that god and Mini intended.  It was so obvious that the rear had been jacked up to meet our bumper height rules and I couldn't stand it.  

Stock shocks and springs were plenty for me and the shocks lasted forever.  My now son-in-law drove it for an afternoon and came back to say "That thing drives like a frickin' go kart!  I had no idea!"  I was able to coax it to 325k before the nickel and dime issues got to be too much.

If a super fun car is the goal, go R53.  If a super fun RELIABLE car is the goal, better look elsewhere. 

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