We've had our mini since July '06, it replaced a Citreon C3 (which are garbage BTW). I'm used to driving off roaders (my main drive is a freelander).
When I drive the MINI, which never fails to raise a smile, I get the feeling that I run out of gears. Most other cars's I've driven tip 3000rpm @ 70mph (except my VItara, but that's another story). The MINI is doing 3500ish, topping 4000+ as the speed goes up. Anyone else feel the gearing is rather low?
For a normally aspirated 1.6 litre that isn't particularly powerful, I would say (in my opinion) that first (approx max 35mph), second (approx max 60mph), and third (approx max 90mph) gears are not that short, but fourth and fifth are fairly close, and as a result fifth gear is quite short - noticeable when cruising at higher speeds (for a 5-speed manual getrag gearbox fitted since the summer of 04). The upside is improved response on the motorway, and the ability to stay in fifth at 70mph on steep hills.
It might be that because the engine is quite audible at all engine speeds, that it feels more stressed in general causing you to change up earlier. Congrats on your purchase
Yeah, I agree here. Think they would have benefitted from a 6th gear myself for cruising. All in all, I don't find mine an uncomfortable car. The biggest let down is that 3500rpm or there abouts is a very resonant point in the engines rev range. Not sure if you've noticed, but when you drop to about 60mph, or increase to 80 mph the engine note is quieter.
i have a similar question - more a newbie driver question than a particularly mini one i guess
my previous car was an old ford banger that drove when i passed my test. that had very clear speed ranges for each gear, you couldn't go over 30 in 2nd and you had to change into 4th at 45 etc (well, i exagerate a bit, but still...)
however, with my Cooper, i get the impression the boundaries between which gear you should be in at which speed are much less distinct. i've been experimenting (both intentionally and by accident) and it seems there's quite a wide range of speeds that you can be in either 1st or 2nd or 3rd, and also 2nd or 3rd or 4th, etc etc.
also discovered (by accident) the rec limiter kicks in when i got somewhere above 40mph in 1st, but it'll pull away in 2nd at 10mph too.
so my question is, assuming i'm not being an idiot and hitting the rev limiter all the time, does it do the gearbox/engine damage if i'm changing gear too early or too late?
cos it does sound very nice when you hit the 4000 rev mark and it belts off down the road at that point too
Changing gear late: the rev limiter which cuts in just below 7000rpm will prevent you doing any sudden engine damage. I'm not really sure there is much point in revving past 6500rpm in the standard Cooper, but there's certainly no harm in revving to 4000rpm and beyond. Like anything in life though, the harder you push your car, the shorter its life will become. Hitting the rev limiter ten times a day means you won't see 200,000 miles or anywhere close. And as you say you are also putting extra strain on the gearbox/clutch too - these are likely to fail first as the engine itself has so far proved to be quite reliable at high mileage. But by revving to up and around 4000rpm to 5000rpm - you are within what the car is designed to do.
Changing gear early: you can put strain on the car by changing up too early - I'm not sure there is a rule of thumb as it depends on the car, most people instinctively know when to change gear based on experience. I remember someone else on here once saying they always changed into 2nd at 20mph, 3rd at 30mph, ....., 5th at 50mph. I can't help thinking that in slow traffic these changes maybe a little late, yet if joining a motorway they would be too early. If you put your foot down on the accelerator hard, and the car isn't responding very quickly you probably are in too higher a gear too early.
so i have another newbie driver question for you all - sorry
having concluded that the mini is perfectly happy (even if your wallet isn't) with keeping it in gear till it gets to 4k-5k and then changing up to the next gear, what about the opposite?
i find when i'm in speed limit zones, say a 30mph zone, if i'm in 3rd it cruises at a bit over 2k rpm and i've got a bit of pressure on the accelerator to keep it at 30.
but in 4th, it'll cruise at 30 at around 1.5krpm with hardly any weight on the gas pedal at all.
the same is true at 40mph and having the car in 5th
i assume this is great for fuel consumption, but is it okay for the engine? if it's so happy when you're reving it hard, is it also okay when in such a high gear and doing hardly any work at all?
The syncro hubs on a modern gearbox mean you can change gear at a greater rev range than older vehicles. Try getting into first without having to stop in an older car and you'll know what I mean!
Cruising in a high gear because your in traffic or using 5th gear when trundling in a 40mph zone is fine! You may want to drop down a gear or too if you need to accelerate!
I guess it's just a feeling of what the car wants or needs. As you get to know your car, you know when it's either screaming (too high), or moaning (too low).
cool - thanks for the info. my previous car was an 89 ford orion - was very unforgiving if you weren't going the right speed in the right gear, so it's taking some getting used to how easy and enjoyable it is to drive the mini
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.