Right chaps, this is my personal opinion on the MINI and like I say its just my own personal view!
I've found the mini to be just as reliable as any other car I've owned and as for parts prices they are no more expensive than any other car to maintain providing you don't buy all your parts from BMW! You can still buy OEM parts from motor factors without the MINI stamp on them if you know what your buying and in turn save yourself heaps of cash however I have found that in some cases it has been cheaper to source some parts from BMW!
The Generation 1 Minis up to July 2004 did have the weaker Midlands gearbox however I have seen and worked on early Generation 1 Minis with over 150,000 miles on the clock still with the original gearboxes in them and they have been fine so I guess some of the failures can be down to abuse and neglect from harsh owners. I'd always recommend regular oil changes on these boxes, at least every 30,000 - 40,000 miles and I don't believe for 1 minute that the oil is a lifetime oil! Power steering pumps were a common fault on early Minis but I haven't heard many failing for a while and if any do fail now you have to remember that the Generation 1's are now well over 10 years old in most cases so I guess this could now be classed as wear and tear?
From July 2004 the Generation 1 was face lifted and the gearbox was changed to the German Gertag box which is stronger than the Rover Midlands box however I have heard of these boxes failing too. I worked on one for a forum member just a few weeks ago!
The engines in the petrol Generation 1's are pretty much bullet proof providing they are maintained.
I'm not a fan of the petrol Generation 2's due to the fact that the engines in these up to about mid 2010 were rank. They suffered from various faults from timing chain tensioners, valve problems, carbon build ups and god knows what else. My mate had a 2006 petrol Generation 2 and it spent more time in the garage than on the road. The diesels on the other hand is a different story! Up to 2010 (I think) the diesels are 1.6 PSA which are Peugeot Hdi units and in all the years I have ran Hdi's I have never had any problems with them. I currently have 2 Clubmans thats are powered by 1.6 Hdi engines and they are perfect!
Finally Bini, re the faults listed you mention with the Clubman, I have 2 Clubmans, One with 130,000 miles and one with 43,0000 miles and none have any of the problems you note and the clutches are still original.
My maintenance standards are high on my cars and anyone on the forum who knows me personally will testify to this, so this is probably why I don't seem to suffer some of the same problems as others do as I'm a firm believer of preventative maintenance.
My advice to anyone buying a MINI is to either buy a face lift 2004+ generation 1 or if your wanting a diesel then go for a generation 2. The PSA and BMW engines are both pretty good reliable units but if its a petrol you want then go for a 2010 upwards.
Ofcourse the gearbox oil isn't life time.. This is my issue with the brand, they **** up, lie to their customers and don't rectify their mistakes. Mini Coopers Misrepresent 'Lifetime' Transmission Fluid, Lawsuit Claims - ABC News
I agree with your comment up to a point, you have impeccable maintenance standards, and this should be taken into consideration when buying a used MINI however I disagree on the fundamental basis that a car should not have be babied like the Mini does. Driving a car hard isn't an excuse for it to die prematurely.
No offence but many cars get beaten and thrashed on for years and live on. The cars made by MINI themselves are fragile (to be kind). My father's e60 530d has now done 204000 miles, hes an area manager and has to travel long distances. The car was bought second hand in 2008 (being a 55 plate) from a young Asian chap up in Bradford, I'm sure he drove it like a vicar
... Its done a lot of trans European trips, including the notorious autobahn where I'm sure its been driven at just over tick over revs
. I'm not claiming 204k is an achievement, as I'm sure you can find far higher mileage examples with original box and engine.
My father doesn't have impeccable maintenance records, the car still drives nice and has plenty of power. Its on original clutch, gearbox, engine, drive line etc which is why he cant get his around the state of my car.
He hasn't had any mechanical faults on the car apart from a DPF regen when he worked in London and the hand brake adjustment done (as well as service items obviously). What I am trying to get at, is that 150k on original box isn't some sort of achievement that should be the norm. I'm not claiming BMWs are reliable cars but none of them have gearbox failures as a common fault never mind ridiculously low mileages, or clutches or steering racks and columns or sub frame bushes, or cv joints or timing chain issues at least not his year of production. They're raced and thrashed especially by motorway police. I know to some extent BMWs aren't reliable the statistics back this up. They do have electrical gremlins in the shape of sensors that fail. However its nothing that will stop it from driving unlike...
I have outlined my opinions of the brand, their cowardliness to admit errors and rectify them and their major engineering flaws, which I believe a first time buyer should be notified of. Certain items are manufactured to fail, its as simple as that. When you fit a clutch that belongs on a fiat panda on a Mini, that clutch will burn out. Now that's where I stand.
So please forgive me for the rant but I do get annoyed when some people misrepresent a brand as being reliable based on their experiences when the statistics does not back this up. The internet is there for general knowledge but its also there for statistical analysis and for drawing educated conclusions from reliable sources.
In my humble opinion MINI still have teething issues, but its still quite an achievement to relaunch a brand only 15 years ago and come to this point in time with the cars they've got but they genuinely don't give 2 ***** about customers.
I for one will NEVER buy one again, I did consider PCP plans- bare that in mind.
Edit: He had rear wheel bearings done at 185k, my faut pas.