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Discussion Starter #1
I faced this very problem over the past three weeks.

Since the Cooper S was released I wanted one, but had held off driving one until I could afford it. I felt it would make driving my current car (BMW 316i Contour Auto 1998) too tough if I experienced the Cooper S too early.

So three weeks ago after sitting in MCS's so many times, I finally decided to take one for a drive. At the same time the new BMW 120i was being launched, so I took the opportunity to first drive an 120i auto for about 10mins, and then take a MCS for about a 40 min drive.

Early conclusions:
BMW 120i auto: Feels like a BMW, and drives like a 330Ci, but with less power. Much less power. In fact after initial impressions, it felt slower than a Jeep Cherokee, so much so that I felt I'd be humbled too many times at the traffic lights.
Cabin also seemed cramped, and rear access shocking. I thought no point having rear doors, and only slightly more rear space than a Mini.
MCS: Seemed basic. It has all the features, but you don't get the impression you are buying a luxury car. However the speed more than made up for it. Pity the brakes didn't. However the car screams fun, and brings a smile to your face everytime everytime to see it and hear that supercharger whine.:D

Choice after first drives: MCS, I needed a step up in power after driving a 316i for 6 years and this car offers it.

However, after driving an auto for so long and with my main driving being in city traffic, I was worried about a manual. My fantastic dealer (Doncaster BMW) allowed me to test drive the MCS over a longer period (about 18 hours, which included overnight) which allowed me to experience the manual in peak hour traffic. After this experience I was less than happy as there was only one way to take off smoothly...fast. This is not suitable to everyday traffic and my passenger wasn't that impressed with that either. Whilst I liked the flexibility in being able to skip gears, smooth take offs were a hit and miss affair. The seats also seemed very difficult to get comfortable in, and you feel like you are siiting on a desk chair with no support.

Odds at the end of this drive: MCS 50%, waiting for auto MCS %30, 120i 20%

To make a final decision, I decided to test drive the 120i again, two weeks after my initial drive.

This time, after briefly carrying four people in the car, the conclusion was the interior had heaps more space than the Mini. Performance had improved heaps with more kms on the clock, and it felt like an expensive car, which it is, as is also the Mini.

Whilst it was no performance machine, the handling and features made up for the lost buzz. The auto also made life easier. So it raised the question, should I wait for an auto MCS and save a few bucks? :confused:

Well yesterday I ordered a BMW 120i, so the answer was no.

Final decision was made because the Mini didn't feel practical enough. The interior was all looks, with compromised functionality. Sunvisors are a joke, the side mirrors are so far back, looking at the far passenger mirror involves basically looking side on, and the rear vision was not what it should be for such a small car.

My heart said MCS, but my brain and wallet said BMW. I couldn't imagine driving the MCS for more than three years, whereas the BMW could suit me for a lifetime.

I'm not really bagging the Mini, just saying that it is an emotional car purchase, and once actually driven, a huge fan can become less impressed.
 

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I must admit here and now that in the three weeks that the 120i has been available that it has grown onme more and more each time I drive it and look at it .

Im on my third new Mini ( 1 mc & 2 MCS ) and was planing on either keeping my current car which is 11 months old or ordering a new spec MCS. In the last 7 days i must admit that im really leaning towards a 120i. They really drive so well.

I m in a fortunate position to drive the cars when need be . I havent made up my mind just yet , but the spec sheets and option lists have been given a good going over !
 

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Rubber MINI
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The new 1series has also really grown on me since the first time I saw it (even better in the flesh), and the rear wheel drive is very enticing. Although, to me it is just too underpowered. Can't wait to see an M version (i'm sure it WILL happen), that will be awesome but i'm sure my wallet won't be too happy!

But then again, if this comes to fruition, I definitely know what i'll be upgrading to!!! :D
Check this MINI out - 4WD...

http://www.mini2.com/news/news268.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
M1N1GUN said:
The new 1series has also really grown on me since the first time I saw it (even better in the flesh), and the rear wheel drive is very enticing. Although, to me it is just too underpowered.
First one I drove only had like 60kms on the clock and it felt quite slow. Nothing bad, but there was no way you would overpower the rear wheels in the dry.
Second one had about 750kms when I got to it, and that was a different story. With four people on board it could spin the wheels when turning a corner and with two people it could chirp the wheels in a straight line.

Sounds like a dumb measure of performance, but on any reasonable width of tyre, to break traction takes a certain amount of power, and is harder to do with rear wheels than fronts. Therefore that fact that the 120i could do that indicates it isn't totally lacking in power.

I'll safely acknowledge a MCS kicks the 120i's butt, but the 120i would also do the same to a Mini Cooper.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
asmujica said:
Wow, emotional purchase?

Sounds like you need to learn to drive a stick.

Enjoy your 1 series :cool:
I'll admit an auto appeals, but simply because of the driving I mainly do.

I probably do need more practise, but of the many manuals I have driven over the years, considering the Mini's weight and power, it was the most difficult I've driven. In contract the Ford Focus ST170 is wonderfully smooth IMO.

As I said I loved the Mini when driven hard, and could have happily lived with it if I didn't face a 45min drive into work each day just to travel 12km. Of course I could take public transport, but I love driving too much. :p
 

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Hi Anthony!

I also went from 316i to Cooper S, but it´s very likely that I´ll return to BMW one day. The MCS is much fun to drive and the extra power makes up for some things that I miss compared to the BMW driving feel. I drove the 120i and the 120d as well and although the 120i was more involving and more fun than the diesel, it lacked the punch that I´m used to now. My next car will probably be a 1-series, but rather a 122i or 125i because I´m used to a better power-to-weight ratio now and won´t be able to go back. I love the looks of the 1 and I´m a great fan of the BMW front/mid engine RWD driving poise and feel. The MCS is a bag full of monkeys but it isn´t as delicate and subtle as a small BMW when it comes to handling and feedback.

For you it wouldn´t be so hard anyway, because you are not used to 170 bhp and the 120i has still a decent engine that will thrash the 316 anytime.

Klaus
 

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A Total Mini Convert
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I went to the BMW dealer a few weeks ago to look at the 1 series BMW, as I really liked the looks, style, and the fact it was rear wheel drive, as I wanted something more practical to replace my Mazda MX5. I thought that the build quality was superb, it was very comfortable, but it got very expensive by the time even the most basic of extras were added, it was also a bit dull. The performance was very dissapointing, I don't even see the point of the 116i, it is just painfully slow, especially when trying to pull on to motorways.
I came away a bit dissapointed, but noticing the Mini's I thought I would go and have a look. Well I test drove the MCS, and had to have one! Its a great car, the finish may not be quite up to that of the BMW, but its great to drive, and plenty of power for less money.
I am now looking forward to my new MCS, although sadly I have now got a 6 month wait ahead of me :(

Matthew
 

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Here are some of the problems I see with the car:
  • Its the first model, which will have faults that will need to be ironed out during the models lifespan
  • Its all bangled up
  • Its characterless

I took a good long look at it the other day at the dealership and was completely unimpressed.I thought of it as a car for people who want to say that they drive a BMW, but to each his own I guess.
 

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Isn't a 120i around five thousand pounds more than the MCS?

Price wise a 116i be a more natural competitor for the MCS.

Did you consider the cheaper, more powerful, 120d? With U.K. fuel prices and BMW's stunning diesels it seems a no brainer. :confused:

Asmujica, the article you point out is the only one that doesn't give high praise for the BM's outstanding dynamics, for a more thorough test take a look at Autocar's glowing report, or Car magazine or Evo. "Sets new dynamic standards for this class of car" is the general perspective.
 

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Cruising In The Minge
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well my 2 cents is learn to drive a manual too. I keep reading posts about jerky take offs and the likes well my MCS is definatley not jerky at all, very smooth and no i dont ride hell out of the clutch to make it a smooth ride. Nothing wrong with the brakes either, i have JCW kit (still standard brakes) and the car is more often than not in the 4k - 6k rev range and i have no problems stopping at all.

Each to his own though, enjoy your new car mate. :cool:
 

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speedynz said:
...Did you consider the cheaper, more powerful, 120d?...QUOTE]

The 120d is indeed the 'best' engine to put in the 1 series at the moment, this is confirmed by many reviews and my local dealership who've have the 120i and 120d on test tracks.

You've also got a turbo to play with so in a few months time you'll be able to get an ECU remap to up the power! Such a shame it's a rattly, smelly diesel though.
 

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Now I know this is a little ironic coming from a MINI owner (as our interiors are plastic, plastic and more plastic), but don't you think the inside of the One series is just full of horrible, horrible horrible looking and feeling materials? It's like a science experiment gone wrong in there. It is a nice looking car, nice being the word, but I could never buy one over the styling of a MINI.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
speedynz said:
Did you consider the cheaper, more powerful, 120d? With U.K. fuel prices and BMW's stunning diesels it seems a no brainer. :confused:
120d is not available in Australia, and there is no indication if it ever will be.

A 120i on-road, with similiar options as MCS costs about $8k more (in AUD). In my opinion this extra $8k was worth the extra quality and functionality.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Prowse said:
I rather liked it.

It is very different from the MINI styling though.
I love the way the exterior of the MCS looks, and merely like the way a 1 series looks.

Inside the story flips. MCS is a bit too retro and looses the modern ease of use. After driving a BMW for 6 years, I also really like the extra cockpit feel of the 1 series.

All in all, I spend more time inside the car, than looking at the outside, as such the looks vote goes the BMW's way.

Another vote to the 1 series is the standard sport seats are the tightest hugging sport seats I have sat in this side of a WRX. Standard MCS seats are good, but not great.
 

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AnthonyD

Congratulations on your order. I moved from an MCS to a 120d and have zero regrets.

If you're looking for an excellent BMW 1-series forum check:

www.babybmw.net

Loads of info from a friendly bunch - and a lots of members from your country :)
 

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speedynz said:
Isn't a 120i around five thousand pounds more than the MCS?
Did you consider the cheaper, more powerful, 120d? With U.K. fuel prices and BMW's stunning diesels it seems a no brainer. :confused:
May be from a rational perspective, but myself for example, I can´t stand the power characteristics of a diesel. I need the sound and the seamless and smooth response of a freely revving petrol engine. I drove both 120i and 120d and although none of them was really convincing I would prefer petrol in any case. And performance-wise, both cars have virtually the same power-to-weight-ratio.
But I´m rather strange anyway, I also don´t see the neccessity to upgrade my MCS. It´s smooth, punchy and quick. I don´t want to rip the tarmac to pieces at 1500 rpm and when the car should go fast I don´t mind that the engine is running fast either. :eek:

Klaus
 
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