MINI Cooper Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
How things change from one day to the next. Got a called from Otto's MINI in PA on Monday about a MINI Cooper test drive at their dealership on Tuesday. Happened to be at the exact same time as a customer meeting at work so I was really bummed I could not go.

Today a car buddy calls and tells me his MINI just arrived from the EU via ship - a little import for a startup MINI tuner in the US. ;-) So, I'm heading over this afternoon for a drive!

Can't wait! Even since I saw the car in person at the Essen Motor Show I have been dying to drive one! The only problem is that I will then have to wait a few months until my car arrives - and that could be quite painful.

Anxious....

Jason
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
930 Posts
Jason, try and get some pics if you can!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
S2000&CooperS said:
Jason, try and get some pics if you can!
I will try - I'll grab a friend's digital camera on the way there. This is a great excuse to leave work early too...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Otto's Mini

What is BMW thinking in terms of gettting demo cars to dealers. Local Mini dealer opens in March and has no cars to even look at, while according to the original post Otto's, which is scheduled to open in June, has a Mini for test drives. In other post it has been stated that the dealership must be completed before the dealer gets cars so Otto's has a car five months before a car can be sold? Local dealer opens in two months and no car?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
Yes definitely confusing.

I was on the list at Otto's until I found out about the June opening. Ended up putting a deposit down a Don Rosen's instead (on track to open in March). 20+ miles further away from home.
 

·
Moderator & Sponsor
Joined
·
3,758 Posts
jailed said:
What is BMW thinking in terms of gettting demo cars to dealers. Local Mini dealer opens in March and has no cars to even look at, while according to the original post Otto's, which is scheduled to open in June, has a Mini for test drives. In other post it has been stated that the dealership must be completed before the dealer gets cars so Otto's has a car five months before a car can be sold? Local dealer opens in two months and no car?
I think MINIUSA is shuffling a few MINIs around to different dealers until the dealerships open and have demo cars.

My dealer told me late December that in early February he would have an pre-opening event at the dealership where a MINI would be displayed but not available for drives. He said the MINI shown would be a non-US spec display model that has been previously used for promotional events around the US (perhaps strapped to the top of a Ford Excusion? :p)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Re: Otto's Mini

jailed said:
What is BMW thinking in terms of gettting demo cars to dealers. Local Mini dealer opens in March and has no cars to even look at, while according to the original post Otto's, which is scheduled to open in June, has a Mini for test drives. In other post it has been stated that the dealership must be completed before the dealer gets cars so Otto's has a car five months before a car can be sold? Local dealer opens in two months and no car?
I should call and talk to the Otto's guy. I was under (perhpas the mistaken) impression that they would sell MINIs out of their BMW building until construction of the MINI building is completed... ??

Jason
 

·
Summer Splasher
Joined
·
675 Posts
MINI in US

Today a car buddy calls and tells me his MINI just arrived from the EU via ship - a little import for a startup MINI tuner in the US.
Could you elaborate on this, please?

a startup MINI tuner in the US???? Like Minimania?
I understand they have a special import deal that requires the car to be returned in one year.
What is this option?

Please don't forget the pics!

I went to F&M in Lancaster-----used to know a lot of car peeps there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Re: MINI in US

pbraun said:
Could you elaborate on this, please?

a startup MINI tuner in the US???? Like Minimania?
I understand they have a special import deal that requires the car to be returned in one year.
What is this option?
Apparently, there is a program to bring non-US-spec cars into the coutry for commercial or other purposes. You can have them here for a year but cannot register / license them for street use. After that you can file to keep it in the US longer. I don't know much more than that.

The car arrived 2 days ago at the Port of Baltimore from Sweden. It is a LHD model. It was imported by a new tuner by the name of Helix Motorsports, which is based in the Philadelphia area. They intend to start to sort the car out at some area auto-cross events this winter and they just showed the car at Otto's yesterday (at the same time BMW had their car there). More than that I probably cannot say except than to keep an eye out for them. ;-)

Jason
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Impressions and Pictures (and MPEG)

Well, I know now that the MINI is for me! WOW!!! What a fun friggin car!

I drove it for about 30 minutes or so. The car is quite comfortable and the interior and controls are quite nice. If there is any doubt that this car will be a hit in the US, those thoughts are gone from me now! This car evoked a very strong reaction - a bit surprising given the low level of marketing in the US so far.

I drove less than a block when 2 guys in a truck raced up next to me and stopped me to ask about it and say what a cool car it was. An old lady and a security guard at the local Wawa (convenience store) pointed at it and said "MINI Cooper" as I passed by. People stopped in their steps while walking down the street and then turned to watch the car pass. Oncoming drivers excitedly pointed at the car and smiled. Oh yes, this is going to be a car very much in demand. The coolness factor is definitely there. Even better - several people cleared the passing lane for me to pass by unobstructed! :)

So, back to the driving experience. First off, I have a modified VW Corrado VR6 and a chipped VW New Beetle 2.0L (apparently a 'gay' car from some of the other threads). Anyway, the Cooper seemed to have about as much power as the Beetle 2.0L (my buddy is putting it on the dyno, aka rolling road, to do some baseline power measurements soon).

What surprises though is what happens when you turn the wheel... WOW - does this car handle well!!! I was very, very seriously impressed. My buddy who imported the car owns a couple of Porsche 911s and is a longtime Mk.1 GTI afficionado and even he gushes on about the great handling. It is good. It is great. It is better than they tell you and better than you expect. :)

The MINI engineers did a nice job on exhaust tuning - the engine and exhaust have a very nice sound. The base stereo seemed good to me and all of the controls were very nice.

Some stuff I liked in particular about the controls:
  • Tips of toggle switches illuminate.
  • Great pedal location and pedal feel.
  • Cool speedometer.
  • Easy-to-use computer.
  • Rev limit increases as engine warms up (according to gauge illumination).
I tried to capture all of this in the pictures I took and a little 15 second MPEG. Please excuse the MPEG - I shot it as I drove and was more concerned with doing so safely than in shooting a perfect movie.

Oh, the door also opened almost perpendicular to the car, which was unique. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

I think I have gotten my fill for awhile though I am sure I will be dying for another drive soon. Jeez - this guy is like a drug dealer. I get a little taste and I want MORE MORE MORE!!! :)

This is a great car - you will not be dissappointed!

All the pics and the movie are at www.jasonlivingood.com/mini/01162002/index.htm

Jason
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Psychiatric Help Needed After MINI Drive...

Okay, I've gone off the deep end. I just watched this movie with headphones on about 40 times in a row.

15-sec. MPEG - 1.4MB

Maybe this is a cry for help! ;-) (just kidding)

Jason
 

·
puckstopper
Joined
·
4,260 Posts
Re: Re: MINI in US

jlivingood said:


Apparently, there is a program to bring non-US-spec cars into the coutry for commercial or other purposes. You can have them here for a year but cannot register / license them for street use. After that you can file to keep it in the US longer. I don't know much more than that.
I don't know much more either, but I do know this;

You can bring in just about anything for track purposes (Lotus sells a non-street-legal version of the Elise in the U.S. "for track use only", although I hear a fair few find their way onto streets under less than perfectly legal circumstances).

A manufacturer can also bring over a car for 12 months for promotional/demonstration/testing purposes (i.e. the MINIs at car shows, or the MG ZTs which MG Rover brought to MG2001 in Minnesota last summer. Plus almost all of the major manufacturers do hot weather testing in the southwest).

A private citizen can also bring a non-spec car into the U.S. for street use for 12 months, after which time they have to either export it, prove it meets U.S. spec, or place it "beyond use" (i.e. render it non-functional and put it on display). There was a minor hoo-hah in the MG community a couple summers back when a British couple touring the U.S. for the summer showed up at a couple of U.S. meets in a shiny MGF.

There is now a way to permanently import a non-spec street car as well, but you have to prove to the feds that the car is relatively unique, historically significant, etc., and you are severely limited in the number of miles a year you can put on the car. Word is that Bill Gates spearheaded the push for this law because he owned a Porsche 959 which was stuck in the customs warehouse for years. One of the car mags did a feature last year about a Jaguar XJ220 which had been imported under this law. They also mentioned that an application to import a late 90s Mini Cooper was rejected...

-Ricardo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,722 Posts
Having just returned from New York I think the MINI will go down a storm in The USA. If it fails it will just end up in one of New Yorks Huge pot holes, I mean the roads in that city are terrible:eek: The MINI will be totally different from all the Merc S class & X5's that everybody seems to have. You have some lovely cars over there the New Thunderbird is stunning, the Prowler still looks good as when it was a prototype. Just one thing concerns me...
While in New York there were a number of cars with dents & damaged bodywork, OK so the state of the roads dont help in but some of the drivers are just crazy risk takers. This is one holiday I wont forget. It would of been nice to see some MINI's bombing through the city or at a traffic light next to the Huge Lincon Navigator(that car is a beast:D)
TAKE CARE OF YOUR MINI :D :D :D :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Jlivingood. You will be pleased to note that the reaction from people in the UK to the MINI is still the same as you describe, even though the MINI's been here for months. :D
(I noticed from your video that it doesn't pull to the right! ;) )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
smiffy said:
Having just returned from New York I think the MINI will go down a storm in The USA. If it fails it will just end up in one of New Yorks Huge pot holes, I mean the roads in that city are terrible:eek: The MINI will be totally different from all the Merc S class & X5's that everybody seems to have. You have some lovely cars over there the New Thunderbird is stunning, the Prowler still looks good as when it was a prototype. Just one thing concerns me...
While in New York there were a number of cars with dents & damaged bodywork, OK so the state of the roads dont help in but some of the drivers are just crazy risk takers. This is one holiday I wont forget. It would of been nice to see some MINI's bombing through the city or at a traffic light next to the Huge Lincon Navigator(that car is a beast:D)
TAKE CARE OF YOUR MINI :D :D :D :D
smiffy, you got that right!! Nonetheless, it will be fun to toss the MINI around the pot holes, ship-like SUVs, and any other road obstacles. :D

Jason, thanks for the pictures and videos, they made my day!! :p The engine sounded so sweet.

I've noticed some red lights along the rev meter in the video, but can't see it clearly. Just one question to everyone(and I may have missed this point discussed in previous threads), is the engine temperature guage designed within the Rev/RPM meter a la the BMW M5 and M3? :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Rev Meter Illumination

KarmanS said:
I've noticed some red lights along the rev meter in the video, but can't see it clearly. Just one question to everyone(and I may have missed this point discussed in previous threads), is the engine temperature guage designed within the Rev/RPM meter a la the BMW M5 and M3? :rolleyes:
Best I can tell this does appear to be the case! Cool. This image is a pretty clear indicator of what you are talking about.

If I remember correctly more of the gauge was red and as the engine warmed the rev limit went up...

Jason
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top