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MotorCityMadman
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, let's try this. Let's say that you could tell BMW, as they are redesigning the MINI for future model release, to NOT alter one aspect or particular about the current MINI. It can be anything large or small. A sort of fantasy lock on one aspect of the MINI that would be off limits for revision or changing. A "I like it the way it is and if it ain't broken, don't fix it" sort of thing.

I'll start.

The suspension system. I think one of the strongest points of the MINI is its dare-to-be hard and solid suspension in spite of the ride comfort that it may sacrifice. I do not want to see BMW soften up the suspension to cater to the general riding masses who might be apt to complain of a harsh ride. BMW did this in 2001 to their steering (made it looser) and felt the wrath because they decided in a moment of weakness to cater to the wonky minority. So, MINI, keep the solid suspension hard and tight. (I know, that just sounds wrong...hahaha...)

So, how about you?! What feature or aspect of the current MINI would you guarantee lock in?! :)
 

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MINI2 No.1
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They already made the sports suspension plus softer in mid 2003, and the suspension is a shadow of it's former self. :(

I'd say, just the overall "MINI" thing. I don't really care how they achieve it, but if the next generation MINI looks and feels like a MINI (from behind the wheel more than looking at the outside) then they will have (once again) done a great job.

The first time I test drove a MINI Cooper on the launch in Italy back in 2001, Frank Stephenson said to be before hand to just "drive it like a Mini should be driven". So, I scared my co-driver journalist a bit (who had a broken foot and couldn't drive, what a dream scenario that was!) and drove it like a Mini should be driven. That was it, "Sold" as they say. I may have grown more fussy over the past few years, but if I get the same feeling with the next generation, then it's all good.

:D
 

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MotorCityMadman
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow. Didn't know BMW already softened up the suspension. I can only imagine how tight the original must have been if I think my Cooper SS+ is rather nice. Well, I guess here's hoping they don't go softening it any further!
 

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MINI2 No.1
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The main factor was too many complaints for North American owners that the ride was too harsh. Same as the reason the cup holder has been made larger, to better suit the NA market. The next generation will probably be even more made to suit the slightly more mainstream owner, especially in the USA as the US market is already huge and offers a LOT of potential sales. It only makes sense for MINI/BMW to try their best to pander to that market. I know that a lot of owners on here (from all over the world, US included) are worried by that concept, but we'll have to just sit back and wait and see what they come up with.
 

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I agree that the suspension is the best part of the Mini. I would like to see an option of a push-button suspension. You can select the stiffness from track to touring. This would keep the suspension as part of the Mini bloodline while also evolving it.
 

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Paul Mullett said:
...the US market is already huge and offers a LOT of potential sales. It only makes sense for MINI/BMW to try their best to pander to that market
Sad but true. :( So, for me the one feature that should be locked in is keeping the size of the Mini pretty much as-is. I don't object to new models that may grow (like a 5-door option). But, if BMW/MINI get into the mindset of "bigger is better", they will rune the Mini imho.

I look back at the evolution of the Honda Accord as an example I'd not want to see repeated. From a cute 2 door hatch, the modern accord is a Japanese version of the US land yachts.

(Oh, and that ugly cupholder on the passenger side strut they give to the US market will be coming right off as soon as I get my 05 home. I think the phrase "don't drink and drive" applies to all beverages ;) )
 

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MINI2 No.1
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The next gen MINI will be bigger, but not much, not that much that you'll probably even notice to the naked eye. The MINI looks bigger than it is anyway, certainly in length. The MINI is a true "stubby" car. "Fat and short".

:D
 

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MotorCityMadman
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Paul Mullett said:
The next gen MINI will be bigger, but not much, not that much that you'll probably even notice to the naked eye. The MINI looks bigger than it is anyway, certainly in length. The MINI is a true "stubby" car. "Fat and short".

:D
Don't they have to make it a little bigger in the bonnet though to incorporate the new larger engines?
 

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I'm so happy with my '03 model, made after the early-release bugs were worked out and before BMW started dumbing it down.

Hard suspensions: There's a hump in a road near here where some utility lines weren't buried deeply enough. There are gouges in the pavement on either side, left by cars bottoming out. Even the ubiquitous SUVs slow to a crawl to negotiate this hump. But I take it at normal speed and never bottom out, even with the MINI's low ground clearance, because the suspension works so very well.

I made the choice for regular Sports Suspension and non-runflat tires, after reading the excellent feedback here on MINI2 before the car was even available in the US. I remember a line from someone I forget, "you can drive over a coin and tell whether it's heads or tails".

I have spoken to guys here who complain about the suspension being too hard. Invariably they have SS+ with heavy 17-inch funflats. My reaction is Hello, did you do any research before you specced up your order??? If you order a car appropriate for use on a race track, don't be disappointed if it's not comfortable on our shabby local roads.

My advice to BMW would be: CHANGE NOTHING. Well, you could add an iPod slot, or maybe embed a satellite radio antenna in the roof; but otherwise, CHANGE NOTHING. I don't even want more horsepower, it's hard enough to restrain my driving enthusiasm as it is. I don't want more doors. I don't want bigger cupholders. I don't want a bigger boot.

Corvette has usually managed to stay a sports car despite ownership by GM. So there is hope that BMW also will keep their engineers' restless pencils occupied with other models.
 

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MotorCityMadman
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Clutch Cargo said:
So there is hope that BMW also will keep their engineers' restless pencils occupied with other models.
That will be a tall order for them to do as they always tinker with every model year in and year out. The new engine choices should be an added welcome if they are done right. The 115 hp in the Cooper is peppy enough, I can only imagine a 140 hp in the same situation. Whoa. Again, if it's done right. 200 hp standard in the S, the same.

The only reason I can think of BMW making the MINI more mainstream is that they will ultimately not decide to bless us with the 1er, thereby making the MINI the pseudo-1er and directing all engineering decisions, for the entire global MINI market, on the U.S. Which, of course, would be a BIG BOOOOOO!!!!!! :bad:
 

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One of the things I hope they don't mess up on the next MINI is the interior. The MINI is one of the few cars that are identifiable by it's interior. Most "Car guys" can differentiate the interior of a 911 from a Z4, or a BMW 3 series from a Volvo inside, but just about anyone can look a picture of the MINI interior and tell you it is a MINI. When I tested a Subaru WRX, Acura RSX and a few of the other cars, they all looked the same inside. When I drove the MNI, the interior really made it special and after being inside a MINI for 65000 miles, it still feels like something new.
 

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I hope they maintain its "MINI-ness" and keep something very close to its current size, weight, and feel.

Mark
 
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