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DUNNY
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Discussion Starter #1
So I own a Mini Cooper S R53 and it’s gone in for repair and I’ve been given a Mini Cooper S R56 as a courtesy car, so I thought I do a review side-by-side comparison.

So the obvious differences, the R56 is more chunking and bigger than it older brother it’s got a higher ground clearance and a higher bonnet this is due to the change in health and safety laws with in the UK.

The R53 is noticeable more “sporty” with a low ground clearance that gives you that go kart feel, with the over all feeling of it being smaller you get the feeling with the R53 that you can chuck it round corners with no worries the grip is great with no fear of chucking it round a corner at 50mph, where as the R56 has a problem going round corners at speed, whether this is down to the new power steering which stiffens up the fast you go, or whether its just because it got a higher ground clearance and is over all bigger than the R53, I defiantly feel safer in my R53 rather that the chunkier younger brother R56.

Then there’s the ride the R53 defiantly has stiffer suspension than the R56 this could also be a factor it better handling round corners and also giving it that go kart feel, being able to feel every bump in the road, that might not please some people who want a more comfortable ride but for those who like there cars to feel really sporty its great. The seats in the R56 that I have are all leather and honestly the not that comfortable, in my R53 I have half leather half cloth and they are very comfy the all leather R56 seats become uncomfortable after about 40 mins, the brakes have 2 settings on or off with no in between this is good for emergencies but normal breaking it gets tiresome, when you do brake hard its hard to keep the wheels straight as it snakes all over the place!

The build quality of the R56 is far better that the R53 with all the switches and knobs feeling a lot more solid and the interior felling a lot less plastic, an all-round better put together the start stop button is a nice touch as is the keyless entry and the auto start function, but I do miss that lovely whine from the super charger and the exhaust pops that you get from the R53, the R56 does have a turbo charger and there is no noticeable turbo lag and it has a lot of low down power, you get a whoosh from the turbo but it can compete with the whine of a super charger!

The overall styling of the R56 is not that great its looks to friendly with all its sweeping curves and has moved even further from the classic mini styling, the R53 looks more mean and gggrrrrrr with its sharper angles, true its looks nothing like the classic but looks a lot better than the R56.

The R56 also gets hotter than the R53 I find I have to have the ac on all the time where as in my R53 opening the windows is more than sufficient, I find also that the R56 uses more petrol that the R53 and that thing on the dash telling me what gear to be it is annoying and stupid indicating that at 30 mph I should be in 5th... The rest of the controls are very complicated and can not be easily operated whist driving the trip computer for instance and the audio controls also, are all in a mini version of BMW’s I-drive, the indicator stalk the most annoying thing in the world that doesn’t self cancel properly and when you try to cancel it you end up indicating the other way,

In essence I like a few of the little extras on the R56 the start button and the auto stop/restart but I still love the R53 even if the interior is a little plastic and a little loosely put together the driving is tight it hugs the road better than the R53 and the engine sounds amazing, the ride feels like a go kart and you can chuck it about and it and still have confidence knowing that your safe cause it responds so nicely

My choice is firmly with the R53 it has more character and better handling it maybe a little slow that the R56 but by only a few 10ths of a second, you still get a fantastic car. So save you self some money and get the go kart choice R53 you could easily pick up a nice one with a few extras on it for under 16k I recommend the multifunction steering wheel which gives you cruise control and on wheel stereo controls the crono pack is also a must for the car enthusiast, if your after a nice ride and a bit more car like go for the R56 its still fun but not as fun as a R53
 

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Where does that road go?
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Interesting comparison. As an R53 owner, it was good to read. :)

However...

I find also that the R56 uses more petrol that the R53 and that thing on the dash telling me what gear to be it is annoying and stupid indicating that at 30 mph I should be in 5th...
The R56 would probably use less fuel than your R53 if you listened to its gear change suggestions. 30mph in 5th isn't an issue in the R53, so I would expect the same from the R56. In 5th gear the revs are lower at 30mph than they are in 4th, so less fuel will be used. ;)
 

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as nearly always happens with these sort of threads.. people favour whatever version they own. if an R56 owner was given an R53 as courtesy car you would find the opposite stuff said about which model was best. people with older model want to believe theirs is best and that they havent missed out on something better by waiting, so they do, people with newer ones feel smug and believe they have got a better deal by waiting. always the same, whatever car forum you go to where their has been a revision, facelift, whatever.
 

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DUNNY
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312 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
yeah that can be true but i kinda wanted the R56 to come out on top cause i wanted to get one to replace my R53 but alas it was not ment to be i guess
 

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DUNNY
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312 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Interesting comparison. As an R53 owner, it was good to read. :)

However...



The R56 would probably use less fuel than your R53 if you listened to its gear change suggestions. 30mph in 5th isn't an issue in the R53, so I would expect the same from the R56. In 5th gear the revs are lower at 30mph than they are in 4th, so less fuel will be used. ;)
thats what i thought and thats how i use to drive my r53 but i found that keeping the revs between 2500 and 3000 gets me the best mpg and i have found the same thing with r56, tried driving in the gears it was suggesting and it just seemed to drink the fuel...:confused:
 

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i like to think of it like porsche 911, the 993 vs the 996. when it came out the 996 was the modern everyday 911, it was much more refined, more reliable and more rounded, more enviromentaly friendly, just better. But which ws more fun, the 993 of course, which had more character, the 993 of course. and its the same when you compare the r56 to the r53. the R53 is the original and thats the way it is.
 

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i like to think of it like porsche 911, the 993 vs the 996. when it came out the 996 was the modern everyday 911, it was much more refined, more reliable and more rounded, more enviromentaly friendly, just better. But which ws more fun, the 993 of course, which had more character, the 993 of course. and its the same when you compare the r56 to the r53. the R53 is the original and thats the way it is.
The Porsche comparison is good especially if we wind on a few years. Very few people prefer the 996 over the 997. So lets hope the next Mini is as a 997 is to the earlier versions and hope it isn't too long before they bring it out. As Paul said in an early thread the R53 is a better Mini the R56 is a better car.
 

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as nearly always happens with these sort of threads.. people favour whatever version they own. if an R56 owner was given an R53 as courtesy car you would find the opposite stuff said about which model was best. people with older model want to believe theirs is best and that they havent missed out on something better by waiting, so they do, people with newer ones feel smug and believe they have got a better deal by waiting. always the same, whatever car forum you go to where their has been a revision, facelift, whatever.
seconded... r56 owner
 

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sorry whot is r53 and r56 i have got mini cooper 03 reg whot category does it come in lol sorry but naive
Yours is an R50. :)

The first generation One/Cooper was the R50, Cooper S was the R53 (Works and GP variants included) and the convertible was the R52.

When the second generation came about, the hatch (all variants) became the R56, R57 being the convertible, and R55 for the Clubman.
 

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R53 All The Way

I had an R53 for about 1 1/2 years. I loved that car! I tried an R56 the other day just out of curiosity and I couldn't believe the difference. Albeit the changes in looks are small but are still very noticeable. I feel that the R56 is ugly, it has lost it's charm. It is no longer cheeky - it seems chubby.
Driving it was the biggest and worst difference - the character has been completely removed. There is no feel anymore. Half the fun was the response from the supercharger- the whine which seemed to egg you on. Now it is more like an Audi - an excellent engine but too refined. I think they need to remember that this isn't an A3 or 3 series. Mini and refined are sort of contradictions in terms.
The whole feel of the car was "removed" and this was the reason I bought a Cooper S over an Audi TT the first time round.
I am now looking at changing my current car and I have decided to go for an R53 again - nothing I have looked at has the same appeal.
 

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Mini Maniac
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I do miss that lovely whine from the super charger and the exhaust pops that you get from the R53
The R56 exhaust pops too. Personally I think it sounds better than the R53 popping - which sounds tinny. Do a search on you tube, there's hundreds of videos on there.:D
 

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Hi Guys,

I have a 06 JCW R53 and it is a very focused drive. The sound as you guys are discussing is one of the most appealing attributes of the car. Not annoying on the motorway but just the right amount of noise(pop pop pop...not tinny on JCW) at the right times coupled with the whine to scream of the supercharger.....perfect.

I have had several tries in the R56 including the John Cooper Works (a mate of mine works for Mini, and keeps trying to get me into the new Mini). But as grown up as these new models are (very nice also). I can't bring myself to part with my 06 Factory JCW R53. The new works was mega, but for me seems to be missing the magic ingredient somehow?.

Guess I just love the rawness or character and handling of the R53 plus that lovely supercharger. The JCW R53....for me should be in every mans top 10.
 
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