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No offense to all the good people here who rightly love their MINI's. This is intended in a spirit of friendliness.

After five months of wrangling with the notion of purchasing a premium European SMALL car... and getting within a hair's breath of purchasing a Cooper S, I purchased a GTI VR6. The smooth, unbridled, highly-available power of the VR6, the additional interior room, and the less nervous ride are what sold me.

What really didn't sell me on the MCS for me was a personality I'd call high-strung . The handling of the MINI is addictive, no question -- but not until my sister actually purchased a Cooper S in September, and I could drive a Cooper S regularly, was it clear to me that the S was not the car for me... to get the power out of the engine requires driving the car hard, what felt to me as too hard, too often. I found the ride to be too far on the punishing side of the line, too. I'm 47, my sister is 53, go figure.

I know they'll probably be a barrage of "last year of the MkIV GTI" and "lower residuals" feedback here -- but you guys realize that MINI's aren't for everyone.

There were several side issues that swayed me on the GTI as well: I was able to get the 04 GTI at a huge discount -- and it's missing NOTHING I would have ordered on a Cooper S. My sister has an Acura MDX with Nav and says the Nav on her MINI is "a waste of money." I'm not sure I'd agree with that, but I'd never have purchased the Nav because it denies the entire aesthetic of the MINI Instrument Panel... Also, MINI, like BMW has a tendency to charge for every little thing -- things that were included on the VR6: metallic paint, floor mats, cruise control, trip computer. By the time I'd have waited several months for a MCS, it would have cost more than $5K over the GTI which I was able to drive home. That counts for something -- to me at least.

In this process, I learned a few undeniable truths about the MINI. Not only are these great cars, the company went out on limb to bring them here (USA) and made all the right moves.

I was with my sister when she picked up here MINI at Checkered Flag in Virginia Beach. The salesman (Ernest) was knowledgeable, passionate, sincere and thorough -- he reviewed the car with my sister down to that little pop-off panel on the rear bumper fascia for the tow hook. He made SURE before she arrived that she would have enough time to invest with him in reviewing the car. By the time my sister drove off in her Electric Blue loaded MCS at slightly over ($26K), and hour and half later, she felt she'd done more than bought a car: she'd been given a huge opportunity to understand her car and what driving a car could be about -- she understood that legions of thoughtful people had creatively worked on her behalf. She was excited. I suspect a fair number of you had similar experiences. By contrast, my VW salesman petered out after fifteen minutes before even mentioning much less explaining several of the car's more prominent features.

Other companies that produce thoroughly decent and competitive products can't compete because they just can't, won't or don't get their BIG IDEA across to the broader public -- even those who don't purchase their product. You don't have to own an Ipod to know it's something special. MINI and BMW (and Apple) have shown how to do this.

And the other thing is this. MINI and BMW have done a huge service to the USA in demonstrating that such a thing really exists as a premium small car. I would contend that my GTI VR6 is a premium small car... and most of you here might in a generous moment agree. Clearly however, most North Americans had no idea of a premium small car before the MINI.

So thanks everybody. The MINI has a first rate community. It's not an overstatement to say that the MINI family demonstrates something good about people, on many levels. Drive on.

Patrick from Virginia Beach


PS: Remember the Rogers and Hammerstein song from the musical Oklahoma... "the Cowboy and the Farmer can be friends."
 

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I test drove a GTi VR6 before purchasing my '05 MCS, and I agree that it's a totally different car.

In fact, there's not much basis for comparison between the two. The sports suspension in the MCS would most certainly be to stiff for drivers who do not seek a true sports car.

The VW was a nice car, however, but again, it's really nothing like the MCS from a pure sports car standpoint. It also has a lot more room in it, but then, that's certainly not why we choose to purchase a MINI!

One drive of each car should be all one needs: they're completely different cars!
 

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Bugaboo Racer
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Nice comments and a well thought out post Patrick. I'm a car nut and see plenty of good in other cars. It is sometimes easy to be blinkered when you belong to a community as special as MINI (and that includes our sister community mini!), so well done for being brave enough to come on here and tell your purchasing tale. We spend lots of money on cars and a lot of careful thought is needed. The most important thing is that you've got a car that makes you smile everytime you look at it and drive it. Otherwise, cars just become transport. And that's bad news.

Our other car is a Lexus, and despite the MCS being truly fantastic, and the dealer being pretty good too, the customer experience from Lexus blows everything else out of the water. When I chose it (its a company car) I was looking at Lexus, BMW, Audi and Merc.

I chose the Lexus because it has a characterful engine, entertaining handling, excellent spec and incredible customer care (plus, the BMW was only a 4 cylinder, the Merc was poverty spec and the Audi just crap). Every time we deal with our Lexus dealer, they seem to have raised the bar.

When we stop being "empty nesters" and the patter of tiny feet take up more space than my MINI provides, I'll walk straight back into a Lexus dealership and happily give 'em my cash (unless, of course, BMW build that MINI Van!)

Enjoy your VR6, and if I lived in the States and knew who you were, I'd flash my lights and wave :cool:
 

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Well I certainly can respect your decision, being a former GTI VR6 owner myself. I actually traded in my '00 GTI for the Mini, for several reasons...mainly because of quality. The GTI was a very comfortable, premium car with everything and more, and I do miss some aspects of the car, but I don't miss the common problems I had. From the windows falling into the doors 3 times (broken regulators - they've supposedly fixed that design, but...), to being stranded on the side of the freeway when the engine computer failed, along with the coolant temp sensor (right after the warranty ran out), it just wasn't worth it.
The Mini, now with over 30k miles, has been very good, as far as quality, with only a few minor problems, compared to the GTI. The other thing about the GTI was that, with that heavy engine up front, it handled like a Winnebago - it really felt like there were a few people sitting on the hood, the way it understeered and made the tires howl.
All I can say is that I hope your GTI is better quality than mine was (and a number of my friends who have since given up on the VW brand because of similar problems).
Love that VR6, though!!

Good luck.
 

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Loves the Fuzzy One
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Hi Patrick

You are right, everyone has different opinions. I love VWs and MINIs both, and have no intention of trading off my Beetle. I'm currently between MINIs, but will rectify that soon.

Did you know that Ernest is now the sales manager at Checkered Flag?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
cuz I just learned what "bump" means and wanted to see if it would "BRING UP MY POST." And it did!
 

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Good luck with the GTI. I myself mourn the car--I drove a friends quite a few years ago (1990) and it was a BLAST! The new ones don't seem to be as BTTW.

I actually considered the GTI VR6 (and a Snobaru WRX) before I got my MCS, but it was never really a close call on five points:

1. Fun.
2. Personality.
3. Gas Mileage.
4. GO KART!
5. Fun.

So, great post, good choice, great car. Enjoy.
 

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M5 Extraordinare!
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Nice Post. the VR6 is a nice car. I agree... I would recommend it. thats the car I'm recommending to my friend right now as she doesnt want a MINI so what else is left thats good? :)
 

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MotorCityMadman
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EBMCS03 said:
Nice Post. the VR6 is a nice car. I agree... I would recommend it. thats the car I'm recommending to my friend right now as she doesnt want a MINI so what else is left thats good? :)
WRX.
 

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MotorCityMadman
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How about the RSX? Altogether different than the VR6, but in a similiar class.
 

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M5 Extraordinare!
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Cooper76 said:
How about the RSX? Altogether different than the VR6, but in a similiar class.
She no likie Acura styling at least not the RSX... :confused: So nope... and that really only leaves.. ummm not much.
 

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MotorCityMadman
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So then she picked the car based on looks, right? In that case, I can see the Golf.
 

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M5 Extraordinare!
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Cooper76 said:
So then she picked the car based on looks, right? In that case, I can see the Golf.
HAhahah what were you expecting?? :D

0.) Cost
1.) Looks
2.) Speed
3.) Handling
4.) Gas

I think thats her list. so there you have it... VR6 it seems
 
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