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Old 21st March 2019, 12:12   #1
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Default The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-1.jpg
Say hello to #ShaniTheMini (शनि pronounced shaa-nee)



The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-screenshot-20190321-11.59.53-am.png
Likes & Dislikes

Table of Contents
Introduction

Purchase

Spec & Factory Options

Add ons

Review Q&A

BE MINI

Roadtrips

5000km Roadtrip!

Long Term Report

Last edited by Aditya : 27th May 2019 at 11:00. Reason: Adding index
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Old 21st March 2019, 12:16   #2
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Default Introduction

Introduction

After selling my 328i there was definitely a void in my life, but I was unsure on what car to go after. Since 2012 car prices have been growing from expensive to absurd which means I had quite a tough task ahead of me. One of the key points to consider was the car needs to be extremely usable, practical and fun. And by usable I mean I wanted to take it on roadtrips.

The following cars were considered (New and Pre-worshipped)

Mercedes Benz GLA/CLA 45 AMG

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_6523.jpg

I was warned about the service costs for Mercedes cars, especially AMG can be quite something. There were no extended warranties available for the car that was in my budget and although it was a really special baby AMG, the 4Matic system was a bit wonky under hard driving and the ground clearance on the CLA would put many super cars to shame. I especially loved the interiors and how it drove. I was actually sad that I was not going for this one even though I could get one, I daydreamed a lot about it to be honest, it’s a lovely hooning car but unfortunately I had made up my mind that we need something that can go on cross country road trips. I also drove the GLA extensively but it was over my budget, I would have definitely gone for the GLA over the CLA and it wasn’t bad to drive at-all. Also, the sounds left a lot to be desired on both the baby AMG’s.

Volvo S60 Polestar

Too expensive and too old coupled with 20inch rims. I mean the only reason I considered this car was because I admire Volvo so much, but honestly this car was not fitting into any of my requirements. A formidable track machine or the weekend car in the house, it won’t fit the bill for what we needed.

Audi TT

I liked the interior of the TT especially the 3D Cockpit and the nifty little dials on the AC vents. Unfortunately the car was nothing special to drive in stock form and didn’t have good ground clearance. Its a nice car but didn’t connect with me emotionally.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_1359.jpg
Attending Car Meets

I started writing this review after driving the car for 14000km and over a year of ownership, and today we are at over 23000km and almost 2 years in. During this times I’ve had an opportunity to experience the car in a myriad of conditions and this should give great insight into MINI ownership. The LCI launched adds a DCT into the mix and really gives you a mature luxury car like drive and is certainly quicker. But the unavailability of the JCW kit and hearing the DCT pops and crackles won’t ever be as explosive as the TQ, also reliability is a big question. I’m happy with my car and don’t see a reason to upgrade to the new one apart from those lovely headlights. I’m not too sold on the Union Jack taillights in the new one.

I've kept aside a lot of images to use in this review because I love looking at pictures as much as I love reading about cars. I hope you guys enjoy the pictures too, apologise in advance if the I've been a bit excessive. I highly recommend clicking on the images to view the hi-res version. Team Bhp watermarking does strange things to the thumbnail and puts lots of digital noise.

Last edited by quickdraw : 25th May 2019 at 14:56.
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Old 21st March 2019, 12:30   #3
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Default Purchase

Purchase

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_6681.jpg
E30 & F56

The booking and delivery experience with Bird Auto Gurgaon was much better than the ordeal I faced during my 328i purchase (My pre-worshipped BMW 328i).

I am still a bit miffed by the fact that dealers in large metros like Delhi don’t carry regular service parts like oil filter in stock. Unavailability of one delayed my delivery as I wanted to get car serviced before taking it on long road trip.

The exact model purchased was a F56 Mini Cooper S Hardtop 3 Door Hatch. It comes with a 2.0 Litre Turbo Petrol B48M engine, they only difference from the ones you find in 20i models from BMW is this is longitudinally mounted and doesn’t come with ZF8 gearbox. In stock trim the Cooper S is rated at 189bhp and with the JCW power upgrade kit it goes upto a staggering 230bhp/300nm, the car really has gone mental after the JCW kit and honestly brought out the lacklustre brakes (more on that later)

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Dyno chart from here


I will refrain from discussing specifications and other details that are already covered in this exhaustive TBHP review (Driven: 2015 Mini Cooper S). There are a few changes on my car for example I have the bigger iDrive and touch controller with HUD amongst other things which you might be able to spot in pictures.

During time of purchase I added on extended warranty, so far I have not been able to utilise it. No major issues so far. (As of March 2019, I've decided not to extend the warranty as I feel the F56 doesn't need it). There are various options available for BSI and warranty. I’ve attached them here and should give you an idea of how much it costs. I’ve decided to only go for warranty and not the service inclusive package as my yearly running isn’t that much. Unfortunately the CBS (Condition based service) on my iDrive has been recommending a service interval of 7000-8000km instead of the advertised 12,000 km. That’s significantly less and might have affected my decision to get service inclusive. You can only opt for this plan during or before your first paid service. If you choose not to then you can’t add it on later. Strange choice by BMW I believe they should allow people to opt for it at anytime after understanding their usage and its value proposition. BSI prices are updated from time to time, check with your local dealer to get latest pricing.


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BSI Pack Pricing


The car got its name from a strange predicament that I was in. Due to the unavailability of certain parts and other things I had to wait over 2 weeks for the car, now either I had to decide to take delivery on Saturday or wait another 5 days (long weekend, holidays etc.) My family strictly forbid me on getting a car home on a Saturday and I didn't want to wait for longer. I ended up getting the car delivered and parked at a friends place and picked it up and brought it home on Sunday. They only said car should not come home on Saturday, so in a way everyone was happy a the little Mini was named Shani (Shaniwar is Saturday in Hindi, also the planet Saturn. It's considered the God of Justice more on it here.)

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-03132018021d810.jpg
Hi Prez!

Last edited by quickdraw : 25th May 2019 at 14:27.
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Old 21st March 2019, 12:40   #4
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Default Specification and Factory Options

Spec & Options

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-dsc03609.jpg
Shani chilling with friends

Thankfully unlike other BMW cars this comes with cruise control, the lack of electric seats is silly at this price range. I’ve had frequent issues with seat folding mechanism on the passenger seat, it gives me anxiety since its used most frequently and I don’t want it falling apart in some remote place. Thankfully its just some cable that latches off a hook and I’ve learnt to mend it on my own. Still unacceptable. The horn pad is hard and doesn’t press evenly. Heads up display is cool but I’m worried about that pop-up screen going bad one day and costing big monies to fix. I am really angry that Mini has removed the secret dashboard compartment and driver side sun visor from 2015 model onwards.

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Shani enjoying Delhi traffic

The car is used to commute to work everyday, it's about 15km one way with 5km of bumper to bumper and 10k of expressway driving. I never had an issue with milage prior to getting the JCW kit, post that its been hovering around 7.5 km/l - 8.5 km/l under normal driving. Milage improves significantly to double digit figures when wife is in the car. I’ve even consistently seen 11-13 during highway runs. Formidable that you can get good milage but you’ll need to drive like grandma. The car needs minimum 95RON petrol. I give it a healthy mix of 99 with some regular petrol to even out absurd pricing of high octane petrol. It has not given issues while using regular petrol on longer trips, just stay away from the limiter and ensure fuel quality and you should be good. I have noticed roughness at super high revs if using low octane fuel.

You can find my car's factory configuration and options attached below. Also adding a factory options price list for your reference. These are things can can only be installed at factory and have to be chosen during order.

Shani VIN Report.pdf
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MINI 3-Door Cooper S.pdf (42.6 KB, 469 views)

Last edited by quickdraw : 25th May 2019 at 12:25.
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Old 21st March 2019, 12:52   #5
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Default Add Ons

Add on's and Accessories

As you will notice I’ve added quite a few things to the car. The following are the additions I’ve done to the car. I’m attaching a PDF which should give you insights into costs related to the various options.


The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-mvimg_20181103_143722.jpg
John Cooper Works - Power Upgrade Kit with Exhaust

This is one of the best add-ons I’ve ever gotten to a car, I will strongly protest its pricing in the country, the carbon fibre tips alone cost ₹45,000. It’s built by Akrapovic and you can kind of justify it when you compare how much an Akra car system costs landed here. Plus you get a sweet factory power tune, its just a code that they feed into the ECU that unlocks the tune. The car is capable of doing this from factory but needs the exhaust which is part of the kit. You also get a nice plaque on the engine cover and a certificate to hang at home. The only thing I’m not happy about is a factory offered kit should have better integration than the bluetooth ‘grenade’ remote they offer. It’s hard to tell when the flap is open and I would much rather have liked a button in the interior of the car, there are surely 1-2 blank switches in the dash they could have used. I'm thankful to Mini for offering this to their customers in India. Not many companies offer power upgrade kits now-a-days. We in-fact have a group of 50+ JCW Minis in Delhi NCR.

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CF Tips are Rs 45k while the SS Tips a bargain at 18k

Added MINI LED Aux Lights, they turn on automatically with high beams and are great for signalling people driving on high beams. I initially tried the Halogen Aux lights, although they were stronger but didn’t suit the car since it has LED Main and Foglights. These are exceptionally small fit the cars aesthetic pretty well. In terms of brightness here is a comparison of the different lights on the car. There are interminnant issues with their mounting. Both me and others who have it have complained of vibration and issues with the bracket install. This will likely be sorted out once I get a chance to replace the bracket.

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Mini Aux/Rally LED Lights

Getting the AUX lights on the car was quite an ordeal with the dealer really struggling to figure it out. I had to intervene and get it resolved after getting pictures and other info from a friend and online posts. I continue to be astonished at the lack of training of service technicians at BMW, this is an aspect I wish they invest more time into.

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Another picture from a foggy winter night in Delhi

JCW Spoiler, there are even accessories you can buy for your spoiler. Spoilt for choice here really.

DDPai Mini 2 Dash Cam in front, will be hardwiring this and adding a cam in the back as-well. The rear lighter socket turns off with ignition going off.

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Racing stripes on the hood, car now looks 25% faster!

Sun Film added to OVRMS, the Mirror Package with auto folding and dimming mirrors cost 60,000. Put 3M sun film on it for 1000 bucks which helps immensely from headlight dazzle.

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Driver Sun Flap, the driver side roof came with blanks where the aux sun flap used to be. You really need it in this car because of the low roof and seating. I was very angry that I had to pay ₹ 10,000+ for this. It is absurd that this is the case, on further digging I was told these were removed and rear parking sensors were made factory fitted for India models to save on $$$.

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Rossi loves Shani

MINI Puddle Lights - Got cheap ones off Ebay/Amazon ($20) BMW wants to charge you 10k for these, these are just as good and a direct fitment.

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Shiny Shani post TLC session

I went ahead and did a full PPF on the car by OptiCoat, will review it in coming months regarding its usefulness and how it ages. The USP of it is that it has a ceramic layer on top for ultra gloss and self healing to prevent scuffs and marks. I’ve done this after getting frustrated by constant scratches and other mysterious marks appearing on the car. Guess you can’t expect people to change so all you can do is plan for it. Now I spend much less time worrying about fender benders and people opening their doors onto mine and scratching them. 


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Runflat? More like RUN! CRAP!

The car came with Runflat tires which didn’t give me many issues like the 18’s on my F30. They were dumped at 10,000km and upsized with the correct equivalent Michelin PS4’s. I will very strongly advise this as its made such a huge impact on the car dynamics it just baffles me that BMW sticks with runflats. The car chewed up the tires even with regular rotation. The upgrade has had a sublime effect on handling, grip and ride quality. I would highly recommend Pilot Sport 4 tires for the Mini. I’ll report on how long their longevity in a future post.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MINI Accessories Brochure_2016- Lite.pdf (1.65 MB, 235 views)

Last edited by quickdraw : 25th May 2019 at 12:26.
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Old 21st March 2019, 12:58   #6
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Default Review Q & A

Review Q&A

Most of the wonderful things about this car are intangible and you likely won’t find them on a spec sheet, so I thought its pertinent to highlight things that brought joy to my ownership in no particular order.

Some review questions answered!



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Interior is quirky!

Interior design & quality (plastics, upholstery, fit & finish etc.)

Fantastic, quality and fit & finish is what you would expect from a BMW

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Interior space & comfort...front & back (seat support, legroom, headroom & width)

Great in the front, not so good in the back. Although shorter people would not have a problem sitting in the back with a normal sized human in the front (say 5’5”) but the lack of sunroof coupled with the nature of the car makes it ideal for short trips only. Elderly and most people have a tough time getting into the rear and this car should be treated as a 2 seater with ability to ferry kids or adults for short distances only.


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Driving position, ergonomics, controls & MID

I don’t really like the side thigh bolstering since its too aggressive and you’re not able to spread your legs comfortably, I have the Sports seats on mine and they are manually adjustable and have no electronic controls. A big miss for a car at this price bracket, they have not fixed this in the LCI either. In my understanding only the Clubman comes with electric seats on the Mini range. The seats would not be very comfortable for large size people but offer extendable under thigh support. They are OK in city or long distance but nowhere near as good as a V40. Ergonomics are great, the HUD rising up from dashboard when needed is great and gives you a very spitfire type of feel when driving and completely suits the nature of the car.

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Visibility & size of mirrors

Great, but no anti dazzle mirrors (expensive optional pack ₹60,000)

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Air conditioner cooling & effectiveness

I’d say decent, I’ve had a few niggles with it though. It has good circulation and is able to cool the cabin well in Delhi summers.

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Audio system & sound quality

Really really really bad, I did not expect it to be this terrible especially considering the ‘Visual Boost’ option pack at ₹60,000 has 2 front 1 centre 2 rear speakers and 2 subwoofers below both front seats. This is tricky to fix and I’ve seen there are aftermarket options available but I find it absurd and it seems like the system is not ‘tuned’ correctly. Also I would like to protest that the larger iDrive screen XL pack costs an absurd amount of money for what it offers.

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Interior storage, practicality & boot space
-

Interior storage space is majorly lacking. The cup holders can't hold regular sized bottles and only smaller ones. One of the cup holders is taken up by the exhaust remote and the other one has ashtray. Plus they are in front of the gear lever and hard to reach. If you place bottles there they will usually block the toggle switches below the HVAC controls. I have to use the rear centre and side cup holders many times to store beverages.

I'm really angry at the removal of the hidden storage compartment above the Glove Box. This is really sad combined with the lack of driver side sun visor which I had to add for a cool Rs 12,000 and has turned out to be more or less useless. Be prepared for a lot of sun while driving the Mini or learn to cleverly use towels to hang and block the sun or maybe wear a hat inside the car, I've had my right ear roasted many times.

The boot has a nifty floor compartment that opens up, very useful and I usually keep my office bag etc here. Unfortunately this area has a tendency to get pretty hot. So I won't recommend transporting ice creams here. Otherwise the rear can hold decent sized bags with the boot floor open and you can easily throw down the rear seats for increasing storage space. There is also a lovely OEM Protective cover which you can use if you have pets or hauling lot of stuff and don't want it to damage the lovely interior.

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Any other unique or noteworthy points about the interiors
-

The interiors are very lovely and well put together. They have this quirky circle design theme with retro toggle switches (that work in either direction). There is a huge circular LED that dominates the centre facia, initially I thought it was a bit much but you get used to it and its really interesting and changes into various colours, patterns and states to inform you about many things like GPS Navigation, Volume, Temperature and even engine RPM in sports mode.

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I don't like the steering (Optional JCW Wheel) the perforated leather on it gets dirty and greasy super fast and the paddles feel cheap and plasticky. I would have preferred an alcantara steering and currently looking at options for paddle shifters.

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The seats bolsters on the bottom are a tad too narrow for my liking and prevent you from opening your legs and relaxing. Larger people might find the sports seats uncomfortable. Luckily there are factory options without these seats which you can consider but unfortunately you cannot spec them and have to buy one of their 'editions' which are available on Amazon.

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Engine performance & driveability -

It's a fantastic motor, with the exhaust it really sounds great and does not drone. After I coded out the active sound inside the cabin its been brilliant. Was too loud earlier. The motor doesn't like low octane fuel and high revs. Nowhere are sensitive as the N20 in my 328i. I've taken the car on a cross country trip now using regular fuel and didn't face any issues. Power is great and milage has improved with regular services. I did face a really bad downward dip in consumption just after I installed the JCW kit but its become better after a service.

The engine is absolutely awesome in the city, more than ample power to keep spinning the front in 3rd when I had the runflats on. Returns decent milage and can cruise very well at around 110-130. Grunt is lacking on higher gears and speeds, you'll need to downshift to get the push needed.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20190208_000836.jpg

The gearbox seems to be the weakest link in this equation and does stupid things at times which causes jerky acceleration or abrupt gear changes. I've driven the new facelifted F56 which has the DCT box and that's smooth as butter. I am happy living with this because the TQ is much more reliable and heavy duty compared to dual clutch boxes and when I'm driving spiritedly I usually am using the paddles.

Overall the package works well as a road car, especially after the JCW kit I don't feel lacking for power.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_2231.jpg

NVH levels

As I mentioned earlier about the active sound being a nuisance, the fatigue and NVH has improved greatly after switching it off. I'd be darned to say even the stereo sounds much better now. The car is a tiny car though and doesn't insulate outside sounds as well as BMW sedans and stuff, I've been wondering about adding damping material to the door and boot to improve NVH. But in no way is it bothersome and high, the raked windshield means there is wind noise and road noise if stereo is off. But with the stereo on its very decent. The sound increases quite a bit if you have the rear seats folded down.

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Fuel efficiency: City and Highway
 (All figures are post JCW kit install)

Racetrack - 5~5.5km/l
'Spirited' driving - 6.5-7km/l
City - 7.5-8.5km/l
Highway - 10-13km/l (15km/l+ when Dad was driving)
Mixed - 8-10km/l

40 litre fuel tank, get an average of 300-350 range depending on usage.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-28164724_1742110265841788_347125562080843368_o.jpg
Autocrossin'

Suspension & ride quality

My car came with DDC (Dynamic Damper Control) from factory, you can configure it to work with Sports mode where the dampers become hard. This helps with track use. I never turn it on the road even with Sports mode since the car starts getting unsettled on bad roads with it. But if you know there is a perfect piece of tarmac switching it on helps the go-kart feel immensely. Even with DDC to stiff, its nowhere as hard as the previous generation Mini.

In-fact I was not considering the Mini at all as I've been in friends cars and the ride was way too harsh for long trips etc. But the F56 ride quality is absolutely sublime. Its very soft and plush. The only places you see it falter are bad roads where the shorter wheelbase means it bounces around a bit, I've also experienced tramlining on a few occasions. The suspension has improved drastically after dumping the runflats. Highly recommended.

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Handling

This might be the best part about the car, I tell people that I drive this thing like a rickshaw and it's true. The legendary Go-Kart feel is a thing and albelt a bit softer than earlier cars it actually works out to the cars advantage since Indian road surfaces are very busy and never levelled. The car has a fantastic steering and has very fast turn in almost to the extent you feel the rear is not able to keep up.

There is a momentary lapse between when you turn in and the E-Diff starts working, you can feel if once you've been driving it for a while. Like there is a fraction of a second of understeer and then the front starts turning in. The feeling is akin to turning you car/bike on white lines in the rain, for a split second you feel there is no grip. Although its hardly noticable, it can be confusing or unnerving if you don't know what's going on. I wondered what it was before a friend told me its likely the e-diff.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20190112_233909.jpg

Grip levels with the runflats were pathetic, at the end of their life (10k kms) I was sliding around all over the place. Literally. SLIDING AROUND. I have no idea why BMW offers this mad machine with puny 195 section tires, I have frequently seen traction light come on at 80km/h+ on concrete roads. There is some body roll which is probably because of the really sad anti roll bars at rear. The turning radius is great just put the car in the gap and pull on the handbrake and you can turn on a dime.

There are definitely improvements that can be made to the suspension to make the car sublime, but for normal road use its no issues at all. You only notice some of the things that I mentioned at extreme usage edge cases.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_9824.jpg

Steering

The steering size is size a bit too big for my liking, even though I got the optional JCW steering I don't like it that much. It has perforated leather that for some reason gets sticky super fast. I'm a big cleanliness freak and keep my car spic and span and still have a hard time with it. Have tried OptiCoat leather treatment and will report if it was effective. In mid mode the steering is reasonably light, tire pressure has adverse affect on steering feel. Earlier with runflats I didn't like how the steering stiffened up in SPORT mode, but with PS4s it feels great.


Braking

Brakes have been a big issue on this car. I'm saying this after going through following:
  • 2x OEM FRONT ROTORS
  • 2x OEM REAR ROTORS
  • 2x REAR BREMBO PADS
  • 1x REAR ROADHOUSE PAD
  • 1x OEM REAR PADS
  • 1x EBC YELLOWSTUFF REAR PADS
  • 1x OEM FRONT PADS
  • 1x BREMBO FRONT PADS
  • 1x ROADHOUSE FRONT PADS
  • 1x EBC YELLOWSTUFF FRONT PADS

Apart from the above I'm in possession of steel braided lines, 1x FULL SET Front and Rear Rotors & Pads, 1x FULL SET of EBC YELLOWSTUFF PADS.

To get a bit into more detail about whats going on let me list the events that happened with the car chronologically.

1. Rear OEM Pads gone at 4000km
2. Front OEM Pads gone at 7000km
3. Rear Pads gone at 9000km
4. Rear Rotors gone at 10000km
5. New OEM Rear Rotors and EBC Yellowstuff installed
6. Front OEM Rotors gone at 12500km
7. New Front OEM Rotors and EBC Yellowstuff installed
8. Rear OEM Rotors melted and came on Yellowstuff which had uneven wear. at 20000km
9. Rear rotors resurfaced and Brembo rears installed.
10. Front pads almost gone at 22000km

Basically the car has an appetite to chew up rear pads and rotors. Likely it's the stability control being super aggressive. I've read about this issue online and most people recommend to drive in DTC mode or will full stability off. I've started driving with it 1/2 off but don't want to keep it full off on road use. I've spent around a lakh on pads and rotors at BMW since I got the car. More below.

Apart from the ultra high wear on brake components I've been plagued by ultra spongy and weird feeling brakes since i got this car. Sometimes the brakes will get super mushy after a bit of spirited driving and at times they will completely snap at cruising speeds of 60kph and light/no throttle. Needless to say I've visited multiple BMW dealerships (Delhi, Faridabad, Bombay, Gurgaon and even Infinity Worli Mumbai). Each time either they did bleeding or told me nothing is wrong they tested/can't reproduce. Say it was air in system.

I'm at wits end about this, have realised it's something that I need to solve myself. Most people who owned a F56 and had the same issue just upgraded to the JCW Big Brake Kit. That's a non starter for me right now because I will need to change the rims to a bigger size which will kill my ability to take it anywhere. The 16s can take a beating and came away unscathed.


Ground clearance


Even though it has low ride height, I've not had the car bottom out on me ever. And trust you me I've taken it on some questionable roads. The wheels being spread out in the corners of the car help immensely with it. A practical sports car for India!

Last edited by quickdraw : 25th May 2019 at 14:31.
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Old 28th April 2019, 20:10   #7
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Default Be Mini - The Mini Life

Be Mini


The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_2566.jpeg

One of the best things about the Mini is that it's absolutely loved by everyone. Non petrolheads, guys, girls, grandpa and kids! I was really surprised that people in villages sometimes recognised the car and shouted MINI! at me in remote parts of Nainital and Maharastra.

One of the wonderful aspects to be a owner of a brand which is niche is that the owners group is lively. Mini owners are quite an eclectic bunch and we come from all kinds of backgrounds. There are loads of fun events and get to gethers that Mini keeps organising and thanks to those I've actually made some pretty good friends.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_1845.jpeg
Mini Cooper Countryman

My Mini ownership experience has been much better than owning a BMW. Not only do we get personalised attention and invites to exclusive events its just nicer to not have to get acquainted with some new sales guy everytime you want to get something. In-fact this has converted me into someone who wants the other car to be Mini as-well and have been trying to lobby the wife into looking at the new Countryman S. I had one for a week or so and absolutely loved it. It's very Mini like with better ride quality, space and same quirkiness. I had the petrol one and it did feel out of breath at times but was definitely quick and loaded with awesome features like Touchscreen iDrive and Auto Parking.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20190512_014012.jpg
Dear Friends visiting in Chennai for JCW event


I quite actually loved the Clubman too with its gorgeous interiors and wonderful stereo and have been thinking of a way to have either of them fit into the garage. Mini is definitely addictive and once you have one you want all of your cars to feel that special. A lot of times you do get disappointed with expensive purchases and get buyers remorse. With Shani I am actually very happy and glad even though I've had teething issues with its (rear) brakes. It's something I'm trying to resolve without slapping on a Big Brake Kit. The service experience at BMW leaves a lot to be desired. I've visited 3 workshops across 3 cities and spent well a lakh already trying to diagnose and resolve this problem. I will post a detailed update on it in the coming days.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-mvimg_20190511_121450.jpg
JCW Convey at MMRT

Recently we were lucky enough to be invited by Mini India to the MMRT racetrack in Chennai where we had some fun with the newly launched JCW Cooper Hatch. The event was wonderfully organised with the launch and on track experience carefully curated for Mini fans, it was hard to get out of the car and head to the hotel when the day was over.

I would write a small review of it in a later post, wanted to complete and post this thread since it's been lying in assembly line for a long time.

Last edited by quickdraw : 25th May 2019 at 12:27.
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Old 28th April 2019, 20:37   #8
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Default Roadtrips

The Mini has been on plenty of roadtrips here are few postcards from places it has visited.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-dsc_9610.jpeg
Army Colony, Bhimtal


The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-dsc_9634.jpeg
Visiting family and spending an afternoon just outside Bhimtal

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-dsc_9650.jpeg
Catching the sunset above Naukuchia Taal Lake

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-dsc07151.jpeg
Checking out of a resort in Pushkar

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_0057.jpeg
Sunset over new Tehri

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_0694.jpeg
Sunset near Observatory, Nainital

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Commuting on the outskirts of Nainital

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20181025_235338.jpeg
Checking out new Barapullah Flyover

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20181220_074842.jpg
Sunrise, somewhere in Rajasthan

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20181227_174658.jpeg
Sunset at Worli Seaface

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20190101_020432.jpg
Late night entry into Silvassa, D&NH

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20190103_180655.jpg
Feeling dusky, outside Baroda

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20190104_160411.jpg
Legendary feeling near Abu Road

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20190105_184816.jpg
Chilling at a hipster cafe in Jaipur

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-mvimg_20181110_151702.jpg
Enroute from Jaipur to Agra

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-mvimg_20181231_170137.jpg
Taking a break somewhere in rural Maharastra near Jawhar

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-mvimg_20190105_140152.jpg
Hanging with Big Daddy in Ajmer

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_0058.jpg
Feeling foggy in Tehri

Last edited by GTO : 29th May 2019 at 09:34. Reason: Picture removed on request.
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Old 28th April 2019, 20:38   #9
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Default 5000km the Epic Delhi to Bombay roadtrip!

It must be pretty obvious by now that I love taking the car on roadtrips. One of these epic trips was undertaken by me in last December where I decided to drive to Mumbai for DreamHack 2018. (I'm a video-game producer by profession)

I was all along for the entire journey which ended up with me clocking the highest ever milage in a month (~5000km). I did not have a spare or any puncture kit. My confidence was if something bad were to happen I should be able to find a spare 16" tire easily. I get a lot of hate and suggestions to put rims on my car, but the fact is bigger wheels have always been the bane of my car ownership existence with blown or bulged tires. Apart from aesthetics there is no reason for me to get bigger rims for the car. I recently turned down to be a part of a group buy for Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 wheels for this very reason. I would definitely love to swap the wheels on this when I decide to get a big brake kit. The car was shod with Pilot Sport 4 tires and I have to report they are just amazing, 0 issues or punctures. And surprisingly when I got back and took the car for tire rotation the guy said there is hardly any wear on the tires. Am so happy with PS4 tires and can highly recommend them. They are rough and tough and can survive our conditions and still perform well.

Day 1: Delhi to Jaipur

Day was mostly uneventful, left late around 1 and got into Jaipur just before the rush hour started. Even with the expensive add on visor I had a lot of sun coming into my right.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-mvimg_20181219_171715.jpg

Day 2: Jaipur to Silvassa - 1K in a Day!

This was quite something, because of anxiety that I had to travel such a large distance I was not able to much sleep on this day. I was worried about something going wrong and pushing myself so much as I had to be in Mumbai the next day. I had decided to take the alternate longer route to Silvassa after hearing about roadworks going on the Udaipur side. I absolutely detest the fact that we have wide open 3 laned roads now but inconsiderate idiotic truck drivers often hog all of them or randomly drive in any lane. This makes it really difficult to make progress and I decided I'd take the longer route if it meant avoiding truck traffic.

Route taken
The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-mini-roadtrip.001.png
  1. Jaipur to Ajmer is supposed to be an expressway, but best I'd label it as is a decent highway. Not much along the way to eat in the early hours of the day. I thought I will have breakfast somewhere on the expressway but unfortunately nothing was open. Truckers and villagers abound with multiple crossings and speed-breakers make this one of the worst expressways in India. I carefully drove through this section as it was dark and everyone loves driving on high beams.
  2. Ajmer to Beawar was dispatched surprisingly quick. Wide open flowing roads with almost 0 traffic meant I was able to make good progress. The only problem here was some idiot in a Swift Dzire was constantly trying to race me and making the road dangerous for both of us. To escape this idiot I used to accelerate away from him but he used to catch me in the corners since I took them at safe speeds while this lunatic was trying to go flat out in his car.
  3. Somewhere outside Pali I had to take a fuel stop, I made decent progress and average speed in section trying to stay away from that idiot. Thanks to this fuel stop I was finally able to put a gap between us. This imbecile was trailing me all the way from Jaipur. I took a small break here with some tea and biscuits while the car was tanked up. I was worried that I hadn't eaten anything or slept.
  4. From the last checkpoint to Sirohi was absolutely crazy, wide open free flowing roads where I was able to make relentless progress with almost 0 traffic trucks or otherwise. It was a dream to drive in such crisp morning air. It was extremely cold outside with temperatures hovering around 5'c. The Mini loved this and was producing good power allowing me to push into the heartland and maintain a good average speed.
  5. Checkpoint 5 was somewhere outside of Abu Road, at this point I finally felt relaxed that I might be able to make the trip after all. I had calculated a average speed of 60-70 in mind and I knew I'd be able to make it to Silvassa but after almost being at 50% of journey distance in less than 5 hours made me feel real good about the progress we were making. It might also have been the red bull at play here.
  6. Lunch Stop @ Abu Road, much needed break for me after all this driving. I was extremely elated to have dispatched half my journey in just 5 hours. Now believe you me, since I was alone on this trip and the thought of "I told you so" was constantly in my head I was never going too fast, I wanted to be safe and kept my speeds around the 100k mark for most of the journey which was appropriate for our conditions and gave me a lot of room for error since the Cooper S can comfortably cruise at 130. I just utilised the power and gave it the beans whenever I used to be stuck behind trucks overtaking or filtering through traffic. It was a good feeling to have that power when you needed it. We just dispatched a considerable distance without much drama or worries. I was able to have a good meal and relax a bit.
  7. This section was pure hell, I got lot of traffic and it took me almost 3 hours to cover a distance of 200km. The highway from Abu Rd to Ahmedabad goes through lots of small towns and was littered with Truck, Rickshaw and other random traffic. If you're ever thinking about covering this stretch its ideal to do it on a Sunday or early morning. I was very frustrated and exhausted by the time I got to the Expressway start, the entire ring road around Ahmedabad was filled with construction and chaotic traffic and people darting in front of the car.
  8. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got to the expressway NE-1 and wanted to dispatch this 100km section quickly, little did I know this would be the worst part of the journey. There is absolutely no road sense for truckers driving on this road. They happily hog both lanes, the shoulder on the left is very narrow and usually has people stopped in it. Making this part super sketchy and dangerous. Needless to say I pushed ahead thanks to the power on tap but a truck pulling up in front of me lead without any indication or reason (empty road all lanes) made me slam on the brakes, this happened 2 times before my front brakes gave up. The pads were absolutely destroyed and started making screeching sounds. My bad that I just changed the rear rotors and pads before I left for this trip because fronts had decent life left but I went through them in a day! I was absolutely frustrated and exhausted by this time. The complete lack of road sense was appalling, and it's not just the trucks, passenger cars and all vehicles on road were driving with complete apathy.
  9. This section was familiar to me, but I was completely destroyed mentally and physically by now because traffic around Baroda and Surat was maniacal. People drive like complete asshats on this road and worst still I hit the outskirts of Surat around evening rush hour. I took a small 20 minute nap and stopped when the sun set because dusk is the most dangerous time to drive. It's always better to allow yourself and others time to adjust to the darkness. Anyways, progress was slow in this section because I have difficulty driving in darkness plus my front brakes were shot. I basically nursed the car home at this point.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20181220_181703.jpg
Final rest stop somewhere outside Surat

Last edited by quickdraw : 25th May 2019 at 11:57.
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Old 25th May 2019, 12:40   #10
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Default Long Term Ownership Report

Long Term Report

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20170807_110952651_hdr.jpg
In 2012 I attended SunBurn Goa where they had a Mini convertible parked right at the centre stage on a pedestal. You could sit in it and enjoy the concert. I had kept the band they gave us at the event. The lettering washed away but the dream of owning a Mini came true.

I've owned the car for almost 2 years now and driven it over 23000km, I wanted to highlight the following points for anyone who is considering a Mini Cooper S.
  • The Mini is a robust car, rough and tough and has aged well
  • Fantastic visibility and ergonomics, easy to drive for anyone
  • Unlike the 328i I've not had too many niggles or issues with the car, because of this I have not extended it's warranty and don't regret it yet
  • Car is easy to take care of and use in normal usage condition. Fits into most parking spots easily and usually ignored when parked unless people can see the front or come close to it. Above is untrue if you decide to buy some funky colour
  • I wish the fuel tank was a little larger and car had more range
  • Service and maintenance cost is not super crazy and quite manageable, I've got basic service bills as low as 11-13k and 18-20k when air filter and cabin filter also needed to be changed
  • I'm really happy with the car, first time I've owned something exotic and want to keep it around for a long long time
  • The paddles on the steering are el cheapo plasticy feeling and tiny. Looking how to swap those out for something better

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_20170819_015543973.jpg
First 1000km!
  • The headlights are great, coupled with LED fog lamps provide fantastic illumination. The Aux lights are just the cherry on the cake making night driving very safe
  • The older TQ equipped F56 which I have sounds way better than then new LCI in my opinion. The TQ really makes the bangs and crackles loud! Newer DCT or the ZF on the JCW is slick but doesn't sound anywhere nearly as menacing
  • Even with the low ride height the car has not bottomed out anywhere, perfect practical sports car for India
  • Mini is loved by old, young and fairer sex alike. It has universal appeal and has the ability to bring smile to anyones face
  • The stock stereo leaves much to be desired
  • Factory runflats are crap and should be ditched for Michelin PS4s
  • The HUD flipping out when you start the car makes you feel like you're in a spitfire, ready to attack!
  • Sports seats are not comfortable for long trips, the side thigh supports are too narrow and prevent you from being comfy

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-dsc_1787.jpg
Hotwheels

  • The interior is a great place to be in
  • Milage will vary immensely depending on your driving style
  • Quite the hooligan and can corner like nothing else
  • Rear seats are surprisingly usable for shorter journeys, short people have no issues in back
  • I'd advise going for the panaromic sunroof it makes the interior feel lot more roomy
  • Can cope with bad or normal fuel well
  • Eats brake pads and rotors
  • Horn pad is really hard
  • BMW India Dealers still struggle to diagnose or fix issues beyond the purview of normal service
  • The radio antennae is a bit large and I'm trying to find a shorty one to replace it
  • The car is very special and makes you feel good


POV video on the trip to Rishikesh & Tehri

I hope all the pictures didn't annoy you, I was just trying to share a visual history of ownership as well. Counted around 60-65 images on this thread. Please let me know what you think, do you want more interior shots? Video review? i'll adjust future ownership threads based on the feedback here.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-20180512_173704.jpg
Not Shani

Special thanks to Shrinivas who pushed me to complete this thread over the weekend as it was lying in drafts for a very very long time. In recent history I got acquainted with a few people online and IRL who thanked me for the 328 thread, it made me feel really good that the hard work that I put in it was appreciated. If you liked reading a thread definitely let the author know guys, it feels really good. Maybe not on the thread itself (to avoid clutter) but over messages or anything. Nothing makes a petrolhead feel as wholesome as helping other petrol-heads.

The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW-img_2135.jpg
Cooper S JCW & Cooper D

I know I might have missed out on some relevant stuff for others, this is more of an overview for my ownership and usage. If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer. Hope you enjoyed reading this thread as much as I loved writing it. I realise there was no Mini ownership thread on Team Bhp, well now there is and even if this helps one person make up their purchase decision it was worth it for me.

Last edited by quickdraw : 25th May 2019 at 14:40.
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Old 27th May 2019, 08:00   #11
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Default Re: The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th May 2019, 09:04   #12
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Default Re: The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW

Lovely review, quickdraw! I for one enjoy going through threads that have more photographs, and I've always been delighted by your previous threads on the Mondeo and the 328i.

One question though, does the electric blue shade on Shaani not pick up a lot of dust? I can see varying terrains in your pictures, but in none of them is the car dirty or dusty. Of course, it's possible that you've cleaned the car before every photo, but I doubt that's the case here.

You have a heart of steel for not renewing your warranty. Most German cars that I know of were pretty reliable in the first 2-3 years, and post that they throw tantrums. For these cars, even fixing minor issues sometimes cost six figures! Of course, I'm sure you must have taken a calculated decision.

Also dude, you drove 5000kms without a spare tire or a puncture repair kit?! I'm glad it turned out to be alright in the end, but I shudder thinking about what could've happened! I for one don't even leave the spare wheel behind even if I'm just on an airport run.

All said and done, thanks for the brilliant review. Like I said, lovely pictures, and I hope to see more of them. Wish you and Shaani a long and happy relationship!
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Old 27th May 2019, 10:05   #13
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Default Re: The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW

Thank you for a detailed review. Not a car I can afford to buy but still fun to read. Congratulations on your new love. The car conveys an image - it goes with your beard :-). I sport one too :-). That is a lovely colour you picked. Better than the red IMHO.

I assume the ride is hard as with all BMWs and what about ground clearance.

Happy miles.
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Old 27th May 2019, 11:12   #14
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Default Re: The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW

Awesome write-up and photography. I liked your bimmer thread too and I am sure you are having Mega fun with your Mini. Can you post an audio clip of the exhaust note post the JCW tune ?. Rated Five stars .

Last edited by $tar_boy : 27th May 2019 at 11:22.
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Old 27th May 2019, 11:39   #15
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Default Re: The legend of Shani the Mini - My Mini Cooper S JCW

Thank you for the detailed review. Mini is a brand which is always close to my heart, and one I wish I could own sometime down the lane.

I am pushing one of my friends to go for the Mini instead of BMW\MB and this thread will help immensely to portray what can he expect from a Mini.

Incidentally, he is also based in Delhi.

--Anoop
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