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Old 15th October 2020, 17:00   #1
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Default Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S

I shifted to Germany in January 2019 for good and I honestly hadnít thought about anything while coming here. My wife was still back in India so my focus initially was to find a place to stay long term and settle down so she could travel soon. My wife joined in April and we slowly started travelling around Berlin. All this while the lack of not having a car never bothered me as I was quite busy with work and building furniture from IKEA over the weekends.

There were two roadblocks initially, I had wasted first six months without thinking much so my Indian license was no longer valid to rent cars around and the process to get the German license felt daunting. Since my office was in center of Berlin, free parking was impossible to find which never helped with getting a license sooner. Staying inside the ring also never helped as I could walk or bike almost everywhere. But then like most of the BHPians , I was so used to having a car (actually two ) parked in my driveway and the Autobahn itch started increasing after travelling by buses a few times.

Things changed when my wife had really bad neck pain last year on a Sunday and none of hospitals decide to help us as it was not an emergency. We went to 4-5 hospitals and took a cab to travel. It was not expensive but the process of booking and waiting for the cab took itís toll on us and the first thing my wife said after reaching home was to buy a car as soon as possible. I simultaneously started the license process which usually takes 6 months ( Donít ask why, thatís how things work in Germany) and started looking at small cars for 2 people. I had made up my mind regarding a small car and Mini was on top of my list as it had a very different aura around it. I read blackpearl's review of his 2006 Cooper atleast 10-15 times and used to drool on quickdraw's Shani the Mini.
I had never driven a Mini/BMW back in India so that felt like a good upgrade from the Duster/i20 I was used to. This was the only car I saw and made the deal on spot after a long-ish test-drive.

Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-opening.jpg

The car was sold to a dealer by the previous owner and had passed the 2-year inspection in March 2020 so I was good for next two years. I loved the interior as well. It's a 1.6ltr turbo charged unit which makes about 172hp and came with a 6 speed manual.

It was so satisfying to clean my own car after a year!
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-interior.jpg

My current favourite feature, heated seats.
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-9dfc1d98da574aac808cfcb17a674a36.jpg

Luckily the price was in our budget and thanks to COVID, our travel plans were on hold which resulted in saving most of our salaries. I asked him to bring the car to my place next day and simply made a bank transfer. The car came with both working keys, service records and all the miscellaneous things previous owners had done. The car is in stock form apart from the 17-inch ATS wheels and currently running on tubeless tyres. The first shock came to me when I started looking at Insurance prices to register the car and the best deal I could find was around 1100 euros thanks to the car's power output and my new-in-Germany license. I quickly did all the formalities and submitted all the documents to get new plates as the previous owner had to de-register the car from his name quickly. We decided to get a choice number as it costs just 12 euros extra and I could find BAE-8191 which is my wife's birthdate

Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-img_3491.jpg

Last edited by turbowhistle : 15th October 2020 at 19:14.
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Old 15th October 2020, 18:00   #2
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Default Re: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Cooper S

Likes and dislikes

Yay!!
- It's a 2-door Red Mini Cooper, what's not to like?
- Technically my first BMW, my 10 year looong dream coming true!
- 172BHP for a pint-sized car, this thing flies on open roads
- Pano roof and heated seats - much needed for this gloomy weather
- A 6-speed MT sportscar - rare breed by 2020 standards
- Superbly placed dual exhaust and the occasional pops & bangs!
- Solid build quality and frameless doors
- A road-legal Go Kart , feels like a little centrifuge on a skid pad
- Superb front seats, almost nil body-roll

Nay!!
- It's suitable for 2 adults only for a long drive, bring the third or fourth person only if you are punishing him/her. Forget airport runs!
- Famed unreliability of these N14 turbo engines, many people think it's a ticking bomb. Timing kit change on my list already for piece of mind
- No parking sensors or reverse camera
- Mileage, I have seen low one digit figures after pushing it
- Age and Maintenance , the car is already 13 year old and if anything goes wrong, it will quickly become my project car from my daily


Overall Condition

Luckily the vehicle came with all the service records and the dealer was a kind and honest fellow who told me that the oil change is due along with a wonky sunroof. He wanted to sell the car as-is and I was okay with that and appreciated his forwardness. It's always better to know what you are getting into instead of finding things after 3-4 months. The car is fairly loaded by 2007 standards and comes with xenon lights, panaromic sunroof, frameless windows, heated seats , sport pedals, navigation and custom red interior along with mood lighting and puddle lamps. The ICE is old by today's standards but we have no complaints with the 8 speakers it came with and the quality is at par with what I had in i20 ( upgraded with amp/components and a subwoofer). It also has headlamp washers which felt like a party trick at first and now feels like one of the important safety feature.

Funky Key, typical Mini!
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-771576896ba84b838fd61f0ac9031dad.jpg

Safety wise also all the boxes are covered and the car comes with all wheel brakes, 6 airbags, TC, DSC and hill assist along with ABS. The brakes are excellent and I can write an essay about the car's handling.It handles so beautifully even at unmentionable speeds, it feels like poetry to me. The car came with 205/45 R17 Hankook summer tyres and I have recently changed them to all season tyres to avoid the winter-summer tyre hassle. Since it doesn't snow much in Berlin, my friends have been using all season tyres for few years and haven’t faced any issues. Tyre costs are at par with India and delivery/assembly experience was pretty smooth. I find it funny that one has to take an appointment for almost everything here and not like you can walk in some shop and come out with new tyres.

Smiling Face
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-front.jpg

205 section tyres give the car a nice squatted look
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-back.jpg

After sales experience

I have had the car for almost 6 months now and have covered 2200 km ( would have been atleast 10000 if it was not for Covid). The first service I got done was with ATU which is like a reputed FNG here and their quotes are much cheaper than BMW quotes. Paid 100 euros for just oil change and they checked other essentials as well. I don't think anything else needs immediate attention. The on-board computer shows remaining life for brakepads and shows the errors if anything goes wrong.
I don't wish to go DIY way as am pretty confident about my non-DIY ability and ATU is not charging me exorbitantly. Will update more on this when I do a more comprehensive service next year around feb-march.

Mods planned ??


Honestly, no! The power is sufficient as is and since the car is already old, I don't want to put further stress on the engine, at-most I would get a performance exhaust or a cold-air intake along with some cosmetic mods to make it unique. I don't plan to put much money into it as it will be traded soon.

I could not stop grinning on the autobahn free sections
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-img_3488.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 17th October 2020 at 18:57. Reason: Extra smileys deleted
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Old 15th October 2020, 18:59   #3
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Default Re: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Cooper S

Driving Report

Engine Performance
Mk2 Mini Cooper S came out with Turbocharged engine in 2007 which was developed jointly by BMW (Mini’s parent) and Peugeot-Citroen. The turbo lag is minimal, which makes it easier to live with in the city. Power delivery is linear and the turbo doesn’t kicks in as hard like our national engine or even Renault K9K. This is my first turbo-petrol so am not sure what to expect from it honestly. I hardly cross 4th gear in city and the honestly don’t have to drive the car much in city as we stay in bang center and walk almost everywhere (Better way to stay fit also). On open roads, it's a total different story and it's like the car switches the character like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The drivability is absolutely splendid on open roads and the car just flies, it just cruises at 130kmph which is the usual speed for German Autobahn and doesn’t feel strained even after you push it really hard. The engine is revv-happy and you can hear occasional pops and bangs once the engine warms up nicely. NVH values are also satisfactory but there are some rattles which can be drowned by cranking the volume up.

Manual Gearbox
The 6-speed manual slots nicely and doesn’t feel rubbery at all. The clutch is slightly on the heavier side but there's no kickback as such. I feel the manual gives a bit more control over the automatic and you can do quick overtakes in any gears barring the first. Third and Fourth gears are especially very tall and the car doesn’t hesitate to go from 50 to 150 in fourth.

Ride and Handling
Although the best part about the car is 6-Speed MT and the engine, steering and handling takes the cake as well. A lot has been said about it's go-kart like handling and I must say I have never driven a more chuck-able car before. The steering feels very direct and stiff ride quality makes sure about very less body-roll. I am eagerly waiting to take the car to Stelvio pass , Austria once the lockdown eases out.
High Speed stability and brakes are fantastic as well and exude a lot of confidence while hard-braking. This car knows how to mask speed very well, I remember doing some crazy speeds while overtaking and my wife didn’t even feel the speed.

Kitna deti hai?
I did not bother much about fuel efficiency after seeing the single digit FE on Autobahn and since my running is restricted to only weekends, it should not bother me as such. I have not scraped the car anywhere in Germany and don’t expect to do it in my ownership. If I manage the scrape the car here, I must be doing something wrong


Final Verdict
Although I have not driven her a lot and keeping the age in mind, I feel it will suffice my needs for at-least a year or two. I wanted a weekend car which will be fun to drive and Mini fits the bill perfectly. Me and my wife both love the wagons so I am pretty sure our next car would be an inline-6 touring BMW. Till then we get to have fun with Mini.

Putting technical specification here for interested parties
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-techspec.png

It's such a small car, Escalade escalates the matter further.
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-tiny.jpg

Attaching few parting shots.

Love those stripes, give the car so much character
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-partingshot1.jpg

My favourite angle
Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S-partingshot2.jpg

Last edited by turbowhistle : 16th October 2020 at 01:10. Reason: Added driving report
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Old 16th October 2020, 05:23   #4
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Default re: Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th October 2020, 06:53   #5
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Default re: Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S

Congratulations! Lovely car and in a country with roads to match. The first photo (top view) looks epic

I see you did not consider any other car (such is the pull of this car), but just curious to know what else you would have looked at.
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Old 16th October 2020, 14:04   #6
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Congratulations! Lovely car and in a country with roads to match. The first photo (top view) looks epic

I see you did not consider any other car (such is the pull of this car), but just curious to know what else you would have looked at.
Thanks Androdev, the top view photo was a lucky shot and will be permanently framed in my living room now

Regarding alternatives I would be lying if I said I did not daydream about other cars. I toyed around the idea of getting a clean E46 ( mainly because I loved it in NFS Most Wanted) or an E90 3 series but could not find many good examples online, whatever I found had some or other issues which made me look elsewhere. Another good option was to get 1-Series as it has sold in good numbers in Germany and plenty of used examples are available. Everything else would have crossed the price range I was looking at so did not push too much. Luckily this was the first mini I saw and it clicked so here we are

Pretty sure my next car purchase is going to be chaotic, there's plethora of vehicles here when you have a healthy budget around 25k and open to leasing.
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Old 16th October 2020, 19:51   #7
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Default Re: Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S

Congratulations on the acquisition @turbowhistle. An Indian settling in Berlin and buying an iconic British branded car now owned by a German automaker. Wow .

Wish you unlimited safe, happy & FAST miles with the MINI. Nice report. Enjoyed reading it. The photo besides the Escalade was really brutal! you shouldn't have clicked it. The lens must have developed a small crack I'm sure. Sorry to hear about the ordeal of not finding quick medical help at hospital and running around just because it wasn't an emergency. Glad that things got sorted. Cheers!
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Old 17th October 2020, 02:21   #8
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Congratulations on the acquisition @turbowhistle. An Indian settling in Berlin and buying an iconic British branded car now owned by a German automaker. Wow .

Wish you unlimited safe, happy & FAST miles with the MINI. Nice report. Enjoyed reading it. The photo besides the Escalade was really brutal! you shouldn't have clicked it. The lens must have developed a small crack I'm sure. Sorry to hear about the ordeal of not finding quick medical help at hospital and running around just because it wasn't an emergency. Glad that things got sorted. Cheers!
Thanks alot Reinhard, the photo with escalade serves as a good reminder of the carís size. Luckily smart is a common car here so Mini is not the smallest car around

It takes a while to get used to German ways and especially their Sundays. In the end we had to call our Indian doctor friend and she told us some exercises with over the counter ointments so it worked out in the end. We still shudder at the thought of going to hospitals here, have heard so many crazy stories.
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Old 17th October 2020, 10:48   #9
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Default Re: Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S

Congratulations on your buy! Happy miles ahead!

Something that came to mind while reading your license-obtaining process, I have read that an Indian license is valid for a short period of time (say, if you're a tourist and want to rent a car) in Germany. Did you make use of this while waiting for your German license? Or is that not allowed if you're actually living in Germany?
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Old 17th October 2020, 14:05   #10
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Congratulations turbowhistle. That’s a nice car. Enjoy it in good health. You keep emphasising the small size of the car. Just for perspective, the Altos and the Kwids and the Eons; why, maybe even the Ritzs, that do duty on Indian roads are either very comparable to the Mini in terms of size; or actually even smaller. So, you have a badi gaadi as far as us Indians are concerned.

The one thing that struck me from the pictures is your height. You seem pretty vertical. I would have thought that you would want a car that is more accommodating of your height. But hey, if it’s a Mini that you wanted, then a Mini it is. It’s good thing that it’s only you and the Missus. Else, the search could have been more complicated and confusing.

One question though. In your main post and in your replies, you talk about the buying process with a sole focus on used cars. Why is that? Now that you are in a location that is actually good for driving, and considering that you don’t yet have kids, why not just buy your dream car once and check that box in your life goals?

If I am getting too personal, please feel free to not answer. But I had to ask because if I was in your position, I’d be making a beeline to the BMW showroom and buying their best. Worst case, I could sell it in a few months and take a hit. In which case, there certainly would be money lost; but it won’t be like I would lose the entire cost of the car. What’s important is that one cannot put a monetary value on the enjoyment of getting and driving one’s dream vehicle/s.
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Old 17th October 2020, 15:07   #11
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Originally Posted by francisvellara View Post
Congratulations on your buy! Happy miles ahead!

Something that came to mind while reading your license-obtaining process, I have read that an Indian license is valid for a short period of time (say, if you're a tourist and want to rent a car) in Germany. Did you make use of this while waiting for your German license? Or is that not allowed if you're actually living in Germany?
Thanks francisvellara, The indian license works for first six months of your stay in EU or if you are a tourist. Even after that, you can rent using it but I am pretty sure it's not totally legal and complications could arrive in case of accidents. So I stayed away from all that. Also the feeling of driving your own car directly is also something different.

As a tourist, it doesn't matter. You can most certainly rent every time you are in EU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
The one thing that struck me from the pictures is your height. You seem pretty vertical. I would have thought that you would want a car that is more accommodating of your height. But hey, if itís a Mini that you wanted, then a Mini it is. Itís good thing that itís only you and the Missus. Else, the search could have been more complicated and confusing.

One question though. In your main post and in your replies, you talk about the buying process with a sole focus on used cars. Why is that? Now that you are in a location that is actually good for driving, and considering that you donít yet have kids, why not just buy your dream car once and check that box in your life goals?

If I am getting too personal, please feel free to not answer. But I had to ask because if I was in your position, Iíd be making a beeline to the BMW showroom and buying their best. Worst case, I could sell it in a few months and take a hit. In which case, there certainly would be money lost; but it wonít be like I would lose the entire cost of the car. Whatís important is that one cannot put a monetary value on the enjoyment of getting and driving oneís dream vehicle/s.
Thanks mohansrides, it's not that small but I have barely experienced small Maruti cars and my last car was a Duster so lack of space behind front seats is very much noticeable but for me it's not uncomfortable by any means for my height. We fit perfectly fine in it and havenít felt any kind of discomfort even after doing 700km non-stop. So I donít think it has anything to do with my height here

I am a big fan of lateral upgrades and all my vehicle purchases have been used cars barring Venue which I havenít even driven yet. The used car market is very mature here unlike India so it doesn't matter if it's new or old. Also Mini was my dream car for a long time (it still is!) and I certainly think it's one of the best BMW has produced in long long time. So the check box is already checked in my life goals

I love wagons too as I mentioned earlier in my post but it did not have any real time use for us unless we have a kid so it did not make sense for next two years at-least. Why not enjoy a properly sorted sports car till then? I think when location and budget is not an issue, people start thinking clearly and it helps maxing out the fun. This way I get to drive two of the best BMWs otherwise I would have driven just one long Wagon for a long long time
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Old 17th October 2020, 15:22   #12
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Default Re: Review: My pocket rocket - Chilli Red Mini Cooper S

Congratulations.

You are lucky to get three pedals with a powerful engine. It is uncommon to find a Mini with such combination. I believe it would be more enjoyable on B roads than straight Autobahn.
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Old 17th October 2020, 16:47   #13
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Here in Sweden one can drive for 1 year on Indian driving license. The Swedish driving license took 6 months for me too from the date I registered at the driving school for mandatory risk 1, 2 courses till the time I passed my driving test. Costed me around SEK 15000, around Euro 1500.
Your insurance is very expensive! Is it per month or per year? If it’s per year then it is quite OK I’d say. I managed to get full car + basic home insurance for SEK 750 or Euro 75 per month. At that time I didn’t even had my Swedish license and they offered it based on my Indian license which was issued in 2003. Probably my driving experience and the fact that the vehicle in question was a family van (VW Sharan 184bhp bought for Eur 28600) their logic must have told them that the applicant looks like a less risky driver, and hence the less premium.
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Old 18th October 2020, 21:07   #14
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Originally Posted by chaudh2s View Post
Your insurance is very expensive! Is it per month or per year? If itís per year then it is quite OK Iíd say. I managed to get full car + basic home insurance for SEK 750 or Euro 75 per month. At that time I didnít even had my Swedish license and they offered it based on my Indian license which was issued in 2003. Probably my driving experience and the fact that the vehicle in question was a family van (VW Sharan 184bhp bought for Eur 28600) their logic must have told them that the applicant looks like a less risky driver, and hence the less premium.
In the US, credit scores also affect the premium. A defensive driving course reduces the premium significantly as well.
It may be similar in the EU as well.
Apart from this, yes, the type of car e.g. Minivan vs a V6 coupe and possibly even color (not confirmed, but heard it a lot that Reds and Yellows are charged higher) influence the rates.
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Old 19th October 2020, 00:59   #15
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Originally Posted by GTB View Post
Congratulations.

You are lucky to get three pedals with a powerful engine. It is uncommon to find a Mini with such combination. I believe it would be more enjoyable on B roads than straight Autobahn.
Thank you GTB, yes itís like a unicorn even here. Am glad to have found it. Am almost sure this will be my final MT car, so good to leave to high note.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaudh2s View Post
Here in Sweden one can drive for 1 year on Indian driving license. The Swedish driving license took 6 months for me too from the date I registered at the driving school for mandatory risk 1, 2 courses till the time I passed my driving test. Costed me around SEK 15000, around Euro 1500.
Your insurance is very expensive! Is it per month or per year? If itís per year then it is quite OK Iíd say. I managed to get full car + basic home insurance for SEK 750 or Euro 75 per month. At that time I didnít even had my Swedish license and they offered it based on my Indian license which was issued in 2003. Probably my driving experience and the fact that the vehicle in question was a family van (VW Sharan 184bhp bought for Eur 28600) their logic must have told them that the applicant looks like a less risky driver, and hence the less premium.
Hello,

The insurance is for one year and it costed me 1034 euros. Itís combination for the car, itís power and the age of driverís license. I am considered a fresh driver here so that impacts the price as well. My Romanian friend has been paying way less insurance than me for similar setting because his license is recognised here. I had seen prices for a 6-cyl BMW and the costs were slightly higher than this. As far as I know, getting insurance on a non-EU foreign license is much more expensive in Germany so never went with that route.
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