For my first post, I'll be cheeky (and ask for advice)

Discussion in 'Starting Line - New Member Introductions' started by RobH, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. RobH

    RobH New Member

    Jul 5, 2015
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    I'm moving out of my 2001 Audi A6 after five years. I put 50K+ on it, and it's ready to go with mileage in excess of 150K (I could put between $2,500 and $4,000 into it go get it to pass this year's inspection, but I don't know what would come up next). I've been looking at Minis. A lot. Not alot (see here) but a lot.

    I haven't gotten the "R" thing down yet, so please bear with me. I've driven an '05 Cooper Hardtop, 86K. I liked it, but it had been in an accident at some point, and while the title wasn't salvage, there were lingering effects (the hatchback didn't open cleanly, for example, instead "popping" at about 1/8th of the way open before opening the rest of the way). But the driving was nice. Really nice.

    I drove an '09 Clubman S with 105K. I really, really liked this one. I liked how it drove, I liked the extra door (so that the ankle biters wouldn't have to put their feet on the backs of the front seats to get in and out), I loved the side opening back doors instead of the hatchback. But when I test drove it the driver's side door wouldn't automatically unlock, and I bought my Audi with some electronic quirks and these (as we all know) just become more annoying over time. They tend not toward getting better without paying much money. Also, there was a "half engine" light on that the used dealer told me he had fixed but someone else had to clear the code. Um. Okay?

    I also drove a '10 Cooper S with 92K. I had two issues with this one: 1) I'm not sure of the dealer (it's mainly a service garage and it's apparent that sometimes they get cars and sell them); they seemed nice enough, but I'm still not sure about them as dealers. Call it a gut feeling. And, 92K in five years seems like a lot. I really liked the car, though, and to my untrained Mini driving senses, it was an awesome drive (I know from reading here that I'm pushing people's buttons; not my intent, I promise).

    Which brings me to my main question: What do I buy? If you could all figure it out for me and let me know, I'd be greatly appreciative.

    Okay, joking done. I'm looking for something in the $8K-$9K range. With that and trading in the remnants of my Audi I'll be where I want to be for this purchase.

    Here's perhaps my most important question: What is more important, year or mileage? I have seen a 2006 S with 62K miles for $7945. I've got the above 2010 S with 92k now selling (as of today) at $7995. There's a really awesome looking '10 Clubman for $7450, but with 132K! Another '06 S for $6700 (private seller, which means I need to hock my Audi myself rather than trade it in; ugh!) and an '05 S JCW with 94K for $7650 (another private sale).

    Others I've seen are an '04 S with 126K for $6495, an '05 S with 104K for $6,850 (I stopped in to drive this one but the dealer was leaving for an auction; in the middle of the day; I wasn't impressed, though I should have called ahead, I found myself near the dealer one day and stopped by), the '05 with 86K for $6900 (this is the one above that had the accident), an '06 with 130K for $5,500, and an '02 with 66K for $7995. I have links to all of these, but didn't want to spam the forum in my first post. Oh, and I don't want anyone to steal the one I want from me (kidding, because I don't know which one I want!).

    I am honestly out of my league trying to make this choice. I like them all. I'm incredibly unlikely to tweak it very much, if at all, and will do little of the work on it myself. I have a 25 mile commute each way to work, much of it highway, and live in the Albany, NY area (snow snow snow snow snow!!). I want a manual transmission (finding automatics in the listings drives me nuts!).

    Advice on these, what I can expect, etc. etc. very, very much appreciated! Thanks, and thanks for being here, I hope to get the car I need to join in as a real member in the very near future!

    Rob
     
  2. CHKMINI

    CHKMINI Club Coordinator
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    Buy an R53. 2002 to 2006 S with a 6 speed. The 2006 is the best year.
     
  3. Zapski

    Zapski Well-Known Member

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    #3 Zapski, Jul 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
    Hi there!

    Yeah, don't get that one. The half engine light comes on only if there's a significant loss of power - like a busted turbo, a vacuum leak, bad cylinder misfire, etc. It won't stay on unless there's a problem. The guy was feeding you a line.

    Second thing to know: Do you want supercharged or turbocharged?

    '06 and earlier S models are supercharged. There are many here who have opinions and will tell you it's the better buy. Get the '06.

    '07 through '13 S models are turbocharged. They lack a little of the earlier version's chuckability in corners, but make better daily drivers, imo. I have an '08 with 120,000 miles on it if that helps. It has required surgery once or twice.

    Now, they all are going to require maintenance, and some if it is going to be pricey. Owning an Audi though, you should be familiar with that part ;)

    I recommend reading the article below to get a bit more info on how we refer to the various models.

    R / F Code, What is it and What do they Signify - Library
     
  4. Zillon

    Zillon Well-Known Member

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    05/06 R53 S models and 2011+ R56 LCI models are the ones to buy.

    Stay away from anything 2007-2010 and high mileage.
     
  5. whaap

    whaap New Member

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    There are a lot of cars I'd buy used but a Mini without a new car warranty isn't one of them.
     
  6. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Is there any other Mini besides the 02-06 R53? :D

    Gen 1 02-06 R53 cars are less refined then Gen 2 R56 cars 07-13.
    R53 are easer to Mod. then R56. It really is going to come down to taste.
    I like the R53 You can hear the supercharger wine when you take it to the redline and you feel more connected to the road.
    The R56 has a little more torque at low speeds its a little quieter

    I would find a good shop that works on Minis and have them do a pre-buy on what ever you chose.

    And there are some real R53 nuts on hear they won't shut up about how great the R53 is we just tolerate them...............Oh wait I am one of them!:)
     
  7. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    My choice would be an R53 but whatever you choose get it checked out because you do not want any surprises with a daily driver and Welcome to Motoring Alliance the onlyest MINI Forum you'll ever need !!
     
  8. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Sorry bad manners. Welcome to MA!
     
  9. Firebro17

    Firebro17 Dazed, but not Confused
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    If new is in the consideration mix, I hear the F56 is an awesome new ride!

    Oh, yah I own an R53 too...
     
  10. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
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    #10 cct1, Jul 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
    Daily driver, and if it's your only car, late model R56. Not my flavor, but a good car, and a late model R56 with reasonable miles should hold up well, relatively speaking, for a MINI.

    If you want something rawer and mod friendly, and it's a second car, and you like working on cars, R53. Most of us here would own an R53 or nothing else MINI, myself included.

    Either will require maintence and TLC, the R53 more so than the R56. They are all a blast to own and drive, but if this is your only car, I'd look for a well maintained low mileage car, preferably a last year R56, or consider something else more reliable. It's a great second car--and if it's a second car I'd strongly recommend the R53. It's a questionable only car, depending on how comfortable you are maintaining it, and what your priorities are.

    You are going to get people on here who are going to say they've owned a MINI forever and never had a problem. Beware of sample sizes of one; the people who have dropped the car aren't on the boards anymore, so everything is skewed positive. I'm not trying to talk you out of it, I'm guessing from your post you'd love the car and the community, just be aware what you're getting into.

    F56 is way out of that price range, and I'd hesitate on any first year of a new MINI generation; it consistently takes BMW 3 or more years to get the bugs worked out.
     
  11. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Like all cars you can get a lemon. Take your time and find one that has been taken care of and as I said have it looked over by a good garage.
    I have owned my 2002 S for 11 years as a daly driver. It has had no more problems than my wife's Toyota. I believe it is important to find a good mechanic. I am lucke I have the best mechanic in the south. But I don't like talking about myself. Just call me humble.
     
  12. d0r33t0s

    d0r33t0s New Member

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    my car is a r56, 09 cooper (non s) with 90k miles, only a few minor repairs so far.

    most folks that have a MINI for sale drove the hell out of it, so mileage isn't the best indicator of quality in a used MINI. LIke folks have said, get it checked out by someone who knows what they're looking at. Find something you're comfortable in, and like driving, then get it checked out. As I'm sure you know, and if you don't you do now, you can YOUify the MINI to your hearts content, for example see TheModFather's build thread for the RatRod HERE

    Welcome to M/A :)
     
  13. GokartPilot

    GokartPilot Well-Known Member

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    Welcome aboard, I think you found the right place to ask your question, very knowledgably people here, I though am still in training.

    To answer your question, IMHO...both. As most have already pointed out
    R53s are highly prized here, an 06 especially because all the bugs (for the most part) were worked out. You have mention an 06 with relatively low mileage and the price is in the range you mentioned. If I were in the market that one would be on the top of my list.

    Obviously if you don't go new you will always have the chance of running into gremlins. Have a mechanic you trust go through the MINI, it is not going to guarantee anything but you'll have a better idea of what you are signing up for.
     
  14. mrntd

    mrntd Well-Known Member
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    Welcome!

    When I started shopping for my MINI I was convinced that I wanted an R56 but as I learned more I changed my mind and got my R53. Take your time to find the right car. It took me 6 months to find Walter. Check car fax, get the VIN and check it with the dealer, take a buddy that has or knows MINIs with you to check it out.
     
  15. wmwny

    wmwny Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to M/A! :Thumbsup:

    As an owner of 2 2006 R53s...one modded and the other stock, I am firmly entrenched in the worth of the Generation 1 R53. The one you mentioned with around 68k would be one I would seriously consider if I were about to buy yet another Generation 1 MINI [I have 3...an R50 and the 2 R53s]. I could buy a newer MINI, but I just love the ones I have. They are dependable, fun to drive, and I have found great mechanics [when needed] to keep them running well. So, why shop newer?
     
  16. Boxman

    Boxman New Member

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    My old R53 had 170,000 miles without issues other than the occasional "Misfire" code which was solved very quickly and cheaply and the car's trim eventually just kinda flew apart!

    Miles aren't the greatest thing to go by, I'd take any car you're interested in to get a compression test for the engine & make sure no codes flash...

    Buuuuuuut, jumping on the bandwagon, R53 all the way.
     
  17. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Welcome, thanks for joining Motoring Alliance, the FUN and Friendly MINI Community.
     
  18. DneprDave

    DneprDave Well-Known Member
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    My 2010 Clubman S (R55) has been trouble free.
     
  19. vetsvette

    vetsvette MINI Alliance Ambassador

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    Or.... You could do like I did. Buy a Mini and then do your research. Just before my Mom passed away I was at her house and ran into my baby sister. She had just finalized her divorce and made the comment "I guess I need to get rid of the Mini now, but I won't be able to get more than 5-5.5K for it". I immediately said I'll give you 6K right now and drove it home. She used my P/U truck for a couple of months until she found a vehicle that she could transport her grandson in. I started researching the Mini after finalizing the deal. If I had done that first, I would have probably run away screaming. Timing chain, T-stat, water pump, the problems I read about were endless. As it happened, because of said research I contacted my Mini dealer and they replaced the entire timing chain cassette on their dime. Later, as I could afford it, I had my mechanic replace the T-stat, water pump, belt, install Stoptech rotors and pads, stainless brake lines, and install a "new" sport suspension that came off a '09 JCW with 7K on it. Oh yeah, and a new Eibach RSB. I did all this other stuff pro actively because it was much cheaper to have it done all at once before they started to fail one by one. All that being said, I am very happy with my "first year" Gen 2 R56. Bottom line... do your research and have it checked out by a competent MINI knowledgeable mechanic. YMMV
     
  20. RobH

    RobH New Member

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    Thanks for all the great responses, everyone, I really appreciate the various perspectives. I knew about the supercharged versus turbo difference, and that early R53s (see what I did there?) had some issues that were sorted in later versions.

    I am still thinking here. I have looked as well at other cars that are more practical (Scion tC, Hyndai Forte Coupe, even the Kia Soul, of all things), but I am always drawn back to the Mini. I have two tasks right now: find a local mechanic willing to look at whatever I find; and, drive a few more cars. The one car that everyone who commented on it seems to think is pretty strong (the 06 R53 with 64K) is nearly three hours away from me, and I'm not sure how to get it looked at under those conditions (it's in Burlington, VT; they listed it on the Albany NY craigslist, which is pretty annoying as that's a long hike out of the area to try to check out a car).

    I'll keep you all updated with what I end up doing, and if I end up with a Mini I'll come back and join in. The in meantime, your warm welcome is greatly appreciated.

    Best,

    Rob
     

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