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Old 05-24-2009, 01:29 PM
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How's the Mini? My Answer.

I don't really understand why folks don't like to holiday in Germany. It seems as if most folks would rather go to France or Italy instead.

Now I'm sure there are perfectly good reasons for this, but I haven't found out yet. I've been to France, but it wasn't that exciting or fun. Maybe females have a better understanding of this supposedly fashionable country.

On my second trip to Germany in two years, we explored the northern sections, Berlin and Hamburg, with only a short driving excursion on the way back from Hamburg with detours to coastal regions of the Baltic Sea. This meant less time driving, and no alpine passes. But that's okay, because driving in Germany is as relaxing as a head massage. And if you afford the petrol (€1,28/litre of RON 95 or mid-grade), there's little reason not to drive.

First of all, I've got to hand it to Sixt. I appreciate how they allow folks under 21 to rent cars. I like how their cars are generally decent (French cars excepted, naturally). And when the lady at the desk gave me a choice of 5 keys, wow I was in a candy shop and it took me 3 minutes to decide. I could have had a couple of Ford Focus (the Euro-model), a Golf, a Merc A-Class, or a Mini.

I chose the Mini, since I thought it'd be a splendid test drive. My mom thought it was "cute", but there are other upsides as well. The sat nav is easy to use, the interior is well-built, and I've always wanted to see if it really lived up to its good name.


I probably won't need to go too in-depth on this vehicle, since it's something Americans can get and read about at the newsstand. And really, it's going to be more of the same as others have written.

The rental came well-equipped at around €23.500 or so, with cruise control, foglamps, automatic climate, the big moonroof, seatheating, adjustable pass. seat, and Professional sat nav. It also came with knobby M+S tires with a T-speed rating, so I didn't go knocking on the speed limiter. But it does cruise happily at around 150-160km/h or so, and above that, the aerodynamics start getting in the way. I'm not really a fan of the upright windshield, but the vehicle is reasonably stable thru strong crosswinds and rain showers. And while the quick steering is a tad too quick for the autobahn, it's got great feel...........the kind that's good enough that you don't ever notice it lacking. Another example of how electric steering doesn't mean numb steering, like the novocane one gets in a Toyota or GM product.



The motor is smooth, flexible, and efficient, although not as good as the BMW-developed 2 litre in the 118i. It could be smoother at high revs and pull a bit harder beyond the 4k zone. But around town, it's easy to get moving, and the 6-speed gearbox seemed to have slightly better feel than the 1er. EfficientDynamics kept fuel consumption low; we only used 2/3 of a tank that day! I averaged about 6,4 l/100km following the shift point recommendations and using the Start-Stop automatic, and given the phenominal weather in Germany, no need for AC. Who needs a 6-cyl car?


The interior is typical BMW, but it does have a thing for style over functionality. The climate controls really need improvement, since they're low and a bit clunky to use. However, the sat nav is intuitive and the interface overall is logical. The front seats didn't wear on my back after 2+ hours of driving, so this one's great for the freeway as well. I didn't try the back seats, but the boot had room for our luggage, and there's plenty of space upfront. I wish I had a centre armrest, but that's an option.



Overall, I came away satisfied with the Mini. I had high expectations, and they were by all means met. Yes, I wish it had other options, but really, it's a great daily car that's way ahead of eco-boxes like a Mazda3 or one of those trendy hybrids. Vehicles like this really show that cars can be great fun while being responsible. It's really hard to argue with such a great vehicle, and the best part is, most of the things are available in the US. Folks, this is as close to a great European car as you can get for the price. And although I would still rather buy a 1er hatch, the Mini is one of the better automotive choices that you can make.

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Old 05-24-2009, 02:44 PM
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What's with the disclaimer in your sig?
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastbuck View Post
What's with the disclaimer in your sig?
I just thought the same thing!
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Old 05-24-2009, 04:59 PM
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Hallo there neebr!
 
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no way a mini over a 1'er anytime.

did your car have the sport button???
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
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did your car have the sport button???
Nope.

As for the sig, that's standard American procedure so I don't get sued.
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