Purchasing a mid-life crisis
May 9, 2012 8:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm pretty sure am asking a question that has been well answered for The most part before. For the first time in 25 years i've wanted to purchaser a new auto,specifically the John Cooper Works Mini Clubman. Is the john cooper package wroth it compare to the regular Clubman or Cooper S C (sorry don.t care about MPG) How do I negotiate the best price. Thanks .
posted by Carbolic to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
Response by poster: the extra horsepower and enhanced trim. Mostly the enhanced HP and other performance
posted by Carbolic at 9:02 PM on May 9, 2012

Best answer: Comparing the S, S Clubman, and Works Clubman based on the stats available in a quick search is inconclusive. The Works Clubman has 27 more hp and 30 more lb.-ft. of torque than the other two. The Works Clubman has n actual manual gearbox. The other two have a semi-automatic transmisson. The "John Cooper Sport Suspension" upgrade appears to be a dealer option, but it comes with an electronic differential that makes it handle nicely. The TopGear guys give it an 8/10.

It seems like it's an extra $5-$10k for what amounts to an extra 6 mph in top speed and a half a second or so off the 0-60 time. It looks bitchin' though.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: No. You're talking about a $7k premium to gain ~13% in HP. The leap from regular to the S is much more significant.

As the owner of my own mid-life crisis Mini Cooper S Convertible I have more than enough power and agile handling than I ever hope to need. So unless you are planning on regularly doing some pretty serious stunt driving or being the getaway driver I really can't see any reason to spend that extra money.

I'm not sure about where you live, but in many cities there's only one Mini dealership. They tend to use this as a negotiating block. There's no one else you can talk to about the same car so if you want it you have to deal with them. You might be able to strike a deal if you're willing to be flexible on the exact car you are willing to drive off the lot though.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:40 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

With regards to negotiating the best price, here's one unconventional approach: using game theory to buy a car (background).

I guess you'll need a lot of confidence in order to pull this off, but it will undoubtedly be worth it: I've read many accounts of people using this method with various degrees of success.
posted by fakelvis at 10:46 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes, I never actually said, but I don't really think it's worth it either. Also, to clarify the "John Cooper" suspension is an option, but the electronically controlled diff is standard.

You might want to look at the the TopGear Car Chooser, keeping in mind there are models not available in the U.S. and the prices are in pounds so multiply by 1.5 to find approximate dollars. There are also U.S. based choosers from AutoTrader and Cars.com. I like the TopGear one mostly because they mostly share my opinions about cars.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:02 PM on May 9, 2012

Best answer: A well tweaked suspension can be worth a lot, ditto better brakes, but I don't know if this is that much better. The issue with tweaked suspensions is that it can make the ride much less pleasant.

In general, I avoid them, but I live in a part of the country where you simply cannot keep roads in great shape (never mind the effect of budget cuts.) I avoid tweaked suspension and low profile wheels because I do like my spine and I hate replacing rims.

In a small car, 27 HP is a pretty significant increase - even more so when there's more than just you in the car. However, there's a point where it becomes tough for a small FWD car to get the power down. In general, anything over 175 on a small FWD is going to be spent in making interesting noises with your tires unless you have a very clever diff. If its AWD or RWD, that obviously isn't a factor.
posted by eriko at 4:20 AM on May 10, 2012

Best answer: Have you driven both?

I ordered a Clubman S as soon as they were available to order. I had to sell it last year, but I loved that car. A whole lot of pep and a whole lot of fun. If I could've afforded the JCW package, I would've bought it because a) It looks bad ass and b) The clubman is just a hair looser than the standard Cooper as far as handling goes and the JCW brings it back (and then some.)

It's probably not the most economical decision, but it would certainly be a fun one.
posted by Jacob G at 6:56 AM on May 10, 2012

Best answer: I'm a former car salesman and I've answered tons of car buying questions. Take a look at some of those answers for tons of great general advice on buying cars, especially new cars. I have some additional advice that will more specific to your situation.

Generally, you can buy a new car for $100 more than invoice price. For some models, in some markets you can do a little bit better than that (by maybe a few hundred dollars) but most of the time $100 over invoice is a good deal. KBB.com or Edmunds.com will have tools to look up those prices. Just make sure that the sticker price of the physical car you're looking at, not something you've built on the Mini website, matches exactly. There are sometimes weird quirks with the ordering where it looks like you can get a certain mix of options but the factory simply won't let anyone order it that way.

The thing that will throw a wrench into your situation is that it sounds like you might want to buy a special edition that might be a little more rare. In that case, the dealer might not be willing to let the car go for much less than MSRP. You may find out that you would have to pay close to MSRP for the John Cooper Works version but can buy the any of the other models for close to invoice.

That said, you need to drive them both first. You may find out that you don't like the John Cooper Works version and it won't be an issue.

Some more general car buying advice is:
1. Your salesperson has sold more cars than you will ever buy. They will see through any and all games that you try to play with them. Just be up-front an honest about everything and you'll be fine.

2. Don't worry about the price until you're ready to buy the car. The price doesn't matter until that's the only thing keeping you from buying the car.

3. Don't be afraid to show commitment. A motivated buyer will get a better deal than someone who is coy about it. As a salesperson, if a buyer tells me, "I want to buy a new Mini Cooper really bad." My thought is, "This guy is going to buy a car from someone today. I better make damn sure he buys it from me."

4. When you're ready to buy the car, the phase you want to use is, "If you sell the car for $xx,xxx, I'll buy the car right now."

5. Get a referral to a specific dealer or, even better, a specific salesperson from a friend, co-worker, or family member if you can. The integrity of dealers varies considerably from dealer to dealer and salesperson to salesperson. Some try very hard to debunk the car sales stereotypes, some try very hard to reinforce them. Getting a referral is a good way to tell what you're getting into.

Let me know if you have other questions or want me to expand on anything. I could (and maybe should) write a book about this stuff.
posted by VTX at 8:44 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have owned two JCW Minis and now own a Clubman S. I didn't go with a JCW this time because the roads where I live are not great, and the JCW suspension made our last car a less comfortable ride. We gave up a little bit with regards to horsepower and tighter handling by not getting a JCW, but the slightly looser handling doesn't make an appreciable difference in our driving enjoyment. (FWIW, I sold both of my first two Minis to a friend and his wife, and they love driving them in their nice, smoothly paved southern California streets.)

If you're more after the look than the extra HP and suspension, you can buy most of the JCW accessories individually, or get aftermarket aero kits and the like to make your Clubman look awesome.
posted by bedhead at 9:26 AM on May 10, 2012

The forum regulars over at North American Motoring love beanplating this kind of stuff. If you like to agonize over Mini buying choices (hey, I've been there myself but never considered a JCW), that's the place you want to be.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 9:59 AM on May 10, 2012

Best answer: I can't speak to that particular car, but I did buy a Mini Convertible about three years ago, so as far as the negotiation goes...there isn't much.

In my experience, most of VTX's advice doesn't apply to Minis (and possibly other specialized brands). As flamingbore said, unless you're in one of a handful of major metros, there's generally one place to buy (new) Minis in town, and quite possibly just the one for hundreds of miles. If you're in Memphis, you've got Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham, St. Louis and Dallas as your closest dealers.

You might (might) be able to get a slightly better deal for a year-old model. You might (might) be able to get some of the fees taken off or accessories thrown in. But as far as negotiating price down, I've not heard of anyone having much luck with Minis.
posted by brentajones at 10:43 AM on May 10, 2012

Its comparable to a Ford Mustang GT vs. a Ford Mustang Shelby. Alot of extra trim and "ooh shiny" features, a few extra HP, some better racing suspention (that really makes for a worse ride as a daily driver), but alot more money.

I had this same decision to make a couple years back, test drove the JCW and then went home with a Mini Clubman S. Definitely get the S over standard for the turbo-ized engine. Man that thing could haul and handle like no other, I'd really be shocked if the JCW enhancements are that noticeable compared to the standard S.

Its also a badge of entitlement if you get into Mini owners clubs and whatnot. I had no desire, and no one ever noticed I didnt have JCW (likewise, no one would have been impressed had I upgraded to JCW)
posted by el_yucateco at 1:10 PM on May 10, 2012

Response by poster: Taking notes. Much of the info very helpful

I have not driven nor been a passenger in any of the MINIs. That begins tomorrow.

From what others have said it seems a pretty good bet that the MINI - S is worth the extra money over the plain MINI. If money is no concern I'm pretty sure John cooper Works beats MINI-S, The decision for me will be whether the several thousand dollar price differences between the MINI-S and the JCW will be worth it - cause spending much over thirty K is a concern.

Trading in a 1995 BMW 540I (V8) and fear the 4 bangers won't give me what I want, nay, need.

Intend to study the wisdom given here and the spend several hours perusing and test driving the stock at RoadShow BMW tomorrow

Current vote - tricked out Mini-s over JCW

Thanks all
posted by Carbolic at 11:39 PM on May 13, 2012

Response by poster: Made a decision. I bought an S rather than the JWC. There were no JWCs on the lot, the S had nice power and handling and in the end the extra $7 or $8k (15-20%) just didn't seem worth it. Your answers were very helpful in making that decision.

The first time I visited the dealer they didn't have a car with a color scheme I could live with (super contrasty body vs roof and C-pillar colors - black&white, dark gray & silver) so I was going to special order but before I did I made one more trip to the dealer. They just put out a newly received Mini Cooper Clubman S Hampton . The car in the linked picture appears to be exactly the same (the picture doesn't do the paint justice). The Hampton package included some options I probably wouldn't have ordered but it did include the ones I wanted. I don't think I would have ordered the Xenon headlights but my night blindness will probably make me glad they are there. Pick it up tomorrow.

If money were no object I would have gone with the JWC. In truth, if money were no object I would have moved one showroom over and picked up an M5.

Thanks all,
posted by Carbolic at 5:14 AM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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