Woofcast #271

Michael joins us again from The Mail Buoy podcast. Starting out with a short rant before we dive right into some R60 concept talk.

The three of us going into some great detail about the R60 concept with a new format that worked very very well. It did result in a longer-than-normal show, but for this topic, I think it worked fantastic and you should enjoy it.

Twitter? I’m @dbwilldo, Todd is @toddsmods and Michael is @radiationman.

Woofcast 271:

Download | 26.3MB | 27:19 | WRR @ iTunes | WRR @ Facebook

17 replies on “Woofcast #271”

  1. Well done guys… best, most reasoned discussion on the Crossover Concept on the web. I won’t hide that I don’t think it should be a MINI, but I won’t be selling my 2006 JCW. I think after your discussion looking at the concept again… I can say it is not a bad looking car. I wouldn’t buy it, but I can see a market for it – RAV4 ec. (hairdresser 4×4’s as we call them in SA). (That’s a joke by the way).

  2. About the quality of the comments, what do you really expect. There are a ton of people out there that don’t read through the comments for that reason. Comments sections are simply for people putting their two cent in and getting the masses involved on the surface, not for giving very well thought out comments that some would warrant a dedicated post for. In fact I never did read the comments except the responses that Gabe bothered to post when things needed clarification. And I am sure it is for this reason that he doesn’t bother with that anymore. And it’s just going to get worse as the population that leaves comments seems to get younger (or younger than me I should say). Even with a rating system on comments, like on digg, it’s hard to sift through most of them.

    Same goes for forums now. When I first dove in the MINI world, the forums were a great resource, as well as Motoringfile. But now, as I become more knowledgeable and older, those types of things don’t interest me as much. It’s just kid stuff to me.

    What you should do is contact these people that have defected and have them write for you. If their opinions are worth reading they should be put front and center.

    By the way, when you post up a story like this which is just a concept and call for people’s opinions, you can’t expect there not to be a knee jerk reaction. Isn’t that what it is supposed to do?….. anyways, sorry for the rant, perhaps this deserves a dedicated post on my blog. 😉

  3. Same goes for forums now. When I first dove in the MINI world, the forums were a great resource, as well as Motoringfile. But now, as I become more knowledgeable and older, those types of things don’t interest me as much. It’s just kid stuff to me.

    Would it be better to not have comment or have them in some way minimized (ie not initially visible) by default? I mean people complain about the comments and I don’t disagree…. but you can just ignore them.

  4. Well put DanC. I think what we’re getting at is – why post anything at all if all one is going to say is “hate it” or “it sucks”. Everyone appreciates thoughtful comments that show understanding of a topic no matter which side of said topic one falls. But I don’t have time to read everyone’s two cents if the only intent is to show how funny you think you might be with a short quip like many of the recent comments over at MF.

  5. Gabe, Comments are tricky when dealing with more than a dozen. If there was a way to sift through the cluter that would be great but I would not make the comments invisible. Some kids find this banter entertaining. I usually click on articles if the content is interesting, not to read through comments.

    Todd, don’t forget there were a lot of “love it” comments too. Some just don’t have the time to post quality comments but still want to contribute with their comments. 😉

  6. Guess the comment now would be how the sales of the R60 would compare to the the Isetta that is on Bimmerfile/Motoringfile now.

    I for one enjoy hearing the insight and views of others. I would love to see more discussion going on about the R60 as I do believe for the better or the worse this car is going to make a impact on the Mini brand so I do look forward seeing what they do with the car when it goes to production.

  7. Hey gang,

    Loved this show. I probably won’t buy an R60, but I’m still a fan of the idea. And I appreciate the concept vehicle for what it shows.

    Now I have to disagree with DB about the concept vehicle not looking like a MINI. In particular, as Todd stated, the big grill hearkens back to the classic Mini; and the upright angle of the grill is very much like the classic Mini.

    Additionally, the long, straight beltline and roofline (although the beltline appears to rise even more than the R56) are both still pure 2nd gen MINI, with the “floating” roof and window curtain, which is emphasized by the curve at the top edge of the body panels.

    And most notably, the wheels at the corners give it the bulldog stance with almost no overhang.

    These are all undeniably part of the MINI design language and are fully incorporated into this concept vehicle.

    So what’s new here? There are quite a few elements that are different, but I think in each case, they’ve retained some aspect of the original design language.

    The roof transition to the C pillar – yes, that’s from the FJ Cruiser; it seems like a reasonable element to change – and it doesn’t significantly alter the floating window/roof appearance. To my eye, it’s a complimentary change that is unique to this model (like the barn doors on the Clubman) that still fits well within the existing design space.

    The headlights. This is probably the one place where BMW seems to be kowtowing to modern designs, and moving away from the original classic Mini (and the R50/R53). This sweeping/stretched look is used to give a sense of movement and energy. They may have felt they needed to emphasize this more to compensate for the more upright grill, which tends to reduce the sense of speed. But I’ve always felt the R50/R53 achieved the right balance here and is an excellent adaptation of the swept look onto the classic Mini headlights. Yet BMW seems to be deliberately altering their headlights on both MINIs and BMWs to further highlight this design element. Oh, well… at least they’ve kept the round orientation here as a nod to the original Mini. However, at first glance, this is the one element that looks a bit out of place to me; but it may grow on me.

    The taillights. Modified to slim down the wedge shape to a simple line. But even in this adapted form, they continue a time-honored Mini design element – the taillamp unit is fully surrounded by sheet metal. This is something they’ve mentioned previously in their marketing as being an important design element on the Mini, and even though it is an expensive manufacturing detail, they continue to include it.

    And then there are three elements that seem like outright attempts to identify this vehicle as an SUV/SAV: The undercarriage guard cladding peeking up at the ends, the flared fenders, and the ride height (which might in part be required by the AWD). While these features could be viewed as faux styling cues, I think they do indicate there is an actual functional difference in the vehicle: AWD. I’m not sure all three are necessary to make light of this aspect of the drivetrain, but all three are commonly used in modern auto design to emphasize (near) off-road capabilities. And again, while the AWD aspect is counter to the original MINI design spec, these elements don’t contradict the fundamental MINI styling language.

    So what about the overall appearance? It’s very striking, especially in the small/compact SUV/SAV range. A comparison of the exteriors with other vehicles shows that this is still a unique look. And I see it as immediately recognizable as a MINI. Yes, the MINI fanboys will be able to call out every little difference, but the vast majority of observers and reviewers will probably note how little is different, just as they did with the R56.

    Does it all work together? I think it does. The concept feels a bit “overdone”, and at first glance, it feels like they may have made too many changes all at once. But this is still a concept vehicle, and as in the past, the production model will likely tone down and drop some of these changes, and bring it closer in line with the existing/previous models.


  8. I think you’re missing the point about the visceral reaction to the SUV Mini. It has absolutely nothing to do what so ever with the looks of the car.

    It’s a totally wrong concept for Mini. Make it a BMW. But the Mini branding stands for something. Something small. Gee, ya think that’s the whole reason behind the name?

    The idea of a Mini SUV is contradictory. And while we’re at it, let’s stop putting a spin on the name. It’s an SUV. Period. The whole idea of “crossover” is to get SUV owners to feel better about their bad purchasing decisions.

    It comes down to BMW trying to stuff yet another SUV on the market, using a popular brand name. That’s all. Mini doesn’t need it. They can’t make enough Coopers to satisfy the market.

  9. Thanks for the comment Jim but as you heard Gert Hildebrand say, MINI is not about size but about relation to size. The MINI crossover, as it is in the concept, would still be smaller than a vast majority of cars on the road today – at least in the US. So in relation to everything else, it’s still mini or a MINI (philosophically).

    Second, the R60 is not going to be built at the same factory as other MINIs. It will be built in Austria right next to the BMW X1. So the crossover will not limit MINIs production volume one bit.

  10. Todd actually if you think about Gert’s comment basically anything is possible as long as its smaller. A smaller Explorer is still a monster sized car. His comment was to me nothing but a redirect to the question that does little to answer what Gabe asked.

    So a Mini 18 wheeler is still a Mini as long as its smaller that the Queen Mary. I believe what the brand was developed was making the smallest plateform for the need. Honestly if this is a four seater (which I expect so the X1 has something to make it different) do we really need the increase in width? Sir Alec would have looked at the caring need and build the smallest plateform possible.

  11. DB, I see your point referencing AWD of 4WD not excusing folks from being dumbasses behind the wheel but having owned an Audi Quattro (’01 A3 with Haldex) I have to say that if I were to purchase an R60 (and we’re considering one mostly to stay in-brand and to fit a dog and a baby) I would spend the extra $$$ on the AWD. In my experience driving here in Germany, the AWD gives me the added security in rain and in the winter when roads are slick/icy. The added weight, increased maintenance costs and decreased mileage are trade offs I’m willing to make.

  12. I think the problems most people are having with the crossover fitting the brand is that everybody has a different perspective of what the MINI brand is.

    Yes, the company name is MINI, so the first thing one would assume is that their entire product line should be, well, mini. I think most people, including myself at one time, believed in this.

    Lately, not only with the introduction of the Clubman, but with several other cars on the market, I’ve learned that size isn’t the only thing that defines this brand. Being a MINI driver and enthusiast from the inside, I’ve learned that “MINI” is more of a state-of-mind, rather than a physical trait of the product line.

    With smaller cars coming on the market, like the Smart and possibly the new Isetta, MINI no longer has the corner on the “small” market. To continue to build it’s brand around it’s size, suddenly, doesn’t make as much sense. How do you market a trait that is no longer your niche?

    I think MINI is more about doing great things in “smaller” packages – which is sort of what I read out of Gert’s comment.

    As far as the design of the Crossover goes. I know it isn’t the final product, but I feel folks are being a little too literal when it comes to “looking like a MINI”. Who’s to say the next generation of coupes won’t have a similar look? Who’s to say that then next generation of MINI won’t be loved more than the current one. Most folks say no, because we love what we know and are generally resistant to change.

    I had the same first reaction. That doesn’t look like the current line, therefor it ISN’T a MINI. But we all know, in order to keep a vehicle line marketable, you’ve got to update and change it. Some of us don’t like it, but that’s what automakers do to sell more cars.

    For me to see beyond my initial reaction, I had to put it in perspective. Does a Porsche Cayenne look anything like a Carerra? Does a VW Tiguan look like a Beetle? Does a Toyota FJ Cruiser look like a Yaris? The point I’m trying to make is that although these cars are from the same brand, they don’t have to look like each other. They share similar design traits, but a Yaris isn’t a smaller version of the FJ. Why should the MINI Crossover concept have to look SO MINI? In my opinion, it’s a nice evolution in the design.

    Would I trade in my R50 for one? Not likely, but I’m not the target. I’m hoping the target are all the folks who haven’t fallen in love with the current product line. Hopefully, with the Crossover, the folks who think that the coupes are too small will take a second look at the brand.

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