2007 MINI Cooper Long Term Road Test


2007 Mini Cooper S: Central Exhaust Tattoo

July 09, 2008

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I've never been a fan of the central exhaust on or 2007 Mini Cooper S, or any example of this layout, for that matter.

For one, it looks weird. I can't get used tot he fact that the central location is somehow too ... biological. At least there are two exhaust ports instead of one.

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And I also strongly resent the Mini's central location because the muffler routing eliminates all possibility of a spare, forcing the use of run-flat tires. Even with run-flats, I'd rather have a spare because driving out west involves distances that are too damn far to find a replacement tire within the meager mileage limit of a run-flat. Besides, the hyper-stiff sidewalls tense-up the ride and destabilize the handling on lumpy asphalt. I'd much rather have "normal" tires and a spare to go with them.

All of this is well and good. But last night it got personal.

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My daughter went to the hatch to retrieve her things just after I parked the Mini at Grandma's house last night. Nonna lives at the top of a hill, so the exhaust was particularly hot from the ascent. My daughter was wearing shorts, so there was nothing between her leg and the central exhaust tips. And she hadn't read Caroline's earlier warning post.

Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark.

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These exhaust tips protrude further than most, though this was exaggerated a bit by a slightly nose-down curbside parking space. And our Cooper S's rounded rear bumper doesn't overhang the tips at all--unlike most cars I studied during my morning commute. Compounding this further is the unfamiliarity of the central exhaust layout that puts the tips right where you'd stand when unloading the hatch.

And my daughter is far from the only one. A quick internet search turned up this, this, this and this.

Too many folks have had the same experience, and the problem stretches over two generations of this car. This isn't acceptable. Time for a redesign, Mini.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 18,039 miles

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