2007 Mini Cooper S: Pain in the A*#
March 19, 2008
Now, this may not apply to all drivers, but at my height and driving position, shifting the Mini Cooper S is a serious pain in the arm. (What'd you think I meant?)
Pictured above is the interior of the Mini Cooper. Please note the center armrest. Nice touch, right? Well yes, in the most basic "where-should-I-put-my-arm?" way, beyond that, however, it is the single most irritating piece of hardware in our long term fleet. What's not pictured is the asinine actions of this repulsive rest. The top of the unit is mounted on rails, sliding backwards to reveal a shallow storage space that's would be suitable for an iPod if not for its length. Anything thin enough to fit inside is going to slide back and forth --loudly-- at every stop and start. A ruler would fit. So would a small stack of mailing envelopes. Nothing else.
But useless I can deal with. What I can't deal with is the lid opening every singe time I shift gears. 1-2 opens the storage bin, 2-3 closes it. That's best-case scenario with my arm on the rest. With my arm off of the ledge it only opens on 1-2 shift. You'd think this was better, but you'd be wrong. What happens, see, is that on the next 3-4 gearchange my elbow drops into the storage bin just enough to smash my ulnar nerve (funny bone) against the opened lid!
Now you'd be right to ask, "well, Mike, why can't you just flip the thing back out of your way and be done with it?" Good question. Here's the answer: When the unit if flipped up, it rubs against my shoulder. Constantly. I can't live like that.
The final complaint is the noise. It squeaks if it's up, down, open, closed, bearing weight, not bearing weight-- ALL THE TIME!
"The squeak would stop if it was lying on the side of the 101" my brain said. And it was right, if this was my car the first thing I would do is tear out the armrest and beat the rear-view mirror (it's mounted too low for me) off with it and chuck them both in the trash. Then, when I finally fished the shards of broken glass and plastic from my skin, I could start to enjoy all of the things the Mini does well.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 12,771 miles