John Cooper Works 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Mini Cooper provides a 3 year warranty on the car, but BMW refuses to honor it. BMW makes the engine, clutch, and transmission for Mini Cooper. To simplify logistics, they use the same clutch on all their Mini drive chains. As an engineer, I know that the first rule for choosing a clutch for a car is that it should be able to handle the torque produced by the engine. The Mini clutch was designed for the standard 140 HP Mini engine. The JCW comes with 208 HP. To make matters worse, the Mini clutch is backwards from standard clutches. During shifting, the clutch disengages the transmission and not the engine. That means that the thrust bearing continues to rotate while handling a lot of load. The standard half inch steel bearing cannot hold up to the 208 HP engine. There is an easy fix to this problem which engineers know about. You replace the half inch steel bearing with a three quarter inch ceramic bearing made to handle the horsepower. To save less that $10 per car, BMW decided not to do this. Therefore their clutches wear out. The last time my clutch failed, about 2 years after purchase with a three year warranty, BMW refused to pay for my warranty repair, and I am out about $2000.
I asked my dealer to use a heavy duty clutch which I would buy during this last repair. But their contract with Mini Cooper doesn't allow them to use any parts but BMW parts. BMW tells me that I do not know how to drive a clutched car. I have driven Saabs with standard transmissions and clutches for over 20 years and have never had a clutch failure. I currently drive a 1999 Saab 9-3 convertible with 150,000 miles on it, with the original clutch still working fine.