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Hello, all. A week ago last Thursday, I took possession of my Rebel Green 2017 F56 JCW

I'd post a picture, but this'll only be my 3rd post here, need two more before including a link, apparently.

Rebel Green with White roof and mirror caps
Driving lights
Roof rails
MT
heated seats
piano black center trim
storage package
H/K sound
connected + visual boost XL
rear camera/parking control
nav XL
real time traffic
HUD
excitement package

This is a very different vehicle than I am used to driving, my last three cars being a '94 RX-7, a 2001.5 S4, and a 2010 Cayman S. A small FF is a new thing to me, and it's taking some learning.
Drove down to my parent's house yesterday, 220 miles round trip, for my first extended bit of road time. A few thoughts (and questions):

--The inconsistency of material quality is really strange. And a bit disappointing. Prime offenders are the fuel filler cap and door handles. They are flimsy like flimsy, and I have no doubt are all going to just break off at some point. I would have been more than willing to spend the extra $15 to have them in at least a higher quality plastic, if not metal. The speedo/tach/fuel cluster, too, which brings me to...

--The tachometer is just this side of useless, with its positioning, orientation, and size. Would it have been so bad to have made it a full circle gauge next to the speedo? Or, better, put it where the speedo is, and relegate the speedo to the half-moon on the side, given there is a digital read out right there in the center (and again on the HUD, if equipped). Yes, the center stack can give you revs in the surrounding LEDs, and the HUD can have a readout, too...but neither of those are actually marked in numbers, just rev position. Eventually, that won't be a big deal, but for the first 1200 miles, I'm supposed to keep the engine below 4500rpm, and it is proving less than easy to do that with the information available.

--Sport mode..what does it actually do, in terms of engine response/power? Sharper throttle response and all, but switching from sport to normal while cruising on the highway, I swear I could feel the accelerator "sag" and go mushy under my foot. Does it change how the accelerator position relates to throttle position, like 50% accelerator in sport = WOT in normal? Does that mean WOT in sport is...WOT-ier in sport than normal? Does the boost pattern change under the different modes? What it really feels like is when I toggled my S4's chip from 16lbs of boost down to the stock 8. Or is that an illusion, and it just delivers the boost at different accelerator positions?

--The nav system is excellent, as is the real time traffic information. But the two at the same time, I haven't figured out. The nav system puts a white line on the road indicating your route...and the real time traffic system puts colored lines on the road indicating traffic state. The nav line seems to win, though, and blocks out traffic data. Am I reading it wrong, or can you not see traffic information for roads on your route? I have to be reading it wrong, because that seems like a huge miss. It's possible there just wasn't any traffic worth mentioning when I was checking it.

--Driving lights only come on with highbeams. :(

--It could be the tires are too new, but the car is REALLY squirrelly under heaving braking. Had someone drift over in front of me at 75mph, and had to step on the brakes pretty hard. No steering input given, but the nose dove and tucked left, and the tail started to step out to the right. It was controllable and in the end not a problem, but completely did not expect that. Could be the new tires (and the fact they are runflats), or just me not being used to the small wheelbase.

--Love the suspension, just the stock sports suspension. Very firm without being harsh. I had anticipated wanting to go aftermarket with it, but I'm really not seeing a need. Other than a 3/4" drop, maybe.

--Do not love the shifter. Long throw, too long of a stalk, and an uncomfortable knob. When the arm rest is in the "full down" position (for access to the system controller), I almost have to reach up for the top of the shifter. A shortshifter is in my future. Anyone have experience with an aftermarket shifter and the warranty? I've been told by some people that mini will maintain the warranty so long as they are the ones installing the aftermarket parts, is that true? Or is that a dealer-by-dealer thing?

With the list of criticisms above, it may seem like I don't like the car, but that isn't the case. I really am loving it, a whole lot. My Porsche took itself way too seriously (while being slower than my Audi), and had the personality of a sleeping fish. None of that with the JCW, character and snarl and function in a tiny little package, exactly what I've been missing. I'm very very pleased. Might have a few small projects over the next few years, though. :)
 

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Nothing is perfect...
Definitely agree with your point about the shifter I will be installing the cravenspeed short shifter and bush next month. Only warranty issue I could see would be in the area that you have worked on.
Not sure why you would want your driving lights to come on without high beams. So I really don't understand that comment
Agree to an extent with your tacho comment but in fairness I find it reasonably visible and clear. You just have to get used to sighting it rather than the speedo.
Front wheel drives can get a bit squirrelly in the rear under hard braking but typically fairly controllable. You will find that the car could use a thicker sway bar in the rear as it grossly understeers at the limit. That's the next mod after the short throw shifter.
 

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I agree with your comments on the nav, I used mine not long ago and it took me off a motorway, down the slip road, only to take me back up the 'on' sliproad and on to the same motorway it just took me off, very very strange!
 

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Aziz,
Not sure your location. Options vary country to country. here in the US...
I have a 2015 F56 S with JCW options (wait for long for JCW standard transmission at the time I ordered it) for 15 months now. I have had a Gen 1 for 10 years, and have a Gen 2 (wife’s 2013 Coupe). It takes some time but program, program, program. There are a lot of options and it takes a while to try them. Just a few observations of your observations.
--The inconsistency of material quality is really strange. And a bit disappointing.
My first thoughts, as well, but no problems, scratches or breaks.
--The tachometer is just this side of useless, with its positioning, orientation, and size. Would it have been so bad to have made it a full circle gauge next to the speedo?
In Gen 2 and 1 cars, it used to be the size and location of the present speedo. Again, programming is a must. If it is the same on the ’15, use the light rim around the center info gauge. When shifting hard (up or down) it is easier to see and “feel”. After some time, one learns from engine “noise, whine, feel of speed” to know when to shift. Have never come close to red line yet and I push it pretty hard.

--Sport mode..what does it actually do, in terms of engine response/power?

Increases throttle response, changes steering and suspension. Advances timing. Pops and gurgles from exhaust. Look into a NM module. Warning-you will get permanent smile wrinkles on your face and a dumb look lasting for minutes after you exit the car.

--The nav system is excellent, as is the real time traffic information.

True.

--Driving lights only come on with highbeams.

If you live in the US, it is federal law. There are ways around it, however.

--It could be the tires are too new, but the car is REALLY squirrelly under heaving braking.

Something you have to get used to and control. Front engine/drive cars with no back weight do that. Watch an IMSA race with MINIs (Continental Series ST) online or TV. They do the same under race conditions (hard break corner) but exit the corner faster than the competition. The ABS is good. I also noticed that breaking is ‘straighter” in sport mode-probably do to stiffer suspension.

--Love the suspension, just the stock sports suspension. Very firm without being harsh. I had anticipated wanting to go aftermarket with it, but I'm really not seeing a need. Other than a 3/4" drop, maybe.

--Do not love the shifter.

I thought the same, at first. But compared to earlier MINIs, I really like in now. The clutch is totally different than earlier Gens. Longer throw. At first I thought that the shift throw was too long, but I never miss a gear, going up or down, like I used to, on occasion. I thought about going to a Cravens shift knob but decided against it. At first I did not like the feel of the JCW knob but got used to it very fast. The side “flats” are ergonomically better for up/down motion to hit the desired gear.

Just my observations. It took me about a year to finally get it where it is set for me. If you have a significant other, use their key to set up all of the options. It stores everything, including radio stations. It’s all about programming, programming… Also check other MINI sites. There are a lot of instructions as to help make your “adjustments.” I am still learning new feature choices. Motor on.
 

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Just shy of a year now with my 2016 JCW. Agree on the shifter and it is the first thing I changed. The throw seemed so long even after owning two R56's and I, for the first time in many years, found myself grinding gears occasionally because of it. Problem for me is I like the stock height due to the armrest so I really was torn. I decided as a first try to go with the NM Engineering short shift adaptor. Shortens the throw considerably and really makes a huge difference without a large expense. I have not had problems with grinding the gears once since I changed to it. Still stock height and all the same parts. I have actually decided not to change from it because I like it so much better.

Now just need new wheels and tires and an NM Power Module, but expenses on the house come first since those are necessities and these are just things I want.
 

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Just shy of a year now with my 2016 JCW. Agree on the shifter and it is the first thing I changed. The throw seemed so long even after owning two R56's and I, for the first time in many years, found myself grinding gears occasionally because of it. Problem for me is I like the stock height due to the armrest so I really was torn. I decided as a first try to go with the NM Engineering short shift adaptor. Shortens the throw considerably and really makes a huge difference without a large expense. I have not had problems with grinding the gears once since I changed to it. Still stock height and all the same parts. I have actually decided not to change from it because I like it so much better.

Now just need new wheels and tires and an NM Power Module, but expenses on the house come first since those are necessities and these are just things I want.
I wholeheartedly agree about the power module, it does totally change the character of the car as it adds 30 HP. And, the JCW PRO exhaust gives you another 10. There are other aftermarket exhausts that will do the same for less money, but I prefer the mini's system. This dramatically increases the bangs, pops, gurgles, and other sound effects.
 
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