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Is it a rattle that varies with engine speed, or something like the exhaust tapping against something as the engine moves about under different loading?

Timing chain tensioners, clutch release bearings, gudgeon pins or main bearing faults can all cause rattles, among other things.

It is strange that it happens when moving off, which is an under load condition, but can also go away by putting the engine under load while at speed.

You should keep at them until they get one of their experienced travelling technicians to diagnose it. If that is the way Mini troubleshoot these sort of things. There are gadgets that can be used to identify internal engine noises if operated by competent users.

Your warranty will cover it anyway, but it must be a nuisance to say the least.
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