Back in January, we reported on a fender bender in one of our long-term test vehicles, the Mini JCW Coupe. Last month, we caught up with the Coupe as it underwent repairs to its front end at Global Imports here in Atlanta. We've missed driving the sporty yet economical Mini Coupe, but now it's back in our garage. The Mini Coupe required just less than $9,000 in parts and labor to be restored to pre-crash condition, a process involving not just cosmetic repairs, but replacement of suspension parts, a wheel and a pricey xenon headlamp.

About $3,700 of the repair costs went to labor, including painting the new hood, fender and bumper cover. Paint and paint shop materials tallied another $500, so more than half of the total cost of repair went to parts beyond just the painted body panels.

In fact, a single xenon headlamp and its bulb and trim ring accounted for nearly $1,000 in parts alone. The necessary body panels were a significant portion of the total, too, with the hood, fender and bumper cover totaling about $1,100. A new light alloy wheel was a little over $300. Behind it and the body panels, about $500 went to parts to replace the strut and wishbone, a suspension component. The remainder went not only to replacing the grille, fog lamp, horns, emblems and spoiler up front, but also to side trim pieces and replacing our car's silver hood stripes.

All told, our invoice from Global Imports shows the total cost of the damage at $8,933.14 before sales tax. It was a costly incident to be sure. But two important considerations come to mind when reflecting on the accident in the Mini Coupe. First, no one in either vehicle was hurt. That fact speaks to the safety of modern vehicles. Secondly, qualified body shops like the one at Global Imports can bring a vehicle back to pre-crash condition, not just repair it cosmetically. The total cost of the repairs may seem expensive, but knowing no corners were cut means we can again drive the Mini JCW Coupe with confidence.

So far, the Mini Coupe feels great from behind the wheel, driving just as it did before the accident. We look forward to bringing you an update soon, this time from the road instead of the body shop.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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