BMW and Mini shuffle NA management, McDowell to retire
Filed under: Performance, BMW, Mini, Luxury
BMW and Mini recently shuffled top personnel in their design departments, and now BMW of North America will reorganize its management to improve customer relations. Peter Miles (pictured), currently the executive vice president of operations, will take a newly created position, vice president of sales channel development and customer relations, while Jim McDowell, vice president of Mini of the Americas, will retire.
Chris Koenders, president of BMW Group Netherlands, will move take Miles' spot as executive vice president of operations. David Duncan, western region vice president, will take McDowell's job as vice president of Mini of the Americas. Finishing off the management switcharoo is Peter Witt, who will move from his current position as Managing Director of BMW Sweden to take Duncan's job as western region vice president.
"We are intensifying our customer-driven focus and these changes will influence the entire organization to continue improving all phases of the customer journey from prospect to purchase and throughout the ownership cycle," says Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW NA. For more information on the management reorganization, check out the press release below.
Continue reading BMW and Mini shuffle NA management, McDowell to retire
BMW and Mini shuffle NA management, McDowell to retire originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Dec 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Production Mini Rocketman still in the cards, but not without a partner
Filed under: Budget, Performance, Hatchback, Mini
There's not really any way around it - the new Mini Hardtop isn't all that mini. Considering its supposed to be the smallest model in the brand's lineup, this is hardly desirable. It's good news, then, that rumors are cropping up of a smaller Mini, based on the well-received Rocketman Concept that debuted in 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show.
The report, which comes from our friends at AutoGuide, claims that a production Rocketman is still on the radar of Mini's product chief, Pat McKenna, despite being officially on hold. As Mckenna explained it to AG, "the only way it would happen would be if it was a partnership with another company."
See, the problem is that Mini's current UKL platform, which underpins the new Hardtop along with the future Mini range, is too large for the tiny Rocketman. And since developing new platforms isn't as easy as popping down to the shops for a gallon of milk (nor as cheap), it makes the need for an ally to split the costs a necessity. Success, so far, has been limited.
Mini's failure to find a partner isn't for lack of trying, though, with McKenna telling AutoGuide that the brand's "emphasis on driving performance," has kept it from finding a chassis that was up to the brand's expectations.
This begs the question of which brand is the right fit for Mini, not just in the US market, but around the globe (McKenna himself indicated that the Rocketman would fit into Mini's international operations well). Mini's partnership with Peugeot on the last-generation's turbocharged engine, not to mention the French brand's small-car expertise, could make it a logical partner.
Production Mini Rocketman still in the cards, but not without a partner originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Dec 2013 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mini could go even bigger with next Countryman
Filed under: Crossover, Mini
We recently reported that the new family of Minis could balloon from eight models to ten or more, but it's not only the model line that's expected to grow: so too could the largest model itself. That, of course, would be the Countryman, which is already bigger than anything else ever to wear the Mini badge. But if you think the current Countryman is already big enough, the latest reports suggest that it could get even bigger. Apparently parent company BMW feels a larger Mini crossover would better compete with more mainstream models in the marketplace.
The Countryman, however, will only be one of the new variants to spin off of the new third-generation Mini. Expect the new Hardtop hatchback introduced in LA to be followed by a new Cabriolet, Roadster, and Paceman. A five-door version of the base hatchback will also join in addition to the new Clubman, which is tipped to get a split tailgate instead of the single hinged aperture on the current model. The jury's still out on the Mini Coupe, which has largely failed to impress, while a convertible crossover could be back in the mix along with the rumored plug-in hybrid version.
Mini could go even bigger with next Countryman originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Nov 2013 10:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
2014 Mini Cooper stuns crowd, itself [w/videos]
Filed under: LA Auto Show, Hatchback, Mini, Design/Style
Remember the Mini Rocketman concept from 2011? While we were really, really hoping for a production version - a properly mini Mini - that never happened. And it won't. But what we are getting is a whole lot of that showcar's styling cues applied to the third-generation Mini Cooper hardtop, a model making its debut here at the LA Auto Show. And while from most angles, the new Mini is as cute as ever, we just can't quite warm up to that face - or that huge front overhang. The car simply looks like a frightened goldfish (that yellow paint isn't helping, either).
It should probably be pretty nice to drive, though, with the base Cooper using a new turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine good for 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Friskier Cooper S models get a healthy power increase, their 2.0-liter turbo engines putting out a full 189 hp and 207 lb-ft, with both engines are mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
The car simply looks like a frightened goldfish (that yellow paint isn't helping, either).
The 2014 Cooper also marks the first use of Mini's new Dynamic Damper Control, with two different damper settings (comfort and sport, basically). There are also three different driving modes - Mid, Sport and Green. Mid is the standard setting, and as for the Sport/Green modes, well, you can probably figure out how they function.
There's a revised interior, too, with the same sort of cheeky, circular gauges, though do note that the analog speedometer and the teensy rev counter have now moved out of the center stack and right behind the steering wheel, where they belong. Nothing else inside the new Mini is vastly different from previous models - just a host of fresh updates with what look like more intuitive controls.
Check out our fresh gallery of live shots direct from the LA show floor, and scroll down to watch video footage of the car's unveiling in both Los Angeles and London. We've also included the press blast in case you missed any details the first time around.
Continue reading 2014 Mini Cooper stuns crowd, itself [w/videos]
2014 Mini Cooper stuns crowd, itself [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Nov 2013 14:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Jaguar ousts Lexus from atop J.D. Power 2013 Sales Satisfaction Index
Filed under: Car Buying, Jaguar, Mini
Jaguar has taken the top spot among luxury brands in the 2013 Sales Satisfaction Index, an annual survey conducted by J.D. Power that measures customer satisfaction with the experience of purchasing a new vehicle. The English brand, not even among the top three luxury automakers on the list last year, vaulted ahead of Lexus, which placed third this year after leading the list in 2011 and 2012. Porsche, meanwhile, moved into second place.
The rankings are based on a point score out of 1,000, with Jaguar earning 740 points, Porsche right behind with 739 and Lexus with 737. Volvo, meanwhile, made the biggest improvement among luxury brands with a 30-point jump to 708, bring it up from 11th place to 9th this year.
J.D. Power has a separate ranking for mass-market brands, and this year Mini again tops the list with a score of 718, far outpacing second-place Buick with a score of 694 and making it the fourth time Mini has lead this list. After Buick, the next two ranked brands are both American and both from General Motors, with Chevrolet and GMC sharing third place with a score of 686.
In studying the new-car buying experience, J.D. Power also found that customer satisfaction was higher when salespeople used tablets during the buying process. When such devices were used by salespeople to collect information, demonstrate features or display pricing and payment information, the customer satisfaction score was some 52 points higher - 844 vs. 792 on the study's 1,000-point scale. Despite their positive effect, tablets are presently used by only 10 percent of dealerships, according to the study. Given the influential nature of J.D. Power studies, we're willing to bet you'll soon see a lot more of these computers at dealers near you in short order.
Continue reading Jaguar ousts Lexus from atop J.D. Power 2013 Sales Satisfaction Index
Jaguar ousts Lexus from atop J.D. Power 2013 Sales Satisfaction Index originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Nov 2013 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop officially revealed [UPDATE]
Filed under: LA Auto Show, Hatchback, Mini
There are occasions in life when something happens in the outside world and I think, "Damn. I wish Dad was here so we could talk about this."
In the past 13 years, that's happened every time Mini unveils a new model. And that's been quite often in the 12 years since the car was reintroduced - it has expanded to include seven different models, which is a testament to how quickly the updated Mini caught on. My Dad, who passed away in 1996, loved the brand. His first car was a Mini, and he'd race it in illegal rallies around the Irish countryside in his 20s, before he emigrated to the US and tried to (mostly) stay on the right side of the law.
Mini released photos and specs for the third-generation "original" hardtop car today. The company had to slap in the term "original" in there to differentiate it from the Convertible, longer-wheelbase Clubman, Countryman crossover, Paceman three-door crossover, Coupe and Roadster. Coming out with that many nameplates in 13 years is unprecedented growth for a company that's essentially brand-new in the US.
"Every year Mini convinces more and more people to consider small," Jim McDowell, vice president of Mini USA, told Autoblog. The brand thinks there's room enough for one more Mini model, McDowell said, which he promises will be "as radical in this decade as the original was in 1959."
"Every year Mini convinces more and more people to consider small."
But the new Mini hardtop isn't a radical departure from the older version. It's the same height as the recent model, has the same bulldog stance and wide front grille. But the nose is a little boxier, the headlights look like big, buggy eyes, and the car seems larger overall and carries more heft. The new design shows how the brand is maturing, the company said in a press release, and shows what Mini can do to maximize interior space, safety features, interior finishes, and keeping a sporty ride.
The new Mini, which hits the market in March 2014, will be available with two new engines. The Mini Cooper has a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine making 134 horsepower with maximum torque of 162 pound-feet, and the Mini Cooper S has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 189 horsepower and max torque of 207 lb-ft. Both engines use Mini's TwinPower turbo technology, and direct-injection. The company promises that increased engine efficiency, enhanced aerodynamics and a lighter car will result in better fuel economy figures, although it hasn't release those numbers yet.
The interior, which is a huge part of Mini's identity, has been updated as well. The car keeps a lot of its circular gauges, but the layout has been tweaked a bit to make it more user-friendly. Mini owners will either love or hate the fact that the window controls have been moved from the center of the car to the door panels, where they sit for most other car models.
Both engines use Mini's TwinPower turbo technology, and direct-injection.
It's tricky to update an iconic car like the Mini. Few other models, except cars like the Porsche 911 and Volkswagen Beetle, have to work the balance between making a car that's modern but doesn't abandon or alienate its core buyers.
"We don't change our cars just for newness sake," McDowell said. "We change to make it better. Our designers understand that there's a very definite Mini design vocabulary, and as long as they work within that vocabulary, there is a lot they can do."
Mini isn't releasing US pricing right now, but European pricing is already set. The Mini Cooper will start at 17,900 euros, and the Cooper S will start at 23,800 euros.
UPDATE: The original Mini was introduced in 1959, not 1969 as our original text stated. The typo has been rectified. Thanks to all who caught this and wrote in.
Continue reading 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop officially revealed [UPDATE]
2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop officially revealed [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Nov 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mini Traveller MPV caught on flatbed with five-door Mini and convertible
Filed under: Spy Photos, Convertible, Coupe, Hatchback, Mini
With the next-gen Mini Cooper hardtop set for its big debut next week at the LA Auto Show, we're getting a good look at what will be coming next for the BMW brand. Mini will follow up the introduction of the Mini Cooper with the new convertible model, but our spy shooters have proof that a plus-sized model (rumored to be called Traveller or Spacebox) is coming along quite well.
There still isn't much information about the Traveller (shown above), which will be longer and wider than the Countryman, but we can tell that it takes dimensional cues from both the Countryman and Clubman to maximize passenger and cargo space. The face of this new model will definitely be closer to the 2015 Cooper, and it will have a split rear door setup like the Clubman. Like the more recent Countryman and Paceman designs, though, the Traveller will have horizontally positioned taillights instead of the Cooper's vertical lights. We have no indication as to when we'll be seeing the Traveller in production form, but this prototype seems to be in the final stages of development.
As for the Cooper, we've already spied the hardtop completely uncovered, and just recently we spotted the sportier Cooper S Convertible being transported on a flatbed. The dual center-outlet exhaust is the key tell that model was the S, which likely means that the droptop spotted here the base model.
Mini Traveller MPV caught on flatbed with five-door Mini and convertible originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Nov 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Road & Track names its 2013 Performance Car of the Year
Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Performance, Wagon, Hatchback, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Ferrari, Luxury
Road & Track recently staged its first annual Performance Car of the Year test, pitting 13 new and updated performance cars against each other on track, then graduating the top six to a road test before picking a winner. Additionally, the magazine staff picked the best automobiles of the year in eight categories.
But first, let's cover the PCotY segment. Here's the list of cars brought to the comparison test: Audi R8 V10 Plus; BMW 435i; BMW M6 Competition Package; Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51; Ferrari F12 Berlinetta; Ford Fiesta ST; Jaguar F-Type V8 S; Jaguar XFR-S; Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model Wagon; Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series; Mini John Cooper Works GP; Nissan GT-R Track Edition; and Porsche Cayman S.
To find out the results of the comparison, head over to Road & Track's website or check the press release below, where you'll also find the magazine's top-rated vehicles in eight categories. Want more? Head over to the 2013 PCotY hub. But before you do that, take a stab at guessing the winner of PCotY (we'll give you one hint: it isn't a Porsche).
Continue reading Road & Track names its 2013 Performance Car of the Year
Road & Track names its 2013 Performance Car of the Year originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Nov 2013 19:13:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
BMW restores classic Mini as it revives production in Netherlands
Filed under: Classics, Budget, Hatchback, Mini
Mini will be kicking off production in the Netherlands, a country that hasn't built a Mini-badged machine since 1966. In honor of this event, BMW Group Classic, the team responsible for all the cars in the BMW Museum, as well as being a spare parts and restoration company in its own right, revived a classic 1959 Austin Seven. That particular car, number 983, was one of the first Minis to be built in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands' JJ Molenaar's Car Companies built 4,000 Austin Sevens and Morris Mini-Minors between 1959 and 1966, although we imagine Dutch Mini production will be much bigger when it starts up again in summer 2014. A five-person team from VDL Nedcar, the group handling production of new Minis, took to the job of restoring the diminutive British car from nose to tail.
The 34-horsepower engine and the transmission were both completely rebuilt, while the door panels were redone by hand. Help from the Mini community aided the VDL Nedcar team in finding authentic replicas or original parts where possible. All told, the new classic Mini is a striking example of what a good restoration can do to a car. The Seven was repainted in its original Farina Gray, adding to the car's sense of authenticity.
Take a look at the extensive gallery up top, and see just how sharp this 1959 Mini is. We also have a press release from BMW below that details the rebuild, as well.
Continue reading BMW restores classic Mini as it revives production in Netherlands
BMW restores classic Mini as it revives production in Netherlands originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 13 Nov 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mini teases third-gen hatch to debut next week
Filed under: Videos, Hatchback, Mini
All it takes is a small spark to set off a fire. Just look at what has happened since BMW brought back the Mini in the early 2000s. What started with a hatchback has since spawned more bodystyles than we care to count and almost as many imitators. The second generation followed in 2007, and now Mini is preparing to launch the third.
The new Mini is scheduled to debut a week from now on November 18 at the Oxford plant in England, just days before the LA Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show kick off and on the birthday of the original's designer Sir Alec Issigonis.
The third generation of the popular retro hatchback is expected to closely follow the lead set by the Mini Vision concept revealed a few months ago, but then we already knew that, having seen numerous undisguised photos of the new car in action. Still, the half-minute teaser video embedded below does a decent job of drumming up some enthusiasm, so if you're enamored of the Anglo-Saxon retromobile, head on down to check it out.
Continue reading Mini teases third-gen hatch to debut next week
Mini teases third-gen hatch to debut next week originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Nov 2013 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Get lost in Evo's sublime 2013 Car of the Year testing
Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Hatchback, Aston Martin, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, Ferrari, UK, Luxury
Every year Evo stages its Car of the Year test, bringing the best performance cars in the world to one location for an epic shootout. This year the magazine pitted eight CotY finalists against each other on Route Napoleon in Southern France - Evo claims it's the "best road in the world" - and then proceeded to nitpick the smallest of faults on each car until the winner could be named. You see, this year's lineup of machines was just so good that only one car obviously wasn't CotY material from the get-go. Can you guess which one judging from the list below?
- Aston Martin V12 Vantage S
- Audi R8 V10 Plus
- Mercedes-Benz SLS Black Series
- Porsche 911 GT3
- Alfa Romeo 4C
- Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
- Porsche Cayman S
- Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP
Head on down to watch CotY 2013, which comes in two parts and lasts almost 30 minutes - but we assure you it's worth your time.
Continue reading Get lost in Evo's sublime 2013 Car of the Year testing
Get lost in Evo's sublime 2013 Car of the Year testing originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 08 Nov 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Next Mini Convertible spotted on flatbed truck
Filed under: Spy Photos, Convertible, Performance, Mini, Luxury
Mini is well underway testing the third-generation of its four-place Cooper Convertible, as evidenced by these photos, showing the new droptop riding along on a flatbed.
Codenamed the F57 - as opposed to the "F56" designation for the Hardtop - the Convertible will ride on the same UKL front-drive architecture that will underpin its hardtop brother, not to mention its German cousins, the BMW 1 Series GT and X1. According to our spies, it'll share more than a few of the BMW i's lightweight technologies and will include such advanced features as electronically adjustable dampers. That seems like some high-dollar tech for a droptop Mini, but we'd be quite happy to see it arrive all the same.
From the beltline down, we can expect the Convertible to feature almost identical styling to the Hardtop. Based on the spy photos, there's not a lot to see above the belt line, either. The roof carries roughly the same shape, and will probably fold in a similar Z-pattern to the current canvas top.
Underhood, the Convertible should share its powertrains with the Hatchback, meaning the top-flight mill will be a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-pot will be the standard engine, but should still come to play with 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. While the F56 Mini will debut in a few weeks time, we'll be waiting much longer to see the F57 Convertible, with our spy claiming an on-sale date in 2015. Based on that, a Geneva debut seems like a long-shot, although the 2014 Paris or Los Angeles shows seem like possibilities.
Next Mini Convertible spotted on flatbed truck originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Nov 2013 17:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Japan dominates Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Rankings, US and Europe gaining [UPDATE]
Filed under: Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Jeep, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo, Ram
Consumer Reports has released its annual Auto Reliability Rankings, and surprise of surprises, Japan is dominant. Among brands in 2014, Lexus, Toyota and Acura make up the top three marques, while Mazda, Infiniti, Honda and Subaru sit fifth, sixth, eighth, and tenth, respectively. For those keeping track at home, Japan's dominance wasn't complete, though.
Audi's 2014 models helped the German brand jump from eighth to fourth, while Volvo saw a massive, 13-spot improvement, to seventh overall. Even GMC got in on the action, jumping three places, to ninth.
Outside of the top 10, America, Europe and Japan saw more mixed results. Scion took the biggest tumble of any brand, falling ten positions to number 11, while Subaru, though still in the top ten, dropped five spots (coincidentally, CR had nothing good to say about Subaru and Toyota's joint venture, calling the BRZ and Scion FR-S each brand's least reliable vehicle). Nissan fell nine places to number 22 overall. BMW and Mercedes-Benz each climbed one place, to fifteenth and thirteenth, respectively.
The big earners, though, besides Volvo, included Buick, which jumped nine places to number 12. Chrysler and Ram both saw improvements, turning in at 18 and 19 respectively, although Jeep dropped four spots and Dodge stayed level at number 24. After a big fall in last year's rankings, Ford made a mild improvement, but was still dinged by CR over infotainment issues relating to MyFord Touch. Only Lincoln and Mini scored worse than the Blue Oval.
While the American and European brands have gained ground in terms of individual marques, Japan still has a firm grasp on individual vehicle categories. Of the 18 vehicle categories, ranging from subcompacts to sports cars to full-size pickups, Japanese models led 14 categories, including the midsize car and midsize SUV rankings. Europe captured the remaining four categories, while US cars and trucks were relegated to silver medals, at best.
Take a look below for a full press release on the 2014 rankings from Consumer Reports, and be sure to pick up CR's December 2013 issue for the full story on the annual Auto Reliability Rankings.
*UPDATE: Consumer Reports has removed the Toyota Camry, RAV4 and Prius V from its list of Recommended vehicles, and has added the Tesla Model S as a Recommended vehicle. Read more about those changes here.
Continue reading Japan dominates Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Rankings, US and Europe gaining [UPDATE]
Japan dominates Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Rankings, US and Europe gaining [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 14:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mini officially reveals Frozen Black Countryman and Paceman
Filed under: Hatchback, Mini, Design/Style
BMW has been offering Frozen editions of its cars for several years now highlighted by matte paint and very limited production, and now Mini is getting in on the game with Frozen Black versions of the Paceman and Countryman. Unlike our report from earlier in the week, these models will not wear the Batman-sounding Black Knight name, but instead, like the BMW models, will be dubbed Frozen Edition. That previous intel also had it that production of the Frozen Edition Minis would be limited to just 60 units. Now official, Mini has not confirmed how many - or few - of these limited edition models it would build.
The Frozen Black paint adds silicates to the lacquer finish creating a "matted impression," which sounds like it should be easier for owners to maintain and wash, although Mini still advises against waxing or polishing. This special paint will be offered on all S, Diesel and John Cooper Works versions of the Paceman and Countryman, though it's not clear as of this writing if any will be offered in the US. Mini's press release for the Frozen Black Paceman and Countryman is posted below.
Continue reading Mini officially reveals Frozen Black Countryman and Paceman
Mini officially reveals Frozen Black Countryman and Paceman originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 19 Oct 2013 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mini's matte Countryman Black Knight Edition rises
Filed under: Budget, Performance, Hatchback, Mini, Design/Style, Luxury
Mini is certainly no stranger to a special edition, as unique option and styling packs have been a staple of the Mini line since its return to the US market, but it's next special trim is quite a big departure from previous cars. It's based on the Countryman, and is called the Black Knight Edition.
As you cans see from the image up top, it'll sport a sinister, matte-black paint scheme, making this Mini not unlike BMW's range of Frozen Edition cars. First reported on by those Mini-obsessed folks at MotoringFile, the Black Knight Edition Countryman will be limited to 60 units, and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, making this car quite a bit different from previous special editions, which generally stuck around for a full model year.
According to MF, the matte finish will only be available on the Cooper S Countryman, although oddly, one of the teaser images shows a John Cooper Works badge. BKE models should be coming nearly loaded, which means that there's not a lot of customization done and the price tag is probably going to be exorbitant for a Mini. Buyers will, though, have the choice of front- or all-wheel drive and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Having lived with matte paint on our long-term Hyundai Veloster Turbo, it's good to see other manufacturers offering the sleek finish. Aside from being unable to take the car through a car wash, we've found the matte finish a relatively maintenance-free delight, and don't expect anything less from this Countryman.
Mini's matte Countryman Black Knight Edition rises originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Oct 2013 18:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mini adding new driver assist systems to future models
Filed under: Safety, Technology, Hatchback, Mini
With all the recent news about automated vehicle technology (from Ford, Nissan and Toyota, among others), Mini is bringing some not-so-groundbreaking tech into its products to better keep the driver connected to the car. Other than stating that these new technologies will roll out in future models, there is no telling when we could see them starting to show up, although our best guess is the 2015 Mini Cooper.
Two of the more notable technologies that Mini will introduce include a head-up display system (shown above) and the "city braking" system to work in conjunction with collision warning and passenger detection. The automated braking system is made possible with the forward-mounted camera, which is also used for adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming headlights and a street sign detection system (to relay speed limit and traffic sign info to the driver). A new parking assist feature helps drivers find a properly sized parking spot, and then drivers can take advantage of the backup camera.
Mini obviously isn't the first to introduce these technologies, but it might be among the first to bring such a large number of advanced safety features into a car priced under $30,000 - though there is no telling how much these options will cost. The automaker has issued a brief press release for its upcoming driver assist systems, which is posted below.
Continue reading Mini adding new driver assist systems to future models
Mini adding new driver assist systems to future models originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 13 Oct 2013 17:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Next-gen Mini could sire 10 different models including PHEV
Filed under: Budget, Hybrid, Performance, Mini, Electric, Diesel, Luxury
The first generation of the reimagined, BMW-backed Mini was a simple things, confined to two body styles - hatchback and four-seat convertible. It wasn't until the second-generation platform came along that Mini began truly expanding, offering a long-wheelbase model, a roadster, a coupe, a five-door crossover, and a three-door, um, thing?
According to an interview between Automotive News Europe and the BMW board member that oversees Mini, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the funky British brand will be expanding far beyond the seven body styles it currently offers. "With the new ULK architecture, we currently have in mind eight to 10 models," Schwarzenbauer told ANE. That architecture he mentions, will also underpin the BMW 1 Series GT and the BMW X1, meaning that BMW is aiming for 10 to 12 different vehicles from just two brands off one platform (and that's only what we know about).
BMW is aiming for 10 to 12 different vehicles from just two brands off one platform.
The growth in the Mini line isn't just limited to body styles, but overall production capacity, adding a new contract manufacturer in the Netherlands, with Schwarzenbauer telling ANE, "If I told you [Mini's total production capacity] I would be revealing exactly what our growth plans are. What I can say is that last year we produced and sold 300,000 units and right now we are expanding that capacity."
Besides growth plans, Schwarzenbauer hints that Mini's range of three- and four-cylinder, turbocharged, gas engines may be joined by EVs, plug-in hybrids and the long awaited (for US customers) diesel model. The EV and PHEV models are especially notable, as it signifies both that Mini is ready to expand into alternative energy, which it's avoided outside of the Mini E, while also pointing out that BMW's i division won't be the only ones playing with electricity.
Closing out, Schwarzenbauer let slip some details of availability on the third-generation Minis, saying that while cars will arrive at European and US dealers in the spring of 2014, there won't be regular inventories until later in the summer. Head over to Automotive News Europe for the full interview.
Next-gen Mini could sire 10 different models including PHEV originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 12 Oct 2013 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mini Moke staging its own comeback?
Filed under: Convertible, Mini, Electric, Off-Road
Of all the bodystyles that Minis have worn over the years - and there have been a lot of them - few have attained the kind of cult status as the Moke. A sort of quirky take on the beach buggy, the Mini Moke was marketed by various concerns until 1993, the year before BMW bought the brand and later relaunched production with its neo-retro design.
Ever since then, Mini has toyed with the idea of bringing back the Moke, and even showcased the Beachcomber concept in the style of the Moke at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. But it opted instead to go with the Paceman crossover coupe with its fixed roof.
A certain cadre of enthusiasts may have been disappointed, but they'll be glad to know that they can still get their hands on a continuation of the classic from Moke International. In partnership with Sicar Engineering and Chinese automaker Chery Motors, the Moke is back (sans the Mini name that belongs to BMW) with a reinterpreted form by British designer Michael Young. It's got room for four, an integrated ice cooler, but no doors, roof or windows, staying true to the original design brief.
Power comes from a naturally-aspirated 1.0-liter four with less than 50 horsepower. Mated to a five-speed manual, it drives the front wheels to reach a top speed quoted at 68 miles per hour. There's also an electric-powered eMoke with an unspecified powertrain that's said to propel it up to 37 mph and for as long as 75 miles on a single charge. In other words, it's not going anywhere fast, but still, upgraded suspension and brakes are always appreciated. Only 1,000 cars are slated to be produced each year, available in one of six exterior shades, four interior trims and two fabric roof colors.
Mini Moke staging its own comeback? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Oct 2013 08:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
2015 Mini Cooper snapped uncovered on the road
Filed under: Spy Photos, Hatchback, Mini
The third generation of reborn Mini is nearly upon us. Just look at the trail of breadcrumbs the Anglo-Saxon automaker has been leaving us.
First we saw the upcoming new Mini Cooper, spied from above at a photo shoot, which Mini was quick to point out was not its best angle. Then BMW's retro-hatch division showcased the Mini Vision concept, and followed up just yesterday with details of the new engines and chassis that will underpin the latest model. And now we have the clearest batch of spy shots we've seen yet.
Not only were these shots taken from a better angle, but also show the new Mini in the more tempting Cooper S trim - complete with hood scoop, split-spoke alloys, roof spoiler and twin central exhaust tips.
While lower-spec models will take their motivation from a three-cylinder engine, this Cooper S (which will form the top spec until the JCW model arrives) will pack a 2.0-liter turbo four cranking it 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Look for the new generation of Minis to launch in the Spring.
2015 Mini Cooper snapped uncovered on the road originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 Sep 2013 09:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Mini announces thoroughly modern engines and chassis for 2014 Cooper
Filed under: Hatchback, BMW, Mini
We have seen spy photos of the all-new Mini Cooper. We have been teased about its drivetrain. Now we have the engine details confirmed by BMW.
The 2014 Cooper will come with a three-cylinder engine and the Cooper S will get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, both with Mini's TwinPower turbochargers.
The next Cooper, which will be officially unveiled at the Oxford factory in November and then at the Los Angeles Auto Show a couple of days later, will come with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine for the base model, and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder for the Cooper S. The base engine produces 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, the plateau of which is reached at just 1,250 rpm. An overboost function allows up to 170 lb-ft for short bursts. The four-banger produces 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque (221 lb-ft with overboost). These power figures come thanks to Mini's TwinPower turbocharging and direct injection, technologies that are borrowed from Mini's parent company, BMW. In case you forgot, this is actually the first engine used by Mini sourced from BMW. The first of the reborn Cooper models was powered by a joint-venture engine with Chrysler. The second-generation uses an engine from Peugeot.
A higher-performing package will, of course, accompany the John Cooper Works edition that we're certain will be coming shortly after the new Cooper launches in Spring 2014.
Mini has chosen to hook its new engines to six-speed transmissions, which, contrary to the trend of adding more gears for more efficiency, is the same number of ratios found in the current Cooper. Stop-start will be standard as well. Cooper models equipped with navigation, meanwhile, will get new technology from BMW that can anticipate upcoming downshifts, such as when approaching an intersection or sharp turn.
Continue reading Mini announces thoroughly modern engines and chassis for 2014 Cooper
Mini announces thoroughly modern engines and chassis for 2014 Cooper originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments