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  • Mini interns turn Paceman into Adventure pickup

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    Mini Paceman Adventure

    With coupes and convertibles, hatchbacks and crossovers, Mini has done just about every bodystyle we could think of, and then a few more as concepts. But it hasn't done a pickup. At least it hadn't until now.

    What we have here is a Mini Paceman (that, of course, being the coupe version of the Countryman) which has been transformed into a pickup by a group of BMW interns. It's called the Mini Paceman Adventure, and it's currently on display at the Mini dealership in Munich. According to BimmerToday.de, the project involved not only chopping the roof and installing a makeshift pickup bed, but also reinforcing the body, reforming the underbody and B-pillar, fitting off-road tires (including a spare fitted to a roof rack) and a handful of other minor modifications.

    The photos are a little sketchy (although the dealership tells us a better set will be available soon), but from what we can see, it looks like a pretty solid project - one that makes us wonder if the apprentices' bosses might be paying attention. Because next to the Mini Coupe with its oddball backwards-hat roof treatment, this one-off looks as sensible as you'd expect from a group of German interns.

    Mini interns turn Paceman into Adventure pickup originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Mini reveals refreshed Paceman in Beijing

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    2015 Mini Paceman Cooper S

    It was just a few days ago that Mini unveiled its refreshed Countryman at the New York Auto Show, and now it has followed up with the revised version of that model's coupe counterpart, the Paceman. Revealed today at the Beijing Motor Show, the new Paceman adopts all the changes applied to the new Countryman - which is to say, not a whole lot, but maybe enough to keep it current for the masses of customers in the market for a three-door version of a vehicle that's bigger than its stablemates but smaller than most other crossovers.

    Pictured here in Piano Black (one of three new shades on offer alongside Midnight Grey and the Jungle Green in which the new Countryman was featured), the mildly refreshed Paceman has, like its five-door counterpart, been so subtly updated that we can scarcely tell the difference... even after sorting through the press release below. There are some minor revisions to the exterior, the cabin features slightly updated equipment, and the Cooper S gets an extra few horsepower. And that's about all she wrote, folks.

    Mini will offer the updated Paceman worldwide with a wide array of four-cylinder engine options. With no budget-oriented One model, the Cooper is the base model with a 122-horsepower version of the brand's ubiquitous 1.4-liter four and the John Cooper Works sits at the top of the range with 218 hp. The two diesel specs are present as well, and buyers cam choose (on most models) between front- and All4 all-wheel drive.

    Scope out the details in the press release below, if you're so inclined, and the 45 high-resolution images in the gallery above for a closer look.

    Continue reading Mini reveals refreshed Paceman in Beijing

    Mini reveals refreshed Paceman in Beijing originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 20 Apr 2014 16:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • 2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana impersonation in Malaysia

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    Screencap of a Malaysian video promo for the new Mini.

    Mini Malaysia wants you - at least those of you in Southeast Asia - to know that the new Mini has a riptide of adrenaline and sharp teeth underneath its larger, more ergonomically efficient exterior. To make the point it enlisted the aid of Putrajaya roads, local agency Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid and four local action sports stars: Fizzy, Shuk, Rizlan and Nasa.

    A bog standard Mini Cooper S is the star, its 192-horsepower engine and rollcage-free cabin reinforcing the message that you can do the same thing in a model right off the showroom floor... if you happen to have the same skills as Ivan Khong, the Malaysian Gymkhana Champion behind the wheel. You can read the backstory in the press release and watch how it all comes together in the video below.

    Continue reading 2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana impersonation in Malaysia

    2015 Mini Cooper S does best gymkhana impersonation in Malaysia originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Mini lifts veil on refreshed Countryman in New York

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    2015 Mini Countryman

    When Mini introduced the Countryman in 2010, it emerged as the brand's first crossover, its first five-door model and its first to offer all-wheel drive. It also arrived mid-lifecycle in the last generation of Mini Cooper hatchback, with which it shares little more than a passing family resemblance. Now that the Anglo-Saxon automaker is moving on to its third generation of retro hatch, it's given the Countryman a bit of a refresh to keep it current.

    Unveiled today at the New York Auto Show, the new Countryman incorporates some very minor cosmetic tweaks to the exterior - so minor, in fact, that you'd be hard pressed to tell one from the other even if viewed side by side. Some subtle enhancements have been implemented to the interior as well, where the large central speedometer remains where it was in the middle of the dashboard (unlike the new Cooper hatch that moves it to where you'd normally find the instrument cluster, behind the steering wheel). The rear seats, however, offer more adjustability.

    Mini will offer the new Countryman worldwide in an array of powertrain configurations, ranging from the bare-bones Mini One Countryman with a 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated four offering just 98 horsepower all the way up to the twin-turbo John Cooper Works with 218 hp - North American customers will get the latter, but not the former. The mid-range Cooper S has been enhanced by seven horses to deliver 190 hp, while overseas-only diesel models range from 90 hp to 143. Buyers will be able to choose between a six-speed manual or automatic and front-or all-wheel drive. There are also some new colors on offer and a host of optional equipment, all of which you can read about in the press release below.

    Continue reading Mini lifts veil on refreshed Countryman in New York

    Mini lifts veil on refreshed Countryman in New York originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • 2014 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman All4

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    2014 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman

    The standard Mini Countryman is a bit of an odd duck against the backdrop of 'normal' small crossovers like the Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Escape, but I sort of get it. Apply the same winning Mini formula to a CUV, and you get a smaller-than-average entry in the segment, one that is far more entertaining to drive than the norm, more stylish inside and out and pretty expensive when cross-shopped. That list of qualities doesn't appeal to all crossover shoppers, sure, but it intrigues a big enough list that the Countryman has reason for being.

    Now, add the expensive John Cooper Works package to the Countryman's already niche goodies list, and Mini starts to lose me. So, I'm getting the softer suspended, taller, generally less dynamically joyful version of the brand's core values, but now you're charging me at least $35,000 ($13k more expensive than the basic, front-drive Cooper Countryman and $7k more than the MSRP of the Cooper S All4 version)? What's that? You're going to make it look like a garish, tippy-toed tuner car in the process? Take my money.

    Or, actually, let me keep it. I can swing with a lot of the weirdness that Mini has to offer, but this car pushed me past my limit.

    Driving Notes
    • Black stripe package ($500), black headlamp surrounds with Xenon lamps ($600), 19-inch wheels ($750), leather seats with red piping ($2,000), flat load floor in hatch ($250), chrome line interior ($250), tech package with navi ($2,250), premium pack with dual sunroof ($1,250), cold weather pack ($750). Sorry for the list; that's what it'll take to make your JCW Countryman ring up for almost $43k, as mine did.
    • One thing the John Cooper package does get you, is where you are going in a hurry. 6.6 seconds to 60 miles per hour feels more than sprightly from the high seating position of this car, and the torque jump up to 207 pound-feet (on overboost) is rather thrilling compared with the 177 lb-ft from the still quick Cooper S Countryman.
    • Huge 19-inch wheels wearing hard-as-nails run-flat rubber kill any of the ride quality the standard Countryman offers versus the rest of the Mini line. In the case of the JCW, though, the sturdier set of suspenders isn't enough to dial out a ton of roll through hard corners. With less comfort in a straight line and a still-tippy feeling in the bendy bits, this Countryman gets the worst of all worlds.
    • Direct steering with ample feedback is in the Mini DNA, and both are in evidence with the JCW CUV. The All4 all-wheel-drive setup seemed grippy enough during my mostly dry driving week, as well. Of course, the incoherent mix of hard springs and high ride height obliterated any desire I may have had to exploit the car's tactility and outright poise, so it hardly mattered.
    • Now with a bench seat in the rear quarters (the original Countryman had twin buckets and a rail-system center console), there is a lot of practicality baked into a small footprint here. The Countryman is still short enough to be wieldy around the city, while offering enough backseat space and cargo room to keep a young, hip, small family-type pretty comfortable.
    • The Countryman is a useful package, wherein you're always paying more than a 'standard' small CUV for added style and verve. The high cost and unsettling ride of the JCW adds make zero sense to me, however. This isn't a car you're going to autocross, or even want to drive hard on the proverbial canyon road. Sock that seven grand away into a college fund or put it into your Spec Miata if that's your thing, and stick with the more reasonable version of this biggest Mini.

    2014 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman All4 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Apr 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Honda, Mercedes top KBB brand image awards [w/video]

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    ECONOMY

    Kelley Blue Book has announced the winners of its 2014 Brand Image Awards, which look at brands with "attributes that capture the attention and enthusiasm" of customers in the market for a new car.

    The award is divided up into luxury brands and everyone else non-luxury brands, with a number of sub-awards in each group. There's also a single award for truck brands. Taking the crown for the best everyman brand (for the second year in a row) is Honda, while Mercedes-Benz was the king of the luxury brackets. Ford, meanwhile, had the best image among pickup buyers.

    Honda was also named the most trusted brand among shoppers, while Kia, GMC, Mini and Chevrolet also snagged awards for value, refinement, performance and styling, respectively. Secondary winners in the luxury ranks include Lexus, Buick, Porsche and Jaguar. Mercedes was also named the most refined luxury brand.

    "The classic saying 'perception is reality' falls true with the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards, as more than 12,000 in-market new-car shoppers have voiced their opinions about today's automakers," said Hwei-Lin Oetken, vice president of market intelligence for KBB. "With strong marketing communications coming from auto manufacturers and dealers, and the increased importance of peer reviews and ratings, consumers today are more influenced than ever to take interest in a brand, ultimately affecting their vehicle purchase decisions."

    Take a look below for KBB's video recap of this year's awards, as well as a press release detailing the winning attributes of each brand.

    Continue reading Honda, Mercedes top KBB brand image awards [w/video]

    Honda, Mercedes top KBB brand image awards [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • 2015 Mini Countryman getting mild facelift for NY

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    2013 Mini Countryman

    Mini has introduced three generations of retro hatchback since its revival in 2001, with numerous bodystyles spun off that core model. But the Countryman has always stood apart from the rest (save the Paceman which was in turn spun off of it). The Mini crossover is bigger than the rest of the lineup, has more doors, more driven wheels and a familiar yet different look.

    There's an all-new model in the works, set to share its architecture with BMW's own front-drive family. But that's still a couple of years away, so to keep the Countryman looking fresh, Mini is reportedly preparing to roll out a mildly facelifted version at the upcoming New York Auto Show.

    As we're still awaiting confirmation from the automaker, few details on the updated Countryman are available at this point, but word has it that it will only include some minor cosmetic enhancements to the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Just how comprehensive those updates will be, and how many of them will be derived from the latest Mini Cooper hardtop remain to be seen, but with the NY show just a week away, it won't be long before we find out.

    2015 Mini Countryman getting mild facelift for NY originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Apr 2014 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Mini goes zany with latest accessories catalog

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    Mini Accessories

    Driving a Mini is most definitely an individualistic choice - one that not everyone would get on board with. So if you're going to go with such a fashion statement, you might as well give it your own sense of style. That's where Mini's new line of accessories come in.

    Mini AccessoriesAvailable for the new third-gen Mini hardtop, the accessories offer buyers the opportunity to customize their retro hatchback as best they see fit. There are roof graphics, accessory lighting, wheel upgrades and mirror caps (like the cartoonish ones pictured at right) just like you would have found in the parts catalog for previous iterations of the Mini, but now the brand is offering four appearance kits it's calling Mini Design Lines.

    The kits are color coordinated in either Vivid Green, Speedwell Blue, John Cooper Works Pro (in black, red and grey) and Essential Black and include everything from the interior trim to exterior graphics. They might not be to everyone's taste, but that kinda strikes us as the point. Scope 'em out in the extensive high-res image gallery above and the details in the press release below.

    Mini goes zany with latest accessories catalog originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Guerlain Chicherit going for world record for longest car jump

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    Guerlain Chicherit

    Does the name Guerlain Chicherit ring any bells? It definitely should if you're into competitive skiing, as he was crowned world champion in off-trail freeriding four times. But he's also a rally driver, winning the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup in 2009 and even a stage of the Dakar Rally the following year. What really set him apart, though, was when he back-flipped a Mini Countryman rally car to set a world record last year. And now he's after another.

    This time he's going after the world record for the longest ramp jump in a car. The record currently belongs to Tanner Foust at 332 feet, but Chicherit plans to break it by a good thirty more with a targeted distance of 360 feet.

    He'll be using the Mini once again, sponsored by Monster Energy and Toyo Tires, and specially modified for the endeavor which he plans to undertake this Sunday under the auspices of Guinness World Record officials. We'll be watching to see how it all goes down.

    Continue reading Guerlain Chicherit going for world record for longest car jump

    Guerlain Chicherit going for world record for longest car jump originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Mar 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Mini might not replace Paceman, Coupe, Roadster

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    Mini Paceman

    Nobody could argue at this point that Mini (like its parent company BMW) has not mastered the art (if you could call it that) of filling every niche with its own model. But with the third generation of Mini now upon us, some of the company's strategists are asking themselves what the point is of it all.

    The outgoing second-generation Mini spawned too many variants to count. So far the new model has only surfaced in hatchback form, but the brand may roll out quite as many variants this time around. Instead it is looking at its lineup in terms of pillars.

    The quintessential hatchback we've already seen would be one pillar. The Countryman crossover would be another. And the production version of the new Clubman concept which Mini displayed in Geneva would be a third. A convertible based (like the existing one and the one that came before it) on the hardtop hatchback is likely to follow, but don't expect too many other versions.

    That would mean that many of the brand's quirkier two-door models could face the axe - or rather simply not be replaced by new versions. That would likely include the Coupe, the Roadster and the Paceman crossover. While some of us are more partial to the roadster than the cabriolet, and despite them all being relatively good to steer, we have to say that we'd hardly miss any of them.

    Mini might not replace Paceman, Coupe, Roadster originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Mini nixes plans for 7-seater, Countryman to stay largest model

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    Mini Cooper Clubman Concept

    Contrary to popular belief, it seems that Mini's growth plans do have a limit both in size and number of models. During the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, it unveiled the six-door Clubman concept (pictured above) that was 4.4-inches longer and about two-inches wider than even the current Countryman crossover. Mini design chief Anders Warming says that this is the new size limit for its models, and the BMW subsidiary isn't building a larger, seven-passenger vehicle above the current Countryman.

    "We won't build anything bigger than the Countryman, not at this moment. You should be able to park a Mini in a city, so a Countryman or this new Clubman is as big as it should be," said Warming to Auto Express in Geneva. Rumors going back to last November, pegged the Mini as developing an even larger vehicle to take on mainstream CUVs.

    While Warming is ruling out a bigger Minis for now, a smaller one like the Rocketman concept still might be in the cards. He said that the project has been warmly received but still had to be investigated because "it's a numbers game." So if bigger Minis aren't coming, there still might be a slim chance for a smaller one.

    Mini nixes plans for 7-seater, Countryman to stay largest model originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 08 Mar 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Mini Clubman Concept isn't mini, isn't a Clubman

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    Mini Clubman Concept

    Hey, remember when Mini was... mini? I know, you've heard all this before. But seriously.

    Take this new Mini Clubman Concept, for example. As you'll recall, the current Clubman slots in between the Hardtop and Countryman models in the Mini lineup. But because the new, third-generation Mini has grown, so has everything else. And in fact, the concept car seen here is actually 4.4 inches longer and just over 2 inches wider than the current, already-large Countryman. The future of Mini looks awfully maxi.

    Furthermore, the Clubman as we know it uses a weird, five-door layout (two up front, a third, suicide door, and two barn doors out back), but this concept adds a sixth door for a decidedly more conventional layout. Of course, four real doors for passengers sort of takes the uniqueness out of the Clubman package, and essentially makes this thing a not-as-tall, front-wheel-drive Countryman. Totally necessary, right?

    Have a look at the images above, and let us know what you think about the Clubman concept, in Comments.

    Continue reading Mini Clubman Concept isn't mini, isn't a Clubman

    Mini Clubman Concept isn't mini, isn't a Clubman originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 09:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Watch Jay Leno bounce around with Dakar winner Roma in his Mini All4Racing

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    Jay Leno Mini Countryman Dakar

    With Jay Leno off the Tonight Show, he has all the time in the world to focus on his passion for cars and can even travel a little. Leno teamed up with two-time Dakar Rally winner Nani Roma to jump and slide a Mini Countryman All4 racing truck around the dunes in Death Valley, CA.

    The Mini-branded trucks are highly modified for off-road duty. They have won the Dakar Rally consecutively in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and even took a 1-2-3 finish in the most recent running. The specialized Minis are propelled over the dunes by a BMW-sourced, diesel engine with a six-speed sequential gearbox and heavy-duty all-wheel drive system with a locking center differential.

    It is amusing to see the big smile on Leno's face, and Roma appears a little worried while Jay is driving. If this is what to expect from the post-Tonight Show Jay Leno's Garage videos, then things are only getting better from an already fantastic series. Scroll down to watch Leno and Roma take a Mini through the dunes.

    Continue reading Watch Jay Leno bounce around with Dakar winner Roma in his Mini All4Racing

    Watch Jay Leno bounce around with Dakar winner Roma in his Mini All4Racing originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 03 Mar 2014 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Mini Clubman Concept throws open all six of its doors for Geneva

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    Mini Clubman Concept

    Coming in just over 10 inches longer and 6.5 inches wider than the 2013 Mini Clubman, the new Mini Clubman Concept that you see above is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week. Let's get the maximum mini jokes out of the way right off the bat... Done? Okay, moving along.

    Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, says that this Clubman Concept "shows how the Mini Clubman could be taken a step further: more interior space, a greater sense of high-end quality and yet still clever, bold and distinctive." And that extra interior space will be accessible through four real doors, eschewing the single-sided barn door approach of the current Clubman. Well, mostly - there's still the side-by-side barn door philosophy at the back instead of a more traditional upward-opening hatch. In fact, spy shots and early rumors pegged this more conventionally doored Mini as a new model selling under a new name, possibly Traveller. However, it appears that Mini will stick with the brand equity it has established with Clubman instead.

    As you can see in the small image gallery above, the Clubman Concept is instantly recognizable as a Mini, though a somewhat more refined overall package than past efforts. The front headlamps still have a bit of a surprised look to them, but we think this concept's overall fascia, and its unique bright finishes, might be more successful than the latest Cooper's. At the rear, there are a set of rather large taillights dominating the view, and we note that the prevalence of air intakes and scoops at parent BMW have moved on down to the Mini line. We'll have to reserve final judgment until we see the Clubman Concept in person.

    Inside the Cooper Clubman Concept is where things take a decidedly more futuristic turn. Looking past the Superman-esque color scheme, we see higher-end materials on the dash and door panels than any Mini before. There are digital gauges aplenty, and a set of controls that change based on the setup of the car.

    There's a full press release below with more information to go along with the four images above. Check 'em out and stay tuned for live images and impressions next week. And, for what it's worth, we have a feeling it won't be long before we see a production Clubman boasting four conventional doors arriving on our shores.

    Continue reading Mini Clubman Concept throws open all six of its doors for Geneva

    Mini Clubman Concept throws open all six of its doors for Geneva originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Upcoming Mini 5-door hatch spied in the snow

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    Mini Cooper five-door hatchback spy shots

    We are about to get a flood of new Mini models now that the new 2014 model is officially out. In just the past few months, we've seen spy shots of the next-generation John Cooper Works and so-called Traveler crossover, and here we have the upcoming five-door hatchback in Cooper S form, a model that, like the Traveler, is expected to effectively obviate the need for the slow-selling Clubman.

    Mini is not exactly hiding that this is a new five-door model, even with its camouflage - the rear door line and handle are clear as day. Also, compared to the three-door Cooper Hardtop, there appears to be an added pillar and additional length at the rear. The hatch also appears to be mounted at a steeper angle than the standard Mini. Also, you have to admit that the Mickey-Mouse-ear fog lights are cute, even if Mini would never actually sell it that way.

    Expect to see even more variants soon, if BMW and Mini want to reach their goal of selling over a million front-wheel drive vehicles - an earlier report indicated there could be as many as 23 front-wheel drive cars from the brands in the coming years.

    Upcoming Mini 5-door hatch spied in the snow originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Help Mini decide on its next limited-edition Cooper

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    Mini New Originals contest

    Mini likes to make a big hullabaloo about the number of ways its cars can be configured, which currently stands at 10 million. While that figure is impressive, the BMW-owned brand is always looking for new and unique design variations, a trend that has seen a number of special-edition Minis pop up over the years boasting unique color and trim items.

    For the new, third-generation F56 Mini, the British brand is at it again. Only this time, the cars are designed and chosen by Mini's fans in a new contest. Called "The New Originals," Mini teamed its 10 Final Test Test Drive winners with an illustrator to design their perfect Mini, one of which will become the next special-edition model.

    The ten cars are currently being voted on by the brand's fans on the Mini USA website, with the winner set to be announced at the 2014 New York Auto Show in April. A total of 56 examples of the winning entry will then be put on sale, making this one of the most limited of Mini's many limited editions. Voting closes on February 19, so hop over to the page and vote for your favorite.

    Help Mini decide on its next limited-edition Cooper originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Feb 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • First Mini John Cooper Works prototype spied

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    Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

    The highlight of Mini's 2014 Detroit Auto Show stand was the arrival of the John Cooper Works Concept, a sportier version of the three-door hatch that presages the next JCW model on the new platform. Now, we have our first images of the production car undergoing winter testing way up north in Sweden.

    Really, the Mini camouflage can't hide what this car is. Between the JCW-branded brake calipers and extra intakes in the front fascia, it's fairly easy to see that this is the sportier version of the car our own Jeremy Korzeniewski wrote about last week. We're expecting the JCW variant to pack a fair bit more firepower than the three-cylinder Cooper he tested, of course. Rumors have circulated that the hottest Mini model could jump to 230 horsepower, up from the current, non-GP car's 208.

    There are a number of style features missing here, and while it's entirely possible we'll see things like the JCW Concept's diffuser and side gills arrive when this car is shown in production form (or even further along in testing), their absence in these spy photos is telling. We certainly think this car will become the production JCW Hardtop, but there may be another explanation. The lack of certain aesthetic features means this could be a test of the JCW Engine Kit, which in past Minis slotted in between the standard Mini Cooper S and the factory Works car. We'll admit, it's a long-shot, but there is precedent for it - the JCW Tuning Kit arrived a year before the factory model in the last-generation car. The same reasoning could be used to explain the presence of the JCW-branded brakes, which have been another well-known Mini accessory over the years.

    As always, we want to hear what you think. Is this a production version of the Detroit concept car, or is it merely a test of the tuning kit? Have your say in Comments.

    First Mini John Cooper Works prototype spied originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Feb 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • 2014 Mini Cooper

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    2014 Mini Cooper

    If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone from Mini refer to 'go-kart-like handling,' I'd be retired, living on a beautiful piece of coastline somewhere in the Caribbean. Perhaps even on the shores of Puerto Rico, where Mini chose to launch its latest Cooper and Cooper S hatchbacks. As with so many frequently used phrases, though, there is indeed some truth to the cliché - while the Mini Cooper has never actually handled quite like a go kart, it has always had a certain directness in its movements, reacting to steering inputs with an immediacy and fervor unlike most any other automobile meant primarily for the street.

    Combine those unique driving dynamics with a sense of fun that permeates the entire brand from pre-sales marketing to the actual sales process itself and you end up with a marketplace success. As an ex-Mini owner myself (a 2009 Cooper S Convertible), I can attest to the kinship felt between fellow Mini drivers who share in the knowledge that they are having more fun than the poor appliance-driving masses sharing the highways and byways of these United States. It's no surprise that the style-conscious US continues to be the marque's single largest market year after year.

    This enviable brand perception hasn't been attained without its own fair share of flaws, however. Though the quirky design and massively customizable bits and pieces that have made up the Mini brand's interior philosophy since it was reborn in 2001 have proven somewhat endearing, the Cooper Hardtop's ergonomics have always been an unmitigated disaster. Plus, this is a very small car, with a rear seat that's practically uninhabitable by adult-size occupants. While that adjective seemingly goes hand-in-hand with the brand's name, the modern Cooper has never been as ingeniously packaged as its 1959 forbearer, which offered up as much interior space as possible through innovative engineering and minimalist design. Further, parent company BMW has positioned Mini as a premium brand, so the Cooper's diminutive size has never equated to low prices. And for being such a small car, the Cooper historically hasn't been well-known for its fuel efficiency.

    With each subsequent redesign, Mini has sought to improve its shortcomings, with a new, slightly larger platform and more efficient engines in 2007 being the most noteworthy updates. Now, for the 2014 model year, Mini has once again completely reengineered the Cooper, making it larger than ever, rethinking the interior packaging and offering a completely new lineup of engine options. Does it all add up to the best one yet?

    Continue reading 2014 Mini Cooper

    2014 Mini Cooper originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Feb 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • How Mini shacked up with John Cooper

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    XCAR host with Mini Cooper collection

    The late Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis, Alec Issignonis to his Internet friends, designed a car that was sold as the Morris Mini-Minor, the Austin Seven and later the Austin Mini. Go to the Mini USA website and check out the models, though, and every one of them is called a Cooper of some sort, e.g., Mini Cooper Paceman or Mini Cooper S Roadster. So who is Cooper?

    It's probably obvious that it's the same Cooper we get in "John Cooper Works," those JCW Minis that always make up the top of the line. But many probably don't know that that John Cooper, founder of John Cooper Cars, is the same man who accidentally got the motorsports world to switch to rear-engined race cars and the same Formula One constructor who won two titles in 1959 and 1960 and who fielded drivers like Bruce McLaren and Stirling Moss.

    On its way to driving the Mini John Cooper Works GP II, XCAR goes back to the beginning to find out when Alec met John, and how the first Mini Cooper came out in 1961, two years after the first Mini. You can watch the story and the car review in the video below.

    Continue reading How Mini shacked up with John Cooper

    How Mini shacked up with John Cooper originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Jan 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Mini prices new Cooper Hardtop from $19,950* as configurator comes online

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    2014 Mini Cooper

    As surprised as the face of the new 2014 Mini Cooper makes the model look, customers shopping for the third-gen hatchback won't be surprised at all come spring. When the Hardtop goes on sale, it will not only offer a similar design to the outgoing model, it will also have a familiar price with a starting MSRP of $19,950 (*plus $795 for destination).

    That price is for the base, third-generation model with the company's new 134-horsepower, 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine, and that MSRP amounts to a $250 increase over the 2013 Cooper. Looking for a little more power? The 189-hp Cooper S will go on sale at the same time, starting at $23,600 - just $300 more than last year's model.

    Mini's press release discussing 2014 Cooper pricing is posted below, but for more detailed information on the options and packages, head on over to the live configurator.

    Continue reading Mini prices new Cooper Hardtop from $19,950* as configurator comes online

    Mini prices new Cooper Hardtop from $19,950* as configurator comes online originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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