The Mini (from Latin "small") is the name of a small car produced from 1959 to 2000, and the name of its replacement (known as New MINI) launched in 2001.
Launched in 2001, the new BMW MINI (note capitals, sometimes unofficially called BMW MINI) is built in Cowley in Oxford, United Kingdom. Historically this was the Morris car plant. The new MINI has a Brazilian-built Tritec engine. Like the original, this is a transverse four-cylinder unit, driving the front wheels. The styling of the car, like that of the new VW Beetle, is deliberately reminiscent of the original. The car has been criticized for its poor space-efficiency compared with the original, but it’s faithfulness to the original’s razor sharp handling characteristics has seen the MINI quickly become a sales success in Europe and (from 2002) in the US. It comes in 4 models: the MINI One, MINI One D (with a Toyota-built diesel engine), MINI Cooper, and MINI Cooper S. In some markets, such as Australia and the US, only the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S are sold. Almost fifty percent of all MINIs sold in Australia are Cooper S models, the highest proportion of S sales in any country. The car is featured in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. New for 2005 production are the MINI Cooper (and S) convertibles, as well as a redesigned front and rear fascia for the hardtop models.
The new MINI has achieved cult status worldwide with many owners being approached by complete strangers who wish to take a closer look at their MINI, or to recall their own classic Mini tales. As with the classic Mini, the new MINI has a strong club and enthusiast following. Such community support keeps the brand highly valued and shows BMW’s decision to relaunch the MINI brand as being a successful and clever strategy.
At the Geneva Motorshow 2004, BMW/MINI introduced a cabriolet (convertible) model to be released in mid-2004. The car is available in ’One’, ’Cooper’ and ’Cooper S’ versions worldwide (although the ’One’ convertible, like its hardtop sibling, is not sold in the US). BMW have received a significant backlog of orders in the short period since its announcement.
The MINI Cooper/Cooper S won the North American Car of the Year award for 2003.