X-raid Team’s Mini ALL4 Racing cars are preparing to defend their crown at the upcoming Dakar Rally set to begin on January 5, 2013. However, these are not the cars set to enter the competition, but the cars that will assist the team through the 5,000 miles of desert through Peru, Argentina and Chile.
These very special Countryman have been equipped with a full range of original Mini Accessories, including: 18-inch light-alloy wheels with run-flat tires, mud flaps for the front and rear wheel arches, auxiliary headlights, and all-weather floor mats plus a protective load compartment cover made from hard-wearing PVC.
They will feature matte black paint combined with red roofs and racing stripes, and, of course, those Monster Energy logos. The black paint has been combined with silver-colored add-on parts for the front and rear apron, and side skirts.
Each car will also feature an off-road package that will help it deliver the best driving experience on any kind of road, be it gravel, desert tracks or mountain passes.
Not a lot of people know that yesterday, November 15, was actually Guinness Book of World Records day. What better way to get a little extra notoriety than setting a record on a day that celebrates people setting records?
German automaker MINI knows a thing or two about records, so do you think that it’d let a day like this pass without attempting to set a few of its own?
First record up was fitting the most number of people into a Mini Cooper hatchback. Last year’s record of 27 was inevitably thrown to the wayside after Mini somehow managed to shoehorn 28 - yes, 28! - people inside the Cooper. Four of those 28 people somehow fit inside the trunk.
On top of that, Mini also managed to have 23 of these same people to fit inside a classic Mini, a car that’s significantly smaller than the modern model that’s out on the market today. That beat the old record of 21 people.
We really don’t know why these records are important other than being pretty useful trivia questions in a future drinking session with your buddies. But hey, it was the Guinness Book of World Records day, and everyone, Mini included, should be excused for trying to put their names on the record books - even for something as odd as these records.
At least they didn’t try to set wearing the most underwear in one sitting like some people did.
Click past the jump to see the video wrap-up of the day’s events, including the Mini record. Full story
With so many auto records going by the wayside these days, you have to give credit to MINI for thinking out of the box - as usual - on their latest record attempt.
The German automaker recently announced their plans to go to the Arctic Circle to play messenger and deliver the longest Christmas list for - you guessed it - Santa Claus.
The record attempt is so big that it will involve a number of global MINI markets, including the US, Germany, Italy, the UK, Russia, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and even Singapore.
What this entails is that a convoy of MINI vehicles will leave BMW Group Headquarters on November 24 and will make the 1,864-mile travel to Rovaniemi, Finland in the Arctic Circle.
Upon arrival, the convoy of MINIs will be greeted by 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winner Rauno Aaitonen, who will then proceed to show off his unique rally skills by what MINI describes as a demonstration of his "unequaled talent behind the wheel of a new MINI Paceman."
There’s no telling if Santa Claus and his merry band of elves will actually receive the Christmas wish list - we’re not holding out hope on that one - but this record attempt does paint a picture as to how MINI thinks of the upcoming holiday season. Give them credit because, if for nothing else, they’re already in the Christmas spirit despite the season still being a month away.
The Mini Cooper arrived on the market for the first time back in 1961 and since then the model has only been offered in a three-door configuration. That trend is going to change when the next-generation Mini Cooper arrives on the market at the end of 2013, asMini has promised a five-door version Cooper to take on models like Audi A1 Sportback. The upcoming five-door version will be joined by a five-door Convertible and a Clubman version.
The future five-door Cooper will be built on the same UKL1 platform as the three-door Cooper version, but with an extended wheelbase to offer the rear seat passengers more interior room.
Engines and gearboxes will also be shared with the three-door version, meaning customers will get a new three-cylinder engine family next to the conventional four-cylinder engines.
Expect to see the new Mini Cooper five-door launched by the end of 2013.
The Mini Portugal team, along with its WRC partner, Prodrive, actually started off pretty well in the 2012 WRC season, but things turned sour for the MINI rally team following its breakup with said partner. Following the March split, Mini never reached the podium again. Though the 2012 season is not quite finished, Mini has announced that it will withdraw from the World Rally Championship following this season.
In all honesty this really comes as no surprise, as Mini is thought to have only raced as a factory sponsored brand this year to get WRC homologation. Why is that so important? Well, this means that Mini now can sell its rally cars to private racing companies, make profit, and have zero racing overhead. This was all backed up by Dr. Kay Segler’s statement “By the end of the season WRC Team Mini Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the Mini John Cooper Works.” Well, don’t make it too obvious that you played the system, fine Doctor…
In all honesty, this is just one of the necessary evils of the racing world, as car manufacturers simply want all of the free advertising at these events without any of the corporate responsibilities. So in all honesty, we can’t fault Mini for its obvious using the rather loose WRC homologation rules.
With the Mini John Cooper Works WRC car pumping a wild 300 horsepower and 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of torque from its little 1.6-liter Bimmer engine, we doubt that MINI will have any issues selling it to private teams. Since 2011, the rally Mini Portugal team made it to the podium three times and had its biggest success in the January 2012 running of the Monte Carlo Rally when it finished 2nd.
We’ll keep an eye out to see if any private teams select Mini as its WRC car.
Click past the jump to read Mini’s presser.
Here MINI grows again – well, potentially grows – as in an interview with Inside Line, BMW announced the potential of three new MINI models. We’ll start with the not-so-fun ones first, as Harald Kreuger let IL know that a larger SUV, to complement the Countryman, is in the works, as is a sedan model. The SUV would likely have some chances of making it to the U.S., but the sedan would likely head to developing markets, like China or Indonesia.
Okay, enough with the family-style stuff, let’s see what we’re really here to talk about. Kreuger also announced that MINI is considering a roadster model. Kreuger even went as far as to point to the master of said domain, the original MX-5 Miata, as the potential mold for this vehicle. This would mean that we would have a quick, fun-to-drive roadster bearing the traditional MINI look. We could live with that.
Additionally, we have to look into the distant possibility of BMW sharing its 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine lineup with said Miata-like sports car. Considering the rumors afloat about the upcoming MX-5 Miata boasting a far more powerful four-cylinder engine than ever before, this very well may be the time to take a swipe at the compact roadster crown by including the new 1.5-liter Bimmer engine.
If anyone can create a machine that rivals the fun-to-drive factor that the Miata has always afforded its owners, BMW can. And that 1.5-liter 3-pot has some serious potential.
In the same report, MINI also announced that it may open up a British-design office to help it maintain the “Britishness” that makes MINIs so attractive to the world. Additionally, MINI is midway through a $1.2 billion renovation of its Oxford plant to extend its manufacturing capacity to 250,000 units and it will be renting space from the Mitsubishi-Volvo Nedcar factory in the Netherlands starting in 2014.
We certainly hope that all of these upcoming models will feature a little bit of their own character, as opposed to being simply squashed up or stretched Coopers. Stay tuned for more!
At the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, Mini unveiled the Paceman Concept and soon thereafter, rumors began that the company was preparing the production version. Now those rumors can be laid to rest as Mini has unveiled the production version Paceman, just a few weeks before its official debut at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.
The new Paceman is the seventh model in the brand family and is also the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe in the premium small and compact vehicle segment. It is a two-door version of the Countryman and will be offered with the same technology and engines as its five-door brother.
This means that customers will have to choose between two petrol and two diesel engines, with power ranging from 112 HP to 184 HP. These engines will be combined with a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic as an option. Mini has also announced that a John Cooper Works is in the works.
UPDATE 09/14/2012: This review has been updated with the official details and images of the new Mini Paceman.
UPDATE 11/28/12: MINI has officially released pricing details for the Paceman. Check out how much a model’s going to cost after the jump
Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Mini Paceman. Full story
Mini has just confirmed their line-up for the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and as expected, the John Cooper Works Countryman is on that list. The car was caught testing for the first time last winter in Austria, but we have to admit it looks better than expected.
The new John Cooper Works Countryman is based on the current, most powerful version of the vehicle - the Countryman S - that uses a 177 HP turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. However, for the JCW version, the engine’s output has been increased to 218 HP. The car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds and will be capable of hitting a top speed of 140 mph (manual version).
The new Countryman JCW will be distinguished by the usual JCW aerodynamic kit, an exclusive selection of paint finishes, 18" light-alloy wheels, a sports exhaust system, and a sporty interior.
UPDATE 09/26/2012: Mini has announced that the new Countryman John Cooper Works will go on sale on the US market at a starting price of $35,550.
Hit the jump to read more about the new Mini Countryman JCW. Full story
Mini’s one formula, multiple cars gig got another rendition added when the company unveiled the Mini Paceman Concept at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Concept cars usually can’t be counted on to make it to production every time, but Mini already knows the sales are in the bag considering their success with the original Countryman. The production version is scheduled to be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Auto Show at the end of this month, but the secret has been turned out a little early thanks to the first leaked images of the 2013 Paceman.
As these spy shots reveal, the design language of the production version Paceman will remain faithful to the concept car unveiled in 2011, leaving little need for these leaked images. The new Paceman is the two-door version of the Countryman, so it will borrow all of the tech features from it. This will also include the engine line-up, meaning that the 2013 Paceman will offer a choice of a 122 HP 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for the standard model and a turbocharged variant with 184 HP for the S version.
Full details on the 2013 Paceman will be unveiled next week, so stay tuned!
The top model Mini from the last generation was the JCW GP - a special edition with just 2,000 units. Now it seems history is about to repeat itself as Mini has just unveiled the official details on the new John Cooper Works GP, described by the company as the fastest Mini ever built: it laps the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 8 min. 23 seconds.
The new John Cooper Works GP will be offered with powertrain, chassis and aerodynamics technology inspired directly by motor sport, but Mini did not announced any specifications just yet. However, they did confirmed it lapped the Nurburgring ring in 8 minutes and 23 seconds - an improvement over the previous GP model by 19 seconds.
On the exterior the new model will be distinguished by large front and rear aprons, striking side skirts, a bespoke roof spoiler and newly developed rear diffuser. This impressive package continues on the interior where the car has the rear seats removed in order to get a more racing appearance.
The new model will go on sale later this year in a limited run of 2,000 units.
UPDATE 11/29/12: The new Mini John Cooper Works GP made its North American debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. With the occasion Mini announced that only 500 units will be imported to the U.S. market where it will be priced at $39,950 (includes $700 Destination and Handling charge). Full story