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Mini

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Mini is getting serious about expanding its line-up with the addition of a series of new models. Some of them have already been unveiled - like the new Coupe and Roadster - but others only exist due to rumors, at least until now. For the first time, the possible 5 seater van/mpv based on the Countryman platform has been captured by our spy photographers testing in mule form.

As you can see from these spy shots, the front fenders are a lot wider when compared to a standard Countryman and this is due to a slightly wider chassis that will offer more room in the Traveller. The wheelbase is also slightly longer due to the fact that the front wheels have been moved forward.

The new model will be built in order to offer Mini clients a more practical car featuring the typical Mini genes. As expected, the overall look of the Traveller will be very much Mini. The dimensions are compact and the front overhang has been kept short.

Mini’s new van/mpv will be previewed under the Spacebox name and the production car could be named the Traveller when it hits the market in 2014.

Mini Cooper & Cooper S

The web tying varying automakers to one another is a very complex, yet delicate thing. One strand heading the wrong direction can cause an automaker to break off another connection, and we see it every day. One prime example was when AMG hacked off its advertising ties with Ducati just because Audi bought the company. Really, what do motorcycles have to do with your competing with Audi in the automobile realm?

Well, we have another bit of info to pass on in regards to one partnership killing another. Recently PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen , increased its stake in a partnership with GM affiliate, Opel, to develop four vehicle platforms together. This leads BMW to believe that PSA will not have the ability to fulfill its partnership duties in reference to BMW’s developing Hybrid platform.

A BMW spokesperson said “We are discussing conditions for the exit of PSA but we will not make any payments,” in an interview with Reuters. In addition, PSA has accepted the fact that this new relationship with GM will force it to “change the conditions” in its partnership with BMW. This likely means that BMW will buy-out PSAs share of the investment in the project and take development into its own hands.

This will not, however, affect the other relationships that BMW and PSA have going on. The largest of these relationships is the partnership between the two to build the MINI Cooper ’s engine.

We’ll keep an eye on what’s going on with this development and let you know if anything else pops up. For now, this seems like a pretty open-and-shut case.

Source: Reuters
Mini Paceman

Last month, the Mini Countryman Coupe - or the production version of the Paceman Concept unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show - was spotted for the first time doing some of its testing. Now the Coupe is back for another round of testing at the Nurburgring race track, this time featuring the future Countryman Coupe in a completely new color.

Minus the two doors giving it a more sporty appeal, the upcoming Countryman Coupe will be similar to its four-door version. We expect to see the same technology and engines as the standard Countryman, which means it will get a 122 HP 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine for the standard model and a turbocharged variant with 184 HP for the S version.

Expect to see the new Mini Countryman Coupe launched at the 2012 Paris Auto Show with sales on the US market to begin as a 2014 model.

We already know that MINI is a staunch supporter of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. But true to their quirky and aggressive nature, the German automaker took to a different level to show it’s support for the Olympics.

If special edition MINI Coopers and videos aren’t enough, MINI has decided to release a special edition model of the Rocketman Concept . Nevermind unconfirmed reports that the Rocketman Concept has been canned; MINI still sees some strong branding mileage in decking their concept model with an extensive exterior and interior make-over.

The concept vehicle is not a production model, which is a real bummer. But with all the enhancements it has received, we sure wouldn’t have any problems see it in dealerships in the future.

The 2012 London Olympics is a little over a month away, and MINI picked the perfect time to release this special edition concept. Too bad it’s going to remain strictly that.

Find out more about the MINI Rocketman Olympic Concept after the jump.

The 2012 London Olympics is a little over a month away so it’s hardly surprising that we’re seeing a lot of promo videos coming out hyping up the quadrennial sporting spectacle.

One automaker that has taken this route is MINI and their recently unveiled video called the "Britalian Job."

Produced in the same vein as the 1969 classic "The Italian Job," the video features a number of MINIs trying to chase after a thief who stole gold. Well, if you’ve ever seen the Italian Job, you’ll know how the video ends. The special edition MINIs chase after the thief and relive some of the more iconic scenes from the movie, particularly driving down the Duke of York Steps off the Mall, chasing through through Leadenhall market, and the cars coming out of the same Park Lane basement as the movie. The video even has a couple of British Olympic legends in it, including Daley Thompson and Matthew Pinset, as well as racer and model Jodie Kidd.

"It was great fun making this film and London makes such a brilliant setting for an action sequence like this," said James Cracknell, British rowing champion and double Olympic gold medalist.

Check out the video and see exactly what Mr. Cracknell is talking about.


German tuner, AC Schnitzer , has blown our minds yet again with another speedy creation based off of a cool, yet uninspiring in power, model. Their new Raptor Concept is based on the MINI John Cooper Works Coupe and has just officially become the fastest Mini on the world famous Grand Prix circuit in Hockenheim. With a lap time of 1:10.87 minutes, the new Raptor has catapulted itself into the premier league of real sports cars, making it faster than the previous AC Schnitzer Eagle by about 1.11 seconds.

In order to obtain this impressive result, AC Schnitzer had to optimize all areas of the vehicle. The job started with the engine where the output was increased from 211 HP to 300 HP. A new exhaust system was added and the total weight was reduced by 220 lbs. The tuner also added a sport chassis with adjustable height and, of course, a new set of 18" lightweight metal rims.

Check out the video to see the Mini John Cooper Works Coupe Raptor by AC Schnitzer in action!

TV buffs get the Emmys, movie buffs get the Oscars, and music lovers get the Grammys; so, where does that leave us gearheads? Well, the International Engine of the Year Awards, of course, and the 2012 results are hot off the press!

Ford took home the top prize of International Engine of the Year, with its 999 cc engine found in the European Focus . This engine, despite its petite size, cranks out 125 PS (123 horsepower) and manages to squeeze out 56.5 mpg. The 1.0-liter engine didn’t win a close battle either, it took home top honors by a full 113 points. Points are accumulated based on fuel economy, smoothness, performance, noise and drivability and each engine can only receive 15 of each voter’s total 25 points to give. Needless to say, that was quite a landslide victory.

That’s not the biggest news though, as BMW brought home top honors in four different categories. Bimmer took home the 1.4- to 1.8-liter prize with its 181-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine found in the MINI Cooper S . In the 1.8- to 2.0-liter class, BMW took first prize with its 241-horsepower, 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged four-pot. In the 2.5-liter to 3.0-liter class, BMW wrapped up top honors with its bi-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and its 335 horsepower. Last, but certainly not least, BMW took home 1st place in the 3.0- to 4.0-liter class with its 414-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8 engine.

Despite all of the accolades, the highest mark that BMW achieved in the Engine of the Year award was 5th place, with its 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-banger.

Click past the jump to see all of the results of each class.

German automaker MINI is only one of many automakers that are looking to break into the Chinese market. Just like many of its contemporaries, MINI is going the route of presenting a special edition version of the Cooper exclusive to the Chinese market.

The limited run model is being called the China Olympic Special Edition, although the absence of any Olympic logos seem to suggest otherwise. Anyway, that’s what they wanted to call it so, you know, more power to them.

What the car does have is MINI’s now iconic British Racing Green paint finish that’s finely matched by a special five-stripe gold design that runs across the car’s bonnet and white roof, forming what we think is an oval running track. In addition, there are a number of "MINI China" logos on the sides, entrenching its claim as a true China-only vehicle.

Meanwhile, performance modifications were left out, which means that you can expect to see the same 1.6-liter petrol engine that produces 158 horsepower.

It’s a mundane and tedious task that no one likes to do and everyone avoids like the plague, regardless of the fact that we all had to learn it before getting our driver’s license. That’s right; we’re talking about the squeezing your car between the front bumper of one car and the rear bumper of the other, also known as parallel parking.

Some people are really good at this task, especially those that live in larger cities that have primarily street parking (see: New York City) and some of them are really bad. The guys in the above video are definitely in the former category, as they set the Guinness Books record for the tightest parallel parking job multiple times, constantly one-upping each other.

The first driver of the red Mini Cooper manages to perfectly drift this sub-compact ride into a space that is just 21 cm (8.3 inches) longer than his car, which sets the record. He then gets beaten by a second driver that hits 20 cm (7.9-inches). The back and forth continues until the record is finally set in stone at 15 cm (5.9 inches).

Guinness uses the term “parallel parking” pretty loosely in this sense, as there is no attempt to pull the car out of the tight space, which is a part of parallel parking. We definitely think that the record should be set by the person that can get the car into the tightest space then out of it without contacting another car, but we are sticklers for reality.

Enjoy the video as these high-performance parkers slide their way into curb-side-parking fame.

The Mini Cooper is undoubtedly popular due to its stylish setup, but it has somewhat of a "little" problem: Size. The Cooper only comes in a three-door configuration and being that size does indeed matter, many US customers consider it unsafe, uncomfortable, and not very practical. Mini plans to change that with its next generation Cooper and its new five-door configuration. This new version is aimed especially for markets like US.

Aimed especially at markets like the U.S., this five door version will be based on the three-door version , but will get two shortened front doors and two small, conventionally opening doors behind them. This will be a similar layout to the one found in the Countryman, but in a smaller version. On the interior, the rear passengers will get an extra 5cm in legroom, while the front section will be identical to the three-door version.

Adding two more doors will make the 5-Door Mini Cooper an ideal family car and will help American customers overcome their fears of impracticality. It will most likely be offered at the same time the three-door version comes out, so expect to see it by the end of 2013.

Source: Motoringfile

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