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Latest Mini Cooper news and reviews:

Wallpaper of the Day: 2019 Mini Cooper Cabriolet

Wallpaper of the Day: 2019 Mini Cooper Cabriolet

2019 Mini Cooper Cabriolet
Read our full review of the 2019 Mini Cooper Cabriolet and check out the gallery below for even more wallpapers of this updated beauty!

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2019 Mini Cooper Lineup Unveiled

2019 Mini Cooper Lineup Unveiled

Adding extra fun to the formula

Mini just revealed its refreshed Cooper lineup, giving us an early look at what’s in store before the pint-sized auto hits the show floor in Detroit later this month. The update encompasses no less than three body styles, including the Mini Hardtop 2 Door, the Mini Hardtop 4 Door, and the Mini Convertible, and adds tweaked exterior styling, more tech in the cabin, more standard features, and more customization options as well.

At either end, you may notice the Mini gets small updates to the headlight and taillight designs. This is especially noticeable in the rear, where the brake lights gain a Union Jack design for extra U.K. points. There are LEDs for illumination purposes, while the headlights get LEDs as an available option. You’ll also find LEDs for the daytime running lights and turn signals. Piano Black exterior trim can be had as an option for the headlight surrounds, taillight surrounds, and grille surround, while the body panels gain new paint options like Emerald Grey metallic, Starlight Blue metallic, and Solaris Orange metallic. New alloy wheel designs can be found in the corners, with sizing up to 17 inches offered across the range of body styles. Mini also updated its logo throughout.

Open the door, and you’ll be greeted with a Mini logo splash projection from the underside of the side-view mirrors. The funky dash incorporates a 6.5-inch screen, with the possibility to throw in a 8.8-inch screen if desired. On the tech front, USB and Bluetooth are both standard appointment, while options include a touchscreen and navigation. There’s also wireless charging for your smartphone via the center armrest, and more services offered through Mini Connect as well.

Look for our full updated reviews after the 2019 Mini Cooper lineup struts its stuff at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show later this month.

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2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT

2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT

A tribute piece for an iconic Mini worth paying tribute to

It’s a funny thing what a special edition car can do to polish an automaker’s shine. Nobody knows this better than Mini, which has created its fair share of special edition models, including one that it had just announced for the French market: the Mini Blackfriars Edition. Now, it’s doubling down on the SE goodness with yet another offering called the Mini 1499 GT.

In essence, the 1499 GT is not a special edition model that was concocted out of someone’s imagination, but rather, a tribute piece to one of the most iconic Minis to have hit the pavement: the 1971 1275 GT. Most of the functioning 1275 GTs have probably been lost in the sands of time and rust, but the 1499 GT is now here to breathe some life back to the legacy of the legendary hatchback. Between exterior features that pay homage to the classic Mini to suspension tweaks that ensure that it can perform as well as advertised, the new Mini 1499 GT is a stunning example of the best of what Mini can come up. The only downside is that only 1,499 units of the car will be made, and worse, all units will be sold exclusively in the UK market. It’s a bummer, sure, but don’t let dampen your spirits. It’s rare enough to see a special edition tribute car that properly pays homage to the car it’s supposed to be tipping its hats to. It’s even rarer to see one that takes the inspiration to a level that makes people actually reminisce about the classic. The 1499 GT does that, and then some.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper 1499 GT.

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2017 Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition

2017 Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition

Yet another special edition model from a company that never seems to run out of them

Mini’s pantry of special edition models is stock full of unique creations, adding weight to the thought that the German automaker is no stranger to this fancy exclusives. Even with an inventory that’s bursting at the seams, special edition work soldiers on for Mini with the presentation of its latest creation, the Cooper Blackfriars Edition.

Taking inspiration from the Blackfriar’s section of London where the order of Dominican monks who carry the same name reside, this unique Cooper hatchback is defined by its subdued yet effective upgrades. There’s plenty of black to go around too, a nod to the traditional black robes worn by the Blackfriar’s monks. Inspired color motifs aside, the special edition Cooper also features plenty of unique details in its exterior and interior, not to mention the references to the Blackfriars from where it got its name. It’s not the flashiest special edition Mini Cooper we’ve seen, and it may not even be the most appealing one, but it does stick to the identity of the institution that it takes inspiration from. That’s more than what we can say for other special edition vehicles that lack the connection to what they’re supposed to be celebrating or at least shining a light on.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition

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2017 MINI Electric Concept

2017 MINI Electric Concept

Previews a production model that will arrive in 2019

The modern Mini Cooper was launched in 2001, some 42 years after the British firm launched the original model. This time build under BMW Group ownership, the Mini became more of a fashion statement rather than an affordable, people’s car, but this is exactly what turned it into a big hit. Redesigned in 2006 and 2013, the Cooper grew larger and larger and gained more technology with each generation. In 2017, Mini introduced its first hybrid model, the S E Countryman All4, and it’s now looking to launch its first-ever electric car. And it just unveiled the Mini Electric Concept ahead of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Designed as a preview for a production model that will be introduced in 2019, the Mini Electric Concept arrives almost ten year since Mini built its first EV, the Mini E. More of a demonstration vehicle rather than a production car, the Mini E was produced between 2009 and 2010 in the form of a three-door Cooper. More than 600 cars were deployed in several countries for on-road testing in a project that eventually led to a couple of BMW trial cars and finally the i3. A modern reinterpretation of the Mini E, the Electric Concept moves Mini one step closer to joining the EV market. It’s a bit late to the party, but as they say, better late than never.

Updated 09/19/2017: We added a series of new images taken during the concept’s debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Electric Concept.

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2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept

2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept

Now this is how you introduce a nostalgic, rally-inspired race concept

I suppose we should’ve expected something like this from Mini. Give the company an inch, and it’s more than happy to take a mile. Take the new John Cooper Works GP Concept for example. On the surface, the concept’s objective is pretty simple: pay tribute to its conquest in the Monte Carlo Rally back in 1967. But like everything that Mini does, it’s as interested in simply giving homage to a rally car as it is in making a statement and going above and beyond what’s needed. That attitude gave birth to the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit and the Mini John Cooper Works GP from 2006 and 2012, respectively. Now, Mini’s back with a new randy concept called the John Cooper Works GP Concept, and wouldn’t you know it, it looks positively stunning.

Nobody’s going to ever accuse Mini at being bashful, but even the JCW GP Concept seems to have been done with a simple purpose in mind: get a Cooper JCW and drown it in aerodynamic bits. Even Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer describes the JCW GP Concept as “driving fun in its purest form,” and it’s hard to even come up with a reasonable argument otherwise. The end result is a car that can make even the most demented of tuning firms blush with pride, though I suppose getting that kind of reaction is already old hat for Mini. Good to know then that after all these years, the BMW-owned automaker still has what it takes to grab everyone’s attention the way very few of its peers in the business are able to.

Updated 09/18/2017: Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept looked even more aggressive on the Frankfurt floor. Check our gallery for more images from the show.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Jennings Motor Group Renders 10 Everyday Family Cars As Supercars

Jennings Motor Group Renders 10 Everyday Family Cars As Supercars

Injecting your routine with extra excitement

From wide body kits to free flowing exhaust kits, carbon fiber interior vinyl wraps to oversized rear wings, there’s no shortage of aftermarket options when it comes to making the family errand-runner as close as possible to looking like a full-fledged supercar. But what if we could snap our fingers and turn that commonplace commuter into a seven-figure eater of worlds capable of hanging with the best from Ferrari, Porsche, and Koenigsegg? That’s exactly what Jennings Motor Group did with these 10 everyday family cars, now rendered to supercar stardom.

Included in the list are favorites from the likes of Mini, Renault, Fiat, Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota, Smart, Kia, Tesla, and Lada, each of which was blessed with the traditional supercar stance and more sharp ends than a needle factory. Some make a little more sense than the others, but regardless, we think the renderings look badass, and wouldn’t mind if the respective automakers took the hint that more supercars are indeed always welcome. Of course, we want to know – do these renderings for it for you as well? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments, but before you post, check out all 10 renderings after the jump.

Continue reading to learn more about 10 everyday family cars rendered as supercars.

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TopSpeed's Top 5 Convertibles That Won't Break The Bank

TopSpeed’s Top 5 Convertibles That Won’t Break The Bank

Enjoying unlimited headroom with limited outlay

Well, it’s officially summertime, and that means it’s the right season to get out and enjoy the warm weather. And, if you have the means, that should also include breaking free from the confines of a fixed hardtop roof and enjoying unlimited blue-sky headroom. Unfortunately, getting behind the wheel of a convertible isn’t always the cheapest proposition around, but fear not, because we’ve assembled five of our top picks for going topless without breaking the bank.

Of course, there are plenty of other options out there at this price range, but we decided to cut out the flab and only keep those droptops that you’ll actually want to drive. That means each offers something interesting under the hood, all while maintaining that fun in the sun factor. Of course, no roof means you’ll get a little extra slop in the corners, given the lack of chassis rigidity, but that’s okay – you’ll be enjoying your time in the elements all the same. Let us know which you’d have in the comments!

Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 Convertibles That Won’t Break The Bank.

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David Brown Revives the Classic Mini Cooper with Modern Tech

David Brown Revives the Classic Mini Cooper with Modern Tech

The 60-year-old design gets a modern, premium touch

Introduced in 1959, the original Mini Cooper revolutionized the city car market and became so popular that it remained in production until 2000. The nameplate was purchased by BMW and relaunched in a more modern form in 2001, but most enthusiasts agree that things haven’t been the same. Nearly two decades have passed since the original Mini was discontinued and David Brown Automotive is bringing it back to life.

Called Mini Remastered, the new old Cooper is more than just a reproduction replica. While carefully crafted to resemble the original car from 1959, the small hatchback has been remastered to "meet the demands of modern day life." The exterior may not give away the modern production process of the car (unless you look closely), but the interior has been redesigned to include all sorts of high-tech features, including a premium infotainment system.

The original engine has also undergone a complete transformation. Not only more powerful, it also runs smoother than Mini’s original unit, while returning improved performance and fuel economy. David Brown Automotive says that over 1,000 man hours go into creating each Mini Remastered. Let’s find out why.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest

Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest

Each has five doors, FWD, sells for around $20K, and is fun to drive – but which will be crowned the winner?

Here’s the scenario – you want a car, but it has to be the right car. It’s gotta be practical and comfortable, but it can’t be a complete snooze-fest behind the wheel either. You don’t want a crossover, and a sedan isn’t gonna cut it. What you want is a hatchback, something with a little zest and personality, but something that won’t break the bank. Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there, but which to choose? To help you decide, we’ve gathered six of the top contenders and put them head-to-head in the following comparison article. Let’s get ready to rumble.

To keep it all apples-to-apples, each of the entries in our comparison comes packaged in a five-door body style, gets standard FWD, and is instilled with at least a hint of sportiness. Each is also tagged with an MSRP around the $20,000 mark. With criteria like that, we decided to include the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda 3 Hatchback, Mini Cooper Hardtop Four-Door, and Volkswagen Golf GTI.

While all six of these hatchbacks are solid choices in their own right, the question remains – which is the best? Read on for our take.

Continue reading for the full comparison.

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Mini Original Accessories by John Cooper Works Are A Must Have

Mini Original Accessories by John Cooper Works Are A Must Have

More options to choose from if you want to dress up your Mini

Mini’s extensive configuration catalog runs like a grocery list, that is, if you haven’t gone to the grocery in a year or two. Simply put, the options on Mini’s catalog runs long and deep. Apparently, though, the German automaker doesn’t think in those same sentiments because it’s added an extensive list of new options and accessories from its John Cooper Works customization line. There are a lot of new digs here, from new aero kits to interior designs, and suspension modifications. The highlight though is an engine tune for the Cooper S, one that nets the hatchback an increased output of 208 horsepower.

It’s admittedly not much considering that the standard hatchback already packs 189 horsepower by itself, but it is worth something, especially for owners who aren’t stoked by the thought of going the aftermarket tuning route. The good news is that Mini has them covered on this end because the new line of accessories are as comprehensive as they get.

The new JCW options and accessories are available for the entire Mini range with extra emphasis on the coupe and convertible versions of the Cooper S. Whatever the model is though, the new line of JCW upgrades has them covered.

So, if you want to dress up your Mini with cosmetic and performance modifications, there are more options to choose from now that Mini has loaded up on the extra accessories.

Continue after the jump to read more about Mini’s new line of original accessories by John Cooper Works.

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Mini Cooper Sets Different Kind Of Record At The Nürburgring: Video

Mini Cooper Sets Different Kind Of Record At The Nürburgring: Video

Bet you won’t be able to accomplish what Chinese driver Han Yue just did

Lap records at the Nürburgring Nordschleife come in many shapes and forms depending on the layout of the track. But in the years that I’ve kept times on all of the lap times being set at the track, I’ve never encountered what Chinese driver Han Yue did to his Mini Cooper S on his way to setting a world record of his own. Instead of driving traditionally with the goal of setting a lap time of around seven minutes and change around the ‘Ring, Han decided to do things differently, and by different I mean drive his Cooper S around the circuit on two wheels. Two wheels.

Naturally, Han’s lap time around the Nürburgring in a Cooper on two wheels would fall way short of what we’re normally accustomed to from cars that use all four wheels around the circuit. But even with the obvious handicap, it still took the Chinese driver and multiple Guinness World record holder an astounding 45 minutes to complete the 21-kilometer (13 miles) lap.

Speaking with BridgeToGantry.com, Han explained that he couldn’t push his Cooper to its (two-wheeled) limits in large part because of a problem with one of its specially built solid-rubber tires. Apparently, at some point during the lap, one of the wheels started to vibrate and the vibration only stopped when the Cooper’s pace fell below 13 mph. It didn’t help the driver’s cause when he admitted that his shoulder started to hurt at the six-kilometer (3.7 miles) distance and he had to nurse it with 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) left in the lap.

Lack of pace and injuries notwithstanding, what Han Yue accomplished is still worth acclaim, if of only for the simple reason that he succeeded in his attempt. Sometimes, the lap time takes a back seat when the degree of difficulty is pushed past what race car drivers of any skill are used to. That’s what happened here.

If you wanna watch the whole lap time in all it’s entirety, you can check out the video above. It literally is over 45 minutes long.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2017 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman

2017 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman

It’s the most powerful and Torquiest production Mini to date!

Mini showed off its new design language in the 2014 Mini Cooper, and since then, Mini brought us a four-door version of the hatch and revamped the Mini Countryman. Then in late 2015, Mini finally pulled out all of the stops and offered the next-gen Mini Clubman for the 2016 model year. The biggest change came in the size department as the Clubman is now 12.4-inches longer and 4.6-inches wider than before. Other styling changes include things like larger headlamps and fog lamps, new taillights, and exhaust pipes that are integrated into the rear bumper. At launch the Clubman was offered with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder or a 2.0-liter four-banger in the Clubman S. The latter offered 189 horsepower and a 6.9-second sprint to 60 mph. That’s great and all, but there was still room for something better, and Mini has finally made it happen with the new John Cooper Works Clubman.

Powered by a twin-turbo, 2.0-liter, the JCW Clubman delivers 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque which makes it the most powerful and torquiest production car that Mini has made to date. As is the usual case with JCW models, the new Clubman gets its own unique features like Black 18-inch wheels, performance seats, and tuned suspension. It also comes equipped with Mini’s latest iteration of the ALL4 all-wheel drive system to help keep things from getting squirrely during spirited driving or extreme maneuvers.

Thomas Felbermair, the VP or Mini of the Americas, said,” Performance and versatility are part of our DNA and our heritage so naturally there has always been a plan in place to bring the John Cooper Works variant to the Mini Clubman model. The addition of the John Cooper Works design and performance enhancements and the new ALL4 all-wheel drive system to the already versatile Mini Clubman model we have once again raised the bar in the premium compact segment.”

With that said, let’s dive on in a take a look at all the finer details of the Mini JCW Clubman.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman.

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2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer

2016 MINI Cooper by AC Schnitzer

German tuner polishes up the Cooper family

The Mini Cooper belongs in arguably one of the most competitive markets in the industry these days. When that is the case, auto tuners often find themselves in a similar position as they’re compelled to build programs that compete with their contemporaries. That’s the case with AC Schnitzer, the renowned tuner of all things Mini that just presented its new tuning program for the Mini Cooper in response to a number of other tuners building their own kits for the hatchback. In order to differentiate itself, AC Schnitzer is offering tuning kits for numerous variants of the Cooper, including power upgrades for the coupe, convertible, Cooper S, and Cooper John Cooper Works, the last of which now gets 265 horsepower.

In typical AC Schnitzer fashion, the German tuner is offering plenty of complementary pieces to this program. From the cosmetic side to the aerodynamic side, there are subtle modifications here and there that provide a unique tuning experience for the Cooper. New wheels are also being offered, as is a new suspension kit that improves the car’s handling in the wake of all the modifications on the car’s body and engine.

It’s a complete program in a lot of ways, and one that Mini Cooper owners will appreciate. It’s not going to turn the Cooper into a rocket on four wheels, but it should be able to push all the right buttons to improve the driving experience of the car.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

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2016 Mini Vision Next 100

2016 Mini Vision Next 100

Mini’s vision of the future is shockingly refreshing

Remember the 2016 BMW Vision Next 100 Concept that Bimmer designed to help celebrate its 100th anniversary and show what BMWs will look like in the next 100 years? Well, Mini has jumped on the “Vision Next 100” wagon and announced a futuristic and wild looking concept that shares its vision for the future with things like an overly simple cabin, digital intelligence, and an odd-looking design that, while looking futuristic, also still has some styling cues of the traditional Mini. Furthermore, the concept encompasses something Mini calls “experience sharing,” where you won’t necessarily have to own a Mini to enjoy one.

According to Mini, the core philosophy behind this concept is “the thoughtful use of the planet’s resources in providing personal mobility.” Apparently, Mini believes that – in the future – anybody will be able to call on a Mini that is tailored to their personal style. The Mini of the future will be fully autonomous, available 24/7, and the built-in digital intelligence will allow the car to adapt itself to the “driver’s” personal interests and preferences. Adrian van Hooydonk, the Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design, said, “Mini looks to offer smart and bespoke mobility in cities that engages all the senses. And in the future, you might not actually have to own a vehicle to enjoy the benefits.”

So in the future, you’ll be able to command you household computer to order you the nearest Mini and, while it is on its way, it will adapt itself to any theme of your choosing – maybe the same theme used by a famous actor or writer, or one derived from your best friend’s Facebook news feed. It’s an interesting idea, so let’s take a few minutes to check out Mini’s new concept in detail.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Vision Next 100.

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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Challenge

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Challenge

The brawny JCW goes racing with chassis updates and unique exterior

The third-generation Mini Cooper was launched in late 2013 with a redesigned exterior, revised interior, and new four- and three-cylinder engines. Significantly larger than its predecessor, the new Mini arrived with improved roominess and practicality, enhanced fuel economy, and more options than ever before. Much like the second-generation model, the three-door hatchback was followed by a two-door convertible, the Clubman wagon, Countryman crossover, and the Paceman coupe. For the first time, the hatchback was also offered in a five-door configuration. The three-door Hatch, Convertible, Countryman, and Paceman models also received a performance-oriented John Cooper Works version.

Come 2016 and Mini is enhancing the Cooper lineup with a limited-edition model based on the John Cooper Works hatchback model. Dubbed JCW Challenge, it is described as a "genuinely credible trackday machine" and comes with quite an interesting development story. According to Mini, it was designed by a small group of employees that "had a dream to create a Mini to excel on a racing circuit, while maintaining perfectly usable manners on the public road."

The idea was reportedly developed outside the daily work schedule, before being extensively tested on a range of race tracks throughout the United Kingdom. The hatch received a handful of unique features inside and out and will make its public debut at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 23. Let’s have a closer look at the brand’s new track-oriented model below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works Challenge.

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2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works by B&B Automobiltechnik

2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works by B&B Automobiltechnik

Plenty of engine upgrade options provided for Mini’s top-of-the-line Cooper

The Mini Cooper John Cooper Works is the range-topping version of Mini’s iconic Cooper line. It boasts 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, all coming out of its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. For a hatchback, those numbers are impressive, but not so much when you’re talking to an aftermarket tuner. Manhart Racing thought so and it went about and gave the Cooper JCW a 300-horsepower upgrade. Now, it’s B&B Automobiltechnick’s turn, and just like Manhart, the German tuner has an upgrade that takes the Cooper JCW’s output in the neighborhood of 300 ponies.

Of course, B&B’s tuning program doesn’t stop there. The tuner is actually offering a three-stage engine kit that adds different amounts of ponies on the four-cylinder. It also a platter of chassis and suspension upgrades, all included to provide the Cooper JCW with improved grip and handling, not to mention the benefit of enhancing the performance hatchback’s sporty looks.

It may not have any exterior and interior modifications like what Manhart Racing is offering, but for what prospective buyers are getting, B&B’s program for the Cooper JCW is kind of kit that every type of owner of the hatchback can enjoy, all at affordable prices to boot.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

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2017 Mini Seven

2017 Mini Seven

Mini launches a new special edition to pay homage to the original Seven

Mini’s history runs all the way back to 1959 when British Motor Corporation released the Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven – two nearly identical models that offered “an unusually generous amount of space for passengers and luggage within a minimum surface area.” The current generation of the Mini Cooper and Cooper S is said to embody the latest version of this principal, so Mini has decided to announce a new special edition model that it believes can pay homage back to the days when the Austin Seven came to be. The special edition is offered on two- and four-door variants of the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S, but don’t get too excited yet because there isn’t a whole lot to talk about.

In Short, the Mini Seven is nothing more than a Cooper or Cooper S with a small selection of unique exterior colors, some new trim, and of course the old “Seven” name. That’s it. Mini isn’t offering any extra power, technology, or any weight savings. Be that as it may, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the Mini Seven anyway. So, grab yourself a soda, and take a little journey down the page with us as we discuss the Mini Seven and the little things it brings to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mini Seven.

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2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works F300 by Manhart Racing

2016 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works F300 by Manhart Racing

German tuner celebrates 30th anniversary with a tuning project for Mini’s flagship model

Mini may forever be known as a company that’s predisposed to quirkiness, but it did itself a lot of good by introducing the John Cooper Works, considered as the most powerful Cooper that Mini has developed in its lifetime. The debut of the Cooper JCW not only showed Mini’s willingness to engage the hot hatch market, but more importantly it proved that it could actually do it. But as good as the Cooper JCW is on the road, there’s always the potential for the car to be better. That’s where Manhart Racing, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, comes into the picture.

The German tuner saw fit to commemorate the occasion with the unveiling of the “F300” program for the Cooper JCW. In a lot of ways, the tuning kit’s main focus is to improve the hot hatch’s performance and handling credentials. In doing so, it developed a program that addressed both those things, while also giving the Cooper JCW refreshing upgrades on both the exterior and interior. The result is a fascinating take on the hot hatch that not only highlights Mini’s fascination for the off-beat but more importantly, the Cooper JCW’s understated performance capabilities that fit its status as Mini’s de facto flagship model.

The program also has a few surprises along the way, but why spoil them when you can read the whole thing for yourselves.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

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Mini Launches Hipster Hatch With Instagram Filtered Windows

Mini Launches Hipster Hatch With Instagram Filtered Windows

Powered by a fixed-gear drivetrain

The original hipster subculture of the 1940s, which referred to aficionados of the jazz music genre, might not have been a big fan of automobiles given their self-imposed poverty, but things changed radically with the contemporary interpretation of the trend. Now composed mainly of affluent or middle class young, the hipster subculture sees the automobile as an important element of its affinity for everything vintage. Mini is now trying to capitalize on that with a special-edition Cooper designed specifically for fans of music bands you’ve probably never heard of.

Suggestively named the Mini Hipster Hatch, the special-edition Cooper is available in three colors named Brooklyn Blue, Organic Pumpkin, and Monochromatic Green, all complemented by red-and-black lumberjack patterns on the front fenders, side mirrors and roof. The three-door hatch also rides on a set of three-spoke alloy wheels that scream "the 1990s called and they want you back" at the top of their lug nuts.

Things become a lot more vintage inside the cabin, where the Cooper received a twin-deck cassette player, a big speaker instead of the infotainment screen, and stonewash denim upholstery on the seats. You know, to match those tight jeans that are so popular among hipsters nowadays. But wait, there’s more. The windows have been upgraded with Instagram filters so drivers can turn "any journey into a nostalgic memory at the touch of a button." There are 12 pre-loaded filters, including the popular Lo-Fi, Clarendon, and Crema.

The powertrain is also new, with the Hipster Hatch being powered by a fixed-gear drivetrain. Essentially a five-speed transmission with four of the forward gears removed, the concept is inspired by the world of fixed-gear bicycles. Mini says it will "give the driver a greater feeling of control when popping out for a superfood smoothie." Top speed is limited at only 25 mph to make sure no smoothie will ruin the stonewash denim on the seats.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Mini Gets Scissor Doors As Optional Equipment

Mini Gets Scissor Doors As Optional Equipment

Now your Mini can park in an even smaller parking spot than before

There is nothing worse than finding the one parking spot available in a parking garage, just to find that once you squeeze into it, you can’t open the doors enough to get out. Mini has decided to combat that scenario straight on and offer scissor doors as an option on Mini models going forward.

According to the brand’s press release, scissor doors will initially be available as an option on the Mini 3 door, Mini Paceman, and Mini Convertible. Come the 2017 model year, the option will be extended to the Mini 5 door, six-door Clubman, and the Mini Countryman. The doors will be electrohydraulically controlled, and will reduce the space needed for parking and easy entry/exit by nearly 30 percent. The Mini 3 door, for instance, will now require a parking spot width of just 1,930 mm when equipped with scissor doors, as opposed to the 2,681 mm that is required with regular hinged doors.

The feature comes standard with the ability to open and close the doors with a remote control, but for an addition premium, the scissor doors can be equipped with “Comfort Access,” which will allow the door to be opened by a button on the door handle. According to Dalf Rietmann, the Head of Special Equipment Management with Mini, the plan is to eventually allow the opening and closing of the scissor doors via a smartphone app.

In the safety side of things, the doors are also equipped with something call Pyrotechnic Emergency Exit (PEE,) which uses powerful propellants to blast the doors off of the vehicle in the event of an emergency, allowing first responders to have easy and fast access to passengers. The new scissor doors will be available at a premium of €1,959, which is $2,230 at current exchange rates.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Carfection Pits Three Hot Hatchbacks Against Each Other: Video

Carfection Pits Three Hot Hatchbacks Against Each Other: Video

Ford Focus ST vs Renault Clio vs Mini John Cooper Works

Picking among three of the most compelling hot hatchbacks in the segment can get a little tricky, even for well-heeled individuals who know their way around these cars. Fortunately, the fine folks over at Carfection are here to give us a little helping hand. In this episode, they lined up an American pocket rocket in the form of the Ford Fiesta ST, a French performance savant disguised as the Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy, and a retro-styled British maven that we’ve come to know as the Mini John Cooper Works. The objective? See which of these three hot hatches are worth your time, and more importantly, your money.

As different as these three cars are, they also have some things in common. That’s precisely why picking which of the three is the “best” really boils down on what you want from your hot hatchback. The Fiesta ST, for instance, gives you the purest performance and it’s also the cheapest of the three. Then there’s the Clio RS 220 Trophy, which notwithstanding its ridiculously long name, gives you more power than the Fiesta ST, resulting in a faster 0-to-60 time and a higher top speed. Finally, there’s Mini’s JCW hot hatch, which tops at 152 mph. Pretty tricky, right?

The numbers say it is, but once you get behind the wheel of these cars, those numbers take a backseat to the minutiae of how they drive and how they handle on the road. There’s no better indicator of an awesome hot hatch than its ability to make you think that you’re driving a sports car. That’s what Carfection sought to find out and for what it’s worth, their verdict is pretty much in line with mine. Go check it out, even if the entire episode runs a little north of 17 minutes. Trust me, every minute is worth it.

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2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible

2016 Mini John Cooper Works Convertible

The 2015 Detroit Auto Show brought a meaner and quicker Mini JCW hardtop to the market. Equipped with larger air inlets, a new front grille, a new diffuser, and more importantly, a new four-banger, this latest Mini to sport a John Cooper Works badge is also the most powerful Mini to come from the BMW-owned company. Naturally, the new setup will spread to other Mini models sooner than later, and the Brits will no longer sell JCW-badged coupes or roadsters, they just launched a convertible version of the familiar two-door.

The drop-top arrives just in time for the 2016 model year with the same specs and features as the Hardtop, but with the infinite headroom of a cabriolet. It’s more powerful and significantly quicker than its predecessor, and benefits from more options that ever before — feats that make it the fanciest and most potent vehicle in its class.

"The new Convertible has all of the legendary driving performance you expect in a Mini yet with interior materials and finishes which set a new benchmark for the segment," said Patrick McKenna, head of product planning. "Now with the addition of the John Cooper Works variant we have once again set the bar high for the rest of the premium convertible market by offering a high performance open-top driving experience."

The new JCW Convertible goes on sale in April 2016.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works Convertible.

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Mini Gears Up For The Dakar Rally: Video

Mini Gears Up For The Dakar Rally: Video

For those of us residing in the northern hemisphere, January kicks off the gradual countdown to spring – that long thaw to lengthier days and warmer temperatures. But that means summer is already in full swing south of the equator, which provides the right sort of climate for one of the most ruthless long-distance races on the planet – the Dakar Rally. Spanning well over 5,500 miles of brutal, car-killing, spine-shattering terrain, the Dakar is a challenge unlike any other, but for four years running, Mini has walked away with top honors. This year, the marque looks to add a fifth notch to its belt, as evidenced by this desert shakedown video.

Hit play, and one thing will become abundantly obvious – this is no ordinary Mini. The composite body panels are fashioned after the showroom model, but that’s where the similarities end. Underneath, the beastly machine you see here is actually a tube-frame chassis stuffed with a torque-monster diesel engine, ultra-heavy-duty suspension components, and copious underbody skid protection.

Of course, that’s to be expected, considering what the Mini is up against. Sharp gravel, high heat, treacherous mountain passes, hidden boulders – it’s all in a day’s work when racing the Dakar.

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Mini John Cooper Works by AC Schnitzer

Mini John Cooper Works by AC Schnitzer

Known for its tuning kits for BMWs and Minis, AC Schnitzer has pulled the covers off of its latest program for the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works.

Like most of its programs, AC Schnitzer’s aftermarket update on the Cooper JCW isn’t all about flashy aesthetics. The German tuner isn’t known for being boisterous. What customers will instead get is a program that focuses on the performance side of the hot hatchback. The Cooper JCW, after all, is the most powerful Mini ever developed. But even with that claim to fame, everyone knows that there are still a lot untapped horses inside that turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That’s what AC Schnitzer sought to unleash, and for the most part, the tuner successfully did just that.

That said, the impressive engine upgrade isn’t the only pertinent feature of the program. A handful of aerodynamic kits are also included. Same with the interior, which received its share of new accessories, and the suspension, which was fitted with lowering springs to help improve the hatchback’s handling and agility. Overall, this kit is what people in the aftermarket industry refer to as a “professional tuning program.”

That’s what AC Schnitzer is known for and as always, it delivers on that front yet again.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works by AC Schnitzer.

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2016 Mini Cooper Convertible

2016 Mini Cooper Convertible

2018 facelift adds drivetrain upgrades and new features

Affordable convertibles have been dropping like flies in recent years, including the Volkswagen Eos, Chrysler 200 Convertible and Nissan Murano CC. But, drop-top lovers need not worry, as there are plenty of exciting convertibles still on the market. One of them is the Mini Cooper Convertible, which received a redesign for 2016 and a mid-cycle update for the 2018 model year.

The Cooper Convertible is based on the Hardtop model, so there aren’t any surprises in terms of exterior styling, interior design or powertrain. Much like its predecessor, the current Mini Cooper Convertible comes with numerous customization options, which give it a playful personality that surpasses that of the Fiat 500. The new drop-top arrived in dealerships with the option of three engines in Europe and two in the U.S., but a couple of diesel engines were also made available. For 2018, the compact gained significant updates inside and out and a few revisions plus new transmissions under the hood.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Cooper Convertible.

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2016 Mini Convertible Unveiled

2016 Mini Convertible Unveiled

Mini just announced details on the 2016 Cooper Convertible, and it promises plenty of styling and customization options, plus a wallop of driving fun under the hood. The two-door soft top is the first convertible Mini to come with BMW Group-derived engines and underpinnings.

Customizability starts with the exterior, where buyers can choose between 11 different paint colors, including Melting Silver (a carryover from the Clubman) and the new Caribbean Blue. You can also get the roof embroidered with an enormous Union Jack, if so inclined.

Speaking of the foldable roof, it comes with multiple settings, such as a “sunroof” option if you’re not looking to go full drop-top. There’s also an “Always Open Timer” to find out exactly how many hours you’ve driven with expanded headroom.

Inside, there’s seating for four, plus upholstery options like new Malt Brown leather that comes in diamond-stitching “reminiscent of classic English Chesterfield sofas.” The Mini Connected infotainment system and a 6.5-inch screen are standard, but buyers can opt for an 8.8-inch screen that throws in navigation and an app that’ll warn you if it’s about to rain.

Powering the front wheels, you’ll find either a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder on the base Cooper, or a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder on the hotter Cooper S. The three-cylinder makes 134 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and 162 pound-feet of torque at 1,250 rpm, while the four-cylinder makes 189 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque at 1,250 rpm. A six-speed manual is standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional. Top speed for the base Cooper is 128 mph, while the Cooper S can hit 143 mph.

The 2016 Mini Convertible will make its public debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, which kicks off next week. Pricing will be announced in January, with U.S. sales commencing the following March.

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2015 Mini Cooper S

2015 Mini Cooper S

It’s been only 13 years since BMW revived the Mini brand in 2001, and the Cooper has already been treated to a second overhaul for the 2014 model year. The redesign brought many changes inside and out, including fresh drivetrains. The Cooper S was upgraded to a larger four-cylinder engine that not only delivers more power and torque, but better fuel economy too.

The most striking fact about it, though, is that it’s longer and wider than it has ever been. Not only that, but Mini also launched its first-ever five-door Cooper, a body style that seemed unlikely with the Clubman still around. Moreover, the performance-oriented Cooper S also received one and a JCW is probably underway as well. The reasoning is simple here. Buyers are asking for increasingly larger interiors and the previous Cooper didn’t have much to offer in that department.

It’s not exactly a minivan (though it could become one at this rate), but the roomier interior and added legroom should bring more people into Mini dealerships. What’s more, the Cooper S 5-Door has just started a new career as a family hauler, something the Fiat 500 Abarth, for instance, can’t brag about yet. Hoping Fiat doesn’t get a "bright" idea soon, let’s have a closer look at the third-gen Mini Cooper S.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Cooper S.

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Ford Fiesta ST Vs. Mini Cooper S

Ford Fiesta ST Vs. Mini Cooper S

Compared with our friends in Europe, where hot-hatches are as plentiful as 500-year-old cathedrals and socialized medicine, we in the United States and the rest of North America have been fairly limited in our hot-hatch options. That’s changing. The Volkswagen Golf GTI has always been the constant — not always great, but excellent in recent years. It had the market all to itself until the first Ford Focus ST and Mini Cooper S were introduced in the early 2000s. Three generations later, the Focus got bigger, but the Mini stayed more-or-less the same size. So, to cover its bases in the junior hot-hatch segment, Ford launched the Fiesta ST for the first time in the U.S.

That pretty much brings us up to date. On paper, the current Mini Cooper S and Fiesta ST couldn’t be more evenly matched. Both have torque-happy turbocharged engines producing between 190 and 200 horsepower. Both are roughly the same size to within a few inches. Performance figures and fuel mileage are so similar that you would need a data logger to detect the difference. But despite having similar mission briefs, these are two very different cars with different personalities, tailored to appeal to different end users. Lets take a closer look at both to see which you should put in your driveway.

Continue reading to find out which of the two cars we find better.

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Mini Cooper S Convertible Driving Open Top: Spy Shots

Mini Cooper S Convertible Driving Open Top: Spy Shots

Even before the third-generation Mini Cooper Hardtop was unveiled in late 2013, spy photographers had already captured pictures of the drop-top variant wearing light camouflage. Now, with the 2016 Mini Cooper Convertible getting closer to its unspecified on-sale date, our photographers have once again caught up with the cute convertible only this time Mini’s engineers are testing the car with the soft top fully retracted.

It’s no surprise that the styling of the new Cooper Convertible won’t differ too much from the two-door Cooper it is based on, but there is one key area where the 2016 Cooper Convertible will vary from the current convertible. From what there is to see in these images, the more rounded tailgate and added rear overhang should help improve the Convertible’s cargo capacity. One of the images even shows the current convertible right alongside the 2016 model, giving a better comparison of the two cars’ rumps.

Speaking of the rear end, this car is definitely the Cooper S Convertible as evident from the center-mounted exhaust outlets. This means that the 189-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder will add even more fun to the top-down driving experience.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mini Cooper Convertible.

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Raphael Orlove Drives Dakar-Winning Mini In The Desert: Video

Raphael Orlove Drives Dakar-Winning Mini In The Desert: Video

For the uninitiated, here’s a bit of background info: the Dakar rally raid is quite simply one of the most punishing race events in the world. It’s an ultra-long off-road event that sees pros and amateurs alike blasting across over 5,000 miles of some of the roughest terrain Mother Nature can muster. Vehicle classes encompass cars, ATVs, bikes, and enormous heavy-duty trucks. To even finish is considered a gigantic accomplishment, but the Mini ALL4 Racing team has taken gold in the car category four years running. “Capable” doesn’t even come close to describing the abilities of this world eater, but that didn’t stop Jalopnik’s Raphael Orlove from getting it stuck in the middle of the UAE desert.

Of course, I mean no offense towards our comrades in gasoline, but still, it is a bit humorous, which is a point not lost in the video: “BMW gave me every preparation to drive this thing,” Orlove says. “They flew me out to Dubai, they built the simplest, easiest Dakar winner in modern history, they gave me as much instruction as possible, and access to some of the best engineers and drivers in the world. But look, sometimes you’re shifting down from flat-out in fifth gear on the desert floor into the dunes, and you crest a rise, and you go to downshift, and you pull for fourth gear instead of push for second. So the engine bogged and the wheels sunk and we were stuck.”

No worries, Orlove, it happens to the best of us. Next time, though, make sure to bring an extra water bottle. You know, just in case.

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Mini JCW Convertible Shows Some Skin: Spy Shots

Mini JCW Convertible Shows Some Skin: Spy Shots

When Mini introduced the new John Cooper Works Hardtop model at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show we had no idea the BMW-owned brand was also working on a convertible model. That became apparent about a month later when a camouflaged Mini Convertible wearing a front bumper identical to the JCW Hardtop was spotted by our trusty paparazzi. And while Mini still hasn’t confirmed there’s a JCW drop-top underway, a second test car sporting the aggressive fascia we’ve seen on the hatchback back in January hit the streets for more real-world action. This time around, the prototype is painted red and, more importantly, most of the camouflage is gone.

With no black-and-yellow tape covering the front bumper, I’m now 100-percent positive this is indeed the soft-top version of the nippy JCW Hardtop. Yes, there are important details missing, such as the racing stripes on the engine hood, the JCW badge on the grille and the unique, two-tone wheels, but these features will likely appear as the vehicle moves closer to production.

As a brief reminder, all these JCW-specific goodies will come alongside a new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 228 turbocharged horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. That’s a 20-horse and 29-pound-feet increase over the previous model, making the new JCW the most powerful production Mini ever, as of 2015. Expect those numbers to translate into six-second 0-to-60 sprints and top speeds in excess of 150 mph.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini JCW Convertible.

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2015 Mini Cooper Sport Pack

2015 Mini Cooper Sport Pack

When BMW took over production of the Mini in the year 2000, it started churning out a long list of special editions and new conceptualizations of the iconic British compact. Over the years, there have been several Mini iterations, some with additional doors, some with no roof, and most with an increase in size and weight. However, no matter the model, they are all both sporty and nimble.

That tradition continues with the introduction of the Mini Sport Pack. Now, buyers of any three-door or five-door hatch are offered this optional equipment package, which comes with new exterior features, interior improvements, and suspension upgrades.

Mini says these new accessories can add up to 25 percent to residual resale value, which should entice buyers into more liberal use of the option list when considering the purchase of a new Mini Cooper.

But is it worth the extra outlay? Hit the jump to find out.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper Sport Pack

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2015 Mini One First 5-Door

2015 Mini One First 5-Door

Much like any other fashion statement, Mini Coopers don’t come cheap. For instance, the base two-door hardtop model costs more than a Toyota Corolla and it’s nearly as expensive as the Camry at $20,700 before options. Add a John Cooper Works badge and the sticker jumps to $30,100, only $2,850 short of the base BMW 3 Series. Yes, I know I’m comparing apples to kumquats, but there really is no car to compare it to except for the Fiat 500. And that’s mainly because Mini chose to turn the tiny, revolutionary vehicle of the 1950s into a larger accessory on wheels that comes in many shapes and sizes. With people complaining about the price tags of the new Mini, the British company rolled out the Mini One in 2014. Powered by a new 1.2-liter three-cylinder and sporting slightly fewer features, the One became the cheapest offering of the Mini lineup, costing around 10 percent less than the base Cooper. For 2015, however, Mini is lowering the nameplate’s starting price even more with a new model that goes by the name One First.

Launched as a five-door model at first, the One First makes use of the One’s 1.2-liter three-cylinder, but output drops well below 100 horsepower. Although there’s significantly less power traveling to the pavement, the hatch’s improved fuel economy is likely to make drivers forget about the sluggish acceleration. Let’s have a better look at this brand-new trim after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini One First 5 Door.

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2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

John Cooper’s cooperation with Mini began back in the days when the British automaker produced the original Mark I car. Developed as an homologation car for rally racing, the original Cooper and Cooper S models were built until 1967. The modern-day John Cooper Works was founded in 2000 by Michael Cooper, son of John Cooper. The first Mini JCW was released in 2008. The company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW and is the in-house tuning arm for all Mini vehicles, much like the M division is to Bimmer. Seven years since the inception of the first modern-day Mini JCW, John Cooper Works has released a brand-new iteration of the beefed-up hatch.

Based on the recently redesigned Cooper Hardtop, the new JCW is the most powerful Mini ever developed as of 2015 with 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. The 2015 John Cooper Works Mini is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show and go on sale in the United States a few months after its debut.

Updated 1/12/2015: Mini has officially revealed the Cooper Hardtop John Cooper Works at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Not that we didn’t already know nearly everything about it already. The only new information available is its starting price of $30,600 plus $850 delivery fee, its release date of spring 2015, and that Mini will be running the Cooper Hardtop JCW in the Street Tuner (ST) class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in 2015.

Updated 01/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new images from the car’s official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mini John Cooper Works.

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Spy Shots: Mini Clubman Spied Inside and Out

Spy Shots: Mini Clubman Spied Inside and Out

The current Mini lineup is slowly getting a makeover and the Clubman is the next to join the ranks of Britain’s redesigned "fashionmobile." Previewed by the Clubman Concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Mini’s new wagon brought many changes to the nameplate, a fact confirmed by the first prototypes that took the streets in the second half of 2014. With 2015 already upon us, the new Clubman was spotted trotting around German streets once again, showcasing its six-door configuration and revised sheet metal.

As soon as we set eyes on the production-ready concept of the 2015 Mini Clubman, we learned that the new Clubman would be the most revolutionary of its kind. Although its exterior design is essentially the same, save for a few nips and tucks all around, the wagon has received regular rear doors for the very first time, ditching the single, reverse-hinged opening on the passenger side and the unequal front-door setup. What’s more, it has grown in size, following the trend applied to the rest of the new Mini lineup.

The interior of the Clubman has been revamped as well, strangely enough to the extent it’s quite different when compared to the Cooper Hatch, but you’ll have to skip past the jump to find out more about that.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Clubman.

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2014 TopSpeed Year in Review

2014 TopSpeed Year in Review

2015 is almost upon us, car lovers, and TopSpeed has one last post to close out the year that was 2014! As this little blue green ball we all inhabit completes yet another revolution around that warm spot of fusing hydrogen hanging in the sky, we tend to revert back to the time-honored tradition of summarizing a few of the big events that transpired over the course of the year. It’s a crossroads, a time to bask in the glory of past wins, as well as learn from prior mistakes in a bid to avoid such blunders in the future.

In many ways, 2014 was a time of great change and rebirth, with both exciting successes and catastrophic failures laced throughout. We’ve seen the glorious return of heroes like the Dodge Challenger, plus the emergence of exciting new technology like in the Toyota Mirai. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a glut of niche vehicles stretched thin between a variety of purposes, like the Mercedes GLE Coupe, as well as fatal corporate mistakes in a record-breaking year for automotive recalls.

Usually, we’re a glass-half-full kind of crowd, so we’re tempted to say, overall, this most recent spin around the sun yielded a net gain for the automotive world. Perhaps, but we suppose that’s still open for debate. Regardless, it’s been a mixed bag, no doubt about that. But don’t fret: we’re here to tie it up into one neat package for you.

Click past the jump to read our list of highs and lows from 2014.

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10 Worst Cars of 2014

10 Worst Cars of 2014

While our 10 Best Cars of 2014 article was written to focus on the most newsworthy cars launched in the past year from a positive point of view, we figured that the circle could only be complete if we also take a look at some of the not-so-good vehicles that became part of our world in 2014. Obviously, the presence of some cars on the following list will probably anger a good amount of keyboard warriors and/or diehard fans out there, but that usually goes with the territory and you can’t please every reader every time.

As most of you know, no matter how much soul and poetry a carmaker exudes for some people, the automotive industry is just that, an industry. Industries, like every other business, are here to make money, because otherwise they would simply cease to exist sooner or later. Since marketing is a pretty big part of almost every business’ success, a lot of carmakers rely on intangible details such as brand or model image to sell their products, especially when talking about niche cars.

That is exactly where a lot of them go wrong sometimes, when newly-introduced cars don’t necessarily tick all the right boxes, or at least the minimum required in their brand DNA. From some points of view, this results in a bad car, while from others it simply means that one or more entities that helped to develop said car didn’t do a very good job at some point. Either way, the following list is in no way a professionally-made or objective one and each of the cars on it may very well become a best-seller and a huge success in the future.

With that being said, click past the jump to read more about the 10 Worst Cars Of 2014.

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Mini Plans To Shrink Lineup To Five Models

Mini Plans To Shrink Lineup To Five Models

Mini’s reported lineup restructuring apparently has more traction than a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. Shortly after Mini USA product boss Patrick McKenna said that the Coupe and Roadster models would be discontinued, company chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer added fuel to speculation about Mini’s future lineup by telling Bloomberg that mother hen BMW has deemed it unsustainable, thus the need to shrink its lineup to around five models.

The two reports paint a clear picture on BMW’s plan for Mini, which now involves ridding the company of unnecessary and overlapping models in favor of keeping a core lineup made up of “superhero” vehicles. According to Schwarzenbauer, these superhero models would have their own personalities and unique capabilities to create clear distinctions from the other Mini models. The Mini chairman didn’t explicitly say which models would be scrapped, but McKenna’s recent comments to AutoGuide have tabbed the Coupe and Roadster models as the two casualties of the brand’s planned model contraction.

That would leave the three- and five-door versions of the Cooper, the Countryman, the Clubman, and the Paceman as the faces of Mini’s revamped model lineup. The German automaker is also considering the possibility of offering an electric vehicle, which could be based on the Superleggera Concept that was unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

That would make it five different models, each with their own derivatives. If BMW is really serious about cutting Mini’s existing lineup, these five models could make for a good core lineup. There are enough differences among them that there won’t by a risk of overlapping like the way it is now with the Coupe and Roadster.

Click past the jump to read more about Mini’s future lineup.

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2015 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works Pro Parts

2015 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works Pro Parts

Since its rebirth under BMW in 2002, no other car company has been able to touch Mini when it comes to its range of customization. There are literally millions of permutations available—virtually assuring that no two Minis sold will be alike. A countless range of exterior graphics packages, floor mats, trim options, key fobs, fog lamps, colors, wheels, body-kits, valve stem caps, spoilers, performance parts and storage options allow buyers to customize Minis anyway they wish before their cars even leave dealer lots. These peripherals have been a huge revenue source for the company and, when added liberally, can cause MSRPs to double over the base cost.

Now Mini is introducing a whole new range of options to complement both the third-generation 2 Door and 4 Door models, including the new John Cooper Works Pro design line, at the 2014 Essen Motor Show. In addition, a gigantic range of new accessories is being introduced that will allow customers to take color coordination to new levels for both models. Want plaid floor mats? How about graffiti-styled rear-view mirror cover that say “VROOOOM?” Mini can oblige no matter how questionable your tastes may be.

Click past the jump to read more about the MINI Cooper S With John Cooper Works Pro.

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Spy Shots: 2015 Mini John Cooper Works Caught Testing in Munich

Spy Shots: 2015 Mini John Cooper Works Caught Testing in Munich

The 2015 Mini John Cooper Works is expected to make its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Seeing as there’s still some time left before the JCW heads to the Motor City, our spy photographers captured the car almost completely undisguised, except for the swirly-camouflage beard, undergoing testing in Munich.

Unlike the spy shots from May 2014 that had the JCW doing test runs using a Cooper S body, this model appears to be as close to the final production model. That’s hardly surprising since Mini has pretty much spent the entirety of 2014 developing the new John Cooper Works in time for its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2015.

The 2015 John Cooper Works is expected to receive a four-cylinder turbo engine that produces close to 231 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Should that be the final number, that’s going to represent a modest bump from the 218 ponies powering the outgoing model. It should also be enough to clear 60 mph in about six seconds.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mini John Cooper Works.

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2015 MINI ALL4 Racing

2015 MINI ALL4 Racing

A total of eight MINI ALL4 Racing cars will compete in one of the longest and most challenging off-road events in the world: the Dakar Rally.

Originally hosted in 1979, the annual event is classified as a “rally raid” — that is, a long distance, cross-country marathon run held over the course of several days. The Dakar is composed of hundreds of racers in a variety of classes wielding motorcycles, quads, trucks, and cars. It’s a grueling, two-week journey over thousands of miles of rough terrain; an epic test of both mechanical fortitude and human will. Simply finishing the event is a monumental accomplishment.

The original event was a race between Paris, France, and Dakar, Senegal, but organizers moved to South America in 2009 citing security concerns. However, the new location is no less punishing, as the upcoming rally will cover some 9,000 kilometers of dunes, mud, sand, rocks, gravel, and extreme altitudes across Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia.

If you think this sounds like the wrong event for a MINI, you’re incorrect. High-performance versions of the plucky vehicle have a streak going with three consecutive victories between 2012 and 2014. For the 2015 event taking place in early January, a total of eight MINI entrants will attempt to maintain the championship.

“Even with the most outstanding preparation, the Dakar remains a tremendous adventure with unforeseeable challenges and highly demanding tasks that all participants will have to master in order to succeed,” said Jochen Goller, Senior Vice President at MINI, in a press release. “With this in mind, we are more than pleased to enter the 2015 Dakar Rally with a professional, experienced team in our strategic partners of the X-raid Team, a highly competitive driver line-up and a proven winner in the Mini ALL4 Racing.”

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 MINI ALL4 Racing.

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Video: Mini JCW Sets New FWD Lap Record at Nurburgring

Video: Mini JCW Sets New FWD Lap Record at Nurburgring

The Nurburgring lap record for front-wheel-drive production cars has been with Renault for many years. Two different iterations of the Megane set new benchmarks in 2008 and 2011, respectively, with an 8-minute 7-seven record to survive until March 2014. That’s when the Seat Leon Cupra became the first FWD car to lap the ’Ring in less than eight minutes. However, the new benchmark didn’t last too long, as Renault returned to the German track with the Megane RS 275 Trophy-R and regained its top position with a 7-minute 54-second lap.

While the Megane RS 275 Trophy-R still stands as the fastest production FWD car on the "Green Hell," the French hatch is far from being the quickest overall FWD car around the race course. That honor goes to a beefed-up Mini Cooper that just smashed the Megane’s lap by a whopping 10 seconds. How’s that possible? Well, first of all, the Mini in question is a John Cooper Works model. Then there’s the fact that the hatch got a few extra tweaks from German specialist Schirra Motoring. The end result is a 1.6-liter four-banger that generates 286 horsepower — 78 ponies over the stock model — a curb weight of only 2,215 pounds, and a hatch that’s faster than a host of sports cars.

I’m not kidding, this JCW is quicker around the `Ring than both the Porsche 911 GT2 and the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, and it matches the Pagani Zonda S’ Nurburgring lap time. That’s downright impressive no matter how you look at it, even though this Mini doesn’t qualify as a production car. This also means the Megane RS 275 Trophy-R gets to keep its record, but Schirra’s Mini is definitely the coolest FWD car to have lapped the ’Ring so far.

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Video: Tribute To The Original Mini Cooper

Video: Tribute To The Original Mini Cooper

The present-day Mini Cooper may be more of a fashion accessory than an affordable, fuel-efficient vehicle, but that wasn’t always the case. The original Cooper was created in response to Britain’s oil crisis of the late 1950s and came in a compact, affordable package. It was UK’s version of the Volkswagen Beetle; it was a people’s car.

The tiny economy car debuted in 1959, seven years after Morris and Austin merged to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC). Initially powered by an 848cc engine rated at 35 horsepower, the Mini received larger 1,275cc inline-four that delivered more than 70 ponies. It may not sound like much, but the first-gen Mini was quite the nimble car thanks to its reduced weight. The entry-level car tipped the scales at a feathery 1,360 pounds; the more powerful Cooper S weighed in at 1,512 pounds.

Mini’s sales success was soon backed by numerous motorsport achievements, including Monte Carlo Rally wins and impressive performances in the British Touring Car Championship. The Cooper S won no less than three Monte Carlo rallies between 1964 and 1967, beating iconic cars such as the Porsche 911, Porsche 904, and Lancia Fulvia HF in the process.

Although the original Cooper was built until 2000, the same year BMW launched the modern Mini, its presence on the U.S. market was rather brief. BMC exported about 10,000 Minis to North America between 1960 and 1967 before discontinuing sales due to the stricter federal safety standards that were imposed in 1968.

The Mini Cooper remains popular today, 55 years since its inception, with many cars being restored to their original specification and paraded during local and international events. The video above pays tribute to the Mini with a loving look at a 1971 Cooper S. This car defined what a small sporty car should be, and for that, we love it.

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$100 Buys You a New Mini Cooper: Some Assembly Required

$100 Buys You a New Mini Cooper: Some Assembly Required

When Lego announced the Ultimate Collector Series Batman Tumbler, we thought that was pretty cool. There are some issue though. It is massive, it costs $200, and Lego can’t keep it in stock, so its impossible to find.

What is a car-loving Lego enthusiast to do? Just buy a different Lego set of course!

Lego has a long history of cool car-related creations. You can get a replica of the old
Volkswagen van, multiple version of F1 cars and the Cadillac-based Ecto-1 wagon from the Ghostbusters film. And then they have set 10242; the classic Mini Cooper.

For $99, you can grab one of these kits that has almost 1,100 pieces, and is extremely detailed. The car is bricked out in British Racing Green, has a full interior, working doors, trunk and "bonnet," and it comes with a complete picnic set as well.

You can watch me build the entire thing in time-lapse mode by pressing that little play button. The kit was a lot of fun to build, and it took me about 3 hours. It was a pretty awesome way to spend a Saturday morning. If you want to see some more photos of the finished kit, just check after the break.

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10 Best Budget Enthusiast Machines Under $20k

10 Best Budget Enthusiast Machines Under $20k

There is an overlying stigma that trying to buy a fun and sporty car will cost you an arm and a leg. We decided to set the record straight, and with a shoe-string budget of only $20,000 we have been able to come up with 10 brand-new cars that will make any enthusiast happy without breaking the bank. To make the list, each car must demonstrate a certain level of character, fun, and practicality. Cars were chosen based on weight, handling ability, and power. Also, every car chosen offers a manual transmission on the engine/trim level that we have chosen. So fun, practical and available with three-pedals. There isn’t much more that you really need when looking for a fun and cheap car.

Before you start frying about the great cars that are available for just a little bit more like the Mazda Miata and Ford Fiesta ST, or the amazing cars you can get used, we wanted to focus on the really cheap side of things. If you are already stretching your budget to get a $19-$20k car, buying something at $23k is just not an option. Also, if you are already stretching your budget to hit that $20k mark, the last thing you can afford is the cost of repairs and maintenance that comes with every used car. A full warranty is a very important thing for this market.

With all of that out of the way, let’s jump into this. As always, feel free to tell me how awesome and right all my choices are. If you think I left something off this list, let me know that too. Now hit that jump and enjoy.

See our top ten enthusiast cars for less than $20,000 after the break.

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2014 Mini Cooper SD

2014 Mini Cooper SD

The Mini brand was resurrected for the 2001 model year, five years after the original Cooper ceased to exist. Initially available only as a three-door hatch and two-door convertible, the new Mini quickly grew into a lineup that included the Clubman, the Countryman, the Coupe and the Paceman. The first-gen model survived for only five years, being replaced by the second-gen in 2006. In 2013, the brand new, third-generation Mini was unveiled, this time riding atop BMW’s UKL1 platform.

Mini already debuted a brand-new diesel engine for the Cooper 5-Door, and the Brits decided to give that same oil burner to the three-door version as well. We’re talking about the 2.0-liter four-banger that generates 170 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, and enables the Cooper DS to become the most powerful diesel Cooper ever created.

Of course, it’s not overly fast from naught to 62 mph, but its 7.3-second second sprint is good enough considering the hatchback claims to return up to 58 mpg on the highway. The 0-to-62 mph figure drops to 7.2 seconds when the engine is paired to the six-speed Steptronic transmission. Sporty and efficient, a recipe that fits today’s demanding market like a glove.

Unfortunately, there’s no word as to whether this nippy fuel sipper will hit U.S. shores or not, but don’t expect to find it at a dealership near you this year. On the other hand, those of you who live in the United Kingdom can order one starting July 2014.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Mini Cooper SD.

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2014 Mini Cooper 5-Door

2014 Mini Cooper 5-Door

The current Mini Cooper is no longer the small economy car that used to rule British streets beginning with the 1960s. Revamped under BMW ownership, the tiny vehicle that Mr. Bean used to haul armchairs and buckets of paint has grown into a fancy hatchback that’s not exactly affordable when packed with all sorts of amenities.

Nevertheless, the new Mini has become increasingly popular in the United States, where no less than ten iterations are available in showrooms. However, the German-owned company is expanding its lineup yet again by adding a five-door version of the familiar hatch, increasing the number of vehicle that have more than three doors to three. The other two are the Clubman and the Countryman.

The Mini Cooper 5-Door came a little later than expected, but it’s finally here to show off its longer body and additional rear doors. Longer and slightly taller than the regular three-door Cooper, the 5-Door’s main purpose is to satisfy customers that have been asking for a roomier Mini that provides easier access in the back and doesn’t feature bi-parting rear doors.

Set to go on sale in the summer of 2014, the Mini Cooper 5-Door is also an alternative to the Fiat 500L, as well as a thorn in the Clubman’s side.

Click past the jump to find out more about the 2014 Mini Cooper 5-Door

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Spy Shots: 2015 Mini John Cooper Works Caught Testing At Nurburgring

Spy Shots: 2015 Mini John Cooper Works Caught Testing At Nurburgring

Previewed by a concept vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the next-generation Mini John Cooper Works has been spotted testing Northern Europe since February. More recently, though, the Brits have moved their trials at the Nurburgring track, the perfect environment for a beefed-up hatchback.

Although the spy shots we’ve just received from our paparazzi show a vehicle that has lost most of its camouflage, we’re actually looking at a mule that wears a Cooper S body with a John Cooper Works front bumper attached to it. Still wearing the yellow wrap, the bumper has a more aggressive design and it appears to be identical to the one seen on the concept car.

The lighter, 18-inch aluminum wheels also carry a new design, but the upcoming hot hatch will receive more distinct features, such as a new rear bumper with an integrated diffuser, roof spoiler and side skirts. These features are likely to find their way on the prototype as development continues this summer.

Motivation will be provided by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s expected to crank 231 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s 13 ponies more than the outgoing model and just enough for the vehicle to reach 60 mph from a standing start in less than six seconds.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mini John Cooper Works.

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