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Caving Under Pressure: The Detroit Auto Show May, In Fact, Move to October

Caving Under Pressure: The Detroit Auto Show May, In Fact, Move to October

Because weather, CES, and automaker influence

The Detroit Auto Show is on the cusp of a long-overdue decision that will effectively move the show out of the winter doldrums of January into a later month with a far more inviting climate. Nothing is official yet, but there’s growing momentum that America’s most esteemed auto show will be moved from January to October beginning in 2020. A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association is scheduled to vote on uprooting the show from its winter roots and moving it to the fall.

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A New Selection of Kids Toys from The Mini Lifestyle Collection Has Something for Little Ones of All Ages

A New Selection of Kids Toys from The Mini Lifestyle Collection Has Something for Little Ones of All Ages

There’s some for us adults and children-at-heart too

MINI’s known for offering cars that offer more personality than they probably should. The German automaker’s latest business venture isn’t going to be as expensive as buying a new car, but the products still exude MINI’s quirkiness. Care for a MINI Coloring Car Set? Perhaps the brand can interest you in a Knitted Car? how about MINI Baby Gift Set? You need to see the set because it’s beyond adorable. All these items from the MINI Lifestyle Collection can be yours, provided you pay for them, of course.

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Say What? Who's Valued Higher Than Ferrari?

Say What? Who’s Valued Higher Than Ferrari?

The subcompact brand is climbing the financial ladder

In a surprising twist of fates, Mini now outranks Ferrari in terms of corporate value. The rankings come by way of Interbrand, a global brand consulting firm, which says Mini is worth $5.11 billion and Ferrari only $4.87 billion. While a half-billion might be a small margin, Mini’s lead over the Italian supercar automaker comes as a big surprise. Of course, it’s worth noting Ferrari is new to Interbrand’s list of Best Global Brands.

CarScoops reports Mini’s success can be attributed to its 3.1-percent year-over-year sales increase for a total of 230,925 vehicles sold globally. Mini’s completely revised 2017 Countryman has seen a 12.9-percent jump in sales over this time last year and the Mini Convertible boasts a whopping 20.3-percent sales increase over 2016. Of course, Mini’s focus is on sales volume whereas Ferrari is concerned with exclusivity and brand image.

In the grand scheme of things, both Mini and Ferrari are small fish compared to larger automakers. Mini’s parent company, BMW, is valued at $41.5 billion and ranks third in the automotive sector behind Mercedes at $47.8 billion and Toyota at $50,2 billion. Outside the automotive sector, Apple takes the top honors with a value of $184.1 billion followed by Google at $141,7 billion. A huge gap exists between the second-place Google and third-place Microsoft, with Bill Gates’ former company only valued at $79.9 billion. Still, the software giant outranks all other companies on Interbrand’s list.

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Brexit Could Bring An End To Mini Production In The U.K.

Brexit Could Bring An End To Mini Production In The U.K.

How British do you want your Mini?

The Mini is one of Britain’s most iconic automobiles, with a history that dates back to 1959 with the British Motor Corporation. Over the years, BMC and it’s various evolutions (British Leyland, Rover Group, etc.) were responsible for churning out the models, but in 2000, BMW bought the brand. Despite German ownership, Mini models are still produced in the U.K. by British workers, with roughly 200,000 units rolling off the line in Oxford every year. However, with the looming ramifications of the ongoing Brexit negotiations still in flux, that could change.

The latest news comes from the U.K. publication The Telegraph, which reports that Mini chief executive Harald Krueger has voiced concern over the consequences of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union. “We hope for pragmatism from all parties in the Brexit negotiations. That means no new barriers to trade, free movement for skilled workers,” Krueger said at BMW’s annual shareholder meeting in Munich. It’s feared that new tariffs and restrictions could force BMW’s hand in moving production to Europe. “We are planning in terms of scenarios,” Krueger added. “You know that we make Mini models at VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands. We’re flexible.”

Continue reading for the full story.

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Mini Axes Coupe, Roadster And Paceman

Mini Axes Coupe, Roadster And Paceman

Amidst growing competition in the compact hatchback and crossover segment, Mini will stop production of its 2014 Mini Coupe, 2014 Mini Roadster, and 2015 Mini Paceman models. The move will help the BMW-owned brand consolidate its offerings as it attempts to justify its premium prices with a more upmarket product approach.

Shirking its previous strategy of adding a variety of models to help instigate growth, Mini will instead opt to focus on a core lineup of just five models. The brand will focus on model quality rather than quantity to help stand out against rivals like the less-expensive 2015 Fiat 500 or 2015 Nissan Juke. 

Speaking at the recent unveiling of the new 2016 Mini Clubman in Berlin, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW board member responsible for the Mini brand, said, “This will be the start of a new era for Mini,” and that the brand is “...kicking off a new chapter where we’re going to expand into the premium compact class,” thus developing Mini’s “visual identity” in the minds of consumers.

Traditionally, Mini has been all about quirkiness and fun, but now, it appears as though it wants to take things a little more seriously.

This new ritzy approach is reflected in the changes performed on the new Clubman wagon. The new car is now much bigger, gaining almost 12 inches in length and over 4.5 inches in width. It’s also more practical, offering four full-size doors and comfortable seating for five. It also looks more upscale, with sleeker, cleaner lines and daytime running lamps in the front. 

No word yet on when exactly the Coupe, Roadster, and Paceman models will finally stop production.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Mini Won't Replace The Coupe and Roadster

Mini Won’t Replace The Coupe and Roadster

File this one under “things you probably saw coming.” In a recent conversation with U.K. car rag Autocar, Mini marketing boss Ian Robertson suggested that the company is unlikely to build F56-based replacements for the slow-selling Mini Coupe and Roadster. Production of the current Mini Coupe and Roadster at Mini’s plant in Oxford, England is slated to end later this year to make way for new models.

It’s all part of Mini’s plan to move away from niche products and produce cars that appeal to a wider customer base. "There were a couple of niche areas we explored with the old platform," Robertson told Autocar. "With the new platform we are exploring larger niches - the five-door, for instance, opens up a much larger market than perhaps the coupe did. We will substitute some models for those with wider potential offerings. The overall lineup may end up having a few less models in it - but those models will have a higher sales volume potential than what went before."

When asked directly about the future of the Coupe and Roadster, Robertson deflected and reiterated Mini’s plan for higher-volume cars.

As for the better-selling Mini Countryman, Robertson confirmed it would continue for the foreseeable future, but the less-successful Mini Paceman Coupe’s days could be numbered. Both cars are constructed outside of Mini’s Oxford plant under contract with Magna Steyr in Austria.

Continue reading to learn more about Mini’s Coupe and Roadster models.

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Mini Coupe and Roadster Will be Discontinued After 2015

Mini Coupe and Roadster Will be Discontinued After 2015

Humility has never been one of Mini’s strong suits, so it must be tough for the German automaker to admit when it messed up. Unfortunately for Mini, one of those times occurred at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show when Mini USA product boss Patrick McKenna told AutoGuide that the company’s Coupe and Roadster models will be discontinued after next year.

According to McKenna, both the Coupe and Roadster are being axed because of their disappointing sales numbers. This news doesn’t come as a surprise to all those who never warmed up to the two models because they were too similar to the hardtop and convertible versions of the Cooper. Mini tried to distinguish the Coupe and Roadster with their design offerings, but customers never took the bait.

In their eyes, paying a premium for the Coupe and Roadster made no sense when they could get pretty much everything the two models offered from the hardtop and convertible versions of the Cooper. All at a price that was at least a few thousand dollars cheaper than the Coupe and Roadster models.

Take for example the difference between the two-door 2014 Mini Cooper and the Coupe. The former starts at $20,700 while the latter starts at $22,000. The pricing difference between the Cooper Convertible and the Roadster isn’t that big — $25,700 compared to $26,100 — but the point is clear: there’s no room for the Coupe and Roadster when the two-door Cooper and the Cooper Convertible are already entrenched in the lineup.

So Mini’s doing the prudent thing by dropping the Coupe and Roadster together after 2015. In doing so, the German automaker is learning an important lesson. You can’t always win all your battles.

Click past the jump to read more about Mini Coupe And Roadster.

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Mini Prepares Competitor For Smart ForTwo

Mini Prepares Competitor For Smart ForTwo

Remember the Rocketman concept Mini unveiled back in 2011? It was a dolled-up three-door hatch that was about a foot shorter than the regular Mini Cooper, and had a panoramic glass roof and a carbon-fiber spaceframe. Its main highlight, besides the fancier looks, was its 78 mpg U.S. estimated fuel economy rating. Initially expected to spawn a production car, the Rocketman remained a concept only. That’s about to change according to Auto Express, which found out more about the company’s new plans straight from Mini head of design Anders Warming.

Details are being kept under wraps for now, as the Brits are still developing the idea, but Warming says the Rocketman could become the base of a Smart ForTwo competitor. “For sure, a Mini should always be a small car, so a new city car would be appropriate for the brand. At the moment, we don’t have the right tech solutions, but we are working on it. We don’t yet have a final solution, you could say," he noted.

But don’t expect to see too much Rocketman in this small, lightweight vehicle. Warming stresses Mini doesn’t plan on using carbon-fiber like BMW did with the i3. Instead, the tiny city car is more likely to make extensive use of aluminum. "Our concept had carbon parts, but aluminum is more likely. We want to reduce parts, to do more with less."

As for know-how, Mini is reportedly looking to team up with Toyota, who is currently working with BMW on a brand-new sports car. Needless to say, Toyota’s experience with the iQ could help Mini enter a previously unexplored segment.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Rocketman Concept.

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Mini Sets Another Pair of Quirky World Records

Mini Sets Another Pair of Quirky World Records

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?

Yeah, right.

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.

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MINI Sets Out for the North Pole to Attempt Unique World Record

MINI Sets Out for the North Pole to Attempt Unique World Record

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.

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Mini Coupe JCW GP put on hold

Mini Coupe JCW GP put on hold

Back in April, our spy photographers captured the first spy shots of a prototype that looked like it would be the Mini Coupe JCW GP. Now, it looks like Mini has changed its mind and canceled their plans for a Coupe JCW GP. The model was supposed to be based on the R56 hatch GP and should have been lighter than the R56 hatch.

Mini cancelled its plans because it was concerned that a GP Coupe would have made the R56 GP less special and unique, and buyers would have lost interest in that model. Now they are going to go about picking their models a little more carefully - a new thing for Mini and their bazillion renditions of the Cooper - and a full line of GP track-ready high performance models is being reconsidered.

We find it hard to believe that Mini would got through all of that trouble, and money, to develop a car that they are just going to cancel right before it’s complete. Something else may be cooking in Mini’s kitchen and we’ll dig a little deeper to discover if it’s decadent dining or just plain slop.

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Next-Gen X1 Will Go Front-Wheel Drive and Share Mini Driveline Components

Next-Gen X1 Will Go Front-Wheel Drive and Share Mini Driveline Components

While we are all anxiously awaiting the debut of the X1 in the U.S., which is set to happen this fall, BMW is hard at work piecing together the next-generation model. According to Autocar, this work involves figuring out how to fit Mini Countryman drivetrain components under the next-gen X1. This combination of the Mini and BMW lineup is expected to help reduce production costs and hopefully reduce its cost to the buyer.

In addition to sharing underpinnings with the Mini Countryman, the next-generation X1, which is expected to debut in 2015, will come standard with front-wheel drive, as opposed to the standard rear-wheel drive that the 2013 X1 will bear. It will, however, retain its optional all-wheel drive. This new chassis, dubbed the Unter Klasse (UKL), will also eliminate the possibility of a 6-cylinder option for the next-gen X1, as BMW has no plans to transversely mount a 6-pot in any of its cars.

In reality, there are chances of the X1 getting an even smaller engine, as BMW is supposedly considering dropping the petite 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine in the 2015 X1. This all comes as a huge surprise to us, as the X1 is just now making its way to the States, and BMW is already planning on pretty much scrapping the entire thing. Plus, to start throwing Countryman parts onto this crossover SUV is just going to make it that much more irrelevant to buyers that may need to haul anything more than the kids and luggage around.

We guess we’ll just have to wait and see exactly how BMW plans to set this whole system up, as one of the key components to a crossover SUV is its ability to haul light cargo. The Countryman’s 860-pound max payload capacity doesn’t quite fit the bill. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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Official: Mini Paceman Hitting Showrooms in 2013

Official: Mini Paceman Hitting Showrooms in 2013

Love `em or hate `em, you can’t help but be impressed with how far MINI can go in stretching out one basic design. In late-2011, MINI debuted a new coupe version of its Countryman and dubbed it the Paceman – no, not the Pac-Man – but gave us very little info. Then over a year went by before we heard anything else, then finally after a year and two months, MINI announced that the Paceman would be shown in Paris in 2012, but under the Clubman Coupe name.

Well, MINI is finally prepared to announce this new models release, but it will, oddly enough, not bear the name we all expected. Dr. Kay Segler, the senior VP of Mini, told about 1,000 Mini enthusiasts at this year’s Mini Takes the States rally that "The Mini Paceman is the official name of the brand’s seventh model, which will be launched next year in the U.S."

In one quick statement, Segler killed two birds with one stone. First, he cleared up the fact that this new coupe will indeed bear the Paceman name, as opposed to the Clubman Coupe. Secondly, we now know that the Paceman will hit showrooms some time in 2013. Though no official date was given, we anticipate that it will be fairly early in the year, as this is really not a new model, but rather just a Clubman with two doors.

This now expands the MINI lineup to seven models based on the same basic appearance. We are starting to wonder if MINI will ever get tired of producing the same car over and over again. Then again, as long as people keep snagging them up, why change?

We will continue to provide you with more updates on this upcoming model as we get closer to its release date.

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2011 MINI Minor Concept

2011 MINI Minor Concept

Back in the day, the MINI Cooper was the epitome of a small car, so much so that it became Mr. Bean’s official car. The hilarity of that is that the lovable British comedian is a pretty tall and lanky fellow so fitting him inside one of those old Coopers proved to be as difficult a task as trying to sleep inside a Little Tykes playhouse.

Since then, the MINI Cooper has become a lot bigger and with models including the Clubman and the Countryman already falling into the crossover categories, it would seem that the BMW-owned company is slowly leaving behind its small and quirky phase.

Wolfgang Armbrecht, however, begs to differ. According to MINI’s brand chief, the company is already developing a back-to-its-roots mini MINI car that will be smaller in size than the latest model of the Cooper.

Word around the watercooler says that the future car already has a name – the MINI Minor Concept – and that it will be a small three-door model with a small engine and a front wheel drive system. Specific details behind the MINI Minor are still unknown, but Armbrecht made it clear that a new car is already in the oven.

’’We have always been motivated by the idea to build a small spacious car,’’ he told the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.

He also adds: “There will be a taste of ’’the next spectacular idea from the Mini brand’ at the Detroit Auto Show. Keep a close eye on the coming months.”

You don’t need to remind us about that last part, Mr. Armbrecht. We’re definitely going to keep some tabs on MINI’s potential return back to its Mr. Bean-driving days.

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AC Schnitzer Launches Car Configurator App for iPhone

AC Schnitzer Launches Car Configurator App for iPhone

The number of iPhone users worldwide is growing at an incredible rate, and Aachen-based tuning concern, AC Schnitzer, have recognized this trend and plan on embracing it by the introduction of a car configurator app for youriPhone. This app brings consumers closer to showrooms by allowing them to choose a model from BMW or Mini and customize it using available AC Schnitzer parts.

Users can either use an existing image from their gallery, or take an image of their car via the app, and start customizing right away. The app depicts the car in a montage of generated renderings in a tasteful presentation that will no doubt have you ordering parts in no time. Other features include a product showcase, where you can view images and videos of project cars to help you get acquainted to the world of aftermarket Schintzer madness. The app is available as a free download in the iTunes store.

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Mini Countryman Has A Price

Mini Countryman Has A Price

We finally have a price for the 2011 Mini Countryman; $22,350. Mini USA headman Jim McDowell just announced that figure at the North American launch in Austin Texas.

We have had a chance to see the Mini Countryman up close and it looks better than some might think. This vehicle will split opinions so not everybody is going to like it, but we think it’s the perfect utility Mini.

A Mini Countryman with some good options on it will run you around $30,000, that’s more than the Nissan Juke, Nissan Rogue and the Volkswagen Tiguan. On the road, the Countryman will be able to manage 35 miles per gallon with a manual transmission on the Cooper model, 32 mpg for the Cooper S, and 31 mpg for the All4 Cooper S Countryman.

Buyers needing extra space, but still wanting to carry a Mini badge should love this thing. However, diehard Mini lovers might find it to be sacrilegious. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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MINI reportedly on its way to the World Rally Championship

MINI reportedly on its way to the World Rally Championship

So what if Porsche beat them in their own competition; MINI’s not exactly the type of brand that just lays down to anybody. Now, they’re looking at embarking on their next challenge, and this one’s an absolute doozy.

According to a report by Autosport, MINI, together with Prodrive, will be announcing a World Rally Championship program. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to translate that: MINI is headed to the WRC!

Details are limited and still pending an announcement, which is expected to be done this week, but word from Autosport has it that MINI’s first WRC offering will be based on the new Countryman and has already been in the pipeline for quite some time now at Prodrive’s Banbury headquarters. The MINI WRC Countryman will also undergo its first testing pretty soon and, according to David Lapworth, Prodrive’s technical director, “When we start testing on our rally car development program, it will be intensive. We still have a good timescale to work towards for testing and we’re happy with where we’re at.”

MINI’s WRC debut will most likely happen at the middle of the 2011 season where it is expected to miss the fist four races and will be launched sometime in May, possibly ahead of the Rally Italy.

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Mini Countryman Specs Are Out

Mini Countryman Specs Are Out

When the Mini Countryman crossover was first shown to the public by Mini, we had thought we would be getting a lot more than we did. Sure, we got a few pictures and some information, but we were never given specifications. Well, the wait is over and we now have a full list of specs on the newest Mini.

The Countryman will get 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines, with the S model getting a turbocharged. The turbo will take the power from 122 horsepower to 184. If you are lucky enough to live in Europe, you can get a few diesel options.

Buyers will be able to choose from a six-speed manual or an automatic transmission. Opt for the base model with the auto box and it will take around 11 seconds to hit 60 miles per hour. The S model can do that time in around eight seconds. The highest version will top out at 190…kmh that is.

The Countryman will not come standard with all-wheel drive. You will have to bump it up to the S level in order to get that on your Mini. Despite the cars rugged looks, it has MacPherson struts in the front and multilink in the rear, so no off-roading.

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Video: Porsche turns down MINI challenge

Video: Porsche turns down MINI challenge

Porsche heard MINI’s challenge loud and clear and the Stuttgart-based automaker has turned it down. Whether it’s a case of taking the high road or a fear of being exposed - depends on which side of the fence you’re on - Porsche gave a pretty quick and firm reply to MINI USA president Jim McDowell’s challenge of having a MINI Cooper S take on a Porsche 911 Carrera S in some sort of racing rumble at Road Atlanta.

Porsche boss Detlev Von Platen only had to say a few words to get his point across. "While your challenge seems like a fun and lighthearted campaign, we’ll stick to racing the way we have over the decades," he said. "We welcome you at Sebring, Le Mans, Daytona or any other sanctioned race where there is more at stake than T-shirts and valet parking spaces."

In the words of today’s generation, "Porsche FTW!

Detlev Von Platen’s letter to Jim McDowell after the jump

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Let's Race!: MINI throws down the gauntlet at Porsche

Let’s Race!: MINI throws down the gauntlet at Porsche

Be careful what you ask for, MINI; your wish just might come true.

The lovable and quirky brand has issued a challenge to Porsche. They have challenged them to a good, old fashioned race with the MINI Cooper S going fender-to-fender with Porsche’s 911 Carrera S at Road Atlanta on June 21. Mismatch on paper? Well, MINI doesn’t think so.

MINI USA President Jim McDowell, who, incidentally, spent eight years in Porsche, laid the throwdown to his Porsche counterpart Detlev von Platen to meet him at Road Atlanta with a driver of his choice to race his 911 Carrera S against McDowell’s hand-picked driver, who will sit behind the wheel of the Cooper S. In the event Porsche wins, McDowell tells von Platen that he will wear a t-shirt on his next public appearance that says, "We Did Not Beat Porsche". Should MINI end up victorious, McDowell will proudly wear a different shirt that says, "We Beat Porsche".

Somewhat surprisingly, Porsche looks to be getting warm on the idea of accepting MINI’s bold challenge so there’s a growing possibility that this challenge could very well be answered.

Like we said before, MINI better know who their barking at because just by looking at the tale of the tape - MINI comes into the race with 172 horsepower on the Cooper S while the 911 Carrera S comes in with double that at 385 horsepower - it doesn’t look like the Cooper S has a remote chance of keeping pace with the 911 Carrera S.

Watch Jim McDowell’s challenge after the jump

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MINI to host US-wide "rally for charity"

MINI to host US-wide "rally for charity"

Everybody knows the lengths MINI will go to just so they can spread their awesomeness to the rest of us. While some are beyond kooky and flabbergasting, others actually look like a whole lot of fun. This "MINI Takes The States" rally certainly qualifies for the latter. Beginning this August, MINI will invite thousands of its MINI-driving fans to celebrate their iconic rides by joining a MINI-caravan across the country. Destination: Denver, Colorado.

The rally kicks off from five different locations across the country on the way to Denver: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, ad San Francisco. The rally is scheduled to pass through 19 states, encompassing over 8,000 miles and is scheduled to attract over 10,000 drivers. As soon as it finds its way to its destination, the event will culminate with a weekend-long festival that includes a plethora of activities in and around Denver, which, will be done to help raise funds for a number of charities, not the least of which includes the American Red Cross and the Leukemia Society.

So, if you’re a MINI owner and you want to be part of this special event, all you need to do is register starting May 18, 2010. While MINI has established quite a reputation for itself for its unpredictability, it’s also worth noting that these guys’ hearts are always in the right place.

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Original Wraps offers kick-ass vehicle personalization

Original Wraps offers kick-ass vehicle personalization

Did you like the Ford Fiestas designed by the American Idol contestants? Would you like to customize your vehicle in any wrap you desire? Turns out, the masterminds behind this ultra cool wrapping sensation (no, we’re not about to introduce a pseudo-rapper with a ridiculous name) are the ladies and gentlemen over at Original Wraps Inc. This international provider for vehicle personalization is about to turn the design world upside down by allowing a vehicle’s owner to personalize their ride. We are not talking about little stickers and spray paint cans here, but actual vehicle wraps that can make your car look like the wrapped up vehicles that are currently being sported across the pond. Think back to the Ferrari F430 Spyder wrapped in the cool black and white military-style wrap. Yes, we already called them and they can do it. Not just the black and white wrap, but the matte black (think Matte Black Mercedes SL65 AMG Black Series) and the gold wraps as well. They can do pretty much anything your little heart desires.

Original Wraps Inc. use professional automotive grade 3M Scotchprint On-Demand vinyl laminated for protection and fade prevention. They handle all of the creative development, manufacturing, and distribution of their products and offer the program, with no upfront costs, to dealerships everywhere. Tom Stemple, CEO of Original Wraps, says he launched this type of vehicular personalization to offer drivers, auto manufacturers, car dealers, automotive retailers and wholesalers with a complete, on-demand vehicle customization program and already has partnerships with Ford and MINI USA to po wer their vehicular personalization programs.

Hit the jump for the full story.

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BMW receives positive feedback from MINI E study

BMW receives positive feedback from MINI E study

The results from a study done to gauge customer feedback for the MINI E has been released and as expected, you can score one for MINI and BMW.

The study, which was commissioned by BMW, and conducted by the University of California, Davis, has determined that participants who drove the MINI E have come back with positive feedback on the car after having used it for a period of six months.

On the flip side, the study also showed that while the participants been generally receptive of the new electric car, they’ve also encountered a few problems along the way, namely “range anxiety”, which, if explained, means that the MINI E’s battery run-time isn’t as long as they hoped it be.

Meanwhile, BMW was quick to point out that despite concerns surrounding the MINI E’s battery life, the whole study proved to be a ‘delightful success’, saying in a press release that the results of the study showed that the range of about 100 miles is sufficient for most of the drivers’ daily needs; charging at home provides enough energy for most daily driving; demand for additional charging is centered on the place of work, or where sufficient time is spent during the day; and driving the MINI E is a delightful experience and there is no sacrifice of "real car" values.

Dr. Thomas Turrentine, the leading man in the MINI E study also said that while the participants have reported a few complaints with the MINI E , one of which is the car’s regenerative braking, the overall experience was very positive.

So there you have it. It’s always a tough task to get an overwhelmingly positive response from studies of this nature given the subjectivity of the participants involved but the results from the MINI E study is something that BMW should be happy about overall. There were a few bumps along the way, but overall, a lot of the participants seemed to come out with a positive feedback for the MINI E.

Press Release after the jump

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