MINI auto news

Pages:  1   2   3    ..  

Mini Cooper Countryman only small car to earn good grade in latest IIHS crash tests [w/video]

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Safety, Videos, Hatchbacks, Mazda, MINI

Competitors in the small-car segment didn't do nearly as well. Four vehicles earned "poor" grades.

Only one small car out of 12 tested earned a good grade in the latest round of crash-test results compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Mini Cooper Countryman received a "good" ranking on the organization's small-front overlap test.

Its competitors in the small-car segment didn't do nearly as well. Four vehicles earned "poor" grades, including the all-electric Nissan Leaf and Juke, the Mazda5 and the Fiat 500L, and two more earned marginal scores.

Introduced two years ago, the small front overlap test has been a difficult one for automakers to master, particularly so for small cars, which have less weight to absorb the forces of a car accident. So far, IIHS has tested 32 vehicles in the small-car segment and 13 have earned marginal or poor scores. On the flip side, 19 earned good or acceptable scores.

"Consumers trading the inherent safety of a larger vehicle for the convenience or fuel economy of a small car should focus their search on these vehicles with state-of-the-art safety designs," said Joe Nolan, senior vice president for vehicle research at IIHS.

Continue reading Mini Cooper Countryman only small car to earn good grade in latest IIHS crash tests [w/video]

Read more..

Mini bringing new 230-hp John Cooper Works to Detroit

07/07/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Detroit Auto Show, Sports/GTs, Hatchbacks, MINI

2016 Mini John Cooper Works

Mini models may keep getting incrementally bigger, but then so do their engines. Or more powerful, anyway - especially when it comes to the John Cooper Works performance models. The JCW version of the first (post-revival) generation R50, which was really more of an upgraded Cooper S than its own model, packed a 1.6-liter supercharged four with 200 horsepower. The following R56 JCW upped that incrementally to 208 hp, but the next Works hatchback is now rumored to pack around 230 horses.

Tipped to be revealed in both three- and five-door body-styles at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show half a year from now, the F56-gen Mini John Cooper Works hatchback is expected to use the same 2.0-liter turbo four as the new Mini Cooper S, but increasing the output from 189 hp to approximately 230. That would mean it would be more powerful than either of the two previous John Cooper Works GP editions to make the new JCW the most powerful road-going Mini to date, backed by 285 pound-feet of torque driving through a six-speed manual or available automatic transmission to deliver what promises to be a blistering pace for the latest retro hatchback.

Read more..

Street Glory Mappers turning cars into dynamic billboards like this

07/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Euro, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Hatchbacks, MINI, SMART, FIAT

Street Glory Mappers

A French marketing firm with the impenetrable name of Street Glory Mappers is literally turning cars into billboards. Of course, we've all seen vehicles painted up for promotional use, but this company is taking that concept even further by including video.

Street Glory Mappers equips the vehicles with a large video screen behind the windshield to play whatever is being advertised. According to the company's promo, it may even be possibly to sync up the vehicle's lights with the show, as well. The firm claims that it's a great form of temporary, mobile marketing because the car can arrive at the location, play the video and then go away when the prospective audience leaves.

While it doesn't necessarily seem any more effective than other forms of advertising, the firm's idea is at least unobtrusive. After all, it's easier to ignore a stationary car than a person handing out flyers. However, vehicle flashing its lights and playing video could certainly distract other drivers.

While the promo only shows the video display working on a Smart Fortwo, the company's website also shows it on a Mini Cooper, Fiat 500 and other vehicles. Scroll down to see this new marketing approach in action for yourself.

Continue reading Street Glory Mappers turning cars into dynamic billboards like this

Read more..

2014 Mini Cooper S

06/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Hatchbacks, MINI, Reviews

2014 Mini Cooper S

One of the big challenges as an automotive journalist is reviewing cars that you have a personal connection to. I have a strong passion for Minis. My first new car was a 2004 Cooper S, and I still own a 2006 model. It's this affinity that's left me with a general disdain of the 2007 to 2013 model relative to my first-gen.

The last-generation cars, with their turbocharged engines, softer suspensions, duller steering and homelier looks are, in my mind, inferior to their 2002 to 2006 predecessors. As a car reviewer, though, I couldn't in good conscience argue the same point. The R56, as the last-gen cars were known internally and by enthusiasts, was a better-balanced vehicle that retained the lion's share of the abilities and character of the first-generation, R53 Cooper S, but they were better thought out, better designed, more livable, and felt like more complete products.

Before the third-generation of the reborn Mini Cooper S landed in my driveway, I couldn't help but wonder whether the model would continue its slide towards mass appeal, or if it would re-embrace the enthusiast realm with a stronger driver-focused mission. As I found out during my week with the car, it was a bit of both.

Continue reading 2014 Mini Cooper S

Read more..

Remember that world-record jump crash? Here's every angle, including the human one

06/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Videos, MINI, Off-Road

world record attempt crash

Guerlain Chicherit is about to crashWhile there are those who watch automotive exploits hoping (secretly or otherwise) for a spectacular crash, most of us are happy when everything goes smoothly. But at the end of the day, a daring stunt wouldn't be a daring stunt if there weren't some element of danger. And make no mistake about it, Guerlain Chicherit's recent long-jump record attempt was a daring stunt if ever there was one.

Chicherit, for those unfamiliar, is a French athlete who made the rare transition from "conventional" sports to motor sports. An accomplished professional skier, these days Guerlain drives a specially-prepared Mini Countryman in off-road events like the Dakar Rally and in death-defying stunts. Last year he managed to backflip his Mini and land in the record books, and this past winter he went after Tanner Foust's record by attempting a 360-foot jump at a ski resort in the French Alps. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.

Despite several practice jumps at closer distances, the final attempt ended in a massive cartwheel crash in front of the gathered crowds. Several spectators published footage of the crash soon after it happened, but now GoPro has released a more comprehensive compilation showing the lead-up to the event and the jump itself from every angle - inside, outside and away from the vehicle. It's guaranteed to make you cringe, but remember that Guerlain miraculously escaped with minimal injury and will live not only to tell the tale, but likely to take another crack at it. Whether you're the kind to gawk at such a crash or not, the video below is worth watching.

Continue reading Remember that world-record jump crash? Here's every angle, including the human one

Read more..

BMW and Mini getting GoPro integration

06/13/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Tech, BMW, MINI

BMW GoPro app

The small, high-quality and relatively inexpensive GoPro camera has been revolutionary for Internet video, especially of cars. Imagine how much awesomeness and hilarity we would have missed without them. Finding ways to integrate the cams into performance cars is becoming increasingly popular among automakers, as well. For example, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette has its Performance Data Recorder, and Volkswagen is giving GoPros to early buyers of the 2015 GTI. BMW Group is going straight to the source for its rendition, though, with a new app that allows drivers to control a GoPro from inside of some BMW and Mini vehicles.

In July, owners with 2012 or later models equipped with BMW Apps or Mini Connected can download the new app. There are a few hurdles to jump over, though. Not only do users need a model with the infotainment system, a WiFi-equipped GoPro camera is also required. The app also must be installed on an iPhone connected to the vehicle.

Once all of those stipulations are met, the app can configure and control the GoPro through iDrive and display a nearly live image on the infotainment system. Menus are simplified on-screen but still allow users to select among six camera modes, aim it and start and stop recording. While filming, it shows recording time, battery life and signal strength. While BMW's approach isn't quite as nicely integrated as the Corvette's solution, it's interesting to see automakers working to make filming easier. Scroll down to read the full announcement.

Continue reading BMW and Mini getting GoPro integration

Read more..

Mini stretches out with new Hardtop 4 door [w/video] [UPDATE]

06/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Hatchbacks, MINI

2015 Mini Cooper S 5 door

UPDATE: Information on US availability, specification and nomenclature added to the updated text below.

Few automakers have managed to spin off as many variants of essentially one vehicle as Mini has. The second generation produced even more versions than the first, and now that the third generation is upon us, the process is starting all over again. The jury may still be out on whether parent company BMW will roll out as many body-styles of this latest Mini as it did with the last, but here's our first indication.

Following the introduction of the new three-door Mini hatchback at the LA Auto Show, the Anglo-Saxon marque has introduced a new five-door model. Or four-door, depending on which Mini office you're speaking to: while this new model - an addition to the lineup and not a direct replacement for anything previously offered - is called the Mini 5 door by the factory, here in the US it's called the Mini Hardtop 4 door. Whatever you call it, though, this new Mini is essentially the same as the three-door model (or two-door model with a tailgate), only with - you guessed it - two extra doors. The new Clubman will be a separate model altogether.

To fit in the extra portals, Mini has stretched the hatchback's wheelbase by 2.8 inches, all to the benefit of rear-seat leg room, along with more head- and elbow-room in the back and a bigger luggage compartment. At 157 inches from bow to stern, the five-door is 6.3 inches longer than the existing three-door, and the suspension has been revised accordingly.

Engine options carry over, and once again, they're all turbocharged. The base Mini Cooper packs a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque and the Cooper S gets a 2.0-liter four with 189 hp and 207 lb-ft. Those two engines should constitute the choices for US customers, at least until the JCW performance model comes along. (While no bare-bones Mini One model is being offered, European customers will also be able to opt for the Cooper D powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo diesel with 114 hp and 199 lb-ft or the Cooper SD with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo diesel offering 167 hp and 265 lb-ft.) Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are on offer, and the quickest model - the Cooper S automatic - will hustle to 60 in 6.5 seconds.

The Mini with the extra doors is set to arrive at US dealers towards the end of the year with deliveries set to begin in the new year at a $1,000 premium over the equivalent two/three-door. Scope out the details in the press release from Mini USA, along with a couple videos, below, and the very extensive image gallery above for a closer look.

Continue reading Mini stretches out with new Hardtop 4 door [w/video] [UPDATE]

Read more..

Lego Mini Cooper coming in August [w/video]

06/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Videos, Hatchbacks, MINI, UAW/Unions, Toys

Lego Mini Cooper

Lego isn't just for kids anymore. A while back, the company cleverly realized that adults liked its connecting blocks as much as kids but wanted a more sophisticated project to take on. It offers a whole set of Expert models, including a wickedly cool Volkswagen Bus from a few years ago. Now, it's taking aim at automotive enthusiasts again with the recently announced classic Mini Cooper set due to go on sale on August 1 for $99.99.

This is a seriously cool Lego model. At nine inches long, five inches wide and four inches tall, the car is certainly compact (as a Mini should be), but it contains 1,077 pieces. It's finished in the classic Mini look with a British Racing Green body with white roof, hood stripes and mirror caps. The doors, hood and trunk all open up, and there's even a little, simulated engine. The interior includes features like a turning steering wheel and movable gearshift and handbrake. In the boot, there is a cute picnic set, and even a spare tire hidden under the floor. If you want to show off your handiwork after it's built, the roof is removable to peer inside.

Expect dads around the world to be unwrapping these when the holidays roll around. Scroll down to watch one of Lego's designers detailing its latest set and read the full release about it, below. The gallery shows the Mini off from all of its blocky angles, as well.

Continue reading Lego Mini Cooper coming in August [w/video]

Read more..

Mini's Superleggera concept could see production; here's what it might look like

05/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Convertibles, MINI, Design/Style

Mini Superleggera Rendering

We fell in love with the Mini Superleggera Vision Concept from the moment we laid eyes on it. The little convertible blends retro and modern together better than any Mini in years. There is even more good news about the roadster as well because the company is considering actually building it. We even have some renders of what the production version could look like.

Mini Superleggera rearMini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer tells Automotive News at the 2014 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, that the Superleggera might have a life beyond its debut. "We wanted to test how Mini enthusiasts worldwide were reacting to such a different type of Mini. So far, it has received overwhelming appreciation," he said to AN. But here's the bad news. All of the unique elements of the droptop wouldn't be cheap to build. Pricing would likely be around 35,000 euros if BMW gives it the green light, according to Schwarzenbauer. It's too early to know whether the road car would use the electric motor from the concept or something more conventional.

The Superleggera Vision concept comes from the creative minds at Touring Superleggera who are also responsible for the gorgeous, modernized Disco Volante. The wonderful thing about the design is that it's still obviously a Mini but somehow adds a sprinkle of Aston Martin.

The rendering above comes from Theophilus Chin, allowing us to visualize what the roadster might like if production is granted. It tones down the shape at the front and adds an actual grille. At the back (right), Chin makes the rear end a little more curvaceous but also shrinks the car's fin. In all, even if pricey, we think it's a car that could find some takers if built.

Read more..

Mini testing new JCW on the Nurburgring Nordschleife

05/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Sports/GTs, Hatchbacks, MINI

2015 Mini John Cooper Works

Mini fans have had plenty to chew on lately. In the past month alone, the Anglo-Saxon automaker revealed its quirky, one-off Paceman Adventure pickup and dazzled showgoers over the weekend at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este with the Superleggera Vision concept. But what enthusiasts (to say nothing of dealers) have been really waiting for since the debut of the new Mini hatchback late last year has been the new John Cooper Works performance model. And that's just what we have here.

Spied undergoing testing at the Nürburgring, this JCW prototype looks about ready for production, but is still keeping its front end under wraps. We can still discern the larger front intakes and bigger brakes with red calipers front and rear, and while the rear bumper is still stock, the wheels are definitely JCW: similar to those worn by the John Cooper Works Concept unveiled in Detroit a few months ago, they look more like five-spoke versions of the outgoing GP model's four-spoke units than the BBS-style alloys of the last John Cooper Works hatchback.

The new JCW is still probably a few months away from debut, but we're expecting around 230 horsepower under the hood when it does arrive.

Read more..

Pages:  1   2   3    ..