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Archive for October 2003

More Inside Info from MINI2 About Next Years MINI

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Oct 31st, 2003 7 Comments

Here's an excerpt of the article from MINI2:

For the interior, more details have been surfacing regarding possible updates. Further to the reported factory arm rest option, more supportive seats, and larger rear cup holder, it seems that a change rumoured to be in the pipeline way back in August 2001 could actually be about to happen (so you certainly should have heard it here first folks)! It looks like the clock could be losing it's aloof position up on high, and be joining the trip meter on the speedo's LCD display. It's uncertain as to what might take it's place, but additional interior lighting is a favourite tip, especially when the current main light console will have to be relocated or removed for the soft top MINI anyway. Due to extra storage being introduced below the toggle switch panel bank (already a popular after market addition), we also hear that a new, much neater integrated option for additional gauges will be introduced. This will move the speedo (rev counter in Australia) onto the steering column, and a set of 'chrono style' gauges will take pride of place in the centre of the dash. It also is rumoured a remote garage door opener could be introduced for the North American markets.

You can check out the entire article over at MINI2 in the news section. As always kudos to Paul over at MINI2 for gathering this info.

Analysis

Some of these changes I'm spoken about previously and many I haven't heard yet. For intance I've heard from several sources for some time now that MINI was redesigning the area below the toggle panel… but moving the speedo from the center of the dash is a new one for me. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that that change will be a fairly unpopular move.

Celebrate Halloween MINI Style

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Oct 31st, 2003 8 Comments

halloween

Thanks go to Deb for doing such an amazing job of carving the pumpkin and then being kind enough to send in a pic to share.

Even though this looks like lots of fun I personally will be staying far far away from any carving this year.

Oh and btw the today's header image featuring a classic Mini in bright orange is sheer coincidence. Out of almost 50 header images that just happened to be the one that popped up this morning.




Stumble Fix Update

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Oct 30th, 2003 15 Comments

This info comes from a long time reader of the site:

“I spoke w/ someone at BMWNA today regarding the stumble in the MCS.  He told me that the fix they are loading on cars now may, or may not, become software version 36.  He also said whatever software version 36 is, it may be out in a couple of weeks or maybe not until near the end of the year. 

Regarding the yo-yo, he said that the current fix is purely intended for the stumble, it was not intended to address the yo-yo.  He said that neither he nor several of the test engineers have ever been able to reproduce the yo-yo.  In other words, there is no fix in the works.   This being said, he commented that some owners have sworn to him that the yo-yo went away when they had this stumble fix loaded.  Who knows, maybe they are linked.  There are so many variables being fed into the software it's hard to tell what effects what (my thoughts, not his).

He explained that the stumble snuck up on them this year.  They did not experience it last year, and it was definitely more evident in the hot states.  MINI sent engineers to the SW and Fla. to come up with this fix.  Interestingly, he commented that they really didn't know about the problem until they began reading more and more about it on the various MINI forums!!  The fault was not initially brought to their attention through the dealer networks, but rather through these forums.  I actually see this as a down side to the forums.  It seems that a lot of folks checked the forums and said, “hmmm, there's not a fix I'll just wait until there is”.  I did this at first but then realized, this doesn't get the info back to MINI.  I urge everyone as much as possible to let your dealer know!  People still post daily that they went to see their dealer and their dealer had never heard anything about the stumble.”

Analysis

Certainly interesting news, thanks. Lets hope this is indeed the fix that everyone has been waiting for.

The Next Generation MINI Gets Closer to a Reality

MotoringFile Sections: R56 (Hatch) Oct 29th, 2003 25 Comments

AutoExpress has more details about the upcoming changes to the MINI. Here's an excerpt:

AE

“It looks as though we're in for a real adventure in 2004! Exclusive images in the current issue of Auto Express magazine show the first glimpse of the forthcoming facelifted MINI, which promises to be even more fun than its cheeky predecessor when it's unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next March.

Having been careful to pen a suitable 21st century successor to the original Mini, it seems parent company BMW has played it safe and left the styling virtually untouched for the next-generation model. But that doesn't mean there won't be significant refinements to the design.

A new front bumper has been fitted to direct more air to the engine, and the gaping inlet on the bonnet for the supercharger reveals this car's identity as a Cooper S.

What's more, lower side skirts help give the hatchback a more aggressive stance. Engineers and test drivers are concentrating on correcting the MINI's few faults and adding even more spice to the car's lively handling. This prototype has a test rig on the tailgate that lets experts feel the effect of different rear downforce rates by making fine adjustments to the roof spoiler.

One of our main complaints about the current MINI is the firm ride, so the unforgiving 18-inch wheels fitted to this model are testing the ability of a new suspension set-up. They also make the car look sportier in flagship S guise.

The current MINI is a top seller in the UK, and the Cooper S Works edition scooped the prestigious Auto Ex-press Greatest Drives 2003 award, so there are high hopes that the revised version will capitalise on that success.

Company insiders have already hinted that a mighty 300bhp edition could be in the pipeline as a supercar-baiting flagship prepared by the officially endorsed tuning firm, John Cooper Works in West Sussex. Details of changes to trim levels and prices remain a secret, but the retro-style cabin is expected to feature a number of revisions.

Redesigned front seats will provide more lateral support, while the recline and fold mechanism will be easier to use. The dials on the dash are set to make way for chronometer-type gauges similar to those in the Lexus IS200.”

You can read the entire article here. You can see more detailed photos (all scanned by Bascule over at MINI2) here: 1 / 2 / 3. Above photo provided by scooperman_uk.

Analysis

Wow. This looks to be a real improvement over the current car – more so than just a simple facelift. If MINI can pull off the elimination of some of the current cars faults while increasing performance and the quality of the interior they would have done a spectacular job of a mid-life model refresh. That being said the current form of the MINI was finished in 2000 so they have had almost four years to contemplate these improvements.


XM Radio for the MINI

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Oct 29th, 2003 3 Comments

Here's some news for you XM radio fans out there from the website XMfan.com:

At least 5 times a week I get emails and messages asking when an adapter will be available for the BMW that will let users keep their steering wheel controls and display the radio information on the existing head unit?

2003 MY (and newer) 3, 5 and X5 series (without NAVI) BMW and MINI Cooper owners, look no further than this new adapter from Blitzsafe. Older models cannot use this product as they do not have Satellite-ready radios.

Introducing, the XM Direct XM Receiver and smart cable from Blitzsafe; a new type of dealer-installed XM product like no other. Not only can you now pipe in the audio through a direct auxiliary input to your head unit for the best possible sound, but the XM tuner hardware is now completely out of sight (in the trunk), and the factory head unit displays and controls all functions. You get all this at a competitive price, allowing you to install XM in these vehicles. As you know, BMW and Mini Cooper only provide Sirius as a factory official dealer option.

You can read the entire article here.

ProMini's Project Car Video

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Oct 28th, 2003 8 Comments

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ProMini has a fairly long video of both of it's recent project cars in action around their Texas HQ. It features two of the fastest MINI's in exsistance. In fact the silver MINI has the soon to be announced MCS turbo kit which we'll have more about in the coming days. This car includes a Garrett/Turbonetics T3 turbo, Turbonetics blow off valve, ProMini oil cooler, ProMini front mounted intercooler, Supersprint headers and about every concievable ProMini mod in the book.

You can check it out the video here (not recommended for dial-up users).

Analysis

I think the numbers on the MCS turbo kit are simply going to astound people. If the price is right ProMini might have a pretty big hit on their hands.


BMW Tuner Dinan Enters the MINI Market

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Oct 27th, 2003 12 Comments

Dinan is a highly regarded BMW tuner that often matches all of BMW's factory warranties with their modifications. They typically offer the mods ala cart or in “Dinan stages”. Here's an excerpt from Dinan's latest newsletter:

Dinan began the evaluation and development process for performance enhancements with two Cooper S models and one naturally aspirated Mini Cooper the moment the cars became available. Having access to the three cars has enabled our engineering team to work on several different areas of performance tuning simultaneously in the interest of shortening the development time frame. While we recognize that some other “tuners” have already introduced performance products such as exhaust systems, designing and producing quality products that actually enhance performance, as well as backing them up with the most comprehensive warranty in the industry does take time. Dinan is rarely first to market, but certainly first in performance.

Our primary focus has been on the Cooper S models to date, with the fairly obvious goals of enhanced power and acceleration, as well as even sharper handling characteristics. Miles and miles of shall we say “spirited” driving have provided our development team with the data necessary to improve the performance of an already well designed, fun to drive car. As with all Dinan products, our philosophy of enhanced performance without sacrificing driveability or reliability carries through to the MINI performance product line as well. And as you might expect, Dinan will offer our industry leading warranty, matching the MINI new vehicle warranty coverage year to year, mile to mile and bumper to bumper.

Both the supercharged and naturally aspirated versions of the cars are being treated to intake and exhaust enhancements, very much in keeping with the approaches used to extract more power from BMW models. Naturally performance and driveability will be optimized with Dinan engine management software, specifically calibrated for the various combinations of Dinan performance products. Initially, there will be two engine performance programs offered for the Cooper S.

You can read the entire newsletter here.

Analysis

The Stage II kit will probably be very popular for MCS owners. The combination of matching the output of the JCW kit while costing much less and including a warranty that matches MINI's will raise some eye brows in the aftermarket arena. Combine that with one of the most trusted names in BMW tuning and you have a potential winner on your hands. But beyond increased power Dinan is also promising it's own version of just about every key performance modification out there – everything from suspension pieces, forged wheels, and even limited slip.

The biggest question I see at this point is will the late start will hurt Dinan?

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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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