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Archive for January 2004

MINI Takes Seven Recent Awards

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 31st, 2004 4 Comments

From MINI Press:

MINI enters 2004 with a bevy of awards from Automobile Magazine, Consumer Digest, Autobytel, Inc. Strategic Vision, The Car Book, Automotive.Com and Edmunds.Com. These accolades add to an impressive list of over 40 awards, continuing a winning streak for MINI since prior to the car's launch in March 2002.

“We are thrilled that MINI is a winner in the eyes of the press and public. We have built a lot of fun, safety and substance into every MINI and these seven awards are a testament to what we offer our customers”, commented Jack Pitney, Vice President, MINI USA.

Automobile All-Star Awards Following last year's Reader's Choice All-Star Award for Best Small Car, the editors of Automobile Magazine have chosen the MINI Cooper as this year's All-Star for Best Small Car. Fun, style and substance were at the heart of their decision – all at an affordable price. As the editors stated, “Spend a little, get a lot, drive small, smile big.”

Consumer Digest “Best Buy” For the second year in a row, Consumer Digest named MINI a “Best Buy” reinforcing the tremendous amount of fun, safety and value the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S offer. Consumers Digest typically scores vehicles on a number of criteria including safety, reliability, performance and resale value.

Autobytel, Inc.'s 2004 Consumer Choice Award MINI has received notable recognition from Autobytel, Inc., winning a Consumer Choice Award for the highest percentage of increase for any car requested through their service. Buyers' requests for MINI increased almost 250% over the last year, showing that interest for MINI remains vibrant.

“Most Delightful Vehicle” Strategic Vision's Total Delight Index For the second year in a row, the MINI Cooper won the Strategic Vision Total Delight Index's “Most Delightful Vehicle” in the “Small Specialty Coupe” category. The index measures the overall delight owners have for their vehicles, an indicator of how strong the customers' bond and emotional commitments are to the product, brand and manufacturer. MINI owners are truly passionate about their cars and their ownership experience, as shown by the high ranking in the index.

The Car Book 2004 Best Bet The Car Book has awarded the MINI Cooper a “Best Bet” for 2004. In cooperation with The Center for Auto Safety, The Car Book looks at objective sources and establishes criteria based on the safety and performance needs of today's consumers. Reinforcing MINI's safety and substance, the MINI Cooper scored well in key categories to earn the notable recognition.

Automotive.com, Best Compact Car The MINI Cooper was voted Best Compact Car in Automotive.com's 2004 New Car Awards. Consumers visiting the automotive research and car-buying site ranked cars that they felt represented exceptional value, superiority in class and overall customer satisfaction. Yet again, another accolade that underscores MINI's appeal in the market place.

Edmunds.com Top 10 List – “Top 10 Sound Systems in Car Under $30,000″ Edmunds.com awarded MINI a spot on the list of “Top 10 Sound Systems in Cars Under $30,000″. Praised were the sound quality and features of the MINI Audio system, specifically, MINI's optional Harman Kardon (HK) sound system. The system earned kudos for unique one-touch audio adjustments to fit individual music styles and passenger locations – another way MINI owners can customize their MINI motoring experience.

While most of these awards have already been posted on Bridger.us/MINI it's nice to see a listing of all of them to get an idea of just how smitten the automotive press still is with this car.

MINIUSA Expands 2004 Race Awards Program

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 31st, 2004 3 Comments

From MINIUSA Press:

MINI USA announces new changes in its motorsport awards program for 2004. Following a successful 2003, the program is now expanded to include more classes and offer increased prize money in select categories for MINI competitors.

MINI is now included in all classes under Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Solo competition. In addition, MINI USA has doubled the prize payout for first, second and third place finishes in the Tire Rack Solo II National Championship with a first place cash prize of $1,000.

In road racing, classes for MINI have been expanded, most notably to include the MINI Cooper S in Showroom Stock B (SSB), marking the first time a forced induction competitor has been allowed to run in the class. Also, road racing now allows for first generation and second-generation MINI competitors to run fender-to fender in GT5/H Production Class.

Start bonuses have also been added to select events. MINI USA now pays out a $500 start bonus for the Speed World Challenge and the Grand Am Cup as well as National Auto Sport Association's (NASA) US Touring Car Championship (USTCC).

Motorsport enthusiasts have taken MINI to heart thanks to the cars' great handling and performance. Successful MINI competitors now have more choices and an additional incentive to compete by being eligible to win up to $7,500 depending on their standing in each given series. Both the new MINI (2002+) and the classic MINI (1959+) body style are eligible for prize money.

MINI has a rich motorsport heritage that started soon after the car's introduction in 1959 and Classic MINI became a legendary giant-killer in a host of road-race and rally championships. This continues today with many privateers campaigning both new and old MINIs in various motorsport events, including rallying, auto crossing and road racing.

“An excellent motorsport pedigree combined with the superb dynamics, make MINI an ideal choice for anyone who wants to drive competitively in sanctioned motorsport”, said Jack Pitney, MINI general manager. “MINI offers a lot of bang for the buck to grassroots motorsport enthusiasts. This is our way of saying, 'thank you' and encouraging MINI owners to 'get out there and give it a go'”, he added.

Can the MINI Handle the Cold?

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 30th, 2004 13 Comments

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Yes it can…

The Yo-Yo Chronicles

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 29th, 2004 26 Comments

As quite a few MINI owners can tell you the recently released V36 of the engine management software was a welcome addition. However this recent software update didn't fix one problem that has afflicted a good percentage of Cooper S owners – the dreaded Yo-Yo. Ryan Malcolm (Ryephile on North American Motoring) has researched this subject extensively and gives us the following insight into what exactly the Yo-Yo is: “The Yo-Yo is the oscillation of the supercharger bypass valve, which is excited by an under-damped P.I.D. throttle body servo controller. The parameters of the Yo-Yo occurring are simple: typically during medium acceleration, on-boost, and with the throttle pedal reasonably steady. Amplitude of the Yo-Yo seems to vary per vehicle, ranging from imperceptible to an almost violent bucking.”

Further, Ryan is in a good position to understand this process as he works at Motorola SPS Automotive group and has access to powertrain engineers on a regular basis. He goes on to explain the solution he and a few of his co-workers came up with:

“Tying the bypass valve shut, or implementing a stiffer rate bypass valve return spring will eradicate the Yo-Yo. Furthermore, a retuned PID that is critically damped can and may result in usage of the stock bypass valve return spring, and may not excite the physical instability. Recommended solution is implementation of the stiffer bypass valve spring plus a critically damped PID controller.

The process of determining the above is a collaboration between Motorola SPS Automotive Groups volunteered expertise in engine management, combined with research carried out by myself, consisting of known-good parts swapping, fabricating prototype supercharger bypass valve springs, sampling a plethora of various other Cooper S vehicles, and using a variety of ECU versions and Maps. Deductive logic was exclusively implemented to ensure the highest quality datum possible.

My contact (who wishes to remain anonymous so he doesn't risk his contact at MINI) says that MINI Engineering is aware of and impressed with my research, though have not officially investigated the problem further. I don't like to push this hearsay, but it's the only communications with MINIUSA I'm aware of!

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p>A big thanks to Ryan for all the work done on this topic – not to mention contributing so much to this post!


JCW Kit Install Pictures

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 29th, 2004 11 Comments

We've all read the reviews and seen the debate… now you can experience the installation. Ian Cull has detailed (and we mean detailed!) the installation of his JCW kit on his MCS. You can check out all the fun here: www.gbmini.net/JCW.

The Classic Minis Final Rally

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 29th, 2004 2 Comments

Since the rally topic has been batted around lately I thought this news might be of some interest (from Rallysport News):

Homologation of the famous Mini Cooper runs out at the end of the 2004 season, and to mark the end of an era, brothers Robert and Michael Plant have been given a wild card entry to Rally Australia this year.

The brothers, from England, took part in Rally Australia in 1997 at the wheel of a Mini, finishing second in class A5 and 49th outright.

Rally Australia is the final round of the 2004 World Rally Championship and will make the end of the Minis competition career at an international level.


The Chevy MINI… errr Nomad

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 29th, 2004 36 Comments

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As some of you may have seen Chevrolet introduced a concept at the Detroit Auto Show that looked quite familiar. Eric over at Rocketboy's MINI Weblog has a nice summary of the Nomad's MINI similarities. Here's an excerpt:

Tech TV's Tech Live was doing a story about the Detroit Auto show, and I happened to see something which caught my eye. What was it? The New Chevy Nomad. Which looks just a WEE bit like the front end of a MINI. Click here for a huge pic from Autospies.

Coincidence? Well, according to article by BBC's Top Gear, it's not. And I'm wondering if MINI/BMW is currently calling their lawyers.

According to the article, “Simon Cox, Director of the GM Advanced Design UK studio in Coventry, is the man behind the Nomad. He says: “I wasn't strictly targeting the Mini, but there are certain similarities. I wanted this car to have real personality, something the Mini clearly has – it has a character, a soul. The Mini's appeal also crosses a lot of generations. You can equally imagine younger and older people driving it. While the Nomad is very compact, it's lower, wider and much more flexible,” he says. “I envisage it being used by business people, families or the sort of driver who'd want to paint a great big white stripe down the middle of it and take it to a track.”

…”The moves also to make the Nomad a more practical proposition than the Mini further stretch to the rear seats. “The Mini really isn't terribly clever in terms of its packaging,” says Cox. “That's what we wanted to target with this car. It's a proper four-seater, where the Mini is strictly speaking a 2+2.””

You can read the entire article and find out yet more info here.

When Cox says that the MINI isn't terribly clever with some of it's packaging I can only assume he's referring to the rear seat/suspension area. Which of course is somewhat true due to the fact that BMW/MINI rigorously engineered the car to accept the famed z-link rear suspension. While this does cause for some lack of space in the rear it's a major part of why the MINI feels like it does. It doesn't surprise me that a GM designer didn't quite understand that.

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