Archive for April 2004

The Dragon Surprise

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Apr 30th, 2004 12 Comments

North American Motoring Founder Mark Ferguson gave me some inside scoop a while back about an unplanned activity at the Dragon Rally that had been under wraps. Apparently MINIUSA decided to bring a new Cooper Cabrio out to the event for MINI owners to get better acquainted with.


p>Here's a quick recap from Mark:

“Jeff Stracco, the new MINI product manager was with the car and tamed the Dragon with it. I even had the chance to shoot some pictures from the back seat of the car while driving the Dragon with Jeff. “

You can check out some of the photos here: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

The JCW Cooper Kit Coming to the US

MotoringFile Sections: JCW, R50 (Coupe) Apr 29th, 2004 28 Comments

This information was released to MINI dealers in the form of an “Aftersales business development & marketing MINI dealer bulletin”. It comes via Ian Cull:

jcw Based on requests from MINI dealers, please find enclosed information about the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit for the MINI Cooper. We have a limited number of this kit available in the US.

The JCW kit is a complete performance package that is designed to take full advantage of the engine's design. The JCW Kit for the MINI Cooper includes a machined cylinder head for better airflow, “cat-back” exhaust system, air filter element and updated ECU programming. These carefully engineered performance modifications will bring the MINI Cooper to the 126hp horsepower level. The torque has been improved to 114 lbft.

As the kit delivers only a minor increase in horsepower and torque, the main benefit is the increased performance feel and mid range torque of the MINI Cooper.

NOTE: This kit is only available for the manual transmission MINI Cooper! It must not be installed on cars with optional automatic gearbox.

Wow. Ian reports seeing a price of $2650 plus labor and I can now officially confirm that price. The kit is currently available is already on back order throughout the US!

Autoweek on the 2005 MINI Changes

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Apr 29th, 2004 9 Comments

Autoweek chimes in as the first US mag to cover the MINI's 2005 changes:

Mini is upping the supercharged Cooper S to 170 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque and lowering gearing to boost performance.

The S now scurries from 0 to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds and hits a top speed of 138 mph (previously 7.4 seconds and 133 mph). Squeezing an extra 7 hp and 7 lb-ft out of the supercharged 1.6-liter four also helps offset the extra 220 pounds in the Cooper S Convertible, which makes its world debut at the British motor show this month. The convertible and coupe arrive in the United States this fall.

Revised gearing makes a difference, too, with the reduced ratios for third, fourth and fifth gears on the S. A five-speed Getrag gearbox replaces a Rover-derived unit on the regular Cooper.

To my knowledge this is the first time we've seen specifics regarding which gears are getting the reduced ratios.

Details on the new 2005 MCS Supercharger

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Apr 29th, 2004 15 Comments

One of the many upgrades that we'll see on the 2005 MINI Cooper S is the use of Eaton's 5th Generation Supercharger. Here are some details on what's new:

The 5th Generation Superchargers incorporate an innovative rotor coating that allows for tighter internal clearances compared to previous applications. These tighter clearances allow for increased supercharger efficiency and performance, resulting in improved horsepower and torque at lower engine RPMs.

This coupled with shorter gearing should help decrease 0-60 times for the MCS. Hopefully we'll get some details soon on the improved exhaust and ECU – the other two upgraded components that help give the 2005 MCS an extra 7hp.

2005 Options and Pricing PDF

MotoringFile Sections: MF Feature, Official News, R50 (Coupe), R53 (Coupe) Apr 29th, 2004 1 Comment

Just wanted to let everyone know that we've added the Euro version of the MINI Cabrio price/options list and the UK 2005 MINI price/options list in the “Files” section in the lower right of the page. Both of these were posted last week but we wanted to make sure know one missed them.

And to answer all the emails we've been getting lately – we haven't seen the US price/options list as of yet. However you can be assured that we'll post it as soon as we recieve one.

An Auto Holiday

MotoringFile Sections: MF Feature Apr 28th, 2004 16 Comments

Spending ten days in England for an auto enthusiast from the US is like spending ten days in Disney World as a kid. Not only are the roads more enjoyable, the speed limits higher, and the drivers more courteous, but the cars are also much more interesting. Here are some random thoughts and some photos from my recent trip:

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Hot Orange MCS Cabrio Spotted in California

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Apr 27th, 2004 18 Comments

MotoringFile reader Brad Herman sent us this little surprise this past Sunday. It seems he had a similar experience to to what I had from a few weeks back. Here's an excerpt of the story behind the photo:

Sunday I was lucky enough to spot a Hot Orange MCS Convertible going the other direction on the PCH in Malibu, CA. I made the quickest U-turn I could and followed it into a shopping center. After loosing track of it several times I finally spotted it at the grocery store. I parked several rows away and waited for the man to go in. He left the top down giving me some access to it. The first thing I noted was how nice the Hot Orange is in person. You can see how it contrasts with my Chili Red. The whole car just looks good. It has the interior chrome package, even chromed Nav. The quality of the chrome was very high and looked like a great fit for the car.

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