Sep 30th, 2004
The Montreal Gazette has an interesting story about the MINI's testosterone laden advertising and why it's important to the brand. Here's an excerpt:
BMW's much-anticipated Mini Cooper
In the U.S, billboards compare the little power-packed ragtop to a little power-packed motorcycle favoured by stunt riders known as a “crotch rocket.”
Another ad features a photo of a purple Mini convertible against a black background and neon-like words “Topless XXS Always Open.”
In Canada, online and television ads will be slightly more tame. One ad features a twenty-something guy in a suit jumping into the open convertible in slow motion and the tag line “Always Open.”
This much is clear: these cars might be small, but they're manly. And it illustrates a bizarre car-marketing paradox: in the business of marketing cars, the C-word is “cute.” If a car is perceived as a “chickmobile”, it's poison to men.
Sep 29th, 2004
Update: It now seems the answer is, probably not. Apparently Mr Houghton-Berry himself emailed sales managers across the UK to specifically say there is no substance to the following story from AutoExpress and that the Moke won't ever make it into production. So please read the following AutoExpress story with that in mind! Here's an excerpt of the original piece:
We've been receiving 'Moke' signals for a while, and now the main man at MINI has admitted that the firm has plans to build a new version, true to the style of the original.
Speaking at a conference to mark half a million MINIs being built at Cowley, boss Trevor Houghton-Berry said: “Additional models will be part of the second-generation production plan, and these could include a two-seater cabriolet, a retro-style Countryman estate and I would really love to build a MINI Moke.”
Sep 29th, 2004
Playlistmag.com has a well written review of the highly anticipated Alpine iPod interface. Here's an excerpt:
When used with a compatible Alpine head unit, Alpine's new $100 KCA-420i iPod Interface connection kit lets you play and control your iPod through your car stereo. Unlike BMW's popular iPod kit — which limits access to five playlists you specifically create for the system and limits navigation to skipping tracks forward and back — Alpine's solution lets you access all of your playlists and, via its onscreen display, search for songs, albums, and artists. (And the Alpine offering can be used in any car, not just a BMW.) After evaluating the KCA-420i for a month in my Honda CR-V test vehicle, I appreciated its features, innovation, and sound quality, but at times found myself frustrated by its interface.
You can read the entire review here.
If you can stand the garish look of the required Alpine headunit (all 2004 or later Alpine Ai-NET head units should work) and poor interface, it sounds like this might be a solution to consider.
Sep 28th, 2004
Some how I have a feeling this will be a popular download. Here are the official instructions on the installation of the new, official MINI armrest. It should be available at US dealers shortly as an accessory and will be a factory option after 1/05. You can fine out more about the official MINI armrest in this previous article.
[Official MINI Armrest Retrofit PDF]
Sep 28th, 2004
For my birthday, some of my friends gave me a Supersprint exhaust system for my Cooper. They purchased it from Promini, where it retails for $399.95.
Sep 27th, 2004
For all those wondering if it's possible to retrofit the new 2005 headlights and tail lights on earlier MINI we've got a resounding answer… yes! Obviously the price might be a bit prohibitive but hey, if you have to ask, you probably don't want to know! The instructions and part numbers come in the of the form of official MINI PDF instructions.
[Facelift Headlight Retrofit PDF]
[Facelift Taillight Retrofit PDF]
Sep 27th, 2004
Here's an excerpt:
It is practically impossible not to love the Mini Cooper S Convertible, if not for the smiles induced by the S performance package, then for the grins garnered by rolling back the roof.
The S Convertible package includes an array of engineering improvements, half to overcome the extra 220 pounds of stiffening braces and the electrohydraulic roof, and the other half to address the only criticism of the S hatchback, namely, that it never quite felt as fast as the performance figures suggested.
You can read the entire Autoweek article here.