Nov 30th, 2004
This news comes from Crash.net:
Following its elevation to 'promoted series' status by the MSA, the John Cooper Challenge has been confirmed as the primary support race series for the British GT and British F3 programme in 2005.
Next season will be the highly successful one-make MINI racing series' fourth, and will comprise six double-header race weekends selected from the GT/F3 calendar between April and October. As in 2004, the championship grid will comprise both the Cooper S and Cooper categories and, with a total of 30 starting spots available, the split is anticipated to be twelve 'works' Cooper S models and 18 'works' Coopers. Despite having only recently informed this year's competitors of the changes, 18 places have already been filled by drivers returning to the series next year.
Nov 29th, 2004
From frequent contributor Ian Cull and gbmini.net
In the early days of the new MINI, with CD-based navigation, you could have directions spoken with a British voice which seemed to many owners to be rather appropriate. Later releases, and the DVD-based version, dispensed with British accents – supposedly because American drivers could not understand!
Today at MINI Peabody, I mentioned this to Brig and he very helpfully took me through the Navigation setup in a MINI Cooper Convertible in the showroom:
In the setup screen (above right) you'll notice we were able to select “GB” as the voice, instead of “USA”. And then the car was speaking with a female British accent – I recorded a few seconds of “her” saying “louder” and “quieter” to give you an idea!
Nov 29th, 2004
Fox News (of all places) has a short piece on the MINI's popularity in the US. Here's are a few excerpt:
The Mini has shown carmakers that small cars can do well in the U.S., if they are properly conceived and properly marketed,” said Joe DeMatio, senior editor at Automobile Magazine. “They have to have character, personality and performance.”
…The response to the Mini has other carmakers scrambling to follow suit. In the first half of 2006, Daimler Chrysler's Mercedes-Benz will roll out a compact, 13-foot SUV version of its Smart city coupe called the Smart Formore, starting at about $20,000.
Nov 29th, 2004
The 2005 North American Motoring Calendar is out and available over at the NAM store. Like last year the 2005 calendar is a collection of black and white photos from MINI owners throughout the US.
Mark Ferguson, founder of NAM, was nice enough to send over a pre-production copy for a full MotoringFile review. But that got me thinking… how does one review a calendar?
The first thing you notice is the size. As you might expect from a MINI calendar, it's fairly small. Then you start flipping the pages – the photos are just fantastic. The black and white look gives a classic a feel to the whole package and the MINI related history within every month make it feel… well… very MINI.
The NAM 2005 Calendar is certainly a smart addition to any garage, den or office. Go check it out.
[ North American Motoring Store ]
Nov 26th, 2004
For those that like to get hands on with their MINI and have the previous John Cooper Works kit for their MCS we now have the official install PDF instructions on the 2005 upgrade kit. The kit retails for $525 and typically requires an hour of dealer labor for the install. You can expect that dealer installation to increase the price by at least $100 when it's all said and done. However even if you do the work yourself the MCS will need to be reprogrammed by the dealer to “activate” the improved injectors. So don't think of this as a huge money saver… it's more of an opportunity to spend some quality time with your car. Grab the PDF below
[ JCW 2005 Upgrade PDF ]
See related stories: “JCW Upgrade“
Nov 24th, 2004
AutoExpress has some news on the next iteration of everyone's favorite small car. Mechanically speaking there's nothing really new from the article that we haven't heard on MotoringFile many times before – including the new engine range. However it's the possible new look that may surprise some. Here's an excerpt from the article:
It's a MINI invention! BMW has already started one of the toughest design jobs of the decade, and this week's magazine has got the pictures that prove it! And you're in for a shock, because gone are the single round headlamps, replaced by controversial twin lenses. Gone, too, is the clamshell bonnet, in favour of a conventionally hinged one.
But there is good news for diehard MINI traditionalists – the new grille is getting bigger and will echo more closely the look of the original Mini, introduced 45 years ago.
Nov 23rd, 2004
Dension has made a key upgrade to its already popular Ice>Link iPod adapter (reviewed last spring). For those that don't know the Ice>Link was the first to integrate the iPod and the MINI's radio controls (including the multi-function steering wheel) in simple yet effective process.
But this new version has several key improvements over the previous version. The Ice>Link not only has all of the functionality inherent in the iPod (being able to choose any playlist, album, artist, etc directly from the iPod) but now also takes on the functionality that the official MINI iPod adapter delivers and more. Dual mode operation (as Dension calls it) means that you can use your radio or iPod user interface to navigate through playlists, albums and songs. The Ice>Link Plus translates your vehicle's head unit commands into iPod commands emulating a fully loaded CD changer with advanced features.