While this should all be old news to the dedicated MotoringFile reader, here's a sneak peak and what we'll be seeing from MINI at the North American International Autoshow (from MINIUSA PR):

MINI's fun and spirited brand personality is highlighted yet again – now with the addition of new optional features, a performance package and Hollywood 'stunt' excitement. The MINI Cooper S with automatic transmission will make its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. A limited slip differential for the MINI Cooper S equipped with a manual transmission will also be presented along with the new 2005 John Cooper Works tuning kit. Additionally, a display will be on the stand in Detroit featuring “The Italian Job Stunt Track” roller coaster scheduled to debut at Kings Island amusement park in Cincinnati, OH this summer.


World Debut: Automatic Transmission in Copper S and Cooper S Convertible

An all new six-speed automatic transmission for the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper S Convertible makes its debut. Models equipped with the new unit – which features Steptronic mode and Steptronic shifting paddles on the steering wheel – will be shown in Detroit. The optional automatic transmission, features sporty and responsive gear changes, providing a dynamic driving experience tuned specifically to match the sporty character of the MINI Cooper S.

The unit also features Adaptive Transmission Control which allows the transmission to adapt to one's driving style. As an example, the transmission will build the revs longer between gear changes if it 'knows' the driver enjoys taking the car to its limits.

A hydraulic torque converter offering maximum efficiency ensures a smooth gearshift, while the converter lock-up clutch guarantees an equally smooth flow of power and superior fuel economy. Despite its six gears, this new transmission requires a far smaller number of gearshift elements, making it much lighter and more compact in its design.

Limited Slip Differential Grabs Hold
A new limited slip differential has added another new feature to the MINI Cooper S and Cooper S Convertible equipped with 6-speed manual transmission. A performance feature coveted by motoring enthusiasts, the limited slip differential helps to divert more torque towards the drive wheel with better traction, ensuring power is transmitted to the road more effectively. This helps to increase traction under acceleration or during cornering, resulting in improved handling and increased stability.

The torque-sensitive differential manages torque output under acceleration and offers a 30 percent slip rate; meaning there is no loss of torque if the difference in grip between the two wheels is 30 percent or less. The system also allows the threshold for Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to be increased without impeding the system's safe intervention in slippery situations. All of this benefits the enthusiastic driver of a MINI Cooper S at its performance edge.


New John Cooper Works Tuning Kit

MINI offers a new higher-output John Cooper Works kit for 2005. Produced by the legendary aftermarket company John Cooper Works, the new kit for the MINI Cooper S offers increased horsepower and torque over that of the previous generation. Horsepower is now increased to 207 hp at 6,950 rpm from 200 hp at the same rpm. Torque is also boosted, now registering 180 pounds-feet at 4,500 rpm, up from 177 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm.

The unique John Cooper Works Company kit is sold exclusively through MINI dealers and is covered under MINI's comprehensive new car warranty. Key enhancements for the new 2005 John Cooper Works kit include a redesigned air box with an electronically-controlled air induction system, a set of higher flow fuel injectors and a reprogrammed electronic control unit.

The new air box features an electronically controlled valve that opens an additional air duct at higher engine speeds, This allows more fresh air to enter though a special low restriction filter element. In addition to dramatically increasing the airflow, the new air box creates a more powerful induction sound that compliments the impressive growl from the performance exhaust, also part of the kit. Of course the John Cooper Works kit continues with its modified supercharger and cylinder head, as well as tasteful under-hood and exterior badges.

MINI Roller Coaster: 'Italian Job Stunt Track'
“The Italian Job” movie by Paramount Pictures showed that MINI cars can handle any kind of stunt. Starting this May in select Paramount theme parks, MINI will be part of a very special roller coaster ride in the recently announced “The Italian Job Stunt Track.” Located at Paramount's Kings Island, north of Cincinnati, Ohio and at Paramount Canada's Wonderland near Toronto, visitors are able to experience truly impressive high speed stunts in cars modelled around the MINI Cooper S.

The roller coaster is a perfect combination of special Hollywood effects that combines the thrill of a roller coaster and the exhilaration of driving in an open-air MINI Cooper S. On these wild rides, passengers experience a spectacular chase through all kinds of film sets and scenes offering them a look behind the scenes of a genuine action thriller. The roller coaster partnership was announced by Paramount this past summer and has an expected opening in the U.S. scheduled for May of 2005.

For those curious, the current 2005 JCW kit will not be available with the new automatic transmission. Word is we may see an automatic version of the JCW kit later in the year.