The MCS Automatic Debuts

The MCSa has made it's official debut (apparently the LA show doesn't count to MINI's PR office) and we've got tons of information to share including performance and fuel economy figures (via MINIUSA PR):

Starting in late January 2005, the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper S Convertible will be available for the first time with MINI's new six-speed automatic transmission giving these powerful performers even greater agility and driving pleasure. Clearly, this choice of automatic transmission is particularly appealing to the customer who appreciates a sporting and dynamic style of motoring, but does not wish to forego the superior comfort of a modern automatic transmission in his – or her – MINI. The light and compact automatic transmission complete with a hydraulic torque converter, adaptive management and Steptronic combines an extremely quick gearshift with a soft and smooth gear shifting process, a quick response, and superior fuel economy.

Modern Transmission Technology for Even More Fun.
Looking at performance, the automatic transmission version does not lag behind the manual gearbox car in any respect. So for that reason alone, particularly the customer looking for dynamic driving pleasure combined with all the comfort of a state-of-the-art automatic transmission will appreciate this modern technology with its many benefits.

Indeed, the extremely fast gearshift in just 1/4 second gives the driver of the MINI Cooper S even more sporting performance – if that is possible at all – than the manual gearbox version. Simply because even an experienced motorist needs a lot more time to shift gears despite the very smooth manual gearbox with its extra-short shift travel. In practice, therefore, the new transmission enhances typical MINI qualities such as driving fun and agility to a standard even higher than before.

Not only superior in performance, but also much more compact and lighter than a conventional five-speed automatic transmission despite its six gears, the new transmission is designed for maximum agility on the road. Precisely this is why the most powerful MINI reaches its top speed of 220km/h (136mph) (MINI Cooper S Convertible: 215km/h or 133mph) in fifth gear. With its extra-long transmission ratio, in turn, sixth gear reduces both engine speed and fuel consumption.

More Functions, Greater Intelligence.
Featuring an innovative transmission concept based on the Lepelletier principle, the six gears require far fewer shift units and only one free-wheel. While a conventional five-speed automatic transmission has 8 clutch elements and four free-wheels, the new transmission needs only five clutches and one free-wheel to shift the six forward gears and the reverse gear. The only free-wheel is on first gear, serving to take the load off the drivetrain in overrun. Whenever Steptronic is active, the free-wheel remains neutral in order to capitalise on the brake power of the engine when shifting back.

Highly Flexible Electronic Command Centre.
Integrated in the transmission, the electrohydraulic control unit, together with its command centre, ensures superior driving comfort and maximum agility even under full load, with an extremely fast gearshift and a “soft” shift process. And since the adaptive transmission control communicates with other control units via the bus system, it is able to adjust gearshift programs individually to driving conditions and the driver's style of motoring.

Extra Comfort or More Dynamic?
One of the major benefits of the new automatic transmission is its versatility: The driver has the choice of four different gearshift modes, shifting gears either in a more comfortable style also in the interest of superior fuel economy or in a more sporting and dynamic process, whatever he or she prefers. And in either case the gearshift is either automatic or manual, again as the driver wishes.

The driver therefore decides whether to leave things to the automatic transmission or whether to activate Steptronic and shift gears himself by briefly touching the gearshift paddles at the back of the steering wheel. In the process he can leave both hands on the steering wheel, shifting gears via the paddles like a driver in Formula 1. During the gearshift process he can keep his foot on the accelerator, since the electronic control unit prevents any mistakes and shifts to the correct gear faster than even a racing driver. And since the electronic command centre consistently monitors driving conditions (eg whether travelling uphill/downhill, with DSC activated or not), it automatically adjusts gearshifts to current requirements. A display in the central instrument shows the driver at all times which driving program and which gear are currently in mesh.

Automatic Mode with Optional Manual Gearshift.
The D-mode is a perfect combination of motoring comfort and sporting performance on superior fuel economy. The transmission control unit selects gears fully automatically as a function of driving conditions. And should the driver wish to take over, all he has to do is press the gearshift paddles in order to activate Steptronic. So that then he decides when to shift up or down.

Sporting Concept for the Particularly Ambitious Driver.
In the S-mode activated by moving the selector lever to the right, the transmission control unit chooses a particularly sporting automatic gearshift with extremely short gearshift times in the interest of maximum agility. Here again, the driver can change directly from this program to the Steptronic mode, subsequently shifting gears manually as long as he wishes.

Regardless of how often he shifts gears and how much time there is between gearshifts, the driver alone determines the gearshift points via the paddles or the selector lever, thus getting the most out of this compact driving machine in terms of superior dynamics and agility. The only function of the electronic control unit in this case is to prevent the engine from over-revving.

Power Pack for Dynamic Performance.
Displacing 1.6 litres, the four-cylinder power unit featuring a mechanically driven compressor and an intercooler has offered maximum output of 125 kW/170 bhp at 6,000 rpm in both top versions of the MINI ever since last summer. The compact power unit harmonises perfectly with the automatic transmission, the powerful muscle of this four-valve athlete providing an ideal match for the automatic gearshift. For no less than 80 per cent of the engine's maximum torque of 220 Nm or 162 lb-ft is available consistently between 2,000 and 6,500 rpm.

To transmit the unique sound of the engine and compressor, the acoustic “bridges” leading to the passenger compartment and exhaust system have been designed especially for this version of the car. Precisely this puts the emphasis on that athletic sound whenever the driver uses the power and performance of his muscular MINI.

Sporting, Comfortable and Economical All in One.
In terms of performance, the new automatic transmission models are almost exactly as dynamic as the manual-gearbox MINI Cooper S. Benefitting from a smooth flow of power from the transversely mounted front-wheel-drive engine not requiring a drive shaft, this high-performance MINI with its automatic transmission combines a most direct flow of power with optimum response. And guaranteeing exactly the right engine speed at any road speed, the automatic transmission ensures maximum thrust whenever required.

Carefully matched to the engine, the hydraulic torque converter enables the driver to accelerate dynamically with maximum power, while keeping the whole process soft and smooth. And with the converter lock-up clutch closing at just 1,800 rpm, the new top model in the MINI range is particularly responsive to the gas paddle. This is attributable above all at low speeds to the torque-boosting effect of the torque converter, developing torque of up to 6,000 Nm on each wheel.

Fuel consumption of the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper S Convertible with automatic transmission in the composite EU cycle is just 9.2 and, respectively, 9.0 litres/100 km (30.7/31.4 mpg Imp).

Apart from Japan, the USA is the most important sales market for the automatic transmission MINI – which explains why, following its world debut in Detroit, the MINI Cooper S with this new automatic transmission will be available in both the USA and Japan as of late February 2005. The market launch in Europe and the other MINI countries, in turn, will be in late February. And the MINI Cooper S Convertible with this agile transmission will be entering the market in good time for the new open-air season in March.

A couple of quick answers for questions that will come up: No, the limited slip differential will not be available on the MCS auto. Yes there will be an auto specific JCW Kit available for the MCS auto by the late spring of 2005.