Archive for June 2009

MotoringFile on Twitter

MotoringFile Sections: Site News Jun 30th, 2009 7 Comments

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We’ve done Google maps, we’ve done Flickr and we’ve done Facebook. Now it’s Twitter’s turn. Yes MotoringFile is officially on Twitter as of today. Look for updates when stories post as well as rumors, opinions and generally things that we can’t quite mention on MF (for one reason or another).

You can follow us at Twitter.com/motoringfile

MINI’s Next Two Seater Under Development

MotoringFile Sections: JCW GP, R58 (Coupe), R59 (Roadster) Jun 30th, 2009 27 Comments

About six months ago we published a scoop about an internal test JCW going down the Oxford assembly line that had no rear seats and several sound-system components missing. At the time our sources were adamant that this was MINI’s very first prototype of a next generation GP type vehicle. The car was then shipped to Munich where it’s been hand assembled in anticipation for several key internal meetings.

Now we’re told by other sources that the two seater has indeed been shown to several internal groups and is poised to get the official approval for production. However the question that remains? Is this an R56 based GP type of vehicle or is this actually the rumored Coupe that is based on the upcoming MINI speedster?

And the question we have to our readers? What do you hope it is?


+ JCW GP to Return? / MotoringFile

White Roof Radio #298

MotoringFile Sections: Podcast Jun 30th, 2009 3 Comments

Todd, Michael and myself got together last week and put a great show down for you this week. And, at just at an hour long, quite a bit as well.

Starting off with Michael’s gas woes driving from California to Ohio, then right into news of the week from Motoringfile.com.

For the content portion of the show, we spend some time on the JD Power Survey Results. Why we think the MINI scored so low to why we think you should still buy a MINI. Bonus, if you listen close, you can hear Todd make the squealing clutch sound. Finishing talking about stuff we do now that we would have not done before because we are MINI Owners. Also, interestingly enough, most of us have been presidents of our respective MINI Clubs. continued →

Fiat Officially Approves 500 for the US Market

MotoringFile Sections: MINI Competitors Jun 29th, 2009 46 Comments

Yet more MINI competition… this time specific to the US market. Fiat has officially approved four variants of the 500 to be built in Mexico and release starting in 2011. Reportedly we should expect the standard hatchback in both standard and Abarth trim, newly released convertible and a wagon variant. While it may not quite live up to the MINI’s dynamic abilities, there’s little question that the little Fiat has plenty of charm and potentially even an edge on the cute factor – seemingly important in the US market these days.

For those of our readers in the US, would this tempt you out of a MINI? Or for those readers elsewhere, has the 500 already tempted you?

+ REPORT: Four versions of Fiat 500 in the U.S. by 2011 / Autoblog (via Automotive News)

Aston Martin’s New MINI Competitor

MotoringFile Sections: MINI Competitors Jun 29th, 2009 28 Comments

In a shocking move Aston Martin has revealed that they are partnering with Toyota to produce an Aston version of the iQ micro car. The car will retail for around £20,000 (likely over $30,000 if it comes to the US) and will retain all the mechanicals and technical layout (including the unique 3+1 seating arrangement) of the iQ. It’s worth noting that Toyota plans to introduce the iQ in the US as a Scion in the next year.

The iQ has been praised for it’s engineering and efficiency but its driving dynamics leave a lot to be desired. It’s an interesting move to say the least – especially considering what the Aston Martin brand stands for in the world of luxury automakers. Full press release after the jump… continued →

MINI Officially Retires The Color Mellow Yellow

MotoringFile Sections: R55 (Clubman), R56 (Hatch), R57 (Conv.) Jun 27th, 2009 56 Comments

MINI will be replacing Mellow Yellow for the 2010 model year with White Silver. Mellow Yellow was an R56 launch color and has been around sine September 2006 when the new car launched. Like Mellow Yellow, White Silver will be available across the MINI range. Additionally MINI will be introducing cloth/leather combo in Tech White and Leather Lounge in Toffy. Both are being introduced to coincide with the MINI Camden and Mayfair limited edition models. Apparently MINI will be spreading the costs of developing some of the new trim by making them available across the range in specific markets. Included in this will be a Toffee and White Tech interior color-line option as well. You can see both after the jump.

continued →

MF Exclusive: MINI’s Mid Life-Cycle Refresh

MotoringFile Sections: R55 (Clubman), R56 (Hatch), R57 (Conv.) Jun 25th, 2009 65 Comments

The R56 has been a commercial and critical success for MINI. Despite the loss of some steering feel and some of the brashful character of the R50 and R53, MINI clearly hit the mark with the car overall when it came to market in 2007. And in some ways it’s surprising how well the car has done. From a design standpoint it was evolution on the outside but revolution on the inside. The form and function of everything was rethought from the R50 to the R56 and along the way MINI seemed to have lost the plot in a couple of areas. Now they intend to fix it.

In the spring of 2010 MINI will be introducing the refreshed (or LCI – Life Cycle Impulse as it’s known in BMW speak) R56 and all its variants (ie the Clubman and Convertible). While the number of changes (major and minor) will be huge, there will be several key changes.

First and foremost, MINI intends to fix the interior. Yes, the radio controls and the heating and cooling interface will be refined and in some cases rethought. Additionally MINI will introduce some upgraded materials and subtle design changes meant to eliminate many of the complaints owners have had over the years. Or to put it another way, if you look at the top five complaints most MINI owners have, then you have an idea of what will be worked over in this refresh. continued →

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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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