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Archive for November 2009

MINI’s Roadster & Coupé Making North American Debut at LA

MotoringFile Sections: R58 (Coupe), R59 (Roadster) Nov 30th, 2009 15 Comments

Speedster

The MINI Roadster and Coupé will be making its North American debut at the LA Autoshow this week. The show starts on the 4th of December and runs through the 13th. Meanwhile back in Munich MINI’s design team is working tirelessly to finish the final design of the “twins” (as they are known internally) before they go to production. Ultimately we expect some subtle differences on both cars’ front and rear bumpers further differentiating them from other MINI models. Also expect unique wheels and interior trim to further enhance their stature among the model line-up. Finally look for Cooper and Cooper S models to be joined by a JCW model shortly after launch. At this time there are no plans for lower powered models (like a MINI One or MINI Ray) to be offered . continued →

MINI to Release “S” and/or JCW Diesel Models

MotoringFile Sections: 2011 LCI, Diesel, R55 (Clubman), R56 (Hatch) Nov 26th, 2009 21 Comments

1

Last spring (April 1st no less) we told you about MINI’s plans for using BMW’s 2.0L diesel powerplant in some models. In BMW trim the 2 liter makes as much as 200 bhp and an astonishing 295 ft lb. of torque. While we’d expect MINI to tune down those numbers, the engine mated with MINI’s relatively low weight would create one of the quickest small diesels in the world. In fact we had one of our inside sources confirm the first pre-production date (April 30th) when BMW first mated the engine with a prototype Clubman.

Fast forward seven months and just yesterday we saw our first glimpse of a mysterious diesel prototype R56 on the roads around Munich. It seems obvious to us that what we’re seeing are the first road worthy prototypes of MINI’s first performance diesel model. What remains to be seen is if this is an uprated version of the current 1.6L diesel or the 2.0L BMW diesel we reported on last spring. It’s conceivable that we could see both an “S” and a JCW model based on the 2.0L should BMW decided to go that route. It’s easily tunable to “S” and JCW performance levels awhile being surprisingly efficient (in BMW 123d trim it gets 45 mpg combined). However leveraging the existing 1.6L diesel may be a smarter move for the short term with the 2.0L being saved for the Countryman and a more potent JCW D. continued →

MF Review: The MINI E

MotoringFile Sections: MINI E, Reviews Nov 25th, 2009 13 Comments

Recently Michael from BimmerFile had a chance to spend some extended time with the new MINI E. Since neither Todd, DB or myself has had an opportunity to get behind the wheel, Michael was kind enough to take a break from his BF editor duties and write a full review – Gabe

Background

With greenhouse gas emissions on the rise and society as a whole looking for ways to combat that seemingly endless trend, lawmakers will be introducing more stringent emissions standards within the next few years. This will greatly impact auto manufacturers and the beloved internal combustion engine. We have already seen the first phases of the BMW Group’s Efficient Dynamics program, which is designed to combat emissions with the introduction of newer technologies such as direct/forced induction and Advanced Diesels. The next phase, hybrids, are coming with the recently released X6 and soon to launch 7 Series. BMWNA president Jim O’Donnell has openly stated to us that they are currently exploring turbo charged four cylinder options for BMW in the US, (6 cylinders have been the smallest BMW engines here since 1999) but that the BMW Group will not sacrifice dynamics or performance while striving to improve emissions. With that said; the basic idea is that a BMW Group product must drive well, offer performance all while being efficient. continued →

MF Exclusive: MINI Connected to Bring Web Content to the Cockpit

MotoringFile Sections: R55 (Clubman), R56 (Hatch), R57 (Conv.), Technology Nov 24th, 2009 23 Comments

Screen shot 2009-11-23 at 10.09.36 PM

The BMW Group Technology Office in Palo Alto is working on extending MINI entertainment in ways that were hardly imaginable 3-4 years ago. We’ve talked about MINI Connected on MF before but we didn’t have a full understanding of what the program ultimately could produce.

The current idea is that MINI Connected will not only connect to the web for entertainment but will leverage an iPhone app to connect to the following content:

  • Webradio
  • News
  • Google Local Search
  • Community
  • Send to Car

    continued →


White Roof Radio #315

MotoringFile Sections: Podcast Nov 23rd, 2009 7 Comments

Ah, just like the old days. Todd and I doing a show with Gabe, driving a car nobody cares about, whippin’ up a quick batch of White Roof Radio for all y’all.

CVT bashing, auto maker bashing, the on-again-off-again Rolls Royce MINI, and whale penis leather. You know, typical WRR, like we like to do.

You did hear correctly. Todd and I did an episode of the Bimmercast last week. Go over and give it a listen or don’t, because Todd is going to be re-editing it for Woof 316 for next week.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! And, for those of you not in the US, have a happy Thursday!

Woofcast 315:

Real Mini Racing at The Goodwood Revival

MotoringFile Sections: Classic Mini, Video Nov 23rd, 2009 15 Comments

There is nothing like seeing MINIs on the track. Unless of course you can watch Minis. This year the Good Revival featured Mini as its “featured marque” and held a very special race that was televised on itv in the UK. While the overall video (around 5 minutes long) is impressive enough, the in car footage after the jump are even more fascinating. continued →


MINI USA VP on the Premium Market, Countryman Delays & New US Dealers

MotoringFile Sections: Official News, Video Nov 20th, 2009 14 Comments

We’ve heard the notion before that, with the MINI, BMW brought premium to the small car segment. While that could be argued with a number of earlier products (all available outside the US) it’s hard to argue anyone has ever done it better. This video of MINI USA Vice President Jim McDowell is an update to that ideology with some ties into the 2009/2010 world economy and a renewed emphasis on efficiency.

But more importantly there are a couple of recent exclusive MF reports that McDowell confirms in this video:

  • Confirmation that the MINI Countryman has been delayed to an early 2011 launch in the US
  • Yes the Speedster and Coupé are coming to the LA Motorshow
  • The US dealer network is expanding substantially and rapidly.

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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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Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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