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Archive for January 2011

An Ode to the Automatic

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion Jan 30th, 2011 33 Comments

(In part two of our manual vs automatic debate we’re writing about the unyielding march of technology and how that’s actually a good thing — even for manual drivers).

The manual is a dying breed. Why? Because of progress. While rowing the gears of a manual can be a great experience, it’s simply time to move on and start experiencing new technology and new kinds of involvement.

But first, let’s talk about how the auto liberated the sports car and made all cars less boring. 40 years ago a sports car or even a sporty car rarely had an auto available. That meant manual transmissions were exclusive to those who knew how to drive them or those who could stomach the left foot shuffle that US traffic made mandatory. But as car makers started realizing that the lowly automatic could indeed be sporty, they started dropping them into everything. While some bemoaned the loss of a few sacred cows, it started to break down walls for many of us. In effect, it democratized sports cars for the masses. continued →

An Ode to the Manual

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion Jan 30th, 2011 74 Comments

2011 MINI

It’s the right of passage many of us graduate to early in life that quickly becomes a badge of honor. It’s the subtle cue to another enthusiast that you’re serious about the art of driving and a student of automotive history. In my mind there are cars that require a manual.

The M3s, 911s or even MCS’ of the world just don’t seem as bare-chested with a pair of flappy paddles. And you know the moment. When you peer into either of those cars and see that dreaded auto knob. Your heart drops just a bit. If you’re a manual driver you care about that car. And you know it’s been wronged by someone who chose ease over interaction on the ordering spec (unless of course it’s a dedicated track car). continued →

Man Wins MINI Cooper With Tattoo

MotoringFile Sections: Best of the Web Jan 28th, 2011 24 Comments

MTTS: Denver

How far would you go to win a MINI? Stand with your hand on it for 12 days? Eat your weight in cherry pie? Well Autoblog is reporting that a german radio station recently gave away a MINI Cooper in a contest of who could come up with the biggest stunt to demonstrate how badly they wanted the car. The winner, Andreas Muller, overcame stiff competition to take the prize by having “MINI” tattooed on his …well, we’ll call it his “Johnson Rod”. That’s right, a live radio audience listened in as Mr. Muller got some custom ink embroidery on his personal shift knob. continued →

MINI Countryman Accessories Listed & Detailed

MotoringFile Sections: Accessories, JCW, R60 (Countryman) Jan 28th, 2011 17 Comments

MINI is officially taking the wraps off of its after-sales accessories with a range of appearance and performance options. We’re going to go through every single one of them in detail with part numbers and prices. But first lets talk about JCW. (Full list and PDF after the break) continued →


Video: “Never the Same Drill”

MotoringFile Sections: Marketing, Video Jan 27th, 2011 20 Comments

This fun new MINI ad made its way to our inbox yesterday and we were fortunate enough to get in touch with William Clark, the spot’s director, who provided us with an embeddable version. The ad highlights the wide range of models and accessories now available for MINI through the classic game of the red light fire drill. Great stuff, William. Thanks for making it available. This ad will start running (along with others) at movie theaters across the country and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw it on the small screen in the near future as well.

You can see more of William’s work at WiliamClarkPhotography.com.

Rumor: MINI to Release WRC Edition Countryman?

MotoringFile Sections: R60 (Countryman), Rumor Jan 26th, 2011 39 Comments

MINI WRC Countryman

Rumors have been swirling for over a year now that MINI has something special planned for the Countryman. We’re hearing it’s a mix of the WRC race car with a dash of Cayenne Turbo thrown in for good measure. The result, while vague at the moment, sounds fantastic to us. Imagine a road going version of the wide-body MINI Countryman WRC with more power (something a little higher than the 211 on the current JCW MINI) and performance oriented all wheel drive. Oh and a wide body kit that will make you drool. continued →


The Paceman to Arrive in Late 2012

MotoringFile Sections: R61 (Paceman) Jan 26th, 2011 28 Comments

NAIAS 2011

We’ve known for some time that the Paceman would be built and in Magna Steyr’s Austrian plant (along side the Countryman). But until today we didn’t know exactly when. The Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung is reporting that BMW development head Klaus Draeger expects the Paceman to hit dealer showrooms in late 2012 as a 2013 model.

BMW expects to move around 20,000 of the “sport activity coupes” or about 20% of what the Countryman does annually. What about changes to the car from the concept? The two big ones we know about will be two suicide doors giving rear passengers excellent access to the two seats in the back. Otherwise expect the Countryman based interior to be largely carried over.

But what about the name? 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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MotoringFile Reviews

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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