Aug 13th, 2012
According to sources inside MINI familiar with future product features, the US market will finally see an auto start/stop system for both manual and automatic transmissions. The first version of auto start/stop made a European debut in 2007 and since then MINI USA has been interested in adding the feature to US bound cars.
The reason for the delay is two fold; there’s been little incentive since the EPA doesn’t recognize such systems in an overall efficiency index and the bigger concern is that the system isn’t free. Again, according to those same sources it adds over $200 per car, thanks to the beefier starter motor, the added electronics and programming. MINI USA couldn’t absorb that cost and didn’t want to pass it on to the consumer. But as BMW has moved to add the technology to almost it’s entire fleet, that price is rapidly decreasing as volume of the system is increasing. Likewise things are changing in the US that make the technology more relevant to the way the EPA measures efficiency- there is an added benefit to automatic transmissions with the current EPA test procedure. This makes a much stronger argument for bringing the system stateside.
Jul 10th, 2012
The secret has been out for years now that MINI and BMW will be introducing a new family if 1.5L three cylinder engines destined for small front wheel drive cars. But would MINI be replacing all four cylinders with equivalent 3 bangers? Our sources are now telling us that looks unlikely for at least the first iteration of the next generation MINI family. Instead we now believe that MINI will likely continue to use an updated version of the four cylinder “Prince” engine for Cooper S and JCW models through at least 2015.
So one new car and two radically different engines. In fact one source has told us that spotting the differences is quite easy – even under the yellow and black swirled camouflage. If you see a MINI prototype with one exhaust pipe it has a three cylinder engine. If it has two in the center, it’s a MCS or JCW with a four.
So what about the 3 cylinders, what should we expect? Read on for the details. continued →
Jun 29th, 2012
Big news out of Munich today as BMW announces a deeper strategic partnership with Toyota. Specifically, this strategic partnership will focus on four major areas:
- Fuel Cell Systems
- A “future sports vehicle” platform
- Powertrain electrification
- Lightweight materials and manufacturing
While these areas of focus could have a wide range of applications throughout BMW Group, they could also point to one particular exciting possibility for MINI fans: a production version of the MINI Rocketman concept. We’ve been hearing rumblings from sources for awhile that, in order for MINI to profitably build the Rocketman they’ll need a partner. It’s possible that this Toyota/BMW partnership could include BMW collaborating heavily with Toyota on the next generation platform for the Toyota iQ. This platform could then underpin a production version of what we now know as the MINI Rocketman — a car that would deliver a MINI in nearly its classic footprint.
Jun 27th, 2012
Autoblog has some seemingly innocuous spy shots of a MINI mule in R60 garb. There’s a chance it’s actually a test mule for MINI’s upcoming Spacebox concept, also known as the Traveller. The photos aren’t particularly telling, other than some changes to the footprint of the car. What is the SpaceBox? continued →
Apr 27th, 2012
Ever since the six speed Aisin automatic was introduced in the Cooper for the 2005 model year, MINI fans have been waiting for something better. We can now confirm that something better is coming.
With BMW co-developing the next generation MINI alongside a new family of small, front wheel drive BMWs, MINI’s component offerings are about to get substantially better and more technically impressive. One of the more important things on that list will be a new automatic optional across the range. Through sources close to the development of the new MINI, we’ve heard rumors of two different transmissions under consideration. The first rumor points to an Getrag sourced 8-speed dual clutch transmission. The second points towards ZF sourced 9 speed conventional automatic. Either option would be a huge improvement. But there’s on that stands above the other in our opinion. Read on to find out. continued →
Apr 14th, 2012
The Telegraph is reporting that workers at the MINI Plant Oxford are at odds with parent company BMW over pay increases and other issues. The former Rover facility hasn’t gone on strike since 1984, but with MINI sales at an all time high, proposed wage increases from BMW appear to be too small and too qualified for Oxford workers’ liking. However, negotiations still remain open for reaching a satisfactory agreement. While the presence of the current labor disagreements are not in question, we’ve been unable to verify that an actual strike is at hand.
[Source: The Telegraph]
Mar 14th, 2012
We’ve known for awhile that MIIN was looking to re-name the Paceman but until now we’ve not hear anything specific about the name. We theorized that MINI could go with something as simple as the Countryman Coupe but had no definitive source to back it up. However the folks at Car and Driver do as they recently heard from a source at MINI that the Paceman will indeed be renamed the Countryman Coupe. It makes perfect logical German sense to us. But we want to hear your thoughts? Should MINI have been more adventurous with the name or does the Countryman Coupe sound right to you?
What to Expect and When to Expect it
The MINI Paceman is coming and it’s going to hit dealer lots late this year or early next depending on the market. That is according to our sources we have also spilled some details on the model mix and AWD offerings for the car.
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