[UPDATE] We’ve reached out to our sources at MINI and received clarification on BMW’s announcement last week concerning what appeared to be an update to the ALL4 system. We reported on BMW’s description of the system sending 100% of the power to the rear wheels. However, we also expressed skepticism that perhaps this was an example of MINI and BMW having trouble consistently communicating the details of this system. Our sources are telling us that in actual fact, it’s a little of both.
So let’s clear this up. The ALL4 system can split power 50/50 between the front and rear wheels. It can also put 100% of power to the front wheels. In the case of no traction to the front wheels, it can send all of its available power to the rear wheels, but MINI is saying explicitly that this is still only 50% of the car’s total power. So what BMW described is, in a sense, correct (in that the car will be RWD for that instant); but the chosen language did not account for this nuance.
Descriptions notwithstanding, MINI has also confirmed explicitly that the ALL4 system has not changed for 2013. It’s the same system the Countryman shipped with in 2010. I repeat, it has not been updated. This post, on the other hand, now has.
Safety is of huge importance in automobiles, there is no arguing that. Over the past few decades, the work of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has held auto manufacturers to a higher standard for protecting occupants in a crash situation. The caveat to all this increased safety is additional weight and technology infiltrating cars. The fact is safety sells, and cars that can tout being a “Top Pick” usually see the benefit in increased sales so car companies are building to these tests. Today, the IIHS introduced the world to its first additional test since its original offset test, the small overlap frontal test. What is the test and how is it relevant to MINI? Read on.
The Detroit News is reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the ’07-’08 R56 Cooper S after 12 complaints were filed, including five vehicle fires. At this point we can only speculate as to the cause of these incidents (as to whether or not they’re turbo-related), but it’s important to keep in mind that we’re talking about five cars in approximately 36,000 vehicles, with no injuries or crashes reported. So we’re pretty sure it’s safe to go ahead and drive your Cooper S to the office this morning. While only preliminary at this point, we’ll keep you posted on any findings this investigation turns up. Full story excerpt after the break. continued →
The MINI Countryman just knocked it out of the park with a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is the highest score a car can get. Here’s a direct quote from the IIHS’ site:
The Mini Cooper Countryman, a 4-door small car, earns the Institute’s top safety accolade after achieving good ratings for front, side, rollover, and rear impact protection. It is the first Mini to win, and the second model from BMW to achieve top results since the Institute tightened the criteria to include good performance for roof strength in rollover crashes [the other is the 2011 BMW 5 series]. The roof of the Countryman withstood a force equal to nearly 5 times the car’s weight. By comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5 times weight. continued →
Interesting news today out of EURO ENCAP, a vehicle safety testing organization similar to the IIHS here in the states. They did some rather unpleasant things to a MINI Countryman to test its crash worthiness and the results were fantastic. The R60 received an overall score of five stars, with a front seat (adult) occupant score of 84%. More details and full results PDF after the break. continued →
We broke this story earlier in the week with an exclusive look at the application and the ideas behind it. Today it is being officially introduced to the public.
Official Release: MINI USA announced today the introduction of a free app to MINI owners that allows access to roadside assistance with the touch of an icon. The new MINI Road Assist mobile application was developed by Allstate Roadside Services and is available for iPhone and select BlackBerry users. The app connects users to roadside assistance while automatically supplying the service provider with all relevant information about the vehicle, most importantly, its exact location.
â€œMINI owners appreciate technological innovation and will welcome the additional peace of mind that comes from having fast, easy access to the free roadside services provided during their warranty period,â€ said Jim McDowell, Vice President MINI USA. continued →
To help ease the complexity of dealing with roadside assistance MINI USA is releasing a smartphone application this Thursday. With the roadside assistance program being free (and a great selling point for the car) MINI USA is looking to leverage the application to help get word out and make life easier should make the process easier.
Here’s how it works:
The App will allow you to set up a profile via registering your VIN on the Application. This profile will store your VIN, Model & Model Year. You can also upload a picture of your MINI, give it a nickname & select the color MINI that you have.
You can select a service such as; jump start, tire change, fuel, lock out assistance, tow for mechanical reason, or accident.
Once youâ€™ve selected a service you can hit the call button and you will be connected with Roadside.
The App will then push all of the above data to the roadside rep on the other end of the phone as well as (with your permission by selecting â€œallow current locationâ€) the latitude and longitude of your current location. continued →
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