The new MINI hits the road in November 2006 after a hugely successful first five and a half years for the brand. Back in July 2001, when 50,000 Brits visited the new MINI showrooms over the launch weekend, the sceptics were still flowing with ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“flash-in-the-panÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ retro-car rhetoric. But an unbeatable combination of grin-inducing driving dynamics, emotive design, solid engineering and high-quality materials, and unbeatable cost-of-ownership programmes have seen MINI make a memorable mark in the first decade of the century.
The second generation new MINI therefore has a tremendous foundation on which to build. It has to move forward, while remaining classically MINI. The key has been to combine a fine-tuning and re-designing of virtually every part of the car, with the retention of the iconic design cues, ownership benefits and personalisation opportunities that owners love.
Every exterior panel is new, as is the whole of the interior. The engines are new, built in the UK, and offer major reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. New suspension set-ups, six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and a bespoke electric steering system hone the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s much-loved dynamics. Packaging, comfort and practicality have been fettled to offer an improved cabin. High standard specification, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“big carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ options, and packages of equipment allow even greater opportunities for individuals to personalise their MINIs. Finally, MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s sporting bias is referenced with the availability of Dynamic Stability Control that can be disengaged, Sports button on the Cooper S, a Sports Suspension set-up available on both models and a new automatic transmission featuring paddleshifts.
So, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s all change for the new MINI. All change, that is, except for a few key details.
MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unbeatable tlc servicing package will be retained, contributing to the strong residual values that, for the most part of 2006, were bettered by no car in the UK. Iconic design details such as the headlights, contrasting roof, wheel hub to A-pillar seam, rear light units, and central speedo remain core to MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s design. Finally, MINI is at home in the UK, with a record number of cars revving up to leave the Oxford plant in the years ahead.
That drive to push Plant OxfordÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s production lines to capacity was recognised in September ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢06 by the new Chairman of the BMW Group and the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer commemorating the first of the new generation off the line. In announcing plans for further expansion and the development of a bigger MINI family, they triggered the green light to the future success of the car.
November 18 2006 marks the launch date of the second generation new MINI, on what would have been Sir Alec IssigonisÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ 100th birthday. His genius started this story in the fifties, whilst BritainÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s love affair with the MINI continues to add further chapters as it heads off into the back end of the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“noughtiesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢. The only difference now is that the MINI is a truly global success, and a success that is set to reach new heights.
WhatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s new about MINI?
As the curtain comes down on 2006, the all-new MINI takes to the stage. The worldÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ground-breaking*, best-selling premium small car enters its second generation with an all-new evolutionary design, revised chassis, and state-of-the-art engines. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a new adventure, but with the same, much-loved cast; great looks, grin-inducing drive, innovative and high-quality interior and unbeatable ownership prospects.
The new MINI mark II presents a familiar style and adds substance. It is new and improved in every sense:
So. WhatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s new?
– Every external feature and body panel
– Every interior panel and surface
– New suspension with model-specific spring and damper settings
– Electric Power-Assisted Steering system
– Larger brake discs
– Six-speed manual transmissions for MINI Cooper
– Engines with more power, improved emissions and fuel-economy
– Sport button on Cooper S
– Paddle-shift automatic available on Cooper and Cooper S
– MINI key with memory function and On/Off starter button
– Re-designed interior accommodation to offer more space
– Head airbags
– MINI emergency Brake Assist on Cooper S
– Reach and rake adjustable steering wheel
– More opportunities to personalise through high-end options
So. WhatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the same?
The MINI badge, the kart-like handling, the wheel-at-each-corner control, the penny-pinching tlc service and maintenance packages, and the money-saving Pepper (Cooper only) and Chili (Cooper and S) options packs.
MINI Cooper: Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£12,995 ( otr)
The new MINI Cooper features a brand-new 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, designed by BMW and assembled at BMW GroupÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Hams Hall engine plant near Coleshill in the Midlands. Power has been increased by five hp to 120 hp, whilst torque is up by 10 Nm to 160Nm (118 lb/ft).
Not only does the new MINI Cooper pack more of a punch but, with the introduction of state-of-the-art engine technology based on the BMW GroupÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s VALVETRONIC systems, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced. Top speed is 126 mph, 0 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” 62 mph is achieved in just nine seconds and 50 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” 75 mph is dispatched in a similar time in fourth gear. All this with nearly 50 mpg to shout about. Up an impressive 19 per cent from 41 mpg.
Equally as impressive is an emissions rating of just 139 g/km (from 166 g/km) that allows the new Cooper to slip comfortably into the VED Band C category for UK road tax. A new six-speed manual gearbox for MINI Cooper retains the short-shifting surety of the outgoing car, but adds greater refinement and contributes to more miles to the gallonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦.or laps to the litre. A six-speed automatic will be available as an option from December, replete with a new motor sport-inspired paddleshift system.
MINI Cooper S: Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£15,995 (otr)
The new MINI Cooper S introduces turbo power to the MINI family. Eschewing the weighty supercharger technologies of the first generation new MINI, the four-cylinder Hams Hall direct injection engine produces 175 hp (up five) at 5,500 rpm, and peak torque of 240 Nm (up 20) between 1,600 and 5,000 rpm. An ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“overboostÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ system pushes the 240 to 260 Nm under hard acceleration.
Infinitely variable valve timing manages engine output and torque and minimises fuel consumption and emissions. The twin-scroll turbocharger splits exhaust gases and forces them through two cylinders each, contributing to limited lag, and sharp acceleration. The 0 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” 62 mph sprint is now achieved in just seven seconds and fuel consumption of over 40 mpg is an impressive 25 per cent improvement over the supercharged version.
Emissions levels of just 164 g/km contribute to a position of tax band D for VED.
Transmission options are the same as on the Cooper, with the sporty auto coming through in Spring 2007.
The Cooper S is specified with bespoke spring and damper settings for an even more dynamic drive. For the ultimate Sunday morning sprint, an optional Sports Suspension adds firmer springs and dampers and anti-roll bars, and the Sports button as standard offers the enthusiast sharper steering and a more immediate throttle response, plus faster shifts on the automatic transmission. The same Sports suspension option can also be added to the Cooper, but the Sports button remains solely an S fixture. A leather twin-spoke steering wheel and Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC+T) as standard steer the Cooper S further from the competition.
MINI Cooper: Standard Specification
– Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)
– Central locking, automatic at 10mph
– Corner Braking Control (CBC)
– Crash sensor
– Disc brakes all round ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” vented at front
– Electronic Braking Distribution (EBD)
– MINI Mobility System (MINI MS)
– Passenger airbag deactivation
– Tyre defect indicator
– Driver and front passenger Smart airbags
– Driver and front passenger side airbags
– Curtain head airbags
– Three-Point safety belts with pretensioners
– 15ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â light alloy wheels ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” 5-Star Spooler
– 6-Speed manual gearbox
– Automatic rear wash wiper
– Chrome-plated door handles
– Electric door mirrors
– Heated rear window
– Front and rear bumpers in body colour
– White or black contrast roof and door mirrors
– Roof spoiler in roof colour
– Chrome-plated grille
– Chrome-plated tailgate handle
– Third brake light
– Tinted glass
– Black side air inlets with integrated orange indicator
– 50 / 50 split folding rear seats
– CD changer preparation
– Aux In connection (3.5mm plug)
– Cloth COSMOS
– Cup holders front and rear
– Digital clock
– Easy entry function
– Start/Stop button
– Electric front windows
– Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)
– Height adjustable driverÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s seat
– Steering column height and length adjustable
– Alarm (Thatcham CAT1)
– ISOFIX child seat attachment on rear seats
– Radio BOOST with single CD
– Remote central locking
– Glove box
– Rev counter with outside temperature display
MINI Cooper S: Standard Specification above MINI Cooper
– 16ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â light alloy wheels ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” S Winder
– Twin scroll turbo charger
– Sport button
– Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC+T)
– Engine scoop in body colour
– Honeycomb radiator grille
– Tailgate handle in body colour
– ChromeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬”plated fuel filler cap
– Chrome-plated side indicator grilles with ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“SÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ logo
– Cloth CHEQUERED
– Specific Cooper S roof spoiler in roof colour
– Leather steering wheel and gear knob
– Pedals and footrest covers in stainless steel
– Run-flat tyres 195/55 R16 V instead of MINI Mobility System
– Sport front and rear bumpers
– Front sport seats
– Twin chrome exhaust pipe
– White indicators
The Pepper and Chili packs represent a 25 per cent saving over buying the options individually.
PEPPER PACK Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£940 (MINI Cooper only)
Leather steering wheel, chrome line exterior, velour floor mats, passenger seat height adjustment, front fog lights, manual air conditioning, on-board computer, interior lights pack.
CHILI PACK Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£1,875 (MINI Cooper)
Cloth/leather upholstery, 3-spoke sports leather steering wheel, velour floor mats, passenger seat height adjustment, front fog lights, manual air conditioning, on-board computer, interior lights pack
Additional equipment for MINI Cooper: 16ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â 5-Star Blaster light alloy wheels, rear roof spoiler, chrome line exterior, sports seats
CHILI PACK Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£1,875 (MINI Cooper S)
Cloth/leather upholstery, 3-spoke sports leather steering wheel, velour floor mats, passenger seat height adjustment, front fog lights, manual air conditioning, on-board computer, interior lights pack
Additional equipment for MINI Cooper S: sports suspension (optional), 17ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Crown spoke light alloy wheels, Bi-xenon headlights
What else is new?
MINI One: Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£11,595 (otr provisional)
The all-new MINI One will arrive in the first half of 2007 powered by an impressive 95 hp from a Hams Hall 1.4-litre petrol engine.
A similar date will see the debut of a new diesel MINI that will feature the most advanced turbodiesel technology amongst MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s competitors.
The current MINI Convertible was launched in 2004 and will continue in its current fun-packed form for the foreseeable future. Available in One, Cooper and Cooper S versions, the MINI has sold more drop tops over its short lifetime than any other cabriolet in the UK over the same period.
Miles of Smiles at the MINI Dealerships
As the new range of MINIs unfolds, current and prospective MINI owners will also enjoy a more intense MINI experience. Buying, accessorising and maintaining a new MINI will be even more of a pleasure as the dedicated MINI dealer network is set to expand.
The ultimate goal is for all new MINIs to be handled by a 100 per cent dedicated MINI dealer network. This currently stands at 154 across the UK. Approximately 50 per cent of MINI dealers currently operate from MINI-only outlets, and the goal is to achieve 100 per cent by the end of 2008.
And these dealers are over-the-moon with MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s success. The RMIFs National Franchised Dealers AssociationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s 2006 summer survey showed that MINI was the most desirable franchise in the UK. A result that bodes well for the MINI owner or prospective buyer as the network expands in anticipation of a bigger MINI family in the years to come.
Andy Hearn, MINI UKÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s General Manager said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe feedback from MINI owners confirms our belief that dedicated MINI outlets are the best places to enjoy MINI business. MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unique identity is instilled in both the MINI drivers and the MINI dealers, product knowledge is expanded and the MINI brand is reinforced. This drive towards a MINI dealer network is a challenge for our dealers, but a challenge that is being met head-on.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Total overhaul inside and out retains and improves MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s much-loved style and iconography.
MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s look is a huge influence on the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s sales success and premium brand position. From day one, the new MINI was instantly recognisable. 2,000 days later, it still appeared fresh and relevant on UK roads. WhatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s more, MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s design, and the potential to personalise that design, is cited by owners as a fundamental reason for purchasing the car. It is clear, therefore, that the new generation is not the time for revolution.
The external design of the new MINI has remained true to its phenomenally successful forebear, yet every body panel is different and there are more opportunities for customisation than ever before with 337 possible exterior combinations.
An all-new interior mixes MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unique style with improved quality and greater comfort, there is more usable space for both front and rear seat occupants. Owners will be able to choose from an even wider range of colours, interior specifications and options in order to personalise their car. There are 264 possible interior colour and trim combinations.
New pedestrian safety legislation also challenged the design team. But they were able to incorporate all the latest regulations by increasing the footprint of the car by just the length of a packet of chewing gum (60mm MINI Cooper; 61mm Cooper S). This increase was counteracted visually by developing more rounded contours at the rear corners. Vitally, the short front and rear overhangs remain.
From the man on the street to the man in the design studio, all indications were that retaining MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s existing design, but with modifications to every body panel, would be a winning solution for the next generation.
Early presentations of the new MINI to groups of MINI and non-MINI owners confirmed that there would be little benefit in fixing something that clearly ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“ainÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t brokeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢. The general conclusion from MINI owners was one of relief that the design retained the same classic look, but with a slightly more muscular appearance.
Non-MINI owners meanwhile focused in more on the retention of design ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“iconographyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ that had been passed down from classic Mini and reinterpreted by new MINI at the turn of the century. In particular, the flat contrast roof, the glass surround, and the rear light clusters.
Emma Lowndes, MINI UK marketing manager, confirmed why evolution was considered preferable to revolution: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œSince the new MINI arrived in 2001 we have worked hard to get to know our MINI owners. It became very clear, very quickly that design was high up on their list of priorities. Our customers tell us that MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s style and design is by far and away the number one reason for purchase. Twice as influential as the second reason.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Gert Hildebrand, MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s chief designer outlined his teamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s thought processes that were their inspiration from the moment the second generation new MINI was confirmed.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe philosophy was one of continuity. In terms of exterior design, the new MINI is an evolution of its predecessor,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said.
The objective in creating this MINI was to make highlights of MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s distinctive and classical details. These have been simplified and purified to give the new car even greater clarity and consistency. To this end, the entire car has been re-designed and its characteristic shape authentically updated.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
New design top to bottom, roof to rim
The result of this focus on what is distinctive and significant about MINI did not result in a re-design of the whole of the exterior; the MINI badge remains the same!
But apart from one of the worldÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s most iconic brand logos, 100 per cent of the remaining exterior body parts are new.
From the front
Looking at the car from the front, MINI has placed a focus on the headlights, radiator grille and bonnet.
MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s headlights are one-of-a-kind. Incorporated into the bonnet on the first generation, they are now fixed onto the body, which makes servicing and maintenance easier and facilitates a re-design. As the bonnet shape has been tweaked, so the clear glass headlights have been turned slightly to the outside to retain the proven geometry of the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s front end. The front indicators are now housed within the headlight unit and MINI now brightens up the road with a more powerful dipped and full-beam.
The revised radiator grille and air intakes fulfil a number of design and performance functions.
The radiator grille on the outgoing car was visually ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“splitÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ through the middle by the shut line of bonnet and lower sill. On the new model, this hexagonal and horizontally-biased shaped unit is designed to be self-contained at the top of the bumper. It both emphasises MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s width and dynamic abilities and tips a bit more of a wink to the face of the classic car.
The front views are subtly differentiated between MINI Cooper and Cooper S. The edges of the Cooper air intakes swing up slightly to present a more cheerful face in the rear view mirror of the car in front. Meanwhile, the radiator grille on the Cooper S is formed of a sporty-looking honeycomb grille.
MINI Cooper S also stands out from the Cooper with a more defined bonnet. This bulging bonnet, with its vestigial air scoop, offers more space for the new turbo-charged engine, and also signifies the extra power that lies beneath.
MINI exterior designer, Marcus Syring, explained the thinking behind the retention of the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“classicÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ Cooper S front-end: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe muscular bonnet on the S, with its visually emotive air scoop, was a key contributor to this modelÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s appeal. Sure, the new S does not need the scoop, but with turbo power beneath it needs more space in the engine bay and the scoop still shouts about the SÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s power and performance. In that respect, we believe it remains an authentic piece of MINI design.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The new MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s side view continues the theme presented at the front. A re-design that both modernises the car and references a glorious past.
Vertical air-flow spoilers on the C-pillars and bespoke roof spoiler designs for both Cooper and Cooper S increase the carsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ aerodynamic qualities. This reduces drag and improves fuel consumption.
The acclaimed ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“one-pieceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ greenhouse that seemed to allow the MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s roof to float above the shoulder line, and the shoulder line itself, have been revised and both elements now taper more towards the rear of the car. This makes the new MINI look even more dynamic than before. The shoulder line rises at the B-pillar by 18mm and this extra two centimetres of metal at chest-height cocoons the driver even more, making him feel really settled within the driving environment.
The short overhangs and ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“wheel-at-each-cornerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ design is, of course, retained. MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s wheels plant the car visually on the road almost like pillars, supporting the car as it takes to the tarmac. MINI Cooper features a 15ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â 5-star spoke alloy as standard with the Cooper S displaying the 16ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â S-winder wheel. Six other alloy wheels are optional ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” one 15ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, two 16ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and three 17ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Looking in more detail at the sideview reveals more evidence of MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s designers taking the opportunity to recognise the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s great past. For instance, the incorporation of the diagonal body joint from bonnet to A-pillar via the bespoke Cooper and Cooper S side indicator panels reflects the classic MiniÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s famous welding seam. The indicator units themselves are designed especially for each model; the Cooper indicators are housed in a black plastic grille beneath orange covers, with the Cooper S indicator bulbs placed below white housings set in a chrome ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“SÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ plate. The distinctive two-tone MINI side mirrors are also larger, and a new chrome petrol cap decorates the Cooper S.
Chrome door handles also reference the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s heritage. Chrome is also available as a surround through the Chrome Line Package option on the lower front grille and front and rear foglamps (Cooper and S), and rear bumper grille and boot grab handle (Cooper S only).
MINI owners now have the choice of Comfort Access System as an option. This features an easy-entry system that negates the need for the driver to blip the unlock button on the key fob. Simply stroll up to the car, push the button on the door handle, slip inside and push the start/stop button for the next MINI adventure.
The rear light clusters ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” unashamedly shaped in the style of the classic carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s brake lights – have been mildly redesigned in a bigger, bolder and more pure form that gives them a genuine look of quality. New chrome surrounds and the MINI logo proudly shining out from the enclosed indicator lights that are clear on the S and orange on the Cooper.
They sit within a rear body shape that has been distinctly layered in an effort to visually offset the increase in the new MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s length. More rounded and muscular shoulders also focus the eye on the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s horizontal lines that form a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œcascadeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â configuration. This layering of individual rear sections makes the car look like it has been built up step-by-step from bottom to top and reinforces its strength and stability.
MINI Cooper S stands out from the crowd with its larger twin exhaust pipes in the middle of the rear spoiler, its larger air outlet and a two-piece rear foglight. The CooperÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s single tailpipe is also larger and its rear valance features a large centrally-placed single rear foglight.
From the top
Adding to the individualisation potential, the roof can be ordered in either body colour, white or black irrespective of the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s body colour. Twenty roof decal designs are optionally available along with the much-loved stripes that comfortably fit on MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s bonnet.
Eight metallics are available within the 12 different body colour options that feature five brand-new colours in Mellow Yellow and Oxygen Blue (non-metallic), and metallics, Sparkling Silver, Lightning Blue and Nightfire Red. MINI Cooper S is also available with two exclusive metallic colours, Dark Silver and Laser Blue.
MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s expansive panoramic sunroof option is retained, but, in line with virtually every other detail, improved. Now both front and rear sections can tilt open, allowing a cooling breeze to calm passions in all four seats.
Whilst MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s exterior design and interior ambience clearly communicate the MINI brand, the aim of the interior design is also to showcase, and reinforce in the ownerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s eye, the market leading technical facets of the car.
Surfaces are modern and of high quality, attention has been paid to occupantsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ legroom, and design icons such as the central speedo and the door interior have been reinforced. Real wood and alloy trim panels add to a long list of options and opportunities to personalise, with some typically smile-inducing lighting design details. New seats and practical new storage and packaging options will make buyers genuinely feel like they are stepping into a new generation model.
At the wheel
The first thing the owner of the second generation new MINI will notice is the lack of a key. Or the lack of a traditional key. A round, MINI-embossed, electronic key can be blipped to unlock the doors and inserted into the slot behind the steering wheel. Pressing the start/stop button then fires the car into action. This key also electronically stores a host of driver and passenger preferences for settings such as the air conditioning and stereo and can be optionally ordered with a Comfort Access system.
Once seated, the driver is confronted with a new, and very modern, treatment to the typical MINI interior. The main and much-loved MINI details remain ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” sporting rev counter, toggle switches, large central speedo, and chunkier indicator and window wiper stalks ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” but they return in an updated and thoroughly contemporary fashion. It is clear to see that every detail inside the car has been carefully considered.
The dash and door interior flow almost seamlessly into the rear of the car, with MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s much-loved forms, smoothed, simplified and improved in quality. The door features more rounded, simplistic shapes that feature higher quality materials. Fussy details have been removed or incorporated into the overall theme of the design, whilst key functions such as the speakers and grab handles have been highlighted in size or style. MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s classic elliptical rim, that defines the interior of the door and its functions, now runs into the rear of the car.
Many of the interior details are inspired by motor sport. The toggle switches, rev counter ahead of the driver and start/stop button, for example.
The toggle switches in the central column beneath the speedo operate the windows, fog lights, and central locking and are larger than on the outgoing model. When a sunroof and/or optional Lights Package is chosen, a second row of toggle switches comes into play in the roof lining above the central speedo. Ambient lighting included in the Lights Package is a unique offering in the automotive industry; the interior lighting of the car can be changed from blue through to orange.
The rev counter is now permanently fixed in front of the driver behind the steering wheel, with a digital speedo read-out, and the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s computer data incorporated within its dial. And the dial displays the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s heartbeat. Not only are the revs recorded as the engine pumps the petrol through the cylinders, but the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s standard alarm indicator pulses on the top surface of the rev counter. The alarm is a Thatcham Category 1 system.
The most impactful new detail is the larger central speedo that now houses the fuel gauge, seat belt warning indicator, audio system and any optional navigation and entertainment functions. The larger dial contributes to a more simple dash layout that now offers more functions, but fewer dials, than on the out going car.
Radio Boost and Single CD are standard with an option that includes DAB digital radio reception. Other options usually associated with far more expensive cars are navigation, a TV function for analogue and DVB-T signals (for poor areas of reception), and six-disc CD player.
With navigation or TV specified, the speedo takes on a new design that houses the screen. Navigation is then controlled via a small joystick behind the gearstick with two separate buttons for ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“homeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ and to move between audio, TV or navigation functions.
An auxiliary connection for iPods or other MP3 players is standard and is housed behind the dash below the central speedo.
The co-driverÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s view
The increased simplicity and re-design of surfaces and details has resulted in an interior that exudes quality and functionality. There is more legroom for driver and front passenger as the vertical central column has been narrowed; functions such as the audio controls that were once housed in the central column, have been moved into the central speedo.
Meanwhile, the famously airy cockpit feels even more enticing and spacious due to the repositioning of air vents even further towards the extremities of the long dash. Moving the vents to the ends of the dashboard ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“stretchesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ the interior horizontally and visually links the door interior to the dash, cosseting the driver and passenger.
The glove box is standard and can be optionally supplemented with a second storage pocket in the front facia above, that offers space for an optional six CD changer.
Access to the back is improved. MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s new front seats tip and slide forwards via a new latch on top of the seat backs rather than at the base.
Once in, comfort has been improved for MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s back-seat drivers with the rear of the driver and front passenger seats now indented and lined with material, rather than hard plastic. The rear seats are also slightly more bucket-shaped for extra comfort.
And packaging has been further improved. As part of the optional Storage Pack, the back seat uprights can be latched in a more forward-locking position to allow for more storage space in the boot. Rear passengers can still sit in the back with the alternative seating arrangement locked in place.
But what links the driver, front, and rear passengers is the opportunity for the MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s owner to personalise the interior to make it feel bespoke and exude class.
New ambient illumination included in the optional lights package is unique in the automotive industry. The colour of the interior lights in the roof lining, the door storage compartments and grab handle recesses may be changed at any time in five stages from warm orange to sporting blue, depending on the occupantsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ personal preference or mood at the time. This is controlled from one of the new toggle switches in the roof lining.
Not only is the ambient lighting in the car adaptable at any time, but the interior can be specified from 264 interior combinations of colour and trim. For example:
The front facia and door insert trims for the MINI One and Cooper (anthracite), and Cooper S (chequered silver), can be optionally specified in glossy Piano Black, English Oak, Dust Aluminium or Fluid Silver.
A Colour Line option adds soft-touch plastic highlights in the knee rolls and door armrests. It is available in five colour shades ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” Dark Grey (standard on optional cloth/leather or leather upholsteries), Cream White, Mellow Yellow, Pacific Blue, Rooster Red.
MINI One and Cooper offer Cosmos cloth as their standard seat upholstery, with Cooper S offering the chequered seat pattern. Cloth/leather ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“SportsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢, beige leather ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“GravityÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢, or black leather ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“PunchÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ seats are optional on all three models. The hand-sewn, leather-piped sport seat on the MINI Cooper S is the ultimate and genuinely luxurious option.
With cloth/leather or leather upholstery, MINI is also adorned with a set of 16 silver decal trim rings for the air vents, cupholders and instruments. These are optional on standard upholstery and give the interior an even more sophisticated look.
Driving the new MINI
Revised powertrain and drivetrain offers: new engines for Cooper and Cooper S; six-speed ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“box for Cooper and paddle-shift automatic an option; sharper chassis, Sports suspension and Sports button; new Electric Power Assisted Steering; improved electronic driver aids including DSC; fourth generation Run-flat tyres.
Raise the new bonnet on the MINI Cooper or Cooper S and two brand new BMW-designed and British-built engines are revealed. Both models feature 1.6-litre units that offer more power, fewer emissions and reduced fuel consumption. They are key factors in the drive for even greater driving enjoyment and even lower costs-of-ownership.
Erich Sonntag, MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s drivetrain project manager, proudly praised the new engines: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWith these new engines we have succeeded in transferring sophisticated and technically demanding engine technology into the small-car segment.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
MINI Cooper: the fundamentals of VALVETRONIC technology
The four-cylinder, 16 valve naturally-aspirated power unit in the MINI Cooper is compact, powerful and economical. It develops maximum output of 120 hp (up five hp) at 6,000 rpm. Engine torque reaches 140 Nm at just 2,000 rpm, peaking at 160 Nm (up 10 Nm) once the engine reaches 4,250 rpm. 0 to 62mph is achieved in 9.1 seconds and the 50 to 75mph overtaking dash takes just 9.4 seconds in fourth.
This ultra-modern four-cylinder features fully variable valve control based on BMW GroupÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unique VALVETRONIC system. This innovative valve management system adjusts intake valve lift and opening times within fractions of a second to meet the immediate power and performance requirements of the driver. The big advantage is that it replaces the conventional throttle butterfly on ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œnormalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â engines to translate any movement of the throttle pedal directly into engine speed instantly. Intake valve lift is varied infinitely between 0.2 and 9.5 millimetres, the switch between these maximum and minimum distances taking just 300 milliseconds.
In addition to variable control of valve lift on the intake, valve timing is also controlled on the outlet stroke. This enhances the torque curve to deliver not only high torque at low engine speeds, but also high power at high speeds.
What does it mean? A minor matter of major reductions in fuel consumption and emissions!
Depending on the route the driver is covering, fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is down by approximately 19 per cent to an impressive 48.7 mpg, with CO2 emissions on the MINI Cooper down to 139g/km. This places the Cooper in VED Tax Band C, with owners paying just Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£100 car tax.
The new engine in the MINI Cooper (and Cooper S), is turned 180 degrees compared to the engine in the outgoing MINI, with the exhaust now at the front of the powerplant. Other key highlights in both models are:
– Distance between cylinders: 84mm
– Bore: 77mm
– Stroke: 85.5mm
– Displacement: 1,598cc
– Cylinder block and bearing housing of aluminium alloy
– Two-piece bedplate crankcase construction derived from technology developed in BMW GroupÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s motor sport development programmes
– Camshafts of composite structure; camrings of high-strength stainless steel are shrunk-fit to the camshaft then fine-polished to an accuracy of 1/1000th of a millimetre
– Alternator and climate compressor driven by one single poly-V-belt contribute to making the new MINI engine one of the shortest four-cylinders in production
– Volume-flow-controlled oil pump is chain driven and, as with the water pump, is driven by demand rather than offering a constant flow. Both systems contribute to an improvement in fuel consumption
MINI Cooper S: turbocharged and direct injection
A turbocharged four-cylinder unit takes over from the outgoing supercharged engine and adds a splash of efficiency to the cocktail of speed and dynamics ?in the S.
Power is up five hp to 175hp at 5,500rpm. Torque is up 20Nm to 240Nm available between 1,600 to 5,000rpm. An overboost under heavy acceleration takes the maximum torque figure briefly up to 260Nm.
The direct-injection turbo-charged engine now pushes the S to 62mph from standstill in just 7.1 seconds, and from 50 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” 75mph in fifth gear in just five and a half seconds. But such a dynamic car has an equally impressive ability to conserve fuel.
The Cooper S driver can enjoy 40.9 mpg in the combined EU test cycle. Emissions of just 164 g/km place the car in tax band D.
The engine in the MINI Cooper S adds its own package of highlights to those listed above:
– Outlet valves filled with sodium contribute to heightened cooling requirements of the turbocharger
– Intake camshaft features infinite phase adjustment that balances valve timing to required power
– Common rail direct injection system is pressurised by a high pressure pump at the rear of the intake camshaft
– Fuel from the common rail is pumped into the combustion chambers through the injection valves in the side of the cylinder heads at the exact time and in the exact amount required
The pistons are cooled by splash oil during the process that works under an extremely high compression ratio of 10.5:1
At launch, no other engine in MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s segment features twin-scroll turbocharging. The twin-scroll system allows a spontaneous build-up of power as the ducts of each pair of cylinders are separated from each other in the exhaust manifold. This helps reduce exhaust gas counterpressures at low engine speeds, produces more efficient use of the movement of gas through the manifold and, subsequently, makes the turbochargerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s response more immediate as its rotor blades develop optimum momentum virtually from start-up.
With a wastegate limiting charge pressure to just 0.8 bar at only 1,400 rpm, turbo lag is virtually eradicated. The system contributes to a specific output of almost 110hp per litre.
The key to MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s great driving is the direct response between driver inputs and reactions on the road, and the transmission is the defining touch. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s easy to see how enthusiastically MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s engineers approached the new carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s drivetrain with a short sharp-shifting manual, sporty automatic with paddle-shifts, carbon friction plates, and syncromesh on reverse defining the drive.
MINI Cooper comes as standard with a brand new six-speed manual adding a gear to that of the outgoing model. A single-cone syncromesh, carbon friction plates on the first two gears, a helical gear pattern and syncromesh on reverse are all new features that remove noise and refine shifts.
Five clutches on the new paddle-shifting automatic on both Cooper (December ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢06) and Cooper S (spring ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢07) ensure an incredibly smooth progression through the six gears, maintaining the ideal balance of power and torque. And the new paddle-shifts ensure that if the driver really is a driver, he or she never need lose touch with the chunky new steering wheel (twin spoke on Cooper, three-spoke on Cooper S).
An automatic MINI can, of course, simply be left in Drive to allow the car to make the best possible gear selections for the road ahead. Or gears can be changed manually by pushing forward or pulling back the gear selector for a downshift or to go up the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“box.
The Cooper SÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ six-speed manual provides a double cone that synchronises first and second to shorten the shift times and makes changing rapidly from first to second even easier. The MINI Cooper S also features Automatic Stability Control + Traction as standard that cuts engine power should the car detect that the driver has pushed things just a little too far. Of course, should the driver be trying to take MINI Cooper S to its limits, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) can be optionally selected as the ultimate guardian angel.
MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s chassis continues to shine as the star of the small-car segment. Only now, with the new generation, have things been tightened, tuned and teased. The goal is an even more focussed driver appeal. The result? A glorious hat-trick of sharper steering, superb suspension and wonderful wheels.
Arguably the most significant new technical innovation on the new generation MINI is the introduction of Electrical Power Assisted Steering (EPAS). This sophisticated technology in the market offers greater driver support with power assistance fed into steering. This balances with the driver input and the level of comfort or dynamism that he or she is aiming for. At slow speeds steering is ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“lighterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ allowing for an easier drive, whilst at high speeds the system requires more input from the driver to effect a manoeuvre. The steering characteristics are also sharpened through the EPAS mapping on the Sports system on the MINI Cooper S.
EPAS saves weight over a traditional hydraulic system and monitors driving conditions, only inputting steering assistance when genuinely required. This reduces fuel consumption by up to half a litre in every tank. It is also a flexible system and may well be mapped to perfectly combine with any extra power wrung from the engine on future performance MINI derivatives.
Sport button takes the S to the max
The standard Sports button beside the Cooper S gearstick takes the MINI smile-factor to another level. Once the button is pressed, the Servotronic steering is sharpened, the throttle response even more spontaneous and, on automatics, gears are shifted more quickly.
The suspension set-up is typically MINI. Combined with the EPAS, low centre of gravity, wide track, long wheelbase and wheel-at-each-corner design, bespoke spring and damper suspension set-ups for the Cooper and Cooper S ensure the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s kart-like drive is retained.
MacPherson spring struts on the front axle are renowned for being virtually free of drive forces through fast bends or under hard acceleration or deceleration.
A brand new and unique central-arm rear axle takes the new MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s agility to a new level. The systemÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s aluminium longitudinal arms also contribute a weight loss of six kilos, whilst anti-roll bars, front and back, on both models help define the dynamic drive.
The front wheels feature inner-vented disc brakes measuring 280 millimetres in diameter on the Cooper and 294 mm on the Cooper S. The disc brakes on the rear are 259mm on both models.
Anti-lock braking (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) are standard on the new MINI. ASC+T is optional and now includes the new MINI Brake Assist, which builds up braking pressure as the system detects an emergency stopping scenario. ASC+T is standard on Cooper S.
DSC is an option on MINI Cooper and Cooper S, and now includes Hill Assist that maintains braking for a brief moment as a manual MINI moves up hill from standstill once the hand-break is released.
MINI Cooper runs on distinctive 15 inch light alloy rims running on 175/65 R 15 tyres. MINI Cooper S moves up an inch to bespoke alloys running on 195/65 R 16 Run-flat rubber. Further sixteen and seventeen inch rims are optionally available.
MINI Cooper drivers are protected from the danger and inconvenience of roadside wheel changes, and the added weight of a spare wheel, through the MINI Mobility System that allows the driver to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“fixÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ the tyre at the point of the puncture.
A Tyre Defect Indicator permanently monitors tyres for any loss of pressure and all wheels will be protected by improved locking wheel nuts.
Improved driving dynamics and even more active and passive safety systems indicate that the new generation MINI aims to be one of the safest small cars in the world. It clearly benefits from BMW Group safety engineering techniques and the designers have also ensured that it fulfils all the necessary pedestrian impact legislation. The key features are:
– The new MINI has been lengthened front and back by six centimetres in total to allow for greater deformation zones to protect pedestrians
– New curtain head airbags inflate from the roof lining to protect all four occupants
– Front airbags are ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“intelligentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢, judging whether a passenger is in the car and linking to the MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s computer as it determines the type and severity of the accident
– Two side airbags protect driver and front passenger from thorax injuries as they inflate from the sides of the front seats
– Crossbars and reinforced door structures channel impact energy away from the passenger cell
– The front axle soaks up impact energy and passes those forces through the floor of the car rather than up towards the occupants
– In the event of an accident the electric fuel pump is switched off, central locking unlocked, interior lights switched on and hazard lights automatically engaged
– Three-point seat belts are standard on all four seats equipped with belt tensioners and belt force limiters
ISOFIX is standard on rear seats
MINI: The first five years
A Brief History of (MINI) Time
MINI One and MINI Cooper went on sale in the UK in July 2001. The MINI Cooper S joined the ranks in the summer of 2002 and the MINI One D added frugality to the kart-like driving in 2003. Also that year, the first tuning kits from John Cooper Garages were launched for the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S. 2004 saw the re-introduction of top-down MINI driving with the arrival of the phenomenally successful MINI Convertible that shot straight to the top of the UK drop-top charts. It was joined that year by a freshened up MINI range.
The MINI One Seven, Cooper Park Lane and Cooper S Checkmate debuted in the autumn of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢05 with the first generation MINI signing off in some style in the summer of 2006 with the sold-out MINI GP, or to give it its grown-up name, the MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP kit. 459 MINI GPs came to the UK and were snapped up before they even went on sale.
Over 50,000 people visited the UKÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s 150 MINI dealerships during the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s opening weekend in July 2001 and by August 2006, MINI had achieved the 200,000 sales landmark in the UK.
800,000 MINIs have been built within five years and, interestingly, after a near-identically comparable time period as the original Mini. History repeats itself as the UK remains the number one market in the world for MINI.
But MINI has crossed the oceans and made a bigger splash around the globe than the original. It is now sold in over 70 countries worldwide. The UK, USA, Germany, Italy and Japan make up the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s top five markets and have been major contributors to the fact that in just five years MINI has become the third largest motor manufacturer in the UK.
And as the sales racked up, so did the awards and accolades. Not just the traditional ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Best CarÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ gongs in the first year or two, though MINI has walked off with its fair share of those. MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s trophy cabinet bulges with awards presented throughout its first five years to its production, body styles, and ownership prospects.
Even in the MINI hatchÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s final year, the first generation new MINI won awards for ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Best Sporty CarÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ (2006 What Car? used car of the year awards), ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Car Manufacturer of the Year 2005ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ (Autocar awards), and ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Best Used Car SchemeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ (2006 Auto Express Used Car Honours).
Conservative estimates put MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s trophy total at over 200 by the summer of 2006. In the UK alone it has won best car or best small car awards from the likes of Auto Express, Car, The Times, The Independent, Channel 4ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Driven, BBC Top Gear, News of the World, and The Sun.
It is hoped that the new generation MINI can repeat some of that success, and its new engines, improved specification, and better use of space should give it a fighting chance. As the final first generation MINIs left the production line in the summer of 2006, they featured ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“big-carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ levels of standard specification that have given the new model a great foundation on which to build.
WhatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s tempting about MINI?
MINI in the market
MINI was the first premium small car in the world and has achieved record sales year-on-year since its launch. It was the first small car to win the North American car of the year title and has enjoyed five years of constant growth. MINI was recently announced as the car with the strongest residual values in the UK. You could say it has had a successful few years!
It is hard to see how the competition can cope with the Oxford carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s long-term popularity. The first buyers in the summer of 2001 were tempted by the carÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unique appeal in the marketplace. No other small car offered such levels of engineering integrity, emotional design and unbeatable cost-of-ownership.
To many, its heritage was also addictively evocative. The mooted ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œretro flash-in-the-panÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â became a genuine automotive success story. Importantly for the car buyer, an almost irresistible combination of emotional and rational benefits justifies MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s premium price: owners are more than happy to trade down in size or up in price within the market. This MINI appeal ensures that its unique position remains as the UKÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s and the worldÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s foremost premium small car.
As MINI sales grow, both in the UK and in over 70 export markets, MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s competition remains a great incentive to its development.
Through its premium positioning, and the huge impact it has had on the car industry and the car market, MINI expects its rivals to approach from all angles. Its sharp handling will, of course, ensure it is never cornered!
The MINI has won drivers from every small car make, and larger cars besides. Unable to compete on a product specification level, competitors such as the Polo, Corsa, 207 and Clio try to inject more emotional appeal into their products and marketing communications. Meanwhile, bigger compact premium cars that have lost owners who have traded down in size to MINI, such as A3, 147, and Golf will undoubtedly try and win them back with their perceived beneficial packaging options.
MINI owners are more than willing to trade a little less leg room in the back seats for a car that puts such a huge grin on your face. That is why MINI will be aiming to achieve a high conquest rate for the new generation. Selling to new owners, rather than simply tapping into the existing database will ensure that its successful growth continues.
Oh, and the MINI designers have addressed rear legroom and boot space to help with those conquests. Firstly, they have increased space in the back with more knee room for passengers. Secondly, an optional innovative catch on the rear seat backs allows them to be locked at a more forward-tilting angle resulting in more boot space even with rear passengers on board.
So who will buy the new MINI? With its evolutionary new design it is bound to appeal to current MINI fans. But with the addition of a brighter, more modern and practical interior, combined with brand new and more powerful yet frugal British-built engines, MINI expects to attract new owners.
Fundamentally, however, the new MINI comes to market with its successful formula intact. New owners will more than likely mirror existing owners in their habits, households and hobbies.
Taking the Peugeot 206, Renault Clio and VW Polo as comparisons, MINI has dipped into the lifestyles of small car owners and dug up some fascinating titbits:
18 things you didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t know about MINI owners
– This is a manÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s world (mostly): 70 per cent of MINI Cooper S owners are male, 60 per cent of Cooper owners are male and 35 per cent of MINI One owners are male.
– LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s stay together: MINI owners are more likely to be married or living together than those of its competitors.
– Life begins at forty: MINI has less under 30s on its books, but a younger average age of owner than its competitors. Most MINI owners are between 30 and 50.
– Fertile ground: MINI owners have more children than owners of rival brands and more households of five or more.
A right pair: MINIs tend to share the drive with one other car.
– A consensus of opinion: When asked ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“What makes a MINI a MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ the top five answers from owners and non-owners alike were: exterior design; interior design; go-kart driving; personalisation; premium feel.
– Six of the best: When asked ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“What are MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s strengths over its competitors?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢, MINI owners cited: value for money/residual values; service at the dealerships; levels of equipment; style/design; robustness and reliability; performance.
– Beach Boys: MINI owners have a far greater opportunity to surf the net with over half having access at home and at work. Far fewer MINI owners have no access to the internet.
– Clever: A greater proportion of MINI owners are college educated to degree or masters standard.
– ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s (not) tough at the top: More MINI owners are company directors, professionals or managers, or even own their own businesses.
– Power to the people: But, more MINI owners are private sector clerical employees.
– Whistle while you work: And far fewer are retired.
– A manÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s best friend is his MINI: MINI owners are a loyal breed. MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s loyalty rate has increased in the past two years, whilst the numbers of defectors to rival products has decreased.
– Fit as a fiddle: MINI owners are a healthy lot. Favourite pastimes, compared to owners of key competitors, are jogging, bicycle riding and racing, competitive athletics, skiing and snowboarding.
– Fatboy Slim: But they also do more cooking, entertaining and dining out.
– Petrolheads: And, as you would expect, they like driving cars better and the smell of burning rubber, with more attending motor sport events than rival car owners.
– Read all about it!: Three times as many MINI owners consulted media reviews and road tests than those from rival manufacturers, and six times as many were swayed by the TV or radio.
– Searching for clues: Meanwhile, twice as many sought out information over the internet, a higher proportion visited their local dealer, and three times as many took their inspiration from a motor show.
Whilst design, performance and dealer service are all high up on a MINI ownerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s importance rating, cost-of-ownership continues to register as a real eye-opener. MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unique money-saving tlc and tlc XL servicing options are the key to driving a premium small car on a pocket-sized budget and they will continue on the new car. For less than the price of a room at The Ritz, they offer unrivalled value-for-money motoring and peace of mind for up to the first eight years of MINI ownership. They are also a welcome financial boost when owners come to part with their cars.
MINI tlc is available to all UK retail and fleet customers when purchased with a new MINI. It covers scheduled servicing on the car for five years/50,000 miles, including parts and labour, for just Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£150 (including VAT)
Since its launch in 2001, it is estimated that tlc has saved UK MINI drivers in excess of Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£40 million when compared to servicing costs incurred by owners of comparable small cars.
The benefits of the tlc package are not only limited to running costs, but also contribute to MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s rock solid residual values as any remaining tlc years are passed on to future owners. Consequently, when owners come to part with their MINI, it is estimated that the penalty for a seller with no tlc can be as high as Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£800 on a 6-12 month old car and Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£500 on a three year old car. Such is the value of not incurring unforeseen servicing costs to a MINI buyer.
Richard Crosthwaite, prestige car editor at GlassÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Guide, said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMINI is one of the slowest depreciating cars on the market and tlc has been a major factor behind this success.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
MINI tlc XL adds a further three years or 30,000 miles to the tlc service package and costs a further Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£300 (inc. VAT). It can either be bought together with MINI tlc when the car is first purchased or once MINI tlc has come to an end, as long as itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s before the next service is due. MINI tlc XL is also transferable to new owners if the car is sold during the eight year period.
Andy Hearn, General Manager for MINI UK, adds: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œCost of ownership has always been a MINI strength. tlc has blazed a trail for customer value in the car industry since its launch in 2001, and our dealers still have a job convincing some new owners there are no hidden catches!ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
MINI tlc comes on top of MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s standard package of class-leading aftersales benefits. These include a three year/unlimited mileage warranty, six year/unlimited mileage corrosion guarantee and a three year roadside assistance programme that includes bespoke MINI service engineers, replacement loan car, full European cover and accident management.
The MINI Cherished approved used car scheme was set up in 2001 and, by the end of September 2006, had sold nearly 70,000 cars.
Every Cherished MINI is scrutinised by MINI technicians and comes with 12 months unlimited mileage warranty, full service history, independent mileage and history check, and 12 months membership to the 24-hour MINI Emergency service in the UK and continental Europe.
In addition, with 96 per cent of new MINI buyers purchasing the five years / 50,000 miles MINI tlc and tlc XL service packages, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s likely that a Cherished buyer will benefit from these as the packs are transferable to second and third owners.
Andy Hearn, MINI UK General Manager: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe award-winning MINI Cherished scheme offers assurance to customers that theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re buying a MINI in the best possible condition for their driving adventures. MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s excellent residual values means owners also have the added confidence of making a good financial decision. Five years after the car first went on sale and even with the arrival of the next generation MINI, a typical three-year old MINI One still holds a value of 66 per cent on the forecourt. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Use less, Go clean, Pay less
MINI saves money with reduced emissions and fuel consumption.
So, with contented customers, envious owners of rival products, unbeatable ownership packages, and Boxster-beating residual values, can life with the new MINI get any better? The simple answer? Yes.
The new MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s engines combine the BMW GroupÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s engineering expertise with British-built robustness to present a powertrain that ups the performance, but drops the cost of ownership, the emissions and the fuel consumption. ThereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s no shame in being sensible.
The new MINI Cooper has moved down two VED tax bands from E to C, saving Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£50 per year for car tax. It has improved fuel consumption by 19 per cent from an EU combined figure of 40.9 mpg to 48.7 mpg. Emissions are down by 16 per cent from 166 g/km to 139 g/km.
The Cooper S meanwhile moves down from Band F to Band D (saving Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£65), improves fuel consumption from 32.8 mpg to 40.9 mpg, and reduces emissions from 202 g/km to 164 g/km.
Source: MINI UK Press