The new MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S go on sale from this weekend. All 154 UK MINI dealerships are holding launch events to unveil the new car, but many customers will have to wait until the New Year to own one. The order books are almost full for 2006. Approximately 4000 orders have been taken for the new car, equalling the number achieved in the lead up to the launch of the first generation new MINI in July 2001.

With an all-new design and new engines, the MINI Cooper costs from £12,995 (on-the-road) and the MINI Cooper S is £15,995(otr). With the additional standard options, these prices have increased by a smidgen over two per cent over the first generation.

The unbeatable combination of grin-inducing driving dynamics, emotive design and solid engineering will lead sales of the new car. But the impressive cost of ownership adds strength to an enticing overall package….

– The new engines from Hams Hall are more powerful, while using less fuel and emitting less emissions. Fuel economy is up by 20 per cent and emissions have been improved by up to 21 per cent. The MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S have both dropped two places on the VED tax scale, with a C grading for the MINI Cooper and a D for the MINI Cooper S.

– The slightly raised bonnet has been designed for better pedestrian safety, but it will also contribute to lower bills in the workshop if you have a brush with a bollard. Items like a clip-on front spoiler make parts easier and quicker to replace, and technicians can also move the front of the car forward by 10cms to gain easier access to the engine.

– There is still a huge range of options to personalise your MINI, and plenty of new ones added to the list, but the cost to the customer has again been at front of mind. The Salt, Pepper and Chili packs offer a range of popular options at a price that is 25 per cent less than buying them individually.

– The original, ground-breaking MINI tlc service pack for 5 years or 50,000 miles is still available on the new car, at the same £150.

– Thatcham has now confirmed insurance ratings for the new models. The new MINI Cooper will sit in insurance group 8E, while the new MINI Cooper S receives a rating of 15E.

Source: MINI UK Press

Here are some “live” shots of the day’s UK introduction by Jordan.