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Mini Paring Back Line-Up

British marque dropping three models, according to top exec.

by on Dec.01, 2014

Mini chief Peter Schwarzenbauer at the L.A. Auto Show debut of the CitySurfer and Superleggera concepts.

For such a little car, Mini has grown a big line-up since its 2002 return to the U.S. market. But the British brand may be ready to pare back its line-up to a more rational mix of models, according to a senior executive.

From its smallest three-door to the big five-door Countryman crossover, Mini now offers eight different models, and there were hints still more were on the way. But Peter Schwarzenbauer, the former Porsche chief who now serves as the BMW Board member overseeing Mini, wants to cut that count down to five “superhero” models.

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“Like a superhero, each of these cars has its own personality and unique capabilities,” Schwarzenbauer declared during an event near BMW’s Munich headquarters. “It is important to find the right balance between growth, on the one hand, and profitability, on the other.”


Mini Roadster Takes Aim at Mazda Miata

Pure 2-seat fun.

by on Jan.09, 2012

Mini adds its sixth model with the 2-seat Roadster.

It may soon be difficult to tell all the new players in the affordable roadster segment without a sports car, what with new offerings like the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S ready to take on the venerable Mazda Miata.  Now, add in the Mini Roadster, making its U.S. debut at this week’s Detroit Auto Show.

The first open-top 2-seater in the British brand’s line-up, it offers a counterpoint to the 4-seat convertible that’s been a Mini staple since 2009.  But, say company officials, it offers a “spontaneous, unadulterated recipe for urban driving fun.”

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Add in simple and basic, like the original Miata, the new Mini Roadster holds down weight, complexity – and cost – with a purely mechanical canvas top; no fancy motor drive, you simply reach back and pull it up if the clouds start to threaten.


First Look: Mini Coupe

Maker officially adds 2-seater to growing line-up.

by on Sep.14, 2011

Mini adds a new Coupe to its growing line-up, the John Cooper Works shown here.

It may build some of the smallest cars on the market but Mini is one very fast-growing brand, the British maker bringing to the Frankfurt Motor Show its new 2-seat Mini Coupe.

The 2-seat fastback is promised to be the sportiest model to bear the Mini badge, officials said during a Frankfurt preview.  Four different variants will be offered, including the basic Mini Cooper, the Cooper S, a diesel-powered Cooper SD and the top-performing John Cooper Works.

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The JCW Coupe will come equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine capable of making 208 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque in overboost, enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in just 6.3 seconds, with a top speed of 149 mph.


First Drive: 2012 Mini Coupe

The small car brand gets bigger.

by on Jun.13, 2011 gets a first drive of the new Mini Coupe, which is set for a world debut at Frankfurt.

Many folks seem to recall the original Mini as a single, pint-sized offering though there was, in fact, an assortment of sizes and shapes marketed by the British brand over the years.

And so, from the rebirth of Mini in 2001, it was obvious that the brand would come up with more models than just the Hatchback – as the British marque, now under the command of Germany’s BMW, is rapidly proving. This year, Mini is adding the Coupe, the fifth model to the range, to a rapidly swelling line-up that already includes the Clubman, Convertible and Countryman. Next year, the Roadster will be number six.


We got our first sneak peek at the Coupe prototype at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. The strongly positive feedback convinced Mini to not just put the new 2-door into production but bring it to market in time for the next Frankfurt show – where it will make its official world debut this autumn.

But we were able to snag some seat time months before that formal introduction.


Beachcomber Offers Clues to Mini’s Future

BMW brand intends to move a bit bigger, add more models.

by on Jan.12, 2010

The Mini Beachcomber concept and Mini's U.S. boss, Jim McDowell.

There’s more than a faint resemblance between the new Mini Beachcomber concept vehicle and a classic dune buggy.

The show car is missing a roof and the removable doors are little more than frames.  So, it takes a little imagination to recognize that Beachcomber is the starting point upon which a variety of future products could be built by the British brand, says Jim McDowell, head of Mini’s U.S. subsidiary.

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“You can assume Beachcomber has a lot in common with the crossover we have coming,” suggests McDowell, during a conversation on the automaker’s stand at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.  And, he adds, “even more things” could follow, sharing the new platform, “a lot of fun products you could make.”


Mini May Add as Many as Three New Models for ’11

R60 CUV a definite, but Coupe and Roadster may follow.

by on Dec.09, 2009

Could Mini launch production of the Coupe and Roadster concept vehicles next year? A CUV is definitely in the pipeline.

Could Mini launch production of the Coupe and Roadster concept vehicles next year? A CUV is definitely in the pipeline.

Tucked into the far corner of the L.A. Auto Show sit two Mini concept cars that have been generating some serious buzz.  Now, sources say, the Mini Roadster and Mini Coupe could find their way into production in the very near future.

As’s Henny Hemmes reported, last week, from Staples Center, in downtown Los Angeles, the two show cars have a decidedly more aggressive look than current Mini products, starting with their steeply raked windshields.  (Click Here for the complete story.)

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Up to the A-pillars, the Roadster is similar to that of the current Mini Convertible. The windshield, though, is 60 mm lower and raked at a sharper angle, providing the look of a ‘baseball cap’, said Ian Robertson, Mini’s sales and marketing chief.