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Less Mini, More Countryman

New Mini-ute gets brand’s first plug-in drivetrain.

by on Oct.26, 2016

The 2017 Mini Countryman gets an injection of size and power in the new model, which is 8.1 inches longer than its predecessor.

When it first drove onto the scene in 2011, the Mini Countryman rewrote the rules for the downsized brand. And so, with the rest of the line-up growing a bit bigger this generation, it would seem only appropriate that the latest Mini ute also adds a few inches.

But it also gets the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid driveline – the first battery system since the all-electric Mini-E was pulled from production in 2010.

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Already the biggest seller in the Mini portfolio, the British maker is hoping to take even bigger advantage of the surge in compact SUV sales with the arrival of the Countryman. Growing by 8.1 inches in length and 1.3 inches in width, it’s “not only the largest Mini we’ve ever built, but it’s also the most technologically advanced,” explains Thomas Felbermair, vice president of Mini of the Americas. (more…)

Mini Muscles Up with 2017 JCW Clubman

Five-door model gets a performance upgrade.

by on Sep.20, 2016

The 2017 John Cooper Works edition Mini Clubman puts out 228 horsepower and 258 ft-lb torque.

The brand that showed “small is beautiful” has been playing a different tune lately, the newest additions to its line-up suggesting “bigger is better.”

And that goes for power and performance, as well as interior space when it comes to the new John Cooper Works edition of the 2017 Mini Clubman. The JCW model gets what the maker is describing as a “motorsport-inspired turbocharged four-cylinder engine” that pumps out an impressive 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the highest-performance engine Mini has yet offered.

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“Performance and versatility are part of our DNA and our heritage,” said Thomas Felbermair, vice president of operations in the Americas region for the British maker. “So, naturally, there has always been a plan to bring the John Cooper Works variant to the Mini Clubman model.” (more…)

Mini Takes the States – Again

Cross-country trek gives eccentric brand new life, great feedback.

by on Jul.22, 2016

A thousand people, and several dogs, are taking part in the biennial Mini Takes the States cross-country road trip, which ends in Palm Springs.

“We plan to keep the car until the rims fall off, and then we’ll probably just replace the rims,” laughs Kevin Evans, as he and wife Nancy took a break at Detroit’s Eastern Market.

They’ve already clocked a fair bit of mileage on the 2006 Mini Convertible, and they had more coming during the next few days.

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The Missouri couple were among the thousands of people who were expected to join in and at various stages of the biennial Mini Takes the States drive, a mobile, two-week festival that began in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 9 and will wrap up after a meandering, 4,500-mile trek, in Palm Springs during the weekend. (more…)

Mini Fast-Forwards to the Future with Vision Next 100 Concept

“A completely individualised, permanently available form of urban mobility.”

by on Jun.16, 2016

Mini's vision of the future suggests we'll be more dependent upon car and ride-sharing.

Mini has made a specialty out of squeezing big things into little packages. But how might it take this “clever use of space” philosophy even further?

The British maker is offering up a hint in the form of the Mini Vision Next 100, one of three futuristic concept vehicles unveiled as part of the celebration of parent BMW’s 100th anniversary. The Mini prototype offers up some intriguing ways to enhance ingress and egress while also focusing on the connected car technologies that are rapidly becoming a part of mobile life.

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With the Vision 100, “Mini looks to offer smart and bespoke mobility in cities that engages all the senses. And in the future, you might not actually have to own a vehicle to enjoy the benefits,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, the global director of BMW Group Design.

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Mini Rolls Out New Special Edition Hardtop

Mini Seven celebrates British marque's roots.

by on May.10, 2016

The new Mini Seven is the first limited-edition spin-off of the latest-generation Hardtop.

Mini has always a premium on customization, so it’s no surprise to see the British maker unveil its first special edition from the latest generation of Mini vehicles.

For those who haven’t been steeped in the brand’s heritage, the name, Mini Seven, harkens back to August 1959, when two very similar models, the Austin Seven and Morris Mini Minor made their debut, both crafted by legendary designer Alec Issigonis.

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This special version of the newest Mini Hardtop, the 2017 Mini Seven will make its formal debut in U.S. showrooms late this summer in both two and four-door versions. Like the stock Mini Hardtop, the Seven will be available in both Cooper and Cooper S variants.

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Mini Pulls Ads After Wambach DUI Arrest

Soccer star was not driving a Mini at time of arrest.

by on Apr.04, 2016

Mini pulled its ad featuring U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach after she was arrested for driving under the influence. She was not in a Mini at the time.

One of the stars of Mini’s Super Bowl ad called “Defy Labels,” Abby Wambach, was arrested and charged for driving under the influence, causing the company to pull its ads and re-evaluate its relationship with the soccer star.

Wambach is the most prolific scorer in soccer history and an emerging leader in the LGBT community. In the ad, she appears standing in the driver’s side door of a Mini Clubman and says “This is a gay car” while using air quotes to emphasize the word “gay.”

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“We’re obviously concerned about the alleged DUI attributed to Abby Wambach,” the brand said in a statement to Automotive News. “This behavior is against the values we promote as an organization and the safety of everyone on the road is a priority here at Mini. (more…)

Mini Debuts New Clubman ALL4, JCW Convertible

New iterations hit the stage at New York Auto Show.

by on Mar.22, 2016

The new Mini John Cooper Works convertible puts out 228 hp and clocks zero-to-60 mph in just 6.3 seconds.

Often the New York Auto Show is seen as one of the signs of spring and Mini is ensuring view with the debut of its John Cooper Works convertible as well as the new Clubman ALL4 during the event.

The new JCW variant of the convertible is a four-seater offering plenty of go to match the show. Offered in its characteristic forest green exterior with black interior trimmed with red accents, this iteration boasts the first engine from the BMW Group.

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The droptop rocket’s 2.0-liter twin-turbo four cylinder puts out 228 horsepower pushing it from zero-to-60 mph in 6.3 seconds for the automatic and 6.4 seconds for the manual. It also features a sports exhaust to give it throaty roar as well as racing-oriented suspension to make it a high performance vehicle. (more…)

Mini Goes ALL4 with Clubman

All-wheel-drive system starts at $25,900.

by on Jan.20, 2016

The Mini Clubman will get all-wheel-drive for the first time with the addition of the All4 system.

With winter finally bringing on its worst in many parts of the country, Mini’s latest product announcement probably couldn’t be better timed. The British automaker is set to offer its ALL4 all-wheel-drive system on the Clubman model for the first time.

The longest model in the Mini line-up, the Clubman was completely redesigned this year – and, like the rest of the marque’s models, it’s a bit larger and more lavishly equipped. The availability of all-wheel-drive should expand its appeal to buyers in snowier climes.

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The all-wheel-drive system will be offered as an option on all trim levels of the new Mini Clubman, starting with the base Cooper at $25,900.  The Mini Cooper S Clubman ALL4 will carry a sticker of $29,450.

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Mini Revs Up Ragtop with JCW Edition

Announces base price of $25,950 for Mini Cooper Convertible.

by on Jan.15, 2016

Mini bills its new John Cooper Works convertible as its fastest, most-powerful convertible ever.

Mini was noticeably absent at this year’s North American International Auto Show, but that doesn’t mean the British brand doesn’t have some news to make.

Following up on the recent reveal of its next-generation convertible, it’s rolling out what it bills as “the fastest, most powerful convertible it has ever built,” the new Mini John Cooper Works Convertible.

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“The new Convertible has all of the legendary driving performance you expect in a Mini yet with interior materials and finishes which set a new benchmark for the segment,” boasts Patrick McKenna, department head, Product Planning, Mini USA. (more…)

NHTSA Slams BMW with $40 Million Fine

Maker failed to report side-impact crash defect.

by on Dec.22, 2015

The 2014 and 2015 Mini Cooper two-door hardtop failed U.S.-mandated side-impact crash tests. BMW failed to fix the problem and failed to inform owners.

Federal safety regulators continue to crack down on automakers that fail to report problems quickly as BMW agreed to a possible $40 million fine for issues related to its Mini brand.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration levied the punishment after the automaker failed tell owners about a recall of the Mini Cooper that failed a side-impact airbag crash test.

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The company agreed to a $10 million penalty and to spend $10 million correcting the problem. BMW could be assessed an additional $20 million if it doesn’t meet certain criteria for fixing the problems long-term, according to NHTSA. (more…)