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Mini
Mini-logo.jpg
Type Automotive brand
Current owner BMW Group
Markets Global
Website http://www.mini.com/

Mini (styled as MINI) is an automotive brand owned by the BMW Group that has produced the successor of the original Mini since April 2001. Currently, four body variants are available: Hardtop, Convertible, Clubman (estate) and Countryman (crossover).

Contents

Overview

The car, whose first generation was designed by Frank Stephenson,[1] draws inspiration from the original Mini, which was manufactured by the British Motor Corporation and its successors from 1959 to 2000. The name of the car's brand, MINI, is all-capitalized to distinguish it from its predecessor.[2] Development of the first generation had been done between 1995 and 2001 by Rover Group in Gaydon, United Kingdom and BMW AG in Munich, Germany. During this development phase, there was continual contention between the two design groups, especially concerning the positioning of the car; Rover wanted a straight economy car, whilst BMW supported a small, sporting car. Ultimately, BMW prevailed, and in 1999, they assumed control over the entire project following the departure of BMW's CEO, Bernd Pischetsrieder.[3] When BMW divested itself of Rover in 2000, BMW elected to retain the Mini project, and to move the planned production site of the car from Rover's Longbridge plant,[3] (the former production plant of the traditional Mini) to BMW's Oxford plant in Cowley, Oxford, United Kingdom (what was historically the Pressed Steel Company body plant).[4]

The vehicles produced during the 2001 to 2006 model years (unofficially, the "Mk I Mini") included four hatchback models (referred to by Mini as the Cooper Hardtop): the basic "Mini One", the diesel-engined "Mini One/D", the sportier "Mini Cooper" and the supercharged "Mini Cooper S"; in 2005, a convertible roof option was added to the Mk I line-up. In November 2006, BMW released a re-engineered version of the Mini Hardtop (unofficially the "Mk II Mini") as a 2007 model-year vehicle.[5] The Mk II is currently available in the original Hardtop and Convertible body styles (the latter being introduced as a 2009 model). A third Mk II body style, an estate called the Clubman, was introduced as a 2008 model.

First generation (2001 - 2006)

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Mini Hardtop

First generation
Mk I MINI Cooper S
Production 2001-2006 (Mk I Hardtop)
2005-2008 (Mk I Convertible)
Class compact
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
2-door convertible
Engine(s) 1.4L Tritec I4 (One)

1.4L Toyota 1ND-TV diesel (D)
1.6L Tritec I4 (One, Cooper)

1.6L Tritec supercharged I4 (S)
Transmission(s) CVT
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic and manual
Wheelbase 97.1 in (2,470 mm)
Length 2002-03 Base: 142.8 in (3,630 mm)
2004-06 Base & Convertible: 143.1 in (3,630 mm)
S Hardtop & Convertible: 143.9 in (3,660 mm)
Width 66.5 in (1,690 mm)
Height 2002-03 Base: 55.9 in (1,420 mm)
2002-03 S: 56.2 in (1,430 mm)
2004-06 Base: 55.4 in (1,410 mm)
2004-06 S: 55.8 in (1,420 mm)
2004-06 Convertible: 55.5 in (1,410 mm)
Kerb weight 2,496 lb (1,132 kg)

In Portugal and Greece, the Mini One was powered by a 1.4 litre I4 version of the Tritec engine but all other petrol powered Minis used the 1.6 litre I4 version.[6][7] Since 2005, a soft-top convertible option has been available across the entire range.[8]

There are numerous styling and badging differences between the models, perhaps the most obvious being that the Cooper S has a distinctive scoop cut into the bonnet. The Cooper S also has twin exhausts which exit under the centre of the rear valance. The (non-S) Cooper has more chrome parts than the Mini One and has a single exhaust. The Mini One D has no visible exhaust pipes at all.[8]

In some markets, such as Australia and the U.S., only the Mini Cooper and Cooper S are offered because the Mini One's engine was considered inadequate to deliver sufficient power to run an air conditioner — a necessary feature in those markets. Almost fifty percent of all Minis sold in Australia and about seventy percent of those sold in the U.S. are the more-powerful Cooper S model. Other models of note, sold in varying markets around the world, are the Mini Seven, Mini Parklane, Mini Check Mate, and Mini Monte Carlo.

The names Cooper and Cooper S echo the names used for the sportier version of the classic Mini, which in turn come from the involvement of John Cooper and the Cooper Car Company. The Cooper heritage is further emphasised with the John Cooper Works (JCW) range of tuning options that are available with the Mini. John Cooper also created a one-off racing model of the Mini Cooper S named the Mini Cooper S Works. This car features many extras which help to improve performance, such as a racing exhaust and air filter as well as uprated suspension. The car also has one-of-a-kind 17-inch (430 mm) racing wheels.[9]

A 2006 Mini Cooper S Checkmate.

The Mk I Mini One, Cooper and Cooper S used some version of the reliable, Brazilian-built Tritec engine, co-developed by Chrysler & BMW; the Mini One D used a Toyota-built diesel engine. In August 2006, BMW announced that future engines would be built in the UK, making the car essentially British-built again; final assembly took place at Cowley, and the body pressings were made in nearby Swindon at BMW's Swindon Pressings Ltd subsidiary.

All models used a transversely-mounted four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels. All four wheels are pushed to the corners of the body to improve handling. The styling of the car, like that of the Volkswagen's New Beetle, is a retro design that is deliberately reminiscent of the original Mini. The retro styling is further enhanced by retaining other classic Mini touches such as contrasting roof colours, optional bonnet stripes, optional rally lights, and black trim around the wheel arches and rocker panels that mimic the wide wheel flares found on many classic Minis.[1]

The Mini One and Mini Cooper were available with a ZF VT1F continuously variable transmission or with a conventional Midlands five-speed manual transmission (model years 2001-2004); the later was replaced with a Getrag five-speed unit for the remainder of the Mk I production (2005–2006). The Cooper S came with a six-speed Getrag manual or (starting with the 2005 model year) a fully automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

As standard, the Mini had a drive by wire electronic throttle, electronic brakeforce distribution, cornering brake control and electronic stability control (standard or optional, depending on model and region) to improve control and handling in adverse conditions.[10]

The addition of a supercharger to the Mk I Cooper S required that the battery be relocated into the rear of the car — leaving no room for a spare tyre; hence this model comes with run-flat tyres as standard.

Mini Convertible

Mini Cooper S convertible, top-up

At the 2004 Salon International de l'Auto, Mini introduced a convertible model which was released in the 2005 model year and available in One, Cooper and Cooper S versions.

The convertible roof is fully automatic — an unusual feature in such a small car — and can be opened partially to act as a sunroof whilst the car is driving at speed. The convertible model forsakes the rear hatchback of the Hardtop Mini, replacing it with a drop down 'tailgate' that is reminiscent of the classic Mini — it incorporates similarly prominent external hinges, and with the roof in the closed position, the rear roof section and luggage shelf can be raised with two handles, semi-tailgate style, to access the luggage space easier. The convertible also adds two small power windows for the rear seat passengers which are lowered automatically when the roof opens. The roof is made from a heavy cloth, with many layers of insulation; the rear window is glass with an integral heater/defroster, but no washer or wiper.

At the 2007 North American International Auto Show, Mini introduced the limited edition Mini Cooper S Sidewalk Convertible. It had a top speed of 215 km/h (134 mph) and accelerates from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour (0 to 62 mph) in 7.9 seconds. The engine provides 168 hp (125 kW) and 220 N·m (160 ft·lbf) of torque.

Mini John Cooper Works GP

The last Mk I variant to be produced using the Tritec engine was the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit: a light-weight, quasi-race-prepped John Cooper Works model. Hand-finished by Bertone in Italy, it was offered as a limited-production run of 2000 cars during the 2006 model year, with 444 of those originally intended for the UK market (although ultimately, 459 were sold). The GP features more bolstered front seats but had no rear seats, which along with reduced sound-deadening, removal of the rear wash-wipe system, optional air-conditioning, and other weight-reduction steps, resulted in a weight saving of around 40 kg (88 lb) compared to a Cooper S. Additionally, the car had enhanced braking, suspension, a smooth under-body and 218 hp (163 kW) from the John Cooper Works engine modification package. In place of the rear seats there is additional body stiffening and below-floor storage areas. The car also offered many unique styling points, such as the red door mirrors, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, unique body kit, bespoke (2 kg lighter) 4-spoke alloy wheels, and specialized badging. Available in just one color scheme (Thunder Blue with a Pure Silver roof), each car was individually numbered and featured a decal on the roof along with a plaque on the dashboard. The last of the supercharged Minis and a genuine Limited Edition model, there is a high potential for the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit to become a collector's item.

Mk I prototype and concept cars

Mini Traveller concept car at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show
Mini Traveller rear view

Rover first showed the Mini as the ACV30 concept car in 1997.[3] This looked very different from the production Mini due to its circular headlamps, huge wheel flares and a much more rounded overall appearance when compared to the eventual production design.

Before the first sales of the new Mini, prototype versions were shown at the 2000 Paris Auto Show. These were essentially identical to the version that was finally sold except that the colours used ('Candy Blue' and 'Flamenco Orange') have never been used in production.

Beer-can exhaust

The team of designers working on the 2001 Mini had finished the full-sized clay mock-up of the Mini in plenty of time for a presentation to the board of directors. However, the chief designer, Frank Stephenson, realised that the model did not have an exhaust pipe. His short-term solution was to pick up an empty beer can, punch a hole in it, strip off the paint and push it into the clay at the back of the car, which took just a few minutes. The overall design for the mock-up was so good that the board members told him not to change a thing, resulting in the distinctive exhaust tip seen in production cars.[1]

Alternative fuel versions

BMW demonstrated a hydrogen-powered internal combustion technology in some of their concept cars in 2000 and 2001, and Mini showcased a hydrogen-powered concept car in 2001 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The car differs from electric-motor hydrogen concepts, such as the Honda FCX in that it uses a cylinder-based internal combustion engine.

An all-electric Mini is in use at the British Embassy in Mexico that uses around 200 kilograms (440 lb) of Lithium Ion batteries.

Three electric Minis were also made for use in some subway scenes in the 2003 movie The Italian Job to satisfy the subway authorities concerns over possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

PML Flightlink developed a prototype series-hybrid conversion, called "Mini QED", replacing the drivetrain with an 160 bhp (120 kW) electric motor in each wheel and an efficient on-board petrol generator.[11]

Additional concepts

With the higher-output engines, the standard front wheel drive Mini tends to naturally suffer from a high level of wheel spin; four wheel drive would be a natural solution to that problem, and Getrag demonstrated a four wheel drive version of the Mini in 2004.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005, Mini revealed a retro version of the classic "Mini Traveller" estate car. The Traveller had a stretched wheelbase, two side-hinged rear doors, and separate rear seats replacing the split bench seat of the standard Mini. At the Tokyo Auto Show, the same basic concept reappeared with some fanciful additions — a circular roof section that could be removed to form a picnic table with four folding chairs. The rear side windows were replaced with fold-down storage containers containing cutlery, cups and plates. In Detroit, a further version was presented without the table and chairs — but with a radically restyled interior.

Second generation (2006 - present)

Mini Hardtop

Second generation
Mini Cooper (US)
Production 2007-present (Mk II Hardtop)
2008-present (Mk II Clubman)
2009-present (Mk II Convertible)
Class compact
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
5-door estate
2-door convertible
Engine(s) 1.4L Prince I4 (One)

1.6L Prince I4 (Cooper)
1.6L Peugeot DV6 diesel I4 (Cooper D)

1.6L Prince turbocharged I4 (Cooper S)
Transmission(s) 6-speed automatic and manual
Wheelbase Hardtop & Convertible: 97.1 in (2466 mm)
Clubman: 100.3 in (2547.6 mm)
Length Hardtop: 145.6 in (3698 mm)

Hardtop S: 146.2 in (3713 mm)
Clubman: 155 in (3937 mm)
Clubman S:155.8 in (3957 mm)
Convertible: 143.1 in (3635 mm)

Convertible S: 143.9 in (3655 mm)
Width Hardtop: 66.3 in (1684 mm)
Clubman: 66.3 in (1684 mm)
Convertible: 66.5 in (1689 mm)
Height Hardtop: 55.4 in (1407 mm)
Clubman: 56.1 in (1425 mm)
S:56.4 in (1433 mm)
Convertible: 55.5 in (1410 mm)

Mini introduced an all-new, second generation of the car for the 2007 model year, the Mk II Mini, on a re-engineered platform that incorporated many stylistic and engineering changes. The engine architecture is shared with PSA Peugeot Citroën and is intended to be more cost-effective and fuel-efficient. The engineering was done in the United Kingdom by BMW Group UK Engineering; in Munich, Germany at BMW Group headquarters; and with external third parties.

Mini Cooper S (2007+)

The so-called "Mk II Mini" (echoing the 'mark number' naming convention associated with the classic Mini) was introduced in November 2006 as a Hardtop (internally, the R56) model, in the Cooper and Cooper S trim levels; the range was completed in 2007 with the Mk II Mini One. For the first time, there was a diesel-powered Cooper, available from April 2007, and badged as the Cooper D.

Though the Mk II has a familiar look, every panel on the new car has been changed from the old model. New safety requirements mean that the overall length has increased by 60 mm (2.4 in), the front end raised and the indicators have been repositioned inside the headlight housings. The headlights themselves are now fixed to the front quarter panels rather than being integrated with the bonnet, so that they are not raised up with it when the bonnet opens. The car features a restyled grille and larger rear light clusters. The Cooper S retains the bonnet scoop in order to keep an association with the outgoing model — although the relocation of the intercooler to the front of the engine means that the scoop is now purely decorative. In addition, the Cooper S no longer has the battery located under the boot floor, instead being found in the more conventional location under the bonnet. The C-pillars are no longer encased in glass and have been shaped to improve aerodynamics and to reduce the tendency for dirt to accumulate on the back of the car. Much criticized for the lack of rear legroom, Mini added more space for rear passengers by creating sculpted cut-outs in the rear of the front seats. An engine start button replaces the conventional ignition key and, with the optional 'convenience package', the car unlocks itself automatically when the key is brought close to the car.

The Cooper and Cooper S models offer a new rear axle and aluminium components to reduce the car's weight; and a Sports kit option comprising harder springs, damper and anti-roll bars is offered with both variants. Another key difference is the introduction of an upgraded electric power steering system, the sharpness of which can be increased by pressing a "Sport" button in front of the gear lever (both auto and manual); additionally, the "Sport" button adjusts the response of the accelerator, and in conjunction with automatic transmission, also allows the engine to rev almost to the redline before changing gear.

Mini III Cooper D

As for engines, the Tritec engine has been replaced in the Cooper model with a 120 metric horsepower (88 kW) 1.6-litre Prince engine incorporating BMW's Valvetronic infinitely variable valve timing, developed on and with Peugeot's core engine. It is reported in early road tests that this takes the car from 0–100 km/h in a claimed 9.1 seconds (0-60 mph: 8.5 seconds)[12] and has a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h). Fuel economy of 48.7 miles per imperial gallon (5.80 L/100 km; 40.6 mpg-US) on the combined cycle is nearly 8 miles per imperial gallon (35 L/100 km; 6.7 mpg-US) better. The more powerful 175 metric horsepower (129 kW) Cooper S replaces the supercharger with a new twin scroll turbocharger in the interests of efficiency, and features gasoline direct injection; consequently, this engine version does not feature Valvetronic. This engine also has an "overboost" function which temporarily raises the torque by 20 newton metres (15 ft·lbf) under hard acceleration. As a result, 0–100 km/h is covered in a claimed 7.1 seconds (0-60 mph: 6.7 seconds),[12] and top speed is 140 mph (230 km/h). It achieves similar improvements in fuel economy to the Cooper, returning 40.9 miles per imperial gallon (6.91 L/100 km; 34.1 mpg-US) combined. Both engines may be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. The turbocharged engine is the same (although with some French engineering modifications) as the one in the Peugeot 207 GTi/RC.

From 2008, all non-U.S. Mini models are equipped with BMW's Efficient Dynamics fuel-saving technology. This includes a start-stop feature that shuts off the engine when the car is stationary; when the clutch pedal is depressed, the engine is restarted with electricity generated from Brake Energy Regeneration. The Cooper D model attains 74.0 miles per imperial gallon (3.82 L/100 km; 61.6 mpg-US) and emits 104 g of carbon dioxide per 100 kilometres. A Mini One D is a possibility in the future, possible attaining even better fuel efficiency and lower emissions of greenhouse gases than the Cooper D, which is itself quite comparable to the Toyota Prius for fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions (potentially better than the Prius at higher rpm). With the wide-spread use of its Efficient Dynamics feature, Mini is the first automotive brand to have all models in its range classified as mild hybrids (Mini's parent, BMW, is still in the process of implementing Efficient Dynamics across its older models).

All models of the Mk II with optional Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) also include "Hill Assist", a feature which prevents the car from rolling backwards on an incline by holding the brakes for 2 seconds after the driver releases the brake pedal, allowing the driver time to engage the accelerator pedal without the vehicle drifting.

The interior of the Mk II echoes the style of the earlier model, but is in fact a complete redesign. The boot of the new car has an additional 10 litres of load space. Other changes in design - both visible and otherwise - have contributed to the Mini's recently awarded 5 stars in the Euro NCAP tests. One example is the higher front bonnet, which now complies with the European pedestrian collision regulations.

The old tradition of producing special, limited-edition Minis was also continued with the new Mini. For example, the Mini Monte Carlo,[13] recently launched in Singapore, is a tribute to the old Mini Cooper Monte Carlo, itself a limited edition Mini to celebrate Paddy Hopkirk's return to the Monte Carlo Rally 30 years after his original win.

The Mk II Mini is built by Mini's Production Triangle: Plant Swindon (body panels), Plant Hams Hall (engine) and finally Plant Oxford, where final assembly work is completed.[14]

Mini Clubman

Mini Clubman.

The Mini Clubman is an estate car, introduced for the 2008 model year and available in Cooper, Cooper S, and Cooper D variations. While identical to the Hardtop from the B-pillars forward, the Clubman is 240 mm (9.4 in) longer, with a correspondingly stretched wheelbase, to accommodate more rear-seat leg room and substantially increased cargo space when compared to the Hardtop. It has twin "barn doors" enclosing the boot instead of a pull-up hatch, and also features a "club door" on the right-hand side for more convenient access to the rear seats. Engine and transmission selections are identical to those used in the Hardtop model, and the rear suspension set-up shares many of the same designs features as that used in the Hardtop. For example, the rear trailing arms are the same, as are the anti-roll bars.

The use of the name "Clubman" for the Mini estate van was a break with classic Mini tradition. "Clubman" was originally the name given to the 1970s face-lift of the classic Mini, which mostly resulted in a squared-off front end, whereas the classic Mini estates had traditionally been named "Traveller" or "Countryman". However, BMW did not initially purchase the rights to use those names.

The adverts such as Clubmanitis, Etch A Sketch and Pinball are covered by this Clubman, but it's originally used on these adverts on British TV in 2005 for the Pontiac GTO coupe.

Mini John Cooper Works Challenge (2008-)

The Mini John Cooper Works Challenge is a purpose-built race car, based on the R56 Hardtop, and manufactured in the BMW Motorsport factory located in Munich. The BMW Motorsport factory has been responsible for the construction of Formula One and European touring cars for many years. The R56 Challenge features a 6-speed manual transmission; 17-inch Borbet wheels with Dunlop control slick racing tyres; John Cooper Works aerodynamic kit including front splitter, rear diffuser, and high-downforce, adjustable rear wing; race-specific AP Racing ABS braking system; KW suspension rebound; height- and camber-adjustable coilover suspension; full roll cage; Recaro bucket seat with 6-point safety belt; HANS device; Sparco racing steering wheel; air jack system; and a fully-electronic fire extinguishing system.

The car features a 1.6-litre, twin-scroll turbocharged engine that produces 155 kW (211 PS; 208 hp) at 6000 RPM, along with 261 N·m (193 lb·ft) of torque. Acceleration from 0–100 km/h (60 mph) is claimed at 6.1 seconds, and braking time from 100–0 km/h is just 3.1 seconds.

It has MSRP of €49,900.

The R56 Challenge was unveiled in 2008 at the IAA Motor Show.[15]

Mini Convertible

2009 Mini Cooper S convertible

The Mk II Mini Cooper Convertible was unveiled at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show[16] and the 2009 Geneva International Motor Show[17] as a 2009 model-year vehicle (first available for sale on 28 March 2009[18]). One of its unique, "Mini-esque" features is an "Openometer", which records precisely — down to the minute — how long the vehicle has been enjoyed with the roof down. Available variants and corresponding powertrain selections are the same as in the other Mk II Cooper models.

Mini John Cooper Works (2009-)

Loosely based on the John Cooper Works (JCW) Challenge car, these are essentially Mk II Cooper S vehicles with a higher-output engine; a low-back-pressure exhaust system; a stiffer sport suspension; 17-inch light alloy rims with low-profile, performance tyres; Brembo performance brakes; and BMW's Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) with Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) as standard equipment. All JCW models are only available with a specific 6-speed Getrag manual transmission, and come with distinctive "John Cooper Works" badging in place of the normal "Cooper S" badging. The JCW vehicles are also factory-built, which further distinguishes them from earlier Mk II Cooper S models with any of the available John Cooper Works accessories (engine and suspension upgrades, aerodynamics kit, etc.) that are dealer-installed.

The available JCW body styles are referred to as "John Cooper Works Hardtop," "John Cooper Works Clubman," or "John Cooper Works Convertible," reflecting the corresponding Cooper S body styles. All JCW models achieve the same EPA fuel economy ratings as their Cooper S counterparts.[19]

The engine is rated at 211 PS (155 kW; 208 hp) and 261 N·m (193 lb·ft); under heavy acceleration, the engine automatically boosts torque output to a peak of 279 N·m (206 lb·ft). These figures are achieved by reducing compression ratio to 10.0:1, and increasing boost from 0.9 bar (13 psi) to 1.3 bar (19 psi) when compared to the turbocharged engine used in the Cooper S.[20] According to Mini, the JCW Hardtop will sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.2 seconds, with the JCW Clubman clocking in at 6.5 seconds; both vehicles top out at 147 mph (237 km/h).

The JCW variants were unveiled in 2008 at the Geneva Auto Show, as 2009 model-year vehicles.[21]

Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50 (2009)

This is a limited-edition (originally planned to be 250 units, then subsequently increased to 500) of the John Cooper Works Hardtop. It commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Formula One World Championship title won by John Cooper (builder) and Jack Brabham (driver).

The production vehicle was inspired by John Cooper's son, Mike. It includes the John Cooper Works aerodynamics package; John Cooper Works Cross Spoke Challenge light-alloy wheels in Jet Black; specific body paint colors (Connaught Green body with Pepper White roof and bonnet stripes), carbon fibre bonnet scoop, rear diffuser, exterior mirror caps and tailgate handle; and specific interior color scheme (Carbon Black interior with red knee-rolls, armrests and red stitching on the floor mats, gearshift & handbrake gaiters). The John Cooper signature was provided by "John" Michael Cooper.

The car was unveiled in 2009 Mini United Festival in Silverstone.[22]

Mini First (2009-)

This is a sub-variant model sold in the UK market. The engine was adapted from that in the Mini One, but de-rated to 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp), mated to the only transmission choice (a 6-speed manual). It incorporates Minimalism technologies, including Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, Variable Valve Technology and Shift Point Display. Aside from the powertrain, the only other real difference between a basic Mini One and the Mini First (when first made available) is the manual air conditioning (standard on Mini One, optional on Mini First).

The vehicle has a base MSRP of £10,950.[23]

Mini E

This is a front-wheel drive electric vehicle, unveiled in 2008 at the Los Angeles Auto Show,[24] with an electric motor rated 204 PS (150 kW; 201 hp) and 220 N·m (160 lb·ft), 380V 35 kilowatt-hours (130 MJ) lithium-ion battery with distance of 240 kilometres (150 mi). It has top speed of 152 km/h (94 mph).

When it was officially announced, BMW Group planned to built 500 vehicles by the end of 2008. The pilot project began in the U.S. states of California, New York, and New Jersey, with Europe being considered. The vehicles are not sold to customers, but rather rented under one-year lease with an extension option. 1,800 people have reportedly signed up to lease the Mini E[citation needed], which costs $850/month.[25][26]

The vehicle gliders are built in the Mini factory in Oxford, while batteries, electric drive and power electronics are manufactured in Munich. The components are then shipped to a specially-equipped manufacturing complex, situated on BMW plant premises where the electric motor, battery units, performance electronics and transmission can be integrated.[27]

Eichiner hinted that there is a possibility that a fourth brand could be formed, but noting only if an advanced technology didn’t fit in a Rolls-Royce, BMW or Mini.[28]

Electric conversion options

Nevada’s Hybrid Technologies has started production of its all-lithium, electric-powered Mini Cooper model. The new electric Mini uses Hybrid Tech’s own proprietary advanced lithium management and battery-balancing system. Top speed is only around 80 mph (130 km/h) but driving at a slower speed preserves battery-life and means owners will be able to travel up to 120 miles (190 km) on a single charge.[29]

EV Television (EVTV.ME) is publishing a series of videos documenting their conversion of a 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman to electric drive. The project uses a more powerful AC induction motor from MES-DEA and TIMS600 controller to provide 177 lb·ft (240 N·m) of torque. It uses 112 readily available Sky Energy 100Ah LiFePo4 cells to provide an energy storage of 40.3 kWh, a range of 125 miles (201 km), and a top speed of 120 mph (190 km/h). This is an open source project, using parts readily available to anyone from existing suppliers, and intended for those inclined to do their own conversion of an existing 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman.

Mk II concept cars

Mini Crossover (2008)

The Mini Crossover Concept was unveiled in 2008 at the Paris Motor Show.[30] It was over 4 metres (13 ft) long, with four-wheel drive, wide tyres, and a single piece rear door with a retractable rear window. Inside, it had a large glass ball in the centre of the instrument panel, called the 'Mini Centre Globe'; this system incorporated laser projection technology for 3D navigational routes and films. A production vehicle based on the Crossover Concept will be built, starting in 2011, and produced as the "Mini Countryman".

Mini Coupé (2009)

This was a 2-seat concept vehicle, unveiled in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show,[31] and inspired by the classic Mini. As its name suggests, it had a coupé body, used the engine from the John Cooper Works vehicles, and had the chrome radiator grille from the Cooper S (but with the inner sections of the grille finished in the body colour). It had a luggage capacity of 250 litres.

BMW AG subsequently announced that a production version would be built in Oxford. Likely model year introduction would be 2011, with possible engine choices to include the 1.6-litre turbo from the John Cooper Works vehicles.[32]

Mini Beachcomber (2009)

On 16 December 2009, Mini revealed the Beachcomber Concept, which drew heavily on the Moke styling while still being packed with modern equipment. The Beachcomber Concept was based on the forthcoming Countryman all-wheel drive platform, and made its public debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2010.[33]

Body type summary

Chassis codes R55 R56 R57
Body styles Clubman Hardtop Convertible
Model Years
First - 2009- -
One - 2007- -
Cooper 2008- 2007- 2009-
Cooper S 2008- 2007- 2009-
John Cooper Works 2009- 2009- 2009-
John Cooper Works Challenge - 2008- -
Cooper D 2008- 2008- 2008-
E - 2009- -

Engine summary

Model Years Type Power, torque @ rpm
Petrol engines
First 2009- 1,397 cc (1.397 L; 85.3 cu in) I4 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) @ 4500, 120 N·m (89 lb·ft) @ 2500
One 2007- 1,397 cc (1.397 L; 85.3 cu in) I4 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp) @ 6000, 140 N·m (100 lb·ft) @ 4000
One Convertible ? 1,598 cc (1.598 L; 97.5 cu in) I4 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp) @ 5500
Cooper Hardtop
Cooper Clubman
Cooper Convertible
2007-
2008-
2009-
1,598 cc (1.598 L; 97.5 cu in) I4 120 PS (88 kW; 120 hp) @ 6000, 160 N·m (120 lb·ft) @ 4250
Cooper S Hardtop
Cooper S Clubman
Cooper S Convertible
2007-
2008-
2009-
1,598 cc (1.598 L; 97.5 cu in) I4 turbo 175 PS (129 kW; 173 hp) @ 5500, 240 N·m (180 lb·ft) @ 1600-5000

Overboost: 260 N·m (190 lb·ft) @ 1700-4500

John Cooper Works CHALLENGE
John Cooper Works (all body styles)
2008-
2009-
1,598 cc (1.598 L; 97.5 cu in) I4 turbo 211 PS (155 kW; 208 hp) @ 6000, 261 N·m (193 lb·ft) @ 1850-5600

Overboost: 279 N·m (206 lb·ft) @ 2000

Diesel engines
Cooper D 2008- 1,560 cc (1.56 L; 95 cu in) I4 turbo 110 PS (81 kW; 110 hp) @ 4000, 240 N·m (180 lb·ft) @ 1750-2000

Overboost: 260 N·m (190 lb·ft)

One D 1.4 2007–2009 1,364 cc (1.364 L; 83.2 cu in) I4 turbo 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp) @ 4000, 190 N·m (140 lb·ft) @ 1750
One D 2009- 1,560 cc (1.56 L; 95 cu in) I4 turbo 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp) @ 4000, 215 N·m (159 lb·ft) @ 1750-2000
Electric engines
E 2009- AC Propulsion 13000 rpm motor,
100A @ 13.5 V power supply
204 PS (150 kW; 201 hp) @ 6000-12000, 225 N·m (166 lb·ft) @ 0-5000

Regeneration: 115 N·m (85 lb·ft)
Continuous: 68 PS (50 kW; 67 hp)

Third generation (expected 2011)

Mini Hardtop

Third generation
Production 2011(?)- (Mk III Hardtop)
2011(?)- (Mk III Convertible)
2011(?)- (Mk III Clubman)
2011(?)- (Mk III Countryman)

Purported images[34] of the third generation Mini appeared in mid-2009 and were published by the UK's Autocar magazine. However, it was later confirmed by Mini Design Director Gert Hildebrand, in an interview with MotoringFile, that the images were not authentic.[35]

Mini Countryman

In January 2010, Mini unveiled the Countryman (internally, the R60), their first crossover SUV. The Mini Countryman will be sold as a 2011 model-year vehicle, and have four doors; a longer wheelbase and more interior room than the Clubman; and higher ground clearance. The Countryman will make use of exactly the same engines as the other models, but will offer an optional all-wheel-drive powertrain (dubbed "ALL4") to allow minimal off-road and rugged terrain use.[36]

Internal designations

All Mini models have R-series model numbers assigned to them, a legacy of the Mini's original development within Rover Group. The following designations are known:[37]

  • R50: "Mk I" Mini One and Cooper (2001–2006)
  • R52: "Mk I" Mini Convertible (2005–2008)
  • R53: "Mk I" Mini Cooper S (2001–2006)
  • R55: "Mk II" Mini Clubman, S and D (2008–present)
  • R56: "Mk II" Mini One, Cooper, S and D (2007–present)
  • R57: "Mk II" Mini Convertible (2009–present)
  • R60: "Mk III" Mini Countryman, S (2011-)

Production

The Mini is currently assembled at the plant in Cowley, Oxfordshire, where 4,700 employees (referred to as 'associates') produce up to 800 cars each day (approximately 240,000 per year). The 16 country-specific variants of the three main 4 cylinder petrol engines are assembled at the Hams Hall Plant near Birmingham, where there are 1,000 employees. Mini sub-assemblies and pressings such as doors are supplied by the plant at Swindon, where 1,100 are employed and 280 pressed parts are produced using 135 welding robots. The bodyshop at Cowley holds 429 robots, assembling 425 body panels; the bodyshells are then moved to the neighbouring paint shop where paint robots apply the 14 exterior colour options and optional contrasting roof colours. Final assembly is performed at Cowley, which involves the fitting of 2,400 components to produce the numerous variants that may be ordered.[38]

Criticism

Dr. Alex Moulton (designer of the suspension system for the classic Mini), spoke about the new Mini in an interview with MiniWorld magazine: "It's enormous - the original Mini was the best packaged car of all time - this is an example of how not to do it. It's huge on the outside and weighs the same as an Austin Maxi. The crash protection has been taken too far. I mean, what do you want, an armoured car? It is an irrelevance insofar as it has no part in the Mini story."[39]

Critics of the new Mini also cite the fact that it is 60 cm (2 ft) longer, 30 cm (1 ft) wider and almost twice the weight of the classic car - yet it has less rear leg room and less luggage space. Much of this is to do with modern crash protection requirements and the desire to incorporate features such as air conditioning, a supercharged engine, modern emissions controls and a higher level of front-seat comfort than the classic Mini was capable of.

Mk I convertible owners frequently criticise the poor rear visibility in the convertible.[citation needed] With the roof up the wide areas of cloth down the sides of the car block visibility to the rear quarters and the lack of washer/wiper on the small rear window - combined with the tendency of all flat-backed cars to accumulate dirt on the rear - effectively eliminates all rear visibility. Even with the roof down, the large roll-protection bars above the back seats and the bunched up cloth of the folded roof tends to block a significant fraction of rearward visibility. In an attempt to counter this problem when reversing the car, the Mini convertible comes with rear-mounted proximity sensors as standard equipment (optional on the Hardtop Mini). In designing the second generation car, Mini responded to these issues by using pop up roll-bars, and larger rear window.

The rear (club) door of the Mini Clubman is on the right-hand side of the car, regardless of the intended market. This means that in right-hand drive markets (including the car's home market), the rear door is on the road side of the car, requiring rear passengers to exit into the road.

Owners of Mk II Cooper S and John Cooper Works models have been complaining about "Cold Start Death Rattle".[40][41] It has been reported that BMW has acknowledged this as a fault, and has issued a PuMA Measure 10686850-13.[42]

Marketing

Mini paid for this Weekly World News story as a part of an advertising campaign in 2003

During the production of first generation Mini, as a joke and undoubtedly as a part of Mini's viral marketing approach, purchasers of the Mini convertible were asked to sign a "contract" promising that they would drive the car with the roof open at least 90% of the time. Mini also set up a telephone hotline (in the USA: 1-888-DO NOT CLOSE) which one may call to report convertible owners who are driving with the roof up inappropriately. The automated system offers such helpful advice as how to administer a wedgie to the offender.

Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Mini's advertising agency, produced a video series called Hammer & Coop, directed by Todd Phillips as part of an ad campaign for the Mini.[43]

Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Mini's advertising agency, produced a movie called Counterfeit Mini Coopers as part of the ad campaign.[44]

To advertise Mini Clubman's introduction to Chinese market, Beijing Mini offered a Mini Rickshaw, which uses the rear half of Mini Clubman.[45]

In New Zealand, Mini sponsored Mad Men, broadcast on Prime. Special spots were created; for the first season, these took the form of a satirical, sexist 60s-style television commercial. For the second season, the spot was a pastiche of Mad Men's opening credits, with a silhouette figure tumbling out of an office building, landing in the driver's seat of a Mini.

Awards and popularity

Mini owners were invited to bring their cars to the world premiere of The Italian Job

Featured notably in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, the Mini Cooper/Cooper S won the North American Car of the Year award for 2003.[46]

The second largest market is now the USA. In 2008, three different Minis (a Mk II Hardtop, a Mk II Clubman, and an Mk I Convertible) were offered in the pricing game 1 Wrong Price on The Price Is Right after the show removed the Barker-era "Big Three Only" rule.

In 2008 the green version of the Mini, the Mini Cooper D, was nominated for WhatGreenCar.com Car of the Year Awards. The judges highly commended the Cooper D for its EfficientDynamics stop-start and regenerative braking technology and were hugely impressed by the driving experience offered by the car. It reached the shortlist for the Green Car Awards, but eventually lost out to the Ford Focus ECOnetic.

In 2009, the Mini was Britain's seventh best selling car - the first time the new Mini had appeared among the nation's top 10 selling cars. [1]

Racing

An R56 Challenge vehicle was entered in the 2008 Mini Challenge.[47] The Mini Challenge Motorsport Category runs globally, with the categories in Germany, Australia, England, Spain, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia commencing in 2010.

RSR Motorsports has entered three Mini Coopers in the KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner class.[48]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Paterick C. Paternie. Mini. ISBN 0-7603-1157-9. 
  2. ^ "BMW Operations and Production: Can you tell me more about the Mini?". BMW. http://www.bmweducation.co.uk/coFacts/view.asp?docID=17&topicID=3. Retrieved 2006-05-01. 
  3. ^ a b c "Anglo-German Success". The Unofficial Austin-Rover Web Resource. http://www.austin-rover.co.uk/r50storyf.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  4. ^ Gillian Bardsley, Stephen King (2006). Making Cars at Cowley. Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-3902-2. 
  5. ^ "Introducing the 2007 Mini Cooper S". MC2 Magazine (Barry Brazier) (5). November 2006. 
  6. ^ Martynn Randall. (2005). MINI Owners Workshop Manual July 2001 to 2005 (Y to 05 reg) Petrol. Sparkford: Haynes. ISBN 1 84425 273 6. 
  7. ^ MINI Cooper Service Manual: MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S, 2002, 2003, 2004. Cambridge, MA: BentleyPublishers.com. 2004. ISBN 0-8376-1068-0. 
  8. ^ a b Gateway to official MINI websites worldwide
  9. ^ Gary Anderson; Don Racine (1982). Motoring: Getting the Maximum from Your New MINI. Los Altos, Calif.: Enthusiast Publications. ISBN 0-9765780-0-X. 
  10. ^ Tim Mundy (2004). You & Your New MINI: Buying, Enjoying, Maintaining, Modifying. Somerset: Haynes. ISBN 1-84425-028-8. 
  11. ^ Hybrid electric cars, electric cars UK, electric vehicle conversions, hybrid motor vehicles
  12. ^ a b "Mini Cooper Specs". JB car pages. http://www.jbcarpages.com/mini/cooper/2007/specs/. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  13. ^ Limited Edition Mini Monte Carlo
  14. ^ "Mini Production Triangle and Oxford Plant Tour", Paultan.org, October 16, 2006
  15. ^ Frankfurt Preview: MINI's track-prepped John Cooper Works Challenge
  16. ^ Detroit 2009: Mini Cooper Convertible chills out
  17. ^ Geneva Preview: Mini drops the top on the JCW cabrio
  18. ^ 2009 Mini Convertible Photos and Specs Released
  19. ^ Mini fuel economy comparison
  20. ^ First Drive: 2009 Mini John Cooper Works
  21. ^ 2009 Mini John Cooper Works: 2008 Geneva Auto Show
  22. ^ Officially Official: Mini Cooper JCW World Championship 50 details and photos released
  23. ^ Mini launches entry-entry-level First Cooper abroad
  24. ^ LA 2008: Live reveal of the Mini E
  25. ^ Abuelsamid, Sam (2008-11-06). "MINI E will reportedly cost $850/month for one-year lease". Autobloggreen.com. http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/11/06/mini-e-will-reportedly-cost-850-month-for-one-year-lease/. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  26. ^ "creative projects, competitions, events, thoughts and ideas, by MINI". MINI Space. http://minispace.com. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  27. ^ LA Preview: Officially, official: the Mini E!
  28. ^ Ann, Lou (2008-12-08). "Project i starts with the MINI-e | Lou Ann Hammond on". Carlist.com. http://www.carlist.com/blog/?p=1107. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  29. ^ "All-lithium electric Mini Cooper enters production - MotorAuthority - Car news, reviews, spy shots". MotorAuthority. http://www.motorauthority.com/all-lithium-electric-mini-cooper-enters-production.html. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  30. ^ Paris Preview: 2010 Mini Crossover Concept
  31. ^ Official Debut: Mini Coupe Concept
  32. ^ BMW confirms Mini coupe and another car headed for production in Oxford
  33. ^ AUSmotive.com - Mini Beachcomber Concept
  34. ^ 14 May 2009 (2009-05-14). "Next-generation Mini scooped". Autocar. http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/240105/. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  35. ^ 24 May 2009 (2009-05-24). "Leaked MINI Prototype a Fake". MotoringFile. http://www.motoringfile.com/2009/05/24/mf-exclusive-leaked-mini-prototype-a-fake/. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  36. ^ "The MINI Countryman, Fun has no Limits". Automoblog.net. http://www.automoblog.net/2010/01/21/the-mini-countryman-fun-has-no-limits/. 
  37. ^ "Mini Product Numbering System Explained". MotoringFile. http://motoringfile.com/2006/10/03/mini-product-numbering-system-explained/. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  38. ^ "The Mini Production Triangle in the UK" - BMW Mini publicity leaflet
  39. ^ "Alex Moulton". MiniWorld. http://www.mgfcar.de/hydragas/moulton.htm. Retrieved April 24, 2006. 
  40. ^ "honestjohn.co.uk". http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?t=57504. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  41. ^ "mini2.com". http://www.mini2.com/forum/second-generation-faults-fixes/167692-cold-start-noise-details-poll.html. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  42. ^ "motoringalliance.com". http://www.motoringalliance.com/forums/mini-news/594-mini-solves-r56-cold-start-issue.html. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  43. ^ Filipponio, Frank (2007-02-20). "Hammer & Coop: Episodes 1 & 2". Autoblog.com. http://www.autoblog.com/2007/02/20/hammer-and-coop-episodes-1-and-2/. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  44. ^ Video: Counter Counterfeit Mini Coopers
  45. ^ Mini Clubman Rickshaws running around Beijing
  46. ^ Graham Robson (2002). New Mini. Newbury Park, Calif.: Haynes North America. ISBN 1-85960-874-4. 
  47. ^ More Information
  48. ^ "Event Information - Entry List". Grand-am.com. 2009-06-03. http://grand-am.com/schedule/entrylist.cfm?series=k&eid=877. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 

External links

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