Monday, 2 December 2013

Darker 2014 - Team BMW MINI

Less than 35 days are to go to the start into the 2014 Dakar Rally in the Argentinean city of Rosario. With two consecutive Dakar wins in the past two years, the Monster Energy X-raid Team represented by the drivers Stéphane Peterhansel, Nani Roma, Orlando Terranova and Krzysztof Holowczyc wants to try hard to add triumph No 3. Read More...

Thursday, 25 July 2013

MINI Vision. An exclusive look at MINI design of tomorrow.

At today’s MINI Design@Home event Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design, previews a sampling of visionary design and innovative ideas. The MINI Vision, for example, showcases various elements of future MINI design. Here, MINI has developed a vehicle design laced with new creative impulses that advance the cause of premium quality in the compact class.

In customary MINI fashion, the MINI Vision seizes the limelight with creativity, individuality and a generous helping of versatility. Interactive gadgets such as the Driving Experience Control switch offer a glimpse of the future. This particular feature allows the whole of the car’s interior to be transformed into a variety of different colour and experience worlds in the blink of an eye.

The presentation of the MINI Vision is based around a virtual 3D hologram. This form of expression provides a window into how the MINI designers go about their business. Complementing their familiar toolset of sketches and 1:1 clay models, virtual reality allows them to test and fine-tune creative ideas quickly and under realistic conditions.

The exterior: a perfect balance between old and new.

The design of the MINI Vision reaches pointedly into the brand’s past and combines the underlying features and values of MINI with future-focused aesthetic and technical innovations. The hexagonal radiator grille is inspired by the classic Mini, for example, and the MINI Vision integrates both the bumper and auxiliary lights into the grille.

The traditional and unmistakable rounded MINI forms are reflected in the exterior through elements such as the elliptical full-LED headlights. Their outer ring emits a consistent light and fulfils a daytime driving light function.

Among the stand-out signature features of the MINI brand are the clear separation of the roof, glasshouse and body. The chrome strip wrapped around the top of the body, the distinctive side indicator element and the black band framing the lower edge of the car are all hallmark MINI styling elements.

The MINI Vision presents these three defining design elements as a flowing, interconnected unit – conjured from innovative and lightweight “organo metal”. This extremely mouldable but also very strong material is produced by pressing various fibres into a composite. Organo sheets have a unique texture comparable to that of fabrics.

Alongside lightweight construction techniques, aerodynamics also play a frontline role in the conceptual ideas behind the MINI Vision. The car’s body includes an aerodynamic air intake and outlet around each front wheel arch, airflow-optimised wheel rims and exterior mirrors, and an integral, air-channelling roof spoiler.

At the rear, muscular shoulders lend the MINI Vision extremely sporty and compact proportions. The finely drawn and clearly defined edging in the car’s bodywork is central to the exterior design language of the MINI Vision and underlines the concept’s precision and sporting intent.

The interior: originality and creativity packed into a very small space. 

The interior of the MINI Vision stands out with its individual style, variability, functionality and aesthetic appeal. The fundamental idea behind the MINI brand – of providing maximum comfort within minimal exterior dimensions – filters through every detail of the interior.

A transparent and open cockpit, sweeping doors and a “floating” centre console allow the driver and passengers to experience the sensation of a wide open space coupled with the benefits of a space-saving small car. Lounge seats featuring dynamic piping add the finishing touch to the unique interior ambience.

The creative design solutions have been brought together with established pillars of MINI design. For example, the elastic fabric straps on the insides of the doors – arranged like the stripes of the Union Jack flag – are a nod to the brand’s British heritage. However, the stretchable straps have a functional as well as stylistic role: these flexible retaining devices are designed to hold a magazine, mobile phone or drinks bottle within easy reach.

The fresh layer of variability added by the MINI click system offers additional scope for customising the interior. Smartphone holders, a storage box, cup holder or small safe can be attached and removed in a single movement as and when required.

The interior of the MINI Vision as a whole can also be adapted to a variety of interaction requirements with similar flexibility and immediacy. The 
Driving Experience Control switch allows the driver to choose between a pure and focused or fully-interconnected mode. The two modes are expressed in different colours using calm, clear light and dynamic, energy-charged shades. Another highlight of the fully-interconnected mode is the “MINI Disco” floor. Here, an expressive interplay of colours, light and forms transforms the footwells as the MINI Vision appears to come vibrantly to life. As well as turning the ambient colour scheme of the interior on its head, the Driving Experience Control switch also changes the face of the familiar MINI circular central display. Depending on their selection, drivers will be met by either a classic, analogue-style view or an impressive 3D look, which gives the full suite of display elements an unaccustomed depth.

Colours and materials: structures form characters.

The Glamorous Gold paint finish – a shimmering gold-tinged orange tone – has never been seen before in the history of MINI design. And the use of organo metal creates an intriguing contrast to this gleaming metallic shade. The organo metal adds highlights not only to the outside of the car, but also to the interior, its unique structure lending the MINI Vision a cutting-edge character.

A tough, dark-blue fabric recalling the properties of a high-quality suit is employed for the seats and sections of interior trim. The seamless transitions of the various materials between the interior and exterior bring consistency to the MINI Vision despite the use of different materials and textures.

Its unbeatable scope for personalisation and an extremely sporty and precise design make the MINI Vision the perfect partner for the road, tailored to the needs and preferences of the individual driver. This design vision demonstrates that MINI will continue to use intelligent variability, imagination-capturing technology and a compact sporting presence to deliver unrivalled driving fun over the years to come.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Outrageous! MINI secretly photographed at private getaway.

Oxford. Aggressive and relentless papping is something British celebrities have had to learn to live with. Members of the Royal Family, as well as actors, footballers and top models are all familiar with the sensation of being caught in uncompromising situations, and now MINI is the latest victim. Absolutely unaware and without make-up, the youngest member of our family was caught by sensationalist photographers in a highly private moment. The young one was yellow and completely defenceless. We understand the worldwide interest in our family but it is not the British way to send such unfavourable pictures around the globe.

But like a good stiff-upper-lipped Brit, MINI shall not complain, although we would like to officially state that we are not flattered. The published pictures do not reflect our good looks any way. As every celebrity knows, those extra long telephoto lenses have the devastating ability to negatively distort all surfaces, lines and angles. Therefore our advice: next time come closer to the object of desire. If that doesn’t work, don’t worry, shortly you will have the opportunity to experience the MINI up close and personal, and to take pictures from all angles.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer camping in style with BMW MINI concepts

The trio each reflect different aspects of the rise in popularity of camping and festivals, creating a choice of premium home-from-home options for the enthusiastic traveller.

The MINI Clubvan Camper is the world’s smallest luxury camper van, packed with practical solutions that make it ideal accommodation for an individual on a weekend away.

The MINI Cowley is a compact yet comfortable caravan for two people, equipped with a twin-ring gas stove, fridge and sink.

The MINI Countryman ALL4 Camp with its innovative roof-top tent is the getaway car for an adventurous couple, evoking images of African safari and expedition vehicles.

All three models have been styled with MINI’s much-loved design cues to the fore. They display the character and fun personality which motorists have come to associate with MINI, and which have made the brand such a global success.

The cars have been developed around the ‘maximum touring pleasure with minimal footprint’ philosophy, and illustrate the principle of creative space utilisation for which MINI is renowned.

They have been created as concept vehicles to showcase the depth of the MINI range, as well as the creativity and skill within the company’s design and engineering staff. There are no plans to offer them as production vehicles at this stage.

The MINI Clubvan Camper: good things come in small packages

The freedom of the open road, a dynamic driving experience and everything you need with you – the MINI Clubvan Camper has it all.

It’s arguably the world's smallest luxury camper van, a MINI Clubvan which has been transformed into a versatile home on wheels. Behind the solid side windows there is a spacious sleeping berth for one person, plus a small, extendible kitchenette complete with propane stove and chest fridge.

On-board facilities includes the MINI Navigation Portable XL sat-nav, which will help drivers find their way to the most remote spots. If the weather is unkind a television can provide entertainment and chilly mornings can be made more comfortable thanks to an auxiliary heater.

A particular highlight is the Clubvan Camper’s roof. The small glass panel can be opened for ventilation or star-gazing, while the storage rack above means owners can travel with equipment for outdoor pursuits.

Hygiene is always a key part of any weekend away and MINI’s ingenious design engineers have even got that covered. The Camper’s generous specification also includes an integrated hand-held shower, with a water tank housed underneath the load floor.

The MINI Cowley: a new style benchmark in compact towing

The pleasure that millions of caravanners around the world enjoy is the ability to stop and stay anyway in comfort and safety. Now it’s possible to do that MINI-style with the Cowley caravan.

The compact tourer has been named after the historic factory – today known as Plant Oxford – which is home to much of the current MINI range. It was also where the classic BMC/Austin Mini was built and is this year celebrating a centenary of car manufacturing.

The Cowley caravan is a luxurious overnight solution and all the mod cons are fitted, including two comfortable sleeping berths, a twin-burner gas stove and a water tank complete with pump and sink facility. A solar module charges the on-board battery and there’s a 230-volt connection to power the fridge, TV/DVD and audio equipment.

Styled with typical MINI flair, the teardrop-shaped trailer is a genuine head-turner. In silhouette it’s reminiscent of the curved lines of the MINI panels, and the doors have sliding windows on both sides – a standard feature in the classic Mini up to 1969. The sumptuously trimmed veehicle is only 12 centimetres wider than a MINI Clubman including exterior mirrors and weighs just under 300 kg.

With exceptional manoeuvrability, the MINI Cowley ensures that the hallmark MINI driving fun can still be enjoyed while towing, irrespective of the distance travelled.

The MINI Countryman ALL4 Camp: safari-style accommodation for the adventurous spirit

Finding overnight accommodation can be a real headache, especially for drivers who have taken a spontaneous trip to a festival or beach. But there’s no need to worry about finding the perfect place to bed down when travelling in this MINI. Even when completely off the beaten track, all the owner has to do is head upstairs.

The innovative roof-top tent is showcased above a MINI Countryman which, thanks to its intelligent all-wheel drive system ALL4, is well-suited to travelling over rough terrain. But this simple and practical sleeping solution can easily be mounted on a MINI or MINI Clubman. The upper half of the tent is simply folded out of its storage box. Plump up the pillows and two occupants are ready to relax, then wake up to a perfect view of the ocean, mountain or valley.

How about an early morning ride out to buy breakfast? It’s easily done because a mountain bike can be easily transported on the specially fitted bicycle rack.

The roof-top tent quickly folds away into its box when it’s not needed. The exterior has been painted in Absolute Black metallic with white stripes to match the car beneath.

Monday, 17 June 2013

10 years of BMW MINI diesel engines

One man, one engine, and no end of anniversaries: it was 120 years ago that Rudolf Diesel started developing the compression-ignition engine that was soon to be named after him. The very first prototype completed its test run in August of that same year. The first diesel engine factory was founded 115 years go. The engine invented by Diesel was used in ships for the first time 110 years ago, and it has been 90 years since the first diesel-powered truck went on the road. The MINI was first fitted with a diesel engine ten years ago. Each of these anniversaries is reason enough to celebrate the qualities of the diesel engine - and to commemorate its inventor, who died exactly 100 years ago.

Maximum efficiency was the driving force that inspired Rudolf Diesel to develop his novel engine. His design was based on heating the air in the combustion chamber by means of compression to such an extent that the fuel around it would ignite and release large amounts of energy. This is why the diesel engine has such a high level of efficiency. The fact that this principle also generates hallmark MINI driving fun was first demonstrated in the summer of 2003, when the MINI One D was presented as the first diesel model of the premium British small car brand. Its 1.4-litre all-aluminium turbodiesel with common rail direct injection had an output of 55 kW/75 bhp. It combined the characteristic MINI go-kart feeling with an average fuel consumption on the EU test cycle of 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres.

But this was just the beginning of the diesel engine's career in the MINI. Two years later the
MINI One D was upgraded to 65 kW/88 bhp, and though its performance figures increased, fuel consumption remained constant. 2007 saw the launch of the next stage of development: the Geneva Motor Show was the setting for the world premiere of the MINI Cooper D. In this model, the new 1.6-litre turbodiesel now delivered 80 kW/110 bhp. The car's fuel consumption was reduced yet again in spite of a 25 per cent increase in power output, while 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres once again put MINI ahead of the competition in terms of efficiency.

Thanks to MINIMALISM, however, this was still not the last word. The current MINI models with diesel engines are fitted with further refined injection technology, turbochargers with variable turbine geometry, auto start/stop function, shift point display, brake energy regeneration, on-demand operation of ancillary units, electromechanical steering and cutting-edge exhaust gas purification technology. The result: 120 years after Rudolf Diesel made his pioneering invention, the engine of the MINI Cooper D provides an impressive peak output of 82 kW/112 bhp, a maximum torque of 270 Newton metres at 1,750 rpm , a fuel consumption on the EU test cycle of 3.8 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 99 grams per kilometre.

As MINI diesel technology was consistently refined, the variety of engines which functioned according to this principle increased. There are now three diesel engines available to choose from for the MINI. Their common design features reflect the outstanding development expertise of the BMW Group in the field of engine technology. An aluminium crankcase, turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, common rail direct injection with solenoid-valve injectors and a powerful engine control system geared towards each specific model guarantee a level of efficiency which impressively confirms Rudolf Diesel's vision of an "ideal thermal machine".

The latest generation of the MINI One D is powered by a 1.6-litre engine which delivers 66 kW/90 bhp and a maximum torque of 215 Newton metres that goes on stream at 1,750 rpm. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are the same as those of the 82 kW/112 bhp MINI Cooper D. The entry-level diesel engine is also available in the models MINI Clubman and MINI Countryman, transferring its power via a 6-speed manual transmission in each case. For the MINI Cooper D there is also the option of a 6-speed automatic transmission which is combined with a 2.0-litre version of the 4-cylinder engine in each model version. The choice between the two variants applies to the MINI, MINI Clubman, MINI Convertible, MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman.

The latest and most powerful way to experience the kind of pulling power and efficiency so typical of a diesel engine is provided by the MINI Cooper SD. Also operating with a capacity of 2.0 litres, this 4-cylinder power unit generates a peak output of 105 kW/143 bhp and provides a maximum torque of 305 Newton metres between 1,750 and 2,700 rpm. And this engine offers exemplary economy as well as supreme power delivery. The MINI Cooper SD sprints from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.1 seconds, achieving a top speed of 215 km/h. Its average fuel consumption on the EU test cycle is 4.3 litres to 100 kilometres, with CO2 emissions of 114 grams per kilometre.

The most powerful diesel in the MINI engine portfolio is available for all seven models - the MINI, MINI Clubman, MINI Convertible, MINI Coupé, MINI Roadster, MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman. In each model it is combined as standard with a 6-speed manual transmission or else an optional 6-speed automatic transmission. Its power can also be optionally transmitted to all four wheels by means of the all-wheel drive system ALL4 in the MINI Cooper SD Countryman and the MINI Cooper SD Paceman.

As the range of variants has expanded, so the popularity of the diesel engine in MINI models has continuously increased. Despite the fact that the market for this engine type is largely focused within Europe, nearly one in four MINIs supplied to customers in 2012 was fitted with a diesel.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

MINI Countryman, Paceman: new Chilli pack part of minor update

The MINI Countryman and Paceman will be available locally with a number of fresh exterior and interior updates later this year.

Offered as one pack locally – but combining two packages available individually in Europe – the John Cooper Works Chilli Package will be available for MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman Cooper S and Cooper S/D models only.

Exterior additions include a John Cooper Works aerodynamics kit comprising a front apron with integrated air ducts, side sills and a rear bumper with diffuser, sports suspension, and 18-inch Twin Spoke Black Burnished light alloy wheels.

Black or white bonnet stripes are also included along with Black Checkered mirror caps, anthracite-coloured roof rails and anthracite-coloured radiator grille ribs (MINI Countryman only).

Inside the package sees the inclusion of Diagonal Track fabric in John Cooper Works Carbon Black, a John Cooper Works leather multifunction steering wheel, John Cooper Works door sill finishers and an anthracite-coloured roof liner. Read More...

Minister encouraged by work at MINI plant in Oxford

BUSINESS Minister Michael Fallon met apprentices and took a tour of the Cowley MINI plant.

Apprentice Natalie Murray showed the minister around the car factory’s newly opened training facilities and introduced him to apprentices demonstrating their skills.

Mr Fallon said: “It is very encouraging to see BMW Group’s continued investment in production and training facilities at the Oxford plant.

“It is a clear sign that UK manufacturing here, supported by the Government through the Regional Growth Fund, is flourishing. It is also very heartening to see the passion and enthusiasm of the next generation of engineers and apprentices.” Read More...

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Happy 50th Birthday Porsche 911! Says Mini

MINI recently took the time to send a "Happy 50th Birthday" wish to the Porsche 911. When we first saw MINI's announcement we were kind-of surprised too and then it hit us. These two car companies are more similar than you think. To start off, both of them kept their same design cues over the years.

Even though technologically they are now miles ahead of the first versions, the modern-day 911 and MINI are still shaped in similar ways to the original cars. The British company kept the center speedo and front fascia design as much as possible, whilst Porsche has had the same front and rear general lines ever since it was released.

Furthermore, even the feeling of the cars wasn't changed. The MINI still has that go-kart feel when you're behind the wheel, even though the size changed quite significantly, whilst the 911 is the same high-performance car, as always. Read More...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

MINI expands its international production network: Local production begins at the Chennai plant in India.

In response to increasing worldwide demand for premium cars from the British MINI brand, the BMW Group is extending its international production network by additional local production plants for select MINI models. This adds another chapter to the global success story of MINI. For the first time since the relaunch of the brand in 2001, preparations are under way for the local production of MINI cars for several growth markets outside Europe. As a result, cars from the British premium brand will be rolling off assembly lines beyond Europe for the first time later this year. Local production for the MINI Countryman is currently being prepared at the BMW plant in Chennai (formerly Madras), which meets the same stringent quality standards applied to all production of BMW Group models.

The new MINI assembly facility has been brought on stream just a year after the start of MINI sales in India and will help to meet the steadily increasing demand for MINI cars in the Indian market.

The first models to be locally produced in Chennai will be the MINI Cooper D Countryman and the MINI One Countryman.

Over recent times India has become an increasingly significant market for the BMW Group, which has operated its own sales company on the subcontinent since 2007. At the start of 2012, MINI opened its first five showrooms for cars from the British brand in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, making India the 100th market in the global MINI sales network. A total of 302 cars were sold here in between March and December 2012.

The BMW Group’s decision – in line with its “production follows the market” strategy – to carry out local production of the MINI Countryman in India responds to the burgeoning interest within the country in innovative and high-quality vehicle concepts. MINI is the first premium manufacturer to be represented in the locally ultra-important small car segment, and is expecting the Indian car market as a whole to experience high growth rates over the medium and long term.

BMW’s Chennai production plant was built in March 2007 and has since taken on production of the BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series as well as the BMW X1 and BMW X3 models. The facility, which has a production area covering around 13,000 square metres (approx. 140,000 sq. ft.), is located in the Mahindra World City business zone in the southwest of India, roughly 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of Chennai. State-of-the-art machine technology, highly skilled employees and advanced manufacturing processes provide all the necessary ingredients for the production of premium cars to the highest quality standards.

Expansion of the international production network.
The ramping up of international production capacity is primarily aimed at providing a rapid and flexible supply line to the increasing number of customers in emerging markets. MINI delivered a record 301, 526 vehicles to customers worldwide in 2012, with markets on the American and Asian continents making a particularly strong contribution to this 5.8 per cent increase in sales over the previous year. The MINI brand will continue to broaden its global perspective over the coming years, and the strengthening of its international production network is intended to assist in that process.

Five of the seven models in the current MINI line-up are produced in the brand’s native Britain. The MINI plant in Oxford represents the central pillar in the BMW Group’s British production network, which also includes the Hams Hall engine factory in Birmingham and the press shop in Swindon. The MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman, meanwhile, roll off the assembly line at MINI’s production and development partner Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria and are also supplied with engines from Hams Hall.

The BMW Group is investing heavily in the expansion and modernisation of the three locations that make up the MINI production triangle in Britain. Among the factors behind the move is the planned next stage in the expansion of the MINI model family, which will further bolster the brand’s global success.

Lonely Planet @LP40trip teams up with MINI for start of a 40th anniversary epic adventure

London. To celebrate its 40th birthday, Lonely Planet has sent two travel writers from Lonely Planet Traveller magazine in a MINI Cooper D Clubman from London to Istanbul on the first leg of an epic 10.000 mile journey across Europe, Asia and Australasia.

The trip celebrates the seminal trip from London to Sydney made by Lonely Planet co-founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler, which also began in a classic Minivan and led to the publication of their first guidebook, “Across Asia on the Cheap”, published in 1973. The book’s success led to the start of the iconic travel publisher Lonely Planet.

The Wheelers paid just £60 for their ten year old Morris Mini Traveller, which they drove from London to Kabul in 1972. It had a top speed of 70mph and with its timber option would have cost £552 new. The 2013 MINI Cooper D Clubman, which the Lonely Planet team are driving from London to Istanbul, has a top speed of 122mph, a 1.6 litre engine putting out 112bhp and an average fuel consumption of 72mpg.

Travel has changed dramatically in the last 40 years and the 21st century journey reflects this, as the writers set out to prove that original and imaginative travel experiences are more accessible than ever before. The trip will be documented on the road using social media, blog entries, map updates, photos, videos and magazine features. The innovative approach will see the writers call on Lonely Planet’s great network of travel experts and online community for suggestions of new and imaginative experiences to try along the way.

According to Lonely Planet Traveller editor Peter Grunert: “This is an incredibly excitingproject for Lonely Planet, 40 years on we are still seeking the world’s most original experiences out there on the road. The world has changed immeasurably in the past 40 years, with borders opening up, transport links improving and new technology available. We are recreating the trail blazing spirit of Tony and Maureen’s first trip, using a similar MINI and route, but with a 21st century twist to reflect the world of travel today.”

Co-founder Tony Wheeler said “I’m really excited to see how the trip turns out, travel has changed so much since 1972, with new destinations emerging such as Myanmar and others, like Afghanistan, no longer open to tourists. This is a great way to celebrate the heritage of Lonely Planet by recreating how it all began but with new technologies and ways of travelling for the 21st century. For me, Lonely Planet has always been about the journey, so it’s great to still be out there on the road 40 years later.”

The journey can be followed at:, on Twitter @LP40trip and in forthcoming issues of Lonely Planet Traveller magazine.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Classic Mini

Once upon a time when the mountains were young, import-car buyers were avant-garde. These half-mad radicals thought nothing of trading in a perfectly good De Soto Firesweep for—whoa!—an English car! They craved something quirky and agile like a Morris Minor or Hillman Minx that worked. Worked! Started every morning. Lasted decades. Sold for cheap.

Of course, you nod, they wanted a BMC Mini, but engineered by Honda.

And 40-plus years later, Mini Tec of Royston, Georgia, offers just that—a rorty 220-hp Honda VTEC four-cylinder engine mashed into an original Mini. The real BMC Mini. Two of these wee paperweights parked together look like a pair of dice. Mini Tec will sell you a couple—or just one—then run for the tall brush. They aren't afraid the car won't work; they're afraid it will.

The original Mini's charisma is so legendary that BMW gambled mega-millions—successfully—on its resurrection in 2001. But compared with the BMC Mini, BMW's version is a Peterbilt. The impossibly "cute" 1959 Mini designed by Sir Alec Issigonis still provokes helpless smiling. Among enthusiasts, ownership remains contagious; the minute one Issigonis Mini appears, the entire neighborhood must be dusted with flea-and-tick powder. Read More...

2014 BMW MINI hatchback spied testing!

The 2014 MINI hatchback has been spied testing test in Europe by the team at Autocar. The 2014 MINI features mainly cosmetic changes both inside and outside but retains the familiar MINI looks that have defined the range since BMW took over 13 years ago. 

External changes to the 2014 MINI gets a wider grille, bigger headlights with daytime LEDs and full LED tail lamps. The report also suggests that the 2014 MINI will be significantly better in terms of performance and handling. The major change to the interiors is that the centre mounted speedo has been replaced by an infotainment system. Read More...

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Music MINI style: MINI Connected gives you 25 million in-car tracks

MINI has further increased the range of in-car online services. The integration of the streaming service provided by music-on-demand specialist Deezer as part of MINI Connected is yet another step forward, allowing Apple iPhone owners to create their ultimate driving playlist from Deezer’s 25 million strong track list.

The Deezer app is available free of charge from the Apple app store and has been modified to make it "MINI Connected ready" and convenient to use inside any MINI with the MINI Connected option. Deezer gives MINI drivers in-car access to 25 million songs at a bit rate of up to 320 Kbps, as well as access to the service’s social media functions.

Using Deezer in-car is secure and intuitive using the MINI joystick, steering wheel buttons and high-resolution colour display of the on-board monitor, where functions are displayed in the familiar MINI style. The car must be fitted with the Radio MINI Visual Boost or the MINI navigation system to be able to use the service. In addition, the customer must have booked the option MINI Connected. Online connection via iPhone then provides access to a virtually unlimited audio program from the web during travel.

The addition of Deezer to the MINI Connected line-up is yet another example of MINI’s future-proof and intelligent interconnection between driver, automobile and outside world. The new service supplements others already available, such as the MINI Connected web radio function, apps for AUPEO!, Stitcher, Facebook, Twitter and foursquare, Google Search and Send to car, the ability to receive RSS newsfeeds and to use iPhone calendar functions. The MINI Connected App also includes functions, which are unique to MINIs such as Driving Excitement, Mission Control, Dynamic Music and MINIMALISM Analyser.

By extending the range of services for use with MINI Connected, the British manufacturer of premium small cars continues to strengthen its leading role in the field of modern connectivity. And developments are advancing all the time: innovative features will be added to the MINI Connected App on a regular basis, and the range of MINI Connected ready Apps is constantly growing, too. With each free update MINI Connected customers can therefore be sure of benefiting from the very latest developments in this field - both now and in the future.

Life Ball MINI 2013 – Roberto Cavalli adds his artistic signature to the MINI Paceman.

For the 13th time in succession, MINI is donating one of its models to the Vienna Life Ball for a good cause. Once again the MINI will be given a makeover by an internationally renowned designer before being auctioned at the ball, with proceeds going to projects dedicated to the battle against and prevention of HIV and AIDS. This year it is the MINI Paceman, the youngest and seventh model in the MINI family, that will bear the creative stamp of fashion designer Roberto Cavalli. It sees him joining the ranks of world-famous fashion labels such as DSQUARED², Diesel and Missoni, who have in the past transformed a range of MINI models into sensational one-offs. So far the Life Ball MINI auctions have raised total proceeds in excess of half a million Euros.

Life Ball MINI designed by Roberto Cavalli.

With the MINI Paceman, Cavalli encounters the first stylish, urban Sports Activity Coupé. With its sporty design and striking coupé silhouette, it is aimed at individuals who are not shy of making a statement behind the wheel. Cavalli’s unconventional style chimes in perfectly with that of the Life Ball MINI: in his creative exterior design featuring iridescent paintwork that shimmers from black to brown depending on the incidence of light, the Italian designer accentuates the dynamically stretched lines of this athletically agile two-door coupé. Roberto Cavalli’s expressive logo adorns the roof of the MINI Paceman, which appears to float above the car body. "This MINI was an exciting and wonderful project for me”, says Roberto Cavalli. “It gave me the opportunity to be creative and finally use something very special, which I have personally invented and already used for years for my own vehicles: it is a unique iridescent paint which changes color depending on the way the light illuminates the pigments.

I loved everything about creating and designing it, transforming the cult of MINI into the incredible Cavalli MINI, complete with the Cavalli logo on the roof and Cavalli style interiors, which are a really an incredible surprise to discover.”

MINI Paceman pushes design boundaries

The latest addition to the Mini stable has Paceman blatantly tattooed on its derriere and its design is so spaced out it could easily be the love-child of the equally off-the-wall BMWX6 and Range Rover Evoque. BMW says it has created an entirely new product with this "Sports Activity Coupe" because it is the first of its kind in the premium compact segment of the market.

"Different" it certainly is, but fans of this compact icon will be delighted to hear that although the looks have drastically changed, deep down the Paceman still has the fiery spirit and sporty qualities which characterised Mini over the years. 

Under the stubby bonnets of the five-model Paceman you will find the same two 1.6 turbo-fed engines that powers the rest of the Mini gang - the 90kW Cooper and the punchier 135kW Cooper S. An even hotter JCW version (155kW) will arrive in this country within a few months. Read More...

Thursday, 23 May 2013

BMW Chennai plant rolls out first MINI produced outside Europe

Back in April 2013, BMW announced that they will begin local production of MINI at their plant in Chennai. This makes BMW Chennai plant as the first and only one to produce the iconic MINI, outside of Europe. Today, they reveal that the first locally produced MINI Countryman has rolled off the production line.

BMW India has two aces up its sleeve. The first is commencement of local production of MINI at their company plant based in Chennai and second is the launch of its first diesel powered MINI in the country.

For India, diesel MINI is available in two trim levels – Countryman and Countryman High. These are being produced in India via the CKD route and sport 1.6 liter diesel engines. These engines are said to be the cleanest and most fuel efficient offering auto emissions at 115 g/km and mileage of 19.5 kmpl as per ARAI reports. The engines both offer 122 PS power and 270 Nm torque. Read More...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

BMW MINI Paceman has space, man!

The new Paceman is the seventh model to enter the MINI catalogue. For reference, the manifest consists of Hatch, Convertible, Clubman, Roadster, Coupe and Countryman.

Because the Paceman uses the same floorpan as the Countryman, it is not an Oxford, England-built car like most MINIs and derivatives, the car is made at the BMW MINI plant in Graz, Austria, where the coupe body style is added, along with a set of rounded rear "shoulders". You'll like it. Or you won't. It's fifty-fifty in our office straw poll.

It's effectively a Countryman with three doors instead of that car's five, with a sloping roofline that looks from the side not unlike that of a Range Rover Evoque, whose buyers, MINI says, form part of the Paceman's intended market demographic.

I can't see it myself. It's not as pretty as the Evoque for instance, starts at about $30,000 cheaper and to all intents and purposes seems more a competitor for the GTi brigade formed by the hottest versions of the VW Golf, Citroen DS3 and Ford Focus. Read More...

BMW MINI culture is as quirky as its cars

MINI is owned by BMW, but there's a broad gulf between the prestigious luxury marque and the funky small-car brand.

MINI USA is housed in a corner of the three-story BMW of North America headquarters here. BMW has uncluttered cubicles occupied by employees in upscale business garb. MINI's work area is bulging with quirky displays -- an old British phone booth, a life-size cardboard cutout of U.S. brand boss Jim McDowell's head superimposed on an astronaut suit, neon MINI signs and paraphernalia from launches and marketing displays. The head of dealer development sits on a big, blue exercise ball instead of a chair. Meetings are held in a lounge with black walls and black furniture.

Staffers dress like it's casual Friday every day of the week. Some look like roadies for a rock band in their black T-shirts and motorcycle jackets. McDowell's taste runs to loud Hawaiian shirts or head-to-toe black for high-level business meetings.

MINI can do and say what BMW dares not. Two years ago, the glam rock band Kiss kicked off MINI's new test-drive program, MINI Rocks the Rivals, at the New York auto show. Three members of Kiss bounced onto the MINI stand followed by McDowell in a curly wig and outrageous white and black Kiss makeup.That's probably one of MINI's milder stunts. Read More...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Report back – BMW MINI Paceman launch

We attended the launch of the all-new MINI Cooper Paceman – here's our impression

“The world is becoming more mini.” That was the opening statement at the business presentation of the MINI Cooper Paceman in the Western Cape last week. That statement holds truth because to date, the MINI Cooper rage has seven - yes, seven - models under its stable (including the Paceman).

BMW rebranded the iconic MINI Cooper hatch and launched it in 2002 and, 11 years later, the brand is still desirable, sporty, fun to drive and appeals to the young (and the young at heart). I fell in love with the MINI before I could even drive when I saw Mr Bean use it as his preferred mode of transport. And who could ever forget the movie The Italian Job in 2003, where award-winning actressCharlize Theron drove a blue modified MINI Cooper S with white stripes on the bonnet? I still remember those details because the movie felt like one long MINI Cooper ad!

Fast forward to 2012/2013, the marque adds the Country Man model with four seats and the Paceman, which is offered with the All4 option. Read More...

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A MINI miracle in Oxford!

Nicky Godding interviews Frank Bachmann, Managing Director at the Oxford MINI Plant, as Oxford celebrates 100 years of car manufacturing.

In 1913 the first Bullnose Morris Oxford was built at Morris Motors Limited, Cowley. Forty years later, in the mid 1950s, a young engineer called Alec Issigonis (British, but of Greek descent) who had joined Morris Motors in 1936, designed a car the like of which had never been seen before. Launched by Morris in 1959 the Mini was an almost instant hit.

One hundred years later and cars are still rolling off the production line, which is now dedicated solely to producing a new generation of Minis.

Alec Issigonis was knighted for his achievements. William Morris, the founder of Morris Motors
Ltd (not to be confused with the other William Morris of textile and wallpaper fame) went on to become Lord Nuffield, and is also remembered as a great philanthropist and founder of the Nuffield Foundation and Nuffield College, Oxford. His legacy, the Oxford plant is still, over fifty years’ later the heart of Mini production, though since 1994 it has been owned by BMW which knows a thing or two about great cars. Today, the almost 4000 Oxford employees produce five models on the same flexible manufacturing line: The Hatch, Clubman, Convertible, Coupe and Roadster. While the 172-acre Oxford plant is where the bodies are put together and painted, and final assembly takes place, it’s part of a ‘production triangle’ where the new Mini engines are made at Hams Hall in Birmingham and the body pressings and sub assemblies in Swindon. Read More...