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Annual Meeting: Miner's Leap Winery/Old Sugar Mill Details

Hi Everyone, It's that time of year again.  Our annual meeting will be held on September 17, 2017 at Miner's Leap Winery. Meetin...

2015 MINI Pricing

According to MotoringFile, MINI has released U.S. pricing for the 2015 MINI line-up. Although pricing is slightly higher over the previous year MINI asserts there is more standard equipment.  Here are the numbers and package changes:
According to the article, these are the package changes:
Package Changes

New Requirements – for F5X vehicles only

Vehicles equipped with Comfort Access (322) will be required to take Alarm System (302). Both options are optimal for cold weather climates & city dwellers.
 
Vehicles with either screen (8.8” via 7L5 or 6.5” via 6FP) will be required to take Rear-view Camera (3AG) and Park Distance Control (507) as well.
          Premium Package change

In order to up the premium factor of the Premium Package, MINI has added Comfort Access for F5X & R6X, as well as Storage Pack to F5X. Pricing remains unchanged.
 
Other notable pricing changes:

Blazing Red (B63 & B83) & Moonwalk Gray (B71) metallic paints will be priced at $500 to be consistent with other metallic paints.
 
Sport Seats will now be a $300 option for Cooper models (previously $250).
Destination & Handling will be increased to $850 from Model Year 2015


Very Slow Paceman Sales In April 2014

According to the WallStCheatSheet the MINI Paceman was the tenth slowest selling car in the U.S., sitting on dealers lots on average 129 days. The worst, the BMW 640i xDrive coupe. It sat on lots on average 205 days. Average time is about fifty one days.

Jeremy Clarkson's MINI Review

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Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, writing for Driving in the U.K.'s The Sunday Times, reviews the 2014 MINI Cooper and is not completely enthusiastic.  He gives it a 3 out five stars and concludes his piece:
I could explain until I’m blue in the face that the Ford Fiesta is a better car and that the Fiesta ST is one of the all-time great hot hatchbacks. But you want a Mini. I get that.
So. It’s probably best to spend a bit more and buy the Cooper S, which has a 2-litre engine and therefore plenty of oomph, or save a bit and buy either the basic One, or even a diesel. Certainly I wouldn’t bother wasting your cash on too many of the options or you’ll end up with what the company sent me: a £25,000 mobile discotheque.


* * *

It’s not mini and it’s not a Cooper either.

2014 Fiat Abarth Versus 2014 MINI Cooper S In The Standing Mile



[Source: Automobile Magazine @ YouTube]

Chippy Takes On The World

MINI Space chronicles the adventures of Lizzy Mae van Son and her MINI Cabrio "Chippy" as they travel the world.

A Little Twilight Track Time



[Source: peter parker @ YouTube]

MINI Australia Launches New MINI With Incredible Dance Floor

Campaign Brief reports:
MINI Australia and Vizeum, in partnership with Vice, have created an innovative event series to launch the company's biggest model release in over ten years - the all-new MINI hatch.

Three events are being held around Australia where a dance floor, modelled on the centre LED instrument of the new hatch, will come to life based on the guests' movements.
Here's the video:

MINI Cooper S A Top 10 Coolest Car Under $25K Candidate

Sam Becker provides his top ten list of "coolest cars under $25K" for the Wall St. Cheat Sheet. Becker explains his choice of the MINI Cooper S hardtop as a top candidate:
Car enthusiasts love the Mini Cooper S Hardtop. European styling and a small, sporty exterior lead to a thoroughly driving experience, whether you’re hitting the highways or headed down the city streets. The Mini Cooper S Hardtop’s real strength is it’s fuel economy, delivering up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway. Customers also love the myriad of customization options available from Mini, which gives drivers the option of personalizing their ride to their own specifications. Throw on a turbocharged engine and improved safety features, and the Mini Cooper S Hardtop becomes a serious candidate for the coolest car available under $25,000.

MINI May Produce The Supperleggera Vision

WorldCarFans reports that  MINI may actually place the MINI Superleggera Vision into production:
MINI boss Peter Schwarzenbauer has revealed the company could build a production version of the Superleggera Vision concept that was unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este last weekend.

Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Schwarzenbauer said the concept has been well received and he could envision a production model that would cost approximately €35,000 ($47,650 / £28,380). The board member stopped short of confirming the car was green-lighted but said MINI is always looking for new "superheroes" to push the brand forward.

As a refresher, the Superleggera Vision concept was jointly developed with Touring Superleggera and features a hand-crafted body as well as an electric powertrain.

MINIs On The Dragon 2014

It looks like it was a great time but, Kelli, a three point turn at the apex of blind curve is a dangerous and stupid maneuver.



[Source: Kelli Creighton @ YouTube]

JCW Adventures Reviews The MINI JCW Paceman

JCW Adventures takes a thorough look at the Paceman, the odd bird of the MINI line-up in JCW guise, and includes a video walk around. It gives the vehicle a 4 out of a possible five and concludes:
. . . logically it makes no sense but looks alone sell cars. This looker does have style and substance which makes it the perfect gran tourer for long MINI Adventures away or Daddy cool to have FUN on the school run.

Production Delayed On JCW Exterior Package

According to MotoringFile MINI USA has decide the JCW Exterior Package for the 2014 MINI will not be available until November 2014:
Originally scheduled to be part of the various production changes scheduled for July 2015, the exterior package is set to include wheels, badging and most importantly the JCW aero-kit.

MINI is now telling us to expect production to begin in November. Interestingly MINI’s original plan was to release the full JCW model via the internet in December, publicly debut it January and start production in March. There’s no word on whether that will also be delayed.

AA Reviews The 2014 MINI Cooper

Here is AA's review summary:

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 8Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 6Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 7Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Revised exterior design retains the trademark Mini look
  • Ride and handling is more polished and refined
  • Cabin quality is much improved
  • Engines boast improved performance and green credentials

Gripes

  • Engines lack the aural appeal of previous units
  • Changes to minor switchgear dilute the Mini's USP
  • Be prepared to dig deep for many of the attractive cost options
  • Despite size increase, rear seat access remains a tight squeeze

New MINI JCW Hatchback Spied Testing At Nurburgring

autoevolution has them and, in part, says this about the new JCW Hatchback:
The B-segment hot hatch market has evolved significantly since the days when the first JCW came out. Now, Peugeot, Ford and Citroen all use force induction 1.6-liter engines. With the new quattro-proppeled S1, Audi has shown that premium customers can expect even more powerful 2-liter turbo engines. Fortunately, MINI has preempted their attack and engineered the new hatch with bigger 2-liter engines as well.

We've already test driven the Cooper S version, which boasts a 192 hp output and found it's quite fast. But the Works car will have an even higher output. We believe the exact numbers will be 231 hp at 4,750 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,250 rpm, the same as in the new 225i Active Tourer.

This will not only mean the JCW and Audi S1 will be perfectly matched in output, but will also ensure the Brit could dip below the 6 second mark in the standard sprint.

Creating The MINI Superleggera Vision

AutoSpies.com hosts a series of photos and illustrations of MINI taking the concept vehicle from drawing board to reality.

Palmer Gets MINI USA's Support In 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Series

MotoringFile carries this official press release of MINI USA throwing its support behind Tyler Palmer.
Official Release: MINI USA is proud to announce Tyler Palmer as the newest addition to the MINI Motorsports program. Palmer, a California native, will make his MINI Motorsports debut this weekend as the Pirelli World Challenge® Series makes its first trip to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Last season, Palmer made a total of eight trips to the podium in his nine Pirelli World Challenge starts, including third place and runner-up finishes at the Cadillac Sonoma Grand Prix. In the same year, the then 19-year-old driver claimed fourth and second place finishes in Rounds 9 & 10 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The rookie sensation also capped off a remarkable 2013 season with a pair of wins at the FOAMETIX Grand Prix of Houston.

“Tyler is a great addition to the MINI Motorsports family and will certainly add to the rich racing heritage that started back in 1964 with our first victory at the world famous Monte Carlo Rally,” said Chris Potgieter, Product Manager, MINI USA. “We look forward to an exciting season and to seeing MINI on the podium again this year!”

Palmer will race in a 2012 MINI Cooper Hardtop owned by MINI of Charleston Racing, the same MINI that was driven to the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge Championship last season by Robbie Davis.

Born and raised in San Diego, Palmer attends Mira Costa College in nearby Oceanside, Calif. When he’s not at the track, the aspiring racer enjoys dirt biking, surfing, golfing and working out. Palmer is also a go-kart racing instructor.

In addition to representing MINI USA on the track, Palmer will also make appearances at the MINI Performance Motoring School and the MINI Teen Motoring School with Miles Ahead at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But that’s not all! Palmer will also make an appearance at this year’s MINI TAKES THE STATES, the legendary cross-country rally for MINI owners that takes place every other year. Be sure to check our website, MINITAKESTHESTATES.COM, for the full schedule.

You can learn more about Tyler Palmer at TylerPalmerRacing.com and find him on Facebook.

MINI Motoring Rewards Program
 
Don’t worry if you don’t have a name as cool as legendary Classic Mini drivers Paddy, Rauno, or Timo. You can still take home cash racing a MINI in amateur or professional competitions through the MINI Motoring Awards Program. It’s just a little extra incentive for MINI owners to get out there and give racing a go. Not that the sheer fun and adrenaline rush of pressing a MINI through a closed course isn’t already enough. But getting your gas money covered never hurts. For more information about the MINI Motoring Rewards Program visit MINIUSA.COM and click on MINI Motorsports.

Upcoming New Mazda2 May Take On MINI Cooper

egmCarTech reports Mazda may be preparing the new Mazda2 to be a MINI Cooper competitor, at least in Europe. In addition to a petrol version Mazda may compete with the MINI diesel. The article indicates:
. . . a high-performance diesel model is also rumored, sporting the brand’s latest 2.2L SKYACTIV-D engine.

MSN Autos' 2014 MINI Cooper First Drive Review

James Tate provides an extensive first drive review to MSN Autos. Tate concludes, in part:
With the MINI brand, BMW has clearly set its sights on a more discerning buyer than you'd think occupies the subcompact segment, but it has done so without losing MINI's uniquely youthful appeal. This car is still a bit of an anomaly in the market, as it doesn't face much direct competition without the buyer considering something larger, such as the Volkswagen Golf or GTI. It's also plainly obvious how the MINI differs from its more budget-oriented pint-sized competitors — even the ones we love, such as the Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta. It may be a subcompact "hot hatch," but it's hardly cheap (figuratively and literally) and definitely gets props for its ability to feel high-quality without resorting to traditional luxury clichés. The MINI Cooper remains the most fun small car that money can buy.

Minitune Tuned MINI Cooper S

WorldCarFans features the new Minitune MINI Cooper S based on the R56. Along with the bodykit and suspension mods,
. . . the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine has been equipped with an optimized ECU, a high-performance intercooler and a stainless steel sports exhaust system. Thanks to these modifications the engine produces 218 PS (160 kW) and 319 Nm (235 lb-ft) of torque which is an increase of 44 PS (32 kW) and 79 Nm (58 lb-ft).

MINI May Be Working On A Small City Car

MotoringFile spreads the rumor that MINI may be working on a small city car:
According to sources in Germany MINI is working through an internal proposal of a vehicle smaller than the current F56 two door hatch. The smaller model, similar in size to the Rocketman concept is being conceived as both a three and five door hatch and will likely be based on partnering with another automaker. Who that automaker is we don’t know but once again it would make sense for Toyota to be involved. BMW and Toyota have recently become technical partners in several ventures around hybrid and hydrogen technology not to mention that they already [sic] designed at least one sports car together for a release later this decade.

Thieves Targeting MINIs In Anchorage, Alaska

The Anchorage Daily News reports thieves are targeting the approximately 400 Anchorage, Alaska MINIs "brazenly stealing sets of tires, rims and all" from public places around Anchorage at all times of day and night. MINI of Anchorage recommends MINI owners purchase wheel locks as a precautionary measure to attempt to thwart the thieves.

Introducing The MINI Superleggera Vision

Via a BMW Group PressClub USA press release BMW proudly introduced this all electric MINI Concept car with these words:

Munich/Cernobbio. The BMW Group celebrates the meeting of the time-honoured and the contemporary at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2014 with a very special concept: the MINI Superleggera™ Vision.

This exclusive interpretation of an open-top two-seater was created by MINI and Touring Superleggera, the tradition-steeped design and coach building house based in Milan. The MINI Superleggera™ Vision is on the one hand a classic roadster, a compact and agile two-seater, expressing the most minimalist and emotional style of motoring; and on the other hand its electric drivetrain gives the car distinctly modern driving dynamics. In collaboration with MINI, Touring Superleggera™ has designed and built an elaborately crafted, unique model which blends the tradition of classic coachwork construction with the MINI’s authentic British styling to create timeless aesthetic appeal.


  • Modern Britishness meets Italian flair: the iconic design of MINI meets elegant, athletic beauty - interpreted in contemporary style
  • Classic Italian body construction and hand-shaped metal sheeting give the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision a unique emotional appeal
  • Both on the inside and outside, the form is reduced to the maximum extent so as to achieve a clear focus on the distinctive driving experience
  • The interior reflects traditional coachwork construction in terms of materials and styling, combined with the icons of MINI interior design
  • \
  • High-end materials such as leather, aluminium and black chrome highlight the clear aesthetics of the interior


Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design on the concept: "Touring Superleggera and MINI have much in common: both companies attach great importance to their history and this is something which defines their outward appearance to this day. What is more, they both emphasise iconic design and distinctive solutions. These elements are merged in the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision to create an elegant automobile which interprets a British roadster under the influence of Italian style and hand craftsmanship.

British design with an Italian accent - the exterior design.

"The MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision elegantly perpetuates what the Classic Mini started 55 years ago: reduction to the essentials. Its energetic, minimalistic design embodies the dynamic essence of an automobile. At the same time it creates unique emotional beauty in combining the past and future of the automotive industry, i.e. traditional coachwork craftsmanship and modern design styling. It was a pleasure for me to design a concept like this." says Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design.

The perfectly balanced proportions indicate at first glance what the electrically powered MINI Superleggera™ Vision has to offer in terms of a driving experience: the stretched bonnet, long wheelbase and cool, short overhangs convey pure driving fun. As in every MINI, the wheels are set widely on the body, promising a high degree of agility. The passenger cell is slightly set back, further underscoring the car's dynamic impression. The overall effect of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision is sporty, elegant and dynamic.

The front of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision features the traditional MINI design icons: two circular headlights and a hexagonal grille define the unmistakable front section, providing a contemporary interpretation of features which have become firmly established over decades. There are also striking classic sports car elements such as a wide track and distinctively curved wheel arches that give the front a dynamic presence. The classic MINI bonnet stripes are three-dimensionally embossed and run on into high-quality polished aluminum accents. The inlaid bonnet harks back to classic British roadsters of bygone days.

Meanwhile the horizontal rib look of the radiator grille adds a classic sporty touch. The fact that it is closed is a discreet indication of the car's electric motor. The two fog lights echo the circular contours of the headlamps, providing a smaller interpretation of them in the radiator grille. The air inlets are also circular, giving the front section a distinctive touch. A flat front splitter made of carbon fibre closes off the front to the road, thereby underscoring the car's sporty statement down to the last detail.

Classic coachwork construction in a cutting-edge interpretation.
The striking element of the side view is the characteristic “Touring” line. It embodies both the high art of coachwork building and classic aesthetics. Surrounded by tight, seamless surfaces, it traces a precise, vibrant movement from the front wheels through to the rear. This reflects the great craftsmanship and longstanding experience of Touring Superleggera in area of body construction: ever since it was founded the company has stood for fine, light sports car bodies. To this day, Touring Superleggera™ shapes large aluminium sheets by hand using the most performing frame structures. The hand-crafted style of construction gives the MINI Superleggera Vision an aesthetic form which would be virtually impossible to achieve by machine manufacture.

“MINI and Touring both believe that proportions are the key factor of beauty, and share the same values of essentiality and innovation” says Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of design of Touring Superleggera. “In this car all unnecessary equipment or decoration is sacrificed, as performance is gained through lightness and efficiency of the bodywork and interior. The Italian touch is in the proportions and the typical waistline.”

There are very few gaps in the body since it is constructed from large sheets of metal. The result is a closed look that conveys high-quality elegance. The specially developed exterior paint finish Como Blue, almost liquid in effect, stands for both classic and modern style. It particularly underlines the refined Italian touch of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision. The elaborate rims and the elegant exterior mirrors in long-hole look complete with a mirror base in polished aluminium add exclusive accentuations at the side. Echoing the front section, the discreet CFRP sills underscore the sporty character of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision.

Meanwhile the striking fin defines the look of the rear, adding a touch of extravagance. It gives the MINI Superleggera™ Vision a particular longitudinal dynamics while at the same time embodying the unconventional air of both MINI and Touring Superleggera. Like the “Touring” line at the side, it is modeled with enormous precision. The highlight of the flat, wide rear is the unusual lights: designed in the form of a Union Jack divided in two, they combine functionality and symbolism in a way never seen before. In this way they express the British roots of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision while at the same time emphasising the modern LED technology as already used in the new MINI. A chrome bar demarcates the rear lights at the centre of the rear, making this area a classic British jewellery icon. The CFRP diffuser rounds off the rear to the road in sporty style.

Echoing the exterior - the interior design.
The exterior and interior design of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision merge seamlessly. Only a surrounding shoulder line in polished aluminium visually separates the exterior and interior from each other. The border creates an encircling, sporty gesture that consistently perpetuates the clear elegance and generous surfaces of the exterior.

In its styling and in the look and feel of its materials, the interior design celebrates the tradition and the essence of classic coachwork construction. It reflects how the automobile was created: the essential features are quoted -  the untreated aluminium sheeting and the tube-shaped structural elements - and they are made visible in the interior by means of a high-quality interpretation. This is most striking in the dashboard. The latter is created from a single aluminium sheet and has been left in the state the automobile body would look like without a paint finish. The generously sized unpainted surfaces and the clearly visible hand craftsmanship of the dashboard go together to reflect the skilled artistry of the coachbuilders. The doors and the sporty 3-spoke steering wheel likewise reveal the traditional method of construction. The structural elements in the doors form a Union Jack, discreetly indicating the British origins of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision.

The Center Instrument in the middle of the instrument panel draws on MINI design styling and has been extended for the MINI Superleggera™ Vision to include a touch-sensitive control element and two circular instruments with metal surrounds on the right. In addition to the analog clock on the far right, the second framed instrument activates the camera which is integrated between the driver and front passenger seat. It has the function of capturing those particularly worthwhile moments on the road.

Classic and modern to equal degrees - colour and material design.
The classic materials aluminium and leather in a virtually untreated state define the reduced aesthetics of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision in the interior. Below the shoulder covered in brown leather in the classical color Sabbia, the materials are kept to the essentials. The structural elements in the doors and centre console are finished in high-quality black chrome, exclusively set apart from the aluminium surfaces and the raw, matt textured paint finish in the footwell area. This deliberately contrasting mixture of structured surfaces and high-end materials gives the MINI Superleggera™ Vision an exceptional charm. The sporty bucket seats are reminiscent of bygone MINI motor racing achievements and are covered in high-quality black leather. True to the MINI Motto "Hide & Reveal", accentuations in Misty Magenta provide a touch of Italian flair in tongue-in-cheek MINI style in concealed spots such as the two hot air outlets under the instrument panel and inside the door openings in the structural elements of the doors.

Coachbuilding in 2014.
Since 1926, Touring Superleggera is forerunner of advanced automotive design and custom coachbuilding. The company is one of the rare firms offering the whole in-house productive cycle from the first sketch, all the way through surface engineering and structural analysis, style models and prototypes, to turn-key, low-volume production of special bodywork.

“We are delighted that MINI wanted to stimulate an independent initiative and particularly Italian design for the first time”, says Piero Mancardi, CEO of Touring Superleggera. He continues: “This project also shows MINIs attention to preserving and nurturing the skills of craftsmanship incorporated in modern coach building."

The MINI Superleggera™ Vision epitomizes the potential of “Carrozzeria” in today’s automobile industry: blending creativity and flexibility with rigor and respect of high standards. The result is a car of classic beauty that is also state of the art.

Flying Finn To Be Reunited With 1964 MCS At Goodwood

Rauno Aaltonen, winner of the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally, will be reunited with his 1964 Mini Cooper S, at Goodwood. According to thecheckeredflag.co.uk that Mini will share the stage with Paddy Hopkirk's Mini Cooper S.

MINI Cooper Gets Dusted


MINI Cooper into Dust from christiani.biz on Vimeo.

MINI To Release Special Edition R58 Playboy MINI Coupe

MotoringFile reveals MINI will produce a special edition R58 "Playboy Edition" MINI Coupe at a time when continued Coupe, Roadster and Paceman production are in question.  Due in the U.S. and Europe later this summer, the Playboy sports:

  • All Midnight black exterior
  • Unique Stripes
  • Playboy Sill Tread
  • Alcantara Dash Upper and Lower
  • Playboy Edition side repeaters
  • Champaign mirror caps

Watching Your MINI Self In Every Way

Go[pro] Chloë!



[Source: Fashionista Chloë @ YouTube]

2015 MINI Clubman Spied Testing At Nurburgring

WorldCarFans provides this video and advises the prototype retains split rear doors.

DIY Help For R50 - R53 Repairs

BMW Planet has 89 technical documents to help you work on your first generation MINI all in one .zip file download.

MINI To Be Marque Of 2014 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

MINI will be the honored marque at the 2014 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.  The organizing committee advises:
. . . the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is the largest vintage sports car race in the United States. The race originated in 1983 and is now the longest-continually-running vintage road race in the nation, with an ever-widening national and international recognition as one of the premier vintage motorsports events. The race is the highlight of a 10-day Race Week that includes the Historic Races at Pitt-Race Complex for faster vintage cars on the opening weekend, various car shows, cruises, galas, and the Kick-Off Rallye. Funds raised by the event benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School, which care for individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

The event at Schenley Park hosts 150 vintage racers, over 2,000 show cars and 200,000 weekend spectators. The course, considered to be one of the most challenging in the world, traverses Schenley Park's Serpentine Drive and consists of a 2.33 mile circuit that has 23 turns, haybales, manhole covers, phone poles, and stone walls. 2014 marks the 32nd consecutive year of the races, MINI will be the honored as the Marque.

Mini MINI Disco Club

Take one D.J. with a mini mirror disco ball and put them in a MINI Cooper and what do you get? The World's smallest disco club. BMWBlog has the whole story.

How To Flaunt California Law

According to Jalopnik all you need is a California Temporary Identification for your vehicle. Check out the article to find out why.

Crank And Piston Drives The MINI ALL4 Racing Rally Car

. . . and lives to tell about it in this CrankandPiston.com article that starts:
I'm a little shell-shocked as I remove my helmet. Members of the MINI X-Raid PR team are actually concerned as I struggle to form coherent sentences. Though I knew that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, I never expected it would have this kind of impact on me. Standing to my right is the Monster Energy X-Raid MINI ALL4 Racing endurance rally car that competed in this year's Dakar Rally. And I've just driven it.

Wow Jim!

Congratulations to amazing photographer and early NORCAL MINIS Member James Williams whose R53 turned 300K!  Keep the rubber side down!

D-Bassing A MINI



[Source: DesignsByRyan @ YouTube]

Motor Trend's 4th Long Term 2013 MCS Coupe Review Update

Motor Trend's fourth update on its long term test of the 2013 MINI Cooper S Coupe finds it being road tripped with guitar and amp.  Here's one remark made in the update:
The Mini has all the small car benefits (good fuel economy and maneuverability in parking lots and tight city streets), but after all this time driving it, I've found that it doesn't have many negative traits typically associated with cars of its size.

Bob Marley Highway Match

Jamaica is known more for reggae, rum, beaches and ganja.  It is not known as a hot bed of street racing.  We don't condone racing on public highways, but, this video of a Jamaican highway battle between a MINI Cooper S and a monster BMW M6 is extraordinary, especially the commentary from inside the MINI. Kick back and enjoy, Mon. Ja will provide.



[Source: Jerome Hendricks @ YouTube]

PistonHead's Fleet MINI Clubvan Lives On

PistonHeads asked BMW/MINI if it could keep its MINI Cooper D Clubvan tester a bit longer and tells why.

X-raid Team Off To Contest Egypt's Pharaons' Rally

Motorsport.com published this release from The X-raid Team:
With the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar contested, the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup calendar will take the teams to Egypt for the next desert rally: the Pharaons Rally, held from 18th to 24th May, 2014. The X-raid Team is going to contest the event with three MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles, one of them raced by the pairing Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov. The two Russians (135 points) who currently hold a 65-point lead over second-placed Czech Marek Dabrowski want to keep on extending their World-Cup lead. 
Having won in Qatar, Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and Mathieu Baumel (FRA) also are determined to once again go for it. And the same applies to Dutch pairing Erik van Loon / Wouter Roosegaar. They contest their second rally with the MINI ALL4 Racing, finished sixth in the first and want to up the ante, in Egypt. 
The rally will be started in El Gouna, a seaside town at the Red Sea. From there, the event will take the competitors via Luxor, Dakhla and Baharia to the finish located in Cairo. On Monday, 19th May, a five-kilometre special-stage will determine the starting order. Over the course of the following five stages, the teams will cover a total distance of 2304 kilometres, with 1800 of them representing the special-stage distance. 
For the MINI ALL4 Racing of Vasilyev, the Pharaons Rally represents the end of a long-haul trip. In mid-March, X-raid shipped the car by truck and ship to Abu Dhabi. From there, another ship took it to Qatar and after the Sealine Rally it was loaded on another freighter. Destination: Egypt! But after the Pharaons Rally, the vehicle may return home to the workshop in Trebur, Germany.

What Did The MINI Say To The Car Behind It?

[Source: MINI Everything @ Pinterest]

Tony Hawk And MINI Cement Partnership

MINI has entered into a promotional deal with trick skateboarder Tony Hawk for his Birdhouse Skateboards Summer Tour. Here's how they celebrated formation of the new partnership.



[Source: Skateboard.TV]

MINI Space Exhorts The Updated F56

MINI Space goes over the F56 and points out all of the changes made that distinguish from its predecessors and espouses why they are better.

2014 Playmate Of The Year Gets 2014 MINI JCW Roadster

One of the gifts received by 27-year old Kennedy Summers for being selected Playboy's 2014 Playmate Of The Year, was a 2014 MINI John Cooper Works Roadster. According to Jalopnik, Summers is a presently pursing a M.D. to become a plastic surgeon.  She already has degrees in anthropology and health administration.

That May Not Be The New MINI's Engine You Hear

MotoringFile reveals:
. . . we now have MINI using Active Sound to subtly enhance the in-cabin engine noise on the Cooper S. The option is only available on the Cooper S with the driving modes option – standard in North America. Let’s look at what the system is and how it works.

The system uses a small speaker in the left rear of the car that is tied to the engine revs. The system gives the car a slightly throatier sound up and down the rev range without going noticed. So subtle in fact is the system that when I drove the car a few months back I came away with the opinion that MINI had either decided not to have Active Sound in the Cooper S or the system wasn’t turned on. I’m now told it was and it’s just that subtle. However it’s worth noting that the system only is on in sport mode.

The system works in every mode but is slightly more noticeable in Sport. And it’s probably worth noting that the system can be defeated by pulling a simple fuse. . . .

Keweenaw Rendezvous For MINIs

MiningGazette.com reports many MINIs will motor in Copper County, Michigan for the first Keweenaw Rendezvous in Houghton, Michigan August 15-17, 2014. The Rendezvous has a website and Facebook page to recruit MINI enthusiasts from all over the county and beyond. The article advises:
The day will start with a gathering at the Michigan Technological University SDC and a parade through downtown Houghton and Hancock before the drivers split up and choose their own routes to Copper Harbor. They'll regather there for lunch, then return to town on their own before getting together again that night to celebrate at the Continental Fire Company.

On Aug. 16, MINI drivers can check out local attractions or sample the BrewFest in the afternoon, with their driving for the day behind them.

MotoringFile Gets Hands On With The 2015 MINI Countryman

MotoringFile photographs and describes all the new subtle design changes on the 2015 MINI Countryman shown at the 2014 NYIAS.

Mini Car Transformer

The perfect Halloweem costume and fully operational, where do we get one?



[Source: Mohammad Tiba via Sploid]

Autoinfoquest Weighs In On The New MINI

Autoinfoquest looks at the 2014 F56 and concludes:
Overall the 2014 MINI Cooper S is a vastly improved car, and while its ability to deliver sticker shock is still intact. Its refined styling, more powerful engine, and host of interior improvements should please MINI loyalists while also opening the brand to a broader range of customers at the same time and that’s a win in our book.

Mexican Made MINIs?

LeftLane News discusses a report that BMW is considering increasing output of MINIs by also producing the vehicles at its Mexican plant. The report published by Germany's Handelsblatt asserts:
With production capacity at MINI's Oxford, England, plant currently maxed out at 260,000 units, BMW is also said to be considering adding output in Mexico to supplement an upcoming MINI factory in Born, Netherlands.

MINI JCW GP Uses Tepex Molded Composites

Eco Composites discusses the material used to provide engine compartment protection and asserts, in part:
Continuous fibre-reinforced Tepex composites from Lanxess subsidiary Bond-Laminates are finding new applications in the area of automotive bodywork.

In the latest success story, a Tepex Dynalite variant is being employed to provide engine compartment protection in the Mini John Cooper Works GP – the quickest Mini ever, according to maker BMW.

“The extreme strength and toughness of our material work very much in its favour,” says Harri Dittmar, a lightweight design expert at Bond-Laminates. “These characteristics make the underbody protection – prone as it is to stone hits and even grounding on poor roads – more robust and extremely resistant to impact. In addition, the regular alignment of the composite’s continuous glass fibres lends the component an attractive carbon-like appearance.”


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Performance Audio

[Source: Car Styling Tips]

Side By Side: 2015 Convertible, Five-Door Hatch And 2016 Clubman

MotoringFile has photos of them and an article that explains each, the differences between them and the anticipated public debut schedule.

NORCAL MINIS CALENDAR & OTHER EVENTS