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Madonna Inn - San Luis Obispo Run Details

Don't miss our run to Madonna Inn, a landmark resort hotel on California's Central Coast, the weekend of July 22nd & 23rd. ...

NORCAL MINIS' Doug Bennett Featured In MotorWerks Magazine

NORCAL MINIS' Member is featured in MotorWerks Magazine Volume 4, Issue 2, about his experience at MINI's Miles Ahead Motoring School.

MINI Gumball 3000 Rally Contestant Tony Hawk In San Francisco

CBS San Francisco Bay Area informs the contestants involved in the Gumball 3000 supercar rally from Stockholm to Las Vegas are gathering in San Francisco:
Tony Hawk was in one of the first teams to arrive Wednesday night. Hawk’s team piloted a Mini Cooper, while most racers stuck with exotic supercars like Ferraris, Paganis, and DeadMau5’s McLaren P1.

VW Dominates WRC Rally de Portugal

www.Crash.net reports Volkswagens finished 1,2,3 at the WRC Rally de Portugal.  The top finishing MINI Cooper S2000 was driven by Valeriy Gorban and he came in 18th, over 24 minutes off the pace.

The Good, Bad And Lowdown On The MINI Cooper

AutoSpies.com provides this assessment of the new base MINI Cooper in its comprehensive review:
The Good:

- Now the standard Cooper comes with an excellent turbocharged 1.5-liter, three-cylinder motor — power is ample
- Great sound that sets it apart from other small cars that feature buzzy and bassy engines
- Since there's not an overwhelming amount of power, torque steer is non existent and the Cooper's handling will astonish you.

The Bad:

- Although the suspension has made strides compared to previous Coopers, it still is not by any means comfortable — city driving can be punishing
- It is a MINI so don't expect its backseat to comfortably transport four adults over long distances
- Reliability is a concern that would remain on my mind if I were an in-market consumer looking at a MINI — the company's history does not bode well but we'll have to wait and see the data with this generation product

The Lowdown:

In the small car class, the all-new MINI Cooper makes an especially strong case for itself. Now equipped with an excellent motor, I am going to go on a limb here and say that it is actually the better pick between the standard car and the Cooper S. Sure the S has more power but it sounds so so and you get torque steer with your helping of added power. Personally, I'll pass. Two anecdotes that really bring home how good the all-new MINI is: 1) After driving the all-new Volkswagen Golf, to me it's VERY clear that VW whiffed on the MKVII Golf. And, 2) if I had not invested so much in my daily driver, a MKVI Golf, I'd probably be looking into swapping it out for a standard Cooper. Yes, it's that good.

The 2015 JCW MINI Pro Tuning Kit

love:mini provides written commentary and this video that covers what you get.

What Has Gert Hildebrand Been Up To?

According to MotoringFile the former Head of MINI Design is now Vice President of Design for Chinese automotive manufacturer Works and introduced this concept SUV at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show.

A Monstrously MINI JCW Experiment From France


[Source: AOTW]

I Can't Drive 55

AutoGuide.com reminds us that effective October 1, 2015, Nevada's maximum speed limit will go from 75 to 80 mph.  Too bad the change will occur after AMVIV.

2016 MINI Changes. Some Jeers

MotoringFile reviews some of the upcoming changes incorporated into the 2016 MINI models. Jeers:
  • Sport suspension option discontinued
  • No visual boost, now only Media & Wired Packages.
  • No more Loaded Package only “Fully Loaded”.
  • Sport Package now includes Dynamic Dampers making it more of a legitimate sport option.
  • Auto-dimming exterior mirrors are now packaged with auto-dimming interior mirrors (separate power folding mirrors option has been eliminated)
  • Cold weather package goes back to $750 but now has the power-fold & auto-dimming stuff with it.
  • Cruise control buttons are being remapped
  • Changes to window switches (from chrome to piano black
  • Cooper will now be SULEV with the B36 engine
  • No MINI wings tags on seats
Also:

  • Satellite gray/truffle cloth/leather seats,
  • Interior surface dark silver & firework, color line shadow gray,
  • 6 disc changer (yes it’s now impossible to play a CD in the F56/F55 MINI
  • Chrome mirror caps (they’re still available as accessories)
  • Smokers pack
  • Rear fog lamp
  • Halogen fogs on Cooper
  • Universal garage door opener w/compass
  • Secret storage compartment (gone due to production complexities of having it available in some parts of the world and not in others)

Galveston, Oh Galveston!

BMW broke ground on a new port facility in Galveston, TX to distribute BMW's and MINIS in the southern region of the U.S. according to the official pressclub release.

Krumm Performance Introduces MINI JCW Upgrade Package

INAUTONEWS reports on Krumm Performance's new MINI JCW upgrade package. It includes AP-Racing brakes with four-piston calipers, a KW Clubsport suspension kit, large 17-inch wheels ATS-GTR wrapped in Dunlop Direzza 03G tires, 214/45 in size, a body wrap, the bespoke rear diffuser, the OMP Ultraleggero steering wheel, the Recaro seats and Wiechers Clubsport rollover bar. Most importantly the article also discloses:
. . . the tuning company has installed the stage III kit which basically means adding the custom intake, the racing intercooler, the revised turbocharger and the Akrapovic downpipe. Thanks to these modifications, the unit is now capable of producing a total output of 300 HP (213 kW) and it has a peak torque of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque. Krumm-Performance says that applying these updates to your ride will be setting you back for 4,999 euros. The engine is actually working with the revised transmission with Drexler limited slip differential . . . .

MINI GINZA "Live Camera" Spin Painted

Check out the Japanese spin painted MINI art car and read all about it at ultrasupernew.com.

Next Generation MINI Countryman Testing At Nurburgring

WorldCarFans caught the next generation 2017 Countryman testing at Nurburgring. It also says, in part:
An official reveal is expected at a major auto show next year before MINI will kick off production at the VDL NedCar factory in Born, The Netherlands and at the Oxford plant in United Kingdom. As a reminder, the current model is assembled by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria.

Jalopnik Offers Awesome JCW Wallpaper

Jalopnik gets it from Abdul Adardour's car photo gallery.

Car And Driver Previews The 2016 MCS Clubman

Car and Driver thinks, in part:
Why It Matters: In the U.S. we fear that it won’t. Selling station wagons is enough of a challenge here in the best of times, let alone a small one that carries the price premium that comes with a Mini badge. But in those parts of the world where tourers still reign—like Europe—this is a sensible move to broaden the appeal of the Mini hatchback. Luggage accommodation is unlikely to be overly generous, but it will still be the most spacious Mini to date for both people and stuff. Mini insiders have hinted that we can also expect to see an all-wheel-drive version later on, which will broaden its appeal still further.

BizNews.com Baffled By New MINI Cooper S

Nick Hodgson writes about the new MINI Cooper for BizNews.com and concludes:
So at the end of all this, the new Mini Cooper S is a rather confusing machine. Crazy expensive it may be, but on the other hand it’s such an amazing drive and so much fun that some may even think the price tag is worth it. And you know what. I wouldn’t blame them.

What It's Like To Hit A Moose With A MINI

It is like this, as reported by Melinda Messenger to cdapress.com:
"He was immediately in front of me, just standing there," Melinda said. "Then there was the crash, the explosion. That was all I remembered until I got to the hospital." 
The front end of the little car knocked the animal's legs from under it, Steve said. The impact blew out the car's windows. 
The husband and wife were both knocked unconscious. 
"Thank God we were in the Mini," Steve said. "The officer said if we were in our SUV, instead of hitting the front of the roof, the bull moose would have gone through the windshield."

2016 MINI Cooper Convertible Caught Topless

Carscoops has spy photos of what it claims to be the first spotting of the 2016 MINI Cooper Convertible with its top down.

MINIs Are Resale Value Giants

autoevolution reports the outgoing Coupe has received the Resale Value championship award for 2015 in the UK and Europe according to German publication Focus Online and:
In the small car segment, the new MINI One 3-door hatch won with an estimated resale value of 60.5 percent. The MINI Cooper S Paceman achieved a close number at 57 percent and won amongst other mini SUVs.

Yup!


MINI 5 Door To Get JCW Treatment

MotoringFile relays that the F55 JCW package is in the offing that will give it 210 HP.

Edmunds' 2014 MINI Loves The Rain

Edmunds offers a long term test review of the 2014 MINI Cooper and finds rain to be fun.

Revealed! MINI Countryman Park Lane Edition

The Bangkok Post reports:
Mini has introduced a special edition model of the Countryman SUV called Park Lane which will be available worldwide in up to four engine variants from July this year.

F57 Convertible Debut Due Next Year In Geneva Or New York

That is what MotoringFile reports. It also indicates:
The F57 will look very familiar to most given the roof and general design is an iteration on the two previous MINI convertibles. Basically it marries that layout with the F56 and all the new tech and drivetrains that it brings to the table. The 2016 MINI convertible remains a four seater with a roof that opens both as a sunroof and fully behind the rear seat headrests.

MINI Drivers Bee-ware!

MINIs seem to garner a lot of attention, even in the insect world. The Daily Toggle recounts the story of a swarm of bees in the UK that has a thing for Pepper White.

Digital Trends Reviews The 2015 MCS Hardtop

Nick Jaynes gives a mixed review of the 2015 MINI Cooper S Hardtop for Digital Trends with the subcaption:
Mini's charming Cooper S Hardtop makes a better giggle factory than a car

Facebook Removed From Updated MINI Connected

According to MotoringFile:
. . . The update Version 2.8 has been confirmed on iOS and states in the What’s New section, “Removed Facebook feature due to Facebook policy.” . . . .

Aussie Site Car Advice Reviews 5 Door Hatch

CarAdvice decides:
. . . the Mini Cooper Hatch five-door is a fun, competent and engaging product. Once you tick a few option boxes, it can be a practical city run about that has enough gusto for the occasional mountain blast — to keep life interesting. And, you know what they say, happy wife, happy life.

Compare: MINI Challenge 210 Vs. Real MINI Challenge Car

autoevolution goes over the specs on the limited production street version 210 and offers this video comparison with the real race car from Auto Express.

MINI Challenge 2015 Commences At Donnington

love:mini has the losers and winners from Opening Day as Rob Smith seeks to repeat his 2014 Title winning performance.

Holy Moley!!!

Oh my! Check out the entire MINI Cooper RMW "Jesus" Head project at imgur!

New MINI Cooper S Goes Fast

The Economic Times reports on the new MINI Cooper S 2.0 liter engine that replaces the 1.6 liter in prior generations and notes:

Torque has also risen to 280Nm, which means the car can hit 100kph from standstill in just 6.7 seconds, and can achieve a top speed of 233kph. It's mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Yes, you get paddle shifts, too.

Automobile Asks Whether Big Wheels Ruin The MINI

Automobile considers whether the 17 inch wheels on its tester ruin the MINI's ride and gives the 2014 vehicle a lackluster long-term review.

Superleggera Potentially Canceled

MotoringFile indicates production of the MINI Superleggera may have been canceled before it even started since the BMW Z2 project that was to be codeveloped with the Superleggera has been canceled.

Nine Screen Interactive Film Produced For MINI JCW.Hatch Debut

Marketing discusses the venture:
Mini has created a nine-screen digital interactive experience to promote the launch of its most powerful Mini to date - the John Cooper Works Hatch. 
The ‘See What It’s Made Of’ "tech-first digital experience" has been created by Iris Worldwide and features as its centrepiece an interactive nine-screen-in-one view of the Mini. Taken from different angles, the footage shows how the John Cooper Works Hatch has been engineered and constructed, as a film plays of it lapping at high speed the circuit at Mallory Park.

MINI USA Up Swing In Sales Continued In April 2015

Here are the overall sales numbers and commentary direct from BMW's official press release. But check out the chart below and article at MotoringFile. The new MINI 5-Door is selling like water to a thirsty California!

MINI Brand Sales
For April, MINI USA reports 5,476 automobiles sold, an increase of 24.7 percent from the 4,390 sold in the same month a year ago.

MINI Pre-Owned Vehicles In April, sales of MINI NEXT (certified pre-owned) sold 955 vehicles, up 32.6 percent over April 2014, with a year-to-date gain of 25.5 percent to 3,532 cars over the same period in 2014. Total MINI Pre-Owned sales were 2,203 cars, an increase of 2.1 percent from April 2014. Total MINI Pre-Owned sales for the first four months were 7,958, a 2.2 percent decrease from the same period in 2014.

Table 1: Vehicle Sales BMW of North America, LLC, April 2015

April
2015
April
 2014
%
YTD April 2015
YTD April
 2014
%
BMW brand
26,952
25,202
6.9
105,444
97,579
8.1
BMW passenger cars
19,014
16,923
12.4
76,865
68,010
13.0
BMW light trucks
7,938
8,279
-4.1

28,579
29,569
-3.3

MINI brand
5,476
4,390
24.7

18,253
13,047
39.9

TOTAL Group
32,428
29,592
9.6

123,697
110,626
11.8






Liberty Walk Offers Tuning Kit For The R56

WorldCarFans reports that Japanese tuner Liberty Walk now offers a tuning kit for the R56:
. . . the aerodynamic package includes aggressive front and rear bumpers with new diffusers, side skirts, wide fenders and a new tailgate wing.

A 'Spirited' Review Of The 2015 MINI Five Door S

Canada's Mississauga Life carries a review of the 2015 MINI Five Door S written by Jay Kana who concludes:
Overall, the Mini 5S is a great car for couples and even a couple of kids to accompany that couple. Or singles… Can’t exclude them. Young, mid-life, later in life… If you’re in the market for sensibility, sportiness, saving money on gas (the 44 Litre tank is great for a few hundred km), simple driving enjoyment from a company that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, spend some time in the 2015 Mini 5S

NORCAL MINIS CALENDAR & OTHER EVENTS