. . . In response to the new corporate branding requirements MINI USA announced today that all US MINI dealerships have been given two weeks to rebrand. The exterior and interior color must change from black to white. They must also increase all building dimensions by eight inches. Motoring Advisors will have to wear ties. . . .
WHAT'S COMING UP?
Don't miss our run to Madonna Inn, a landmark resort hotel on California's Central Coast, the weekend of July 22nd & 23rd. ...
The Daily Toggle says MINI has given MINI dealers just two weeks to complete a conversion to MINI's new branding:
Motor Trend wants your opinion:
While the new 2016 Mini Clubman has been given significant upgrades inside and out, with the addition of two new full-size doors and a completely unique chassis, the larger dimensions may have taken away that traditional "mini" feel. Do you think Mini has strayed too far away from the original Clubman with the new model?
MotoringFile provides the comparison and concludes:
. . . After 500 miles in both cars I’ve found my favorite. And it’s the opposite of what I expected. I didn’t want to like the MINI. Since the first photos I’ve struggled with the five door’s looks. Mainly it’s the rear hips which take some time to wrap your head around. We’re used to seeing MINI’s squared-off from room to bumper. But in the new five door introduces a couple of new forms to the MINI design language that give the F55 it’s own character. . . .
The Dallas Morning News. Box guardedly believes:
Look, I think Mini builds too many models and ought to focus more on refining what is a really good, likable concept.
But here’s how much I know: Through May, sales of 2015 Minis were up 28.2 percent.
Bigger and more always win — whatever you call them.
The Truth About Cars the MINI Countryman is seeing a huge decline in sales in 2015:
. . . The addition of new rivals from rival automakers certainly doesn’t help. But the Countryman may also be affected by the arrival of a four-door version of the regular Mini Cooper. That Mini uses new engines and is significantly more economical.
Countryman volume is down 26 percent through the first seven months of 2015. Most recently, in July, year-over-year Countryman sales were off July 2014’s pace by 45 percent, a loss of 980 units.
Meanwhile, the category in which it competes is up 64 percent this year thanks to continued gains from vehicles like the Buick Encore and added sales from new urban crossovers like the Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V. Subtract Mini from the equation and sales of these small, sometimes-AWD tall cars are up 74 percent. . . . .
What Car? reports the new 2015 MINI Clubman will go on sale October 15, 2015. The article tells us what to expect and includes this tidbit:
The new Clubman drops the quirky layout of its predecessor, which used a single rear-hinged nearside door, and now comes with four front-hinged doors.
It has grown, too, and is now larger than the current Mini Countryman. The new body design aims to provide the car with significantly improved versatility, through a combination of increased interior space and added luggage capacity. . . .
MINI Cooper S's don't have spare tires so this only applies to "Justa MINIs."
MotoringFile decries the new automatic JCW because it thinks it will drop market share on the manual. SAVE THE MANUALS! As the article espouses:
. . . Even with the Countryman and Paceman included, JCWs in the US were equipped with the manual transmission 57% of the time in 2014. And with the R5X cars we here that number was as high as 75% Since they’ve offered both.
With the F56 JCW launching in auto form, for the first few months we expect this number to drop dramatically for 2015. What’s worse, because so many people drove the auto and didn’t get a chance to sample the manual, there are likely many people out there who would have been much happier with the manual. That to us a major problem. MINI is the only automaker in the US to offer a manual on every car across every trim level. And at MotoringFile it’s our goal not just to support that but to evangelize the idea of old school motoring that the manual transmission evokes. . . . .
The Korea Herald discusses the fastest stock MINI ever produced, the new MINI JCW:
“. . . . The power and torque of the new Mini JCW were increased by 9 percent and 23 percent, respectively, compared with those of the previous JCW model,” Mini Korea said in a press release. . . .
BMW Group PressClub USA:
Munich (DE). Hungary, 16th August 2015 was the scene for an evening of dual celebration when MINI ALL4 Racing crew Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and Mathieu Baumel (FRA) won the Hungarian Baja 2015; a result that promoted Al-Attiyah to the top of the leaderboard in the 2015 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
Al-Attiyah and co-pilot Baumel showed their competitive strength from the off by securing the fastest time in the opening Special Stage on Friday evening (14th August). This result placed their MINI ALL4 Racing at the front of the pack when the first of the weekend’s two main stages started on Saturday morning.
Under normal race conditions, nobody likes to lead from the start because it is difficult to judge what race pace should be applied to keep ahead. But in Hungary, leading from the front became a definite advantage.
Because of the dry and hot conditions, thick clouds of dust trailed from the rear of the cars. With Al-Attiyah taking the lead he made use of clear visibility while the followers had to drive in his dust trail with limited view. However, the leading MINI ALL4 Racing duo didn’t have it all their own way...
Although comfortably navigating dust trails and wooded areas interspersed with jumps and water trails, unbeknown to the crew of the flying MINI ALL4 Racing a rear brake disc broke. The resulting noise under braking was enough to force Al-Attiyah to slow his charge until the problem was discovered and rectified. Despite this, Al-Attiyah and and Baumel still managed to secure the Stage 2 win.
Sunday morning saw the start of the last stage and a planned cautious race pace by the experienced MINI ALL4 racing men. They were eventually rewarded by finishing second at stage result, but taking the overall race win by 14 minutes, 38 secs despite the addition of a 3 minute time penalty.
Talking about the race, Al-Attiyah said: “This was a really good Baja for us and we are now the leader in the overall standings of the FIA World Cup. We could forget the problem from Saturday morning very fast and, some hours later, we could prove what we and the MINI ALL4 Racing are able to do. On Sunday I was more cautious and not to take an unnecessary chances. The track was not easy and the temperatures really hot!”
Another reason for Al-Attiyah to celebrate in Hungary was the succesful defence of the Baja title he won last year. Overall, this was Al-Attiyah’s third win in Hungary and is a record for this impressively organised and respected round of the 2015 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
This latest win for MINI ALL4 Racing and Al-Attiyah now places MINI in the top two leading positions of the World Cup championship – Al-Attiyah leads with 180 points; Vasilyev is in second place with 171 points. The next round of the 2015 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies is Baja Poland 27-30th August.
Race calendar: 2015 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
20/02 – 22/02 Baja Russia
27/03 – 02/04 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
18/04 – 24/04 Sealine Cross-Country Rally Qatar
10/05 – 17/05 Pharaons Rally
25/06 – 28/06 Italian Baja
24/07 – 26/07 Baja Aragón
13/08 – 16/08 Hungarian Baja
27/08 – 30/08 Baja Poland
03/10 – 09/10 Rallye du Maroc
22/10 – 24/10 Baja Portalegre 500
INAUTONEWS discusses MINI's new car-sharing option and says, in part:
The brand has now launched a program that allows buyers to try and recuperate part of the cost by simply renting out their vehicle when not in use. Numerous traditional carmakers have been hard at work trying to figure out a way to remain relevant in a rapidly changing environment, with a generation of drivers that increasingly skimp the car ownership practice in favor of convenient car sharing schemes – exploited rapidly by numerous startups and car rental companies. The Mini brand will build on the already established BMW DriveNow car-sharing scheme, allowing Mini owners to have the same smartphone app for third-party drivers paying a part of the earnings. The Mini concept comes with a twist, though, in a bid to bring the best of both worlds – with Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW board member responsible for the Mini brand saying the idea was based on accommodation web site Airbnb, which facilitates the access to other people’s lodging.
Jalopnik chased down a MINI Countryman prototype in a Caterham on Mulholland in Los Angeles "until the Mini’s brakes were catching fire" and took a great set of photos.
AutoGuide.com lists 5 cars whose lengths are less than the 168.3 inch length of the new MINI Clubman:
1. Nissan Juke – 162.4 inches
2. Jeep Wrangler – 164.3 inches
3. Jeep Renegade – 166.6 inches
4. Chevrolet Trax – 167.2 inches
5. Scion xB – 168.1 inches
1. Nissan Juke – 162.4 inches
2. Jeep Wrangler – 164.3 inches
3. Jeep Renegade – 166.6 inches
4. Chevrolet Trax – 167.2 inches
5. Scion xB – 168.1 inches
The Star. She observes, in part:
The exterior hangs together nicely. What could look like a shoebox with the wrong lid on it instead appears balanced and cheeky. A 161 mm longer footprint is countered by an 11 mm higher roof. The new measurements keep it from looking like a blow-up toy, and those two back doors don’t take away from the sporty intent.
Inside, I enjoyed one of the best qualities of little cars, the road disappearing right under the windshield, which gives a sensation of speed. Buckled into the front seats, the generous-sized windshield and windows give the Mini a tour-bus view of the world whizzing by.
Motorward is upped to 260 hp. For another 990 Euros the German made kit also gets you a host of other upgrades including
. . . a stainless steel valvetronic exhaust system. It features 70mm tailpipes and a remote control system for its two operating modes.
Automobile News asked Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW's Board Member in charge of MINI, about discontinuance of the Roadster, Coupe and Paceman. It received some interesting responses, like:
What is the advantage of the change?
It is important that the models are clearly defined and our customers know what each model stands for. A wide range of different variants doesn’t make sense. We will concentrate on five core models, which we refer to as “superheroes.” Each superhero has a strong, independent character, which a well-trained salesman can match with a customer after just a brief conversation. By concentrating on a smaller range we can be more focused. I’m quite convinced of this. Now we will prove that this strategy works.
Fast, fun and with enough differentiation in looks and performance to stand out from the Cooper S, the Mini JCW is a convincing, if pricier, package. It starts around £24,000, but a few choice options could easily push it north of £30k (our test car came in a whisker under £32,000).
That said, I have a feeling a Cooper S wouldn’t be much less fun on most roads – nor, for that matter, the old JCW.
autoevolution has a photo gallery of spy photos of a lightly disguised 2016 MINI Cooper S Convertible with its top down and it interprets what it sees.
MotoringFile discusses the engine and its potential for use in a MINI:
In addition to this rumors have pointed to a fourth iteration of the B48 with around 300 hp. This engine has reportedly been developed for high output BMWs (potentially M Performance products) and potentially even all wheel drive JCW Clubman and/or Countryman. However we can’t help but wonder if this new 250 hp B48 wouldn’t make more sense for MINI given its market and price positioning. Granted while we’d love to see more power, we wouldn’t be shocked to see MINI cap out at around 250 hp for this generation of petrol powered cars.
WorldCarFans has spy photos:
. . . The images depict show cars at the factory in Born, The Netherlands where the open-top MINI will be made alongside the three- and five-door hatch while later on the next generation Countryman will join the assembly line. . .
Sports Car Illustrated provides a preview of the MINI John Works Team at Wisconsin's Road America Continental Tire Road Race on August 8-9, 2015.
. . . and it is a list one should be proud not to be on. AutoGuide.com derives a list of the top 10 worst brands in initial quality from the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. The study examines problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership. Each automaker’s initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles, with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The worst brand in initial quality?
For at least another year, Fiat will be the worst brand in initial quality. Last year, the Italian automaker was slammed in the study with owners reporting 206 problems per 100 vehicles, an overwhelming amount over the industry average. This year, Fiat fared considerably better with 161 problems, but that’s nearly 50 more than the industry average of 112.
BMWBlog looks at the BMW Group's exhibition at the 2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show. It writes about the MINI exhibit:
MINI Creative Hub. As part of the BMW Group presence, this year’s MINI stand highlights the Group’s innovative strength and builds on MINI’s tradition of constant reinvention. This is the first time MINI will appear entirely in its new corporate design.
The brand’s smart and authentic identity is reflected in the architecture, communications and film material. The new brand philosophy represents the progressive lifestyle of the creative class.
The main focus of attention is on the world premiere of the new MINI Clubman. With a new six-door version of this striking and highly-successful MINI model, the brand is venturing into the next-highest vehicle class for the first time and raising the bar for design, material and product substance.
The nine-metre-high window at the front of the stand provides a view of the world of the new MINI Clubman. Based on the idea “The Clubman Dialogues”, visitors are invited to discover the creative, urbane world of the new MINI Clubman.
The main highlight exhibit offers users the opportunity to explore the world of the new MINI Clubman and create a personal editorial.
MINI John Cooper Works transports the visitor to a wide-open, urban-industrial world. Two members of the legendary John Cooper Works family will be shown against the backdrop of a large aircraft hangar. Freedom, heritage and exclusivity are translated into a walk-in experience.
The stand presents the MINI Countryman as a car that is equally at home in the city as in the country.
MINI Connected is a common thread throughout, as an expression of MINI’s digital identity. Driver assistance systems, in-car infotainment, virtual reality – a wide range of innovative multimedia exhibits allow the almost limitless possibilities of ground-breaking technologies to be experienced in an interactive manner.
The MINI Connected Lounge with its relaxed loft atmosphere on the upper level offers a spectacular view of the stage and track, while MINI 360° provides a glimpse of the future.
MINI Yours stands for nothing less than tailor-made exclusivity.
This area invites guests to discover the first-class design and materials in the creative atmosphere of a studio. A large-scale display cabinet presents the diversity and exquisite craftsmanship of MINI Yours.
MINI Accessories opens up a world of different possibilities – with accessories in all shapes and colours that can be combined in countless different way. Visitors have the chance to create their own MINI look with the MINI accessories configurator.
The focus of the MINI Lifestyle shop this year will be on the new MINI Gentleman’s Capsule Collection, inspired by the new MINI Clubman, with accessories such as hats, glasses, shoes, a fragrance and an exclusive shaving set.
cbcnews Nova Scotia reports:
Transport Canada has issued a recall for almost 3,000 BMW and Mini models that were parked at the port of Halifax during a number of February ice storms.The article has a link to a list of the affected vehicles.
In the recall notice issued Tuesday, Transport Canada said 2,966 vehicles may have been exposed to excessive standing water and salt because of the harsh weather.
The vehicles include 2014 and 2015 model years. . . .
INAUTONEWS now is unsure whether the Superleggera will be green lighted for production based on comments by Peter Schwarzenbauer. However, it also says:
A company insider stated that if it will indeed catch the production line, than the MINI Superleggera will be coming out with a starting price of approximately 35,000 euros. Its design is expected to be slightly updated but it won’t be that different from the one of the concept car. The cabin will be maintaining its minimalist design and customers will still get to enjoy the premium leather and the aluminum trim if MINI decides to introduce such a vehicle but judging by the fact that the brand is playing safe, chances are we will not see a production version of it in the near future.
autoevolution provides 8 illustrative photos and writes:
. . . Starting mid-August, a new version of the MINI Connected app will be available and it’s going to reposition the infotainment system and its features to the current trend happening in Oxford. By that, we mean that everything will be a lot more streamlined.
With the new version, the MINI Connected App will be made up of five main features: MINI Streetwise, the basic functions (Status, Apps and Profile), Online Search, Sports Instruments and Force Meter and Calendar. They all need some clarifying.. . .
Eastern Daily Press and concludes:
There are a lot of cars that you can buy for the price of an optioned-up automatic five-door Cooper but few provide anything like the same verve and cheekiness around town. It’s an unnecessary luxury and it’s expensive for its size, but larger, more mainstream alternatives feel dull by comparison. You pay your money and take your choice.
M Live reports:
After a morning gathering in Mackinaw City on Saturday, Aug. 1, 1,319 Mini Coopers drove in a single-file line across the Mackinac Bridge. The effort was 473 better than a 2013 attempt, but missed the 2009 world record of 1,450 set in London by 131 cars.Here is what it is like to drive along with 1,319 of your MINI friends.
Autos.ca. He ultimately decides:
I never felt cramped in the front seats, never wished this handle had been moved there, or this lever there. Aside from the short windscreen, this is a properly ergonomic cabin that should fit folks of many different sizes, as long as we’re talking about the front seats.
Yes, the rear seats are tighter and even though the figures aren’t that far off, I’d say that if you really wanted rear seats that are adult-appropriate, you’d still have to consider the Countryman. Of course, I would venture to guess that maybe one percent of Mini buyers – of any model – actually buy them to transport 3-4 adults on the regular. In that light, the fact that you have a set of rear doors make this particular Mini that much more practical, and it could be just the ticket for someone who wants to stick closer to the Mini ethos, without sacrificing that modicum of practicality.