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. ...
NBC News reports:
Under pressure from U.S. safety regulators, BMW's Mini brand is recalling more than 86,000 cars because the power steering could fail.
The recall covers the Mini Cooper and Cooper S models from 2002 to 2005. BMW says in documents filed with regulators that the power steering can fail because of manufacturing or other issues. If that happens, manual steering remains but it would take greater effort to steer. . . .
The Daily Toggle,":
. . . Randy Smalley from RSR Motorsports announced that he will be bringing four old MINI racecars from the 2007-2012 era. Before the current MINI John Cooper Works / LAP Motorsports team entered the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series this year, the way had been paved by Nuzzo Motorsports and RSR Motorsports (GRAND-AM at that time). . . .
Visit the Daytona Historics website at www.hsrrace.com.
TreeAngle, run by freelance journalist Bayu Hermawan, formerly of Motor Trend, does a first drive review of the 2015 MINI JCW Hatchback and has this to say, among other things:
. . . Although the newest, sharpest Mini is on the expensive side, the JCW Hardtop is not without tremendous merit. Initial build quality is high with well-weighted controls, premium interior materials, and MINImal (to borrow Mini’s terminology) obnoxious ergonomics prevalent in earlier Minis. The new Brembos are stellar, and although we would have loved to try the standard suspension setup, the JCW is a blast at eight-tenths on rural twisty roads. It is pricey, but value is relative. . . .
The PalmBeachPost.com discusses a new U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consent order that settles an FTC claim:
. . . against BMW of North America LLC, whose MINI Division allegedly violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by telling consumers that BMW would void their warranty unless they used MINI parts and MINI dealers to perform maintenance and repair work.The consent order:
. . . will remain in effect for 20 years, [and] prohibits BMW from violating the Warranty Act regarding any MINI Division good or service. It also:
- bars BMW, regarding the sale of any MINI Division good or service, from representing that, to ensure a vehicle’s safe operation or maintain its value, owners must have routine maintenance done only by MINI dealers or MINI centers, unless BMW can substantiate the representation with competent and reliable scientific evidence; or misrepresenting any material fact about warranty or maintenance requirements of any good or service; and
- requires BMW to notify affected MINI owners of their right to use third-party parts and service without voiding warranty coverage, unless BMW provides such parts or service for free. BMW is also required to post the notice on its miniusa.com website.
The Car Guide reviews the 2016 MINI Clubman and observes:
When you take corners enthusiastically, body roll is controlled effectively and the steering communicates information from the front wheels with uncommon jubilance. It’s hard to believe that it’s power steering. There’s no torque effect on the front wheels during sudden acceleration and if ever the driver lacks (a little) judgement, the various control systems work with the electronic differential to bring the vehicle back on track. The units we tested came with Dynamic Damper Control, which modifies the suspension damping and is well worth the $500 it costs.
autoevolution provides, in part, this take on the 2016 MINI John Cooper Works:
If you want it to, the MINI JCW can be as tame as a slow loris, entering a sedated state when in Green mode that can see you return up to 40 mpg (5.9 l/100 km) when threading lightly and that’s no joke. Yes, we were impressed by the fuel consumption of this would be beast and we’re not afraid to tell you all about it.
If you want to be track ready, though, you might wish to wait for the MINI JCW GP model to come out that’s where practicality will become a distant memory. Until then, you can decide whether it is worth your money by reading our full 2016 MINI JCW review. That’s also where you’ll learn why we think this is the perfect paradox in the current line-up.
Ultimatecarpage.com carries this MINI press release:
The reinvention of the MINI brand continues apace with the launch of the all-new MINI Convertible. With major refinements against its predecessor, the car features a striking new design and significant enhancements to make open-topped MINI motoring even more dynamic, stylish and practical.
Officially on sale in the UK from March 2016, it follows hugely successful model launches in 2004 and 2009. After 12 years of sales success, it remains the only premium soft-top four-seater convertible in the small car segment, and the UK continues to be the largest market worldwide for the new MINI Convertible.
Brand new features include a fully electric roof that is quieter and smoother than the previous model, a fully integrated rollover protection system and more rear space than ever before.
A striking new exterior and interior design ensures the new MINI Convertible is unmistakably MINI, whilst showcasing a blend of sporting flair and elegant dynamism.
The all-new MINI Cooper Convertible and Cooper D Convertible are 3,821 mm long, with the MINI Cooper S Convertible 3,850 mm long. All models are 1,727 mm wide, 1,415 mm high and have a wheelbase of 2,495 mm.
Those dimensions have increased compared with the outgoing model, with 98 mm extra length, 44 mm extra width and 1 mm extra height. The wheelbase is 28 mm longer and track width has also grown a further 42 mm at the front and 34 mm at the rear.
The increase in dimensions has enhanced comfort levels and freedom of movement in all four seats. The two front seats have a wider range of adjustment, while rear passengers benefit from easier access, more headroom, a longer seat surface and improved lateral support. The design of the new rear more clearly defines the two individual seats.
Day-to-day practicality has also improved. Smart design and interior packaging means luggage volume has expanded by around 25 per cent to 215 litres with the roof closed and 160 litres with it folded down.
A high level of standard equipment across the range includes MINI Visual Boost Radio with a 6.5-inch screen, MINI Connected, Bluetooth connectivity with USB audio, Rear Parking Distance Control and a Reversing Camera.
Personalisation is once again at the heart of the new MINI Convertible. Options include an industry-first Union Jack design woven into the MINI Yours fabric roof. There are two new exterior colours - Caribbean Aqua and Melting Silver - with a new Chester leather in Malt Brown available for the interior.
A three-car range will be available from launch - the MINI Cooper Convertible, MINI Cooper D Convertible and MINI Cooper S Convertible - with two petrol engines and one diesel. On-the-road pricing starts at just £18,475.
The most important element of any convertible is its roof, and MINI has gone to great lengths to further improve the quality of this key component. Fully electric, the roof of the new MINI Convertible is suitable for year-round use and has been optimised for the very best heat and acoustic insulation. Quieter than ever before, when opened it folds neatly behind the rear seats. The front roof section can also be retracted by up to 40 cm, and this can be carried out at any speed.
For a quick reaction to sudden changes in the weather, the soft-top can be opened and closed at speeds of up to 18 mph. The two operations are activated by means of a toggle switch on the front roof frame. When the vehicle is stationary, it can also be operated using a button on the remote key. Both operations take just 18 seconds. A button located in the driver's door trim allows for simultaneous opening and closing of all four side windows.
As an alternative to the standard version of the soft-top in black, a MINI Yours version is available for the first time with an integrated woven graphic. It's an innovative and unique way to customise the new MINI Convertible. Based on the popular roof graphic from the MINI Hatch, the Union Jack motif is finished in a black and grey herringbone pattern.
Safety is a critical consideration in open-topped cars and the new MINI Convertible includes new integrated rollover protection which extends automatically when required. Also improved is the optional wind deflector which can be locked into position behind the driver and front passenger seats so to provide protection from unwanted air turbulence during open-topped driving. After use it can be removed and stowed in the luggage compartment.
Reflecting the styling changes already seen on the latest versions of the MINI 3-door Hatch, MINI 5-door Hatch and MINI Clubman, the all-new MINI Convertible showcases a blend of sporting flair and elegant dynamism.
Emphasising the elongated silhouette, the chrome band that runs horizontally along the shoulder line, the short overhangs and the sculpted surfaces are all pure MINI. Family cues include the large circular headlamps with chrome rings, the hexagonal radiator grille, the â€˜side scuttle' indicator surrounds and black lower edging to the body panels.
In conjunction with the optional Chrome Line exterior, the lower air inlet also features a chrome surround. On the MINI Cooper Convertible and MINI Cooper D Convertible, the ribs of the radiator grille and the bumper trim where the number plate sits are finished in high-gloss black. The performance credentials of the new MINI Cooper S Convertible are highlighted with an additional bonnet vent, and brake ducts in the lower air inlet. In addition, the chrome rib of the radiator grille bears an â€˜S' logo in red that's repeated on the side scuttles.
At the rear, the vertical light clusters feature chrome surrounds. Add in the tailgate handle strip, the distinctive bumper and the widening lower section of the body, and this car has all the MINI family signatures. The new MINI Cooper S Convertible can be identified by two centrally positioned exhaust pipes and a model-specific rear apron, complete with diffuser. The other engine variants have a rear fog light there instead.
Boot volume of the new MINI Convertible is 160 litres with the roof open and 215 litres when it's closed. Both figures are approximately 25 per cent more than its the predecessor. The tailgate opens downwards and can support a weight of up to 80 kg, for ease of loading.
When the roof is closed, the luggage compartment opening can be expanded to stow larger items by means of the Easy Load function, which comes as standard. Two locking handles enable the roof frame to be swung higher up than in the previous MINI Convertible. For long loads, the car's standard 50:50 split folding rear seat back rest makes life easier. The through-loading facility - widened by 8 mm to 734 mm - is ideal for items such as skis or snowboards.
The selection of paint finishes on the new MINI Convertible has been extended on this new model. For the first time, Caribbean Aqua metallic and Melting Silver metallic are now available, in addition to seven other metallic and four non-metallic finishes. All can be combined with exterior options including Chrome Line exterior, mirror caps and bonnet stripes.
MINI's unique approach to cabin design showcases the best in contemporary styling, use of premium materials and high-quality workmanship. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in the new MINI Convertible, where a new Chester leather is available for the first time in Malt Brown colour.
At the heart of the car's appeal is increased space and comfort compared with the model. The extended adjustment range of the front seats ensures convenient entry and exit for rear passengers. Longer seat surfaces, increased headroom, extra shoulder width, extra elbow space, and more knee room (by 36 mm) all contribute to the enhanced rear.
In the front, MINI's characterful dashboard and instruments are as striking as ever. The horizontally structured cockpit matched with circular or elliptical contours for displays, air vents and door trim will all be familiar. Much-loved MINI elements such as the instrument panel on the steering column, large central display screen and red start/stop button at the centre of the dashboard are all present.
In both the front and rear there are cupholders and storage spaces for small items and drinks. Bottles of up to 1.5 litres in volume fit in the two door pockets. A storage package is available as an option, consisting of storage nets for the luggage compartment and passenger footwell. A 12-volt socket in the luggage compartment is also included.
For an interior design geared towards the customer's own personal style, there is a broad selection of upholstery colours, interior surfaces, cockpit facia frames, lighting packages, and Colour Lines and Chrome Lines for the interior, including MINI Yours options.
To ensure outstanding driving performance with exceptional efficiency, the latest generation of EU6-compliant engines are installed under the bonnet. The petrol engines inside MINI Cooper Convertible and MINI Cooper S Convertible - 1.5-litre three-cylinder and 2.0-litre four-cylinder respectively - feature turbocharging, direct fuel injection with centrally positioned injectors, variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust side (double VANOS) and fully variable VALVETRONIC valve control technology. On the 1.5-litre diesel three-cylinder engine in the MINI Cooper D Convertible, there is turbocharging with variable intake geometry and common rail direct injection.
Power is directed to the front wheels, with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. Offering increased efficiency, optimised acoustic and vibration response and enhanced shift comfort, a gear sensor enables active engine speed adaptation for especially sporty shifting when accelerating and increased comfort when shifting down.
A six-speed Steptronic transmission is available as an option, also more efficient and refined than ever before. Steptronic sports transmission with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles can be specified on the MINI Cooper S Convertible. It offers reduced shift times, and features a Launch Control function for traction-optimised acceleration from a standing start. Both automatic variants have a transmission control system that is able to draw on navigation data to aid gear and shift-point selection.
MINIMALISM technology is fitted as standard across the range, including an auto start/stop function in conjunction with both manual and Steptronic transmissions, brake energy recuperation, shift-point display and electro-mechanical power steering. In addition to the map-controlled oil pumps, needs-based control of the fuel and coolant pumps also contributes to the efficiency of the engines. An optimised preheating process reduces the energy required to start the diesel engine in the MINI Cooper D Convertible by around 50 per cent. Extensive underbody panelling optimises aerodynamic performance.
The optional MINI Driving Modes enable individual vehicle set-up by means of a rotary switch at the base of the gear lever. In addition to the standard MID mode, there is a choice of SPORT and GREEN. Adjustments influence the characteristic curves of the accelerator, steering and - if the car is specified accordingly - the shift characteristics of the Steptronic transmission and the Dynamic Damper Control program map.
In SPORT mode, the overall set-up is geared towards active driving fun, while GREEN mode supports relaxed and fuel-efficient driving. For example, in Steptronic cars it's possible to use the â€˜coasting' function, where the drivetrain is decoupled at speeds of between 31 and 99 mph as soon as the driver's foot is removed from the accelerator pedal.
The increase in wheelbase and track width over the outgoing model has provided an ideal starting point for the driving dynamics of the all-new MINI Convertible. The combination of single-joint strut front axle and multi-link rear axle - unique in the small car segment - and a convertible-specific set-up means the car is exceptionally agile but also supremely comfortable on all road surfaces. A sports suspension, which is geared towards even more dynamic driving, is available as an option on all models.
The electro-mechanical power steering includes speed-related Servotronic support for maximum precision during cornering and for comfortable manoeuvring at low speeds. A new option, available for the first time on the MINI Convertible, is Variable Damper Control. Two program maps are available to choose from, allowing the MINI Driving Modes to be used to activate either a comfort-oriented or a sporty response.
The MINI Cooper Convertible and MINI Cooper D Convertible are fitted with 15-inch light alloy wheels as standard. The MINI Cooper S Convertible comes with 16-inch light alloy wheels. Optional extras, in sizes from 16 to 18 inches, can be specified by the customer.
In addition to the ABS, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), cornering brake control (CBC), and the brake assistant, the standard-fit driving stability control system (DSC) also includes a drive-off assistant, a brake dry function, fading brake support and dynamic traction control (DTC). This latter system permits controlled slip for driving off in loose sand or snow.
Enhancing the driving stability control system (DSC), and active even when DSC is turned off, there is an electronic locking function for the front axle differential known as the electronic differential lock control (EDLC). This selectively brakes a spinning drive wheel on tight corners, redirecting torque to the other wheel. A standard feature in the MINI Cooper S Convertible, performance control supports agile steering for dynamic cornering prior to reaching the threshold level.
The agile, highly predictable and secure driving offered by the new MINI Convertible is due to its highly rigid body structure. The convertible-specific elements which increase stiffness include torsion struts in the front and rear area of the underbody, selective optimisation in the area of the side sills and a stiffening plate underneath the engine.
In addition, the new MINI Convertible is fitted with a rollover protection system with actuators connected to the car's safety electronics. For the first time, the rollover protection elements are integrated and completely invisibly. As soon as the car detects the risk of a rollover, two protection bars made of high-strength aluminium retract within 150 milliseconds by means of a pyrotechnical trigger. Combined with the convertible-specific reinforced windscreen frame, this forms a stable survival space for vehicle occupants.
Additional standard safety features include front airbags, side head-thorax airbags integrated in the backrests and three-point automatic belts on all seats. These include belt tensioners at the front, plus ISOFIX child seat mountings at the rear and for the front passenger seat. A tyre pressure display for each individual wheel is also fitted as standard. Meanwhile, a partially active bonnet, impact absorbers and precisely defined deformation elements ensure optimised pedestrian protection.
MINI's suite of driver assistance systems are second to none, and many are showcased on the new Convertible. They include park distance control (PDC) with rear sensors and rear view camera as standard, and front sensors as an option. Parking Assistant is also available as an option.
The Driving Assistant option comprises a camera-based cruise control and distance control system, as well as collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function. It also includes road sign detection for speed limits and overtaking bans, plus high beam assistant.
New to the MINI Convertible is MINI Head-Up Display. The system projects driving-related information on to an extendible display in the upper area of the instrument panel. There it can be read quickly and conveniently without the driver having to avert their eyes from the road.
Standard across the range is air conditioning, central locking with keyless engine start and MINI Visual Boost Radio with AUX-In and USB socket. Two-zone air conditioning with an automatic convertible mode is available as an optional extra.
Others options include a sports steering wheel (standard on the MINI Cooper S Convertible), heated front seats, a visibility package including windscreen heating, a rain sensor with automatic driving lights control, Comfort Access, a Harmon Kardon hi-fi speaker system, plus heated/folding exterior mirrors. A new digital version of the Always Open Timer, which registers the time spent driving with the roof down, is also on the options list.
In addition, there is a MINI Yours sports steering wheel with a soft nappa rim and hand-stitched seams, as well as sports-oriented John Cooper Works options. These include an aerodynamics kit, leather steering wheel and sport seats.
A host of new exterior lighting options are available on the car, including all-LED lights, the addition of adaptive light distribution geared towards driving situation and road layout, plus an LED turning light. Inside the car, the optional LED lighting package creates a sophisticated ambience. The MINI Excitement Package includes a downwards projection of the MINI logo from the exterior mirror on the driver's side, activated when the car is unlocked.
Customers wishing to add extra spice to their MINI Convertible can choose to add a Chili pack to their car. Containing some of the most popular optional extras, such as LED headlights and daytime running lights, Interior lighting pack, Automatic dual-zone air conditioning, cruise control, MINI Excitement pack and much more, Chili pack helps MINI Convertible customers to get more MINI for their money.
MINI Visual Boost Radio and MINI Connected are standard across the range, with MINI Navigation System and MINI Navigation System XL, featuring a gorgeous 8.8 inch colour display, available as an option. MINI Connected offers extensive integration of smartphones in the car, allowing access to infotainment, communication and driving experience apps.
The MINI Connected app comprises new and exclusive functions to increase comfort and driving pleasure in the MINI Convertible. For example, Streetwise is available for the first time, providing the driver with tips for the optimum route before the journey gets underway.
A SIM card can be fitted permanently into the new MINI Convertible. This means Intelligent Emergency Call with automatic detection of vehicle location and accident severity is available, as well as MINI TeleServices. The optional Media XL Pack includes both MINI Navigation XL and MINI Connected XL with the Journey Mate function. This helps the driver plan routes, as well as providing personalised information while travelling. It also features a real-time traffic radar function with highly precise and up-to-date traffic information.
Another new feature incorporated into MINI Connected XL, developed especially for the MINI Convertible, is the â€˜rain warner' function. If the vehicle is parked with the roof open and the forecast is bad, the driver is sent a message via their smartphone suggesting that it might be time to close up. If the MINI Convertible is being driven and there is rain forecast ahead, the driver will be alerted on the centre console. Additionally, if the car is travelling over 30 mph, MINI Connected XL will suggest possible places to pull over and close the roof.
Autocar provides a thorough review and concludes:
Should I buy one?:
If you’re in the market for a typical hatchback but are put off by the sometimes lacklustre dynamics served up by mainstream offerings, this new Mini is well worth a look. Although it’s priced above the more conventional competition, it delivers an engaging driving experience, especially in the Cooper S guise tested here.
The Clubman has always been a quirky choice and that tradition continues with this new model. However, it is clearly better than the previous Clubman in terms of passenger and boot space, perceived quality inside, performance, fuel economy and comfort.
The adoption of four conventional side doors, together with improved functionality of the barn doors at rear, also provides it with significantly enhanced practicality, which is something that’s sure to make the new Clubman more popular among family car buyers than before.
The Irish News quotes William Scholes in explaining the unique placement of the barn door tailgate and the placement of the new 2015 MINI Clubman in the MINI portfolio. It opines:
. . . . The Clubman is probably the least mini new Mini yet, though it is a handsome looking wagon. It also looks expensive, which is just as well as it is resolutely premium-priced. . . .
autoevolution has posted a nice wallpaper selection under the title "Urban Cruising."
The Daily Toggle offers this official BMW/MINI press release:
Munich. The MINI John Cooper Works continues its series of successes at the annual “sport auto” magazine readers’ choice and takes first place in the importer small car category. Thanks to its outstanding performance and properties, the MINI John Cooper Works has always had an exceptional standing among the competition.
The MINI John Cooper Works is driven by the most powerful engine ever installed in one of the British premium brand’s production models, the 2 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology generating 170 kW/231 hp (fuel consumption according to EU: 6.7 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 165 g/km). The top athlete’s technology for the engine, suspension and aerodynamics derives directly from motor racing and defines its exclusive properties and its orientation towards extreme driving fun. Its distinctive character is emphasised by model-specific exterior and interior design features. In conjunction with the 6-speed manual transmission, the MINI John Cooper Works accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds reaching a top speed of 246 km/h. It is also optionally available with the 6-speed Steptronic sports transmission.
The “sport auto award” has been issued since 1980 and ranks among the most longest-standing automobile awards. This year 13,601 readers voted in 30 series production car categories and 10 tuning model classes.
Digital Trends' MINI Cooper S four-door review says, in part, there is no comparison with other cars:
. . . Those crowded back seats bring me back to my original point, namely that the Mini Cooper, even in its four door guise isn’t really a car. After all, it is tempting to compare the Mini to something like a Golf GTI and wonder why you are getting less car for significantly more money.
This kind of comparison isn’t fair, because the Golf GTI wants to be a car, and the Mini wants to be a fashion item. After all, a reusable grocery bag is larger and more durable than Coach handbag, but we all understand why the handbag costs more.
Like that handbag, the Mini nominally has a practical purpose, but really the reason to buy it is that almost entirely divorced from it. This might limit the people who would consider buying a Mini, but the people who will are going to appreciate every last LED light and vintage line. Looking at it that way, it’s almost a good deal.
MotoringFile's findings as explained by Pedro at MotoringFun:
Of course it goes without saying that dyno results need to be carefully scrutinized. Everything can be a factor from dyno to weather to everything in between. Yet if these numbers are correct, this MCW with the JCW Tuning kit is putting down 206.53 hp and 236.99 ft-lbs at the wheel. Thus if we assume the typical 12% drive train loss we’d get something pretty impressive. Power at the Crank: Horsepower: 231.31 bhp / Torque: 267.80 ft-lbs. We’ll let him (Pedro) explain:
"Based on these numbers, I would say that MINI is probably quite conservative in their John Cooper Works power ratings of 228bhp and 236 ft/lbs of torque, especially considering that with just the JCW Tuning Kit, Clark (the name of his MCS) has exceeded both the published horsepower and torque ratings of the factory JCW. I do hope to have someone else with their F56 Cooper S and JCW Tuning Kit come to the October dyno day so we can have another car to compare against to see if this is the norm or if Clark is just “SuperMINI” after all."
Edmunds.com gave a send off to its 2014 MINI Cooper Long Term Tester by taking a family drive to Castle Air Museum in Atwater, Cailfornia. Senior Automotive Editor Brent Romans muses:
. . . One aspect that stood out more this time was wind and road noise. I went on record earlier this year claiming our Mini Cooper was quiet on the highway. Well, it seemed nosier this time around, which might have had something to do with different kinds of road surfaces. Also, I was often answering my son's "Are we there yet?" questions, which could have influenced me noticing the wind and road noise more. But I wouldn't have described it as quiet on this trip.
My son was otherwise happy sitting in back, and I've come to appreciate the Mini Cooper's boxy profile. Compared to other small two-door coupes with a sloping roofline, the Cooper is easier to step in back and strap little kids into their safety or booster seats. . . . .
motioncars, situated in the Philippines, reviews the new MINI Cooper S and advises:
. . . A MINI Cooper S is one of those cars we all need to own at one point in our lives. It’s a true driver’s car, but doesn’t look outlandish and snobby, it has real pedigree, is fuel-efficient and if you’re driving mostly alone, very practical. Fuel consumption was a decent combined 9 km per liter on an engine with only a handful of miles in it, so this should improve vastly. The added size has made it easier to live with as well, and yet the fun-factor is very much intact. . . . .
MotoringFile posts this official MINI press release:
Official Release: Tests conducted by the University of Portsmouth reveal that driving a powerful car can provoke a more dramatic physical response than enjoying a rollercoaster ride or jumping out of a plane.
Working with MINI’s new John Cooper Works Hatch, launched this summer, scientists from the University of Portsmouth’s Sport and Exercise Science department ran a series of physical, psychological and physiological tests to measure the effect the car had on a selection of drivers and stunt driver, of Rush and Mission Impossible 5 fame, Niki Faulkner.
Putting their foot down at the iconic Goodwood Motor Circuit, the drivers’ self-recorded anxiety levels increased a massive 370 per cent from rest, whilst average heart rate increased 100 per cent to 181 beats per minute – this increase is nearly four times that reported when watching horror film The Shining or even jumping out of a plane, which has been recorded at 170 beats per minute.
Driving the new MINI John Cooper Works Hatch could even provoke a greater response than that of someone proposing to their girlfriend or even running a marathon.
Adrenalin makes us sharper as the drivers’ reaction times improved by an average of 6% after driving the MINI John Cooper Works Hatch, triggering the same effect as caffeine.
Dr Chris Wagstaff explains, “In situations of fear and excitement, the body reacts according to a combination of our thoughts and survival instinct – reactions are faster, our heart rate increases.
“This is part of the evolutionary fight or flight response humans developed many hundreds of years ago. However, in the absence of natural predators to trigger such responses, humans occasionally seek out risks or thrills. Being in a MINI delivered enough exhilaration to activate this response.”
Stunt driver Niki Faulkner says, “This is a little car that packs a big punch. I am used to driving fast cars but the MINI’s acceleration, power and handling definitely impressed me and this is certainly portrayed in the participant’s responses! I definitely felt more comfortable driving than being on the side line.”
With a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine and TwinPower Turbo Technology, the new MINI John Cooper Works Hatch achieves top speeds of 153mph, has 231 horsepower and reaches 62mph in 6.3 seconds.
Combined with a racing heritage and quality credentials of the latest MINI generation, the John Cooper Works Hatch truly is pulse-racingly hot on and off the screen.
- The average heart rate increased by 100% when driving
- The average heart rate increased by 80% whilst as a passenger
- The maximum heart rate achieved as a driver was 181 beats per minute, and was 153 beats per minute on average
- The maximum heart rate achieved as a passenger was 153 beats per minute, and was 127 beats per minute on average
- From rest to being a passenger self reported anxiety increased by 288%
- From rest to driving self reported anxiety increased by 370%
- Average reaction time performance improved by 6% after driving
- Average reaction time performance improved by 4% after being a passenger
- The maximum heart rate of a rider during a rollercoaster ride was 155 beats per minute
- The average beats per minute of someone jumping out of a plane was 170 beats per minute
- The maximum heart rate of someone proposing to their girlfriend was 130 beats per minute
The Motor Report offers this "Verdict" on the 2015 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works:
Is there something for everyone in the new JCW? Not a smouldering chance.
Those stubborn buggers at MINI deserve a pat on the back for serving up a car that is still (beneath all the electronics) raw, hard-edged, and an absolute hoot to drive.
Refinement isn’t the name of the game - in fact, name one race car that ever won on a track based on its exemplary comfort - this little belter is about making you feel as if you’re at the helm of something "built to win".
And while the price of admission might seem a little high, its potency (both under-bonnet, and in handling terms) makes it a unique proposition within its class.
autoevolution thinks so and points out a prototype was shown at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. It also advises:
As for the styling, we're going to turn our attention to this immaculate rendering from X-Tomi Design. He grafted a new lower front bumper onto the 6-door car, installed bigger wheels and spruced things up with red stripes. Of course, things like the exhaust or suspension will be enhanced as well.
MotoringFile analyzes its experience and has these "Thoughts on 10,000 Miles":
. . . There’s no question that the F56 MINI is the best product the brand has ever produced. It’s little larger than the previous MINI but for that tradeoff you get a car that has much more utility, performance, technology and comfort. The interior is a revelation as compared with the R50 and R56 generations and the quality has been dramatically improved. This is a MINI that you don’t have to make excuses for. In short it’s both a great small car and a fantastic MINI.
In this MotoringFile video BMW/MINI board member Peter Schwarzenbauer talks about the new Clubman and the evolution of the MINI brand.
Life is Poppin' and provides this "Overall" view:
All in all, I walked away with mixed feelings after giving Dreyer and Reinbold back their Mini. In the end, I was extremely pleased with the car, how it drove, and of course, the way it looks. It brings back fond memories of my previous Mini Coopers and how much I enjoyed driving them. But at the same time, I don’t know that I could walk into the dealer and sign away forty-grand. Why is that? Most people would say it needs more power to be relevant in its segment, which is somewhat true. Some would say that it’s impractical, but they’re wrong, as I managed to fit a stroller, a power wheels and other large items in the back of it. Don’t complain about the lack of cargo room. It’s a Mini, not a Tahoe.
I’ll tell you what it is —it’s bloody good. It’s fun, its exhaust crackles and pops, and I just can’t get over how well it glues to the road. And that’s why I couldn’t buy one. A car like this is meant to be driven fast and hard, so if you’re looking for a fun and quick commuter, save yourself eight-grand and buy the Cooper S. You’ll thank me for it.
getreading compares these three and concludes:
The Mini Hatch isn’t that far behind, but it doesn’t win this contest like it apparently ‘should’. It comes with a fine selection of kit but it’s costlier to run than the others and isn’t far ahead where you imagine it would be.
MotoringFile features this Official BMW/MINI Press Release:
A large investment programme to develop the BMW Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham is complete. The production of new three and four-cylinder engines is already being ramped up on brand-new production lines, and over one million components will be machined at the plant for the first time this year as supply extends to other plants in the Group.
The investment project, part of £750 million that has been spent across BMW Group’s UK manufacturing sites, has ensured the Hams Hall site remains a state-of-the-art facility, capable of producing the next generation of engines and securing a long-term future for the plant.
Engines, as well as machined components manufactured at BMW Plant Hams Hall contribute to a range of cars across BMW Group’s product portfolio. This includes MINI – the new Clubman model goes on sale in just a few weeks’ time, as well as the new BMW 7 Series, also launched this month.
Plant Director, Markus Fallboehmer says: “The transformation in our plant has been huge. Over the last few years we have completely re-developed our two main production areas and installed over 600 brand-new pieces of equipment and machinery. While a high level of technology and automation ensures our plant remains a state-of-the-art facility, the ergonomics of the workstations where we have more manual input have been carefully thought through and adjusted to suit each individual member of the team.
“A large investment has also been made in our workforce via a number of training programmes and opportunities for people to upskill and take on new job roles. We have changed the make-up of our workforce as well with over 100 people securing BMW contracts, some of whom were previously working for us on a temporary basis. Looking further ahead to the future, we have trebled the number of apprentices training with us to ensure we have a strong, skilled workforce for many years to come.”
Development of the site is another piece of the jigsaw in BMW Group’s global strategy for engine production. The Hams Hall facility is now operating alongside other plants in Germany and Austria, all producing the same new family of next generation engines.
“Our new engine family of highly efficient three, four and six-cylinder engines have a standard design, a high number of similar parts and a uniform process for manufacture,” explains Ilka Horstmeier, who heads up BMW Group’s global production network for engines and electrified powertrain. “This gives us a large amount of flexibility and means we can optimise production between each of our manufacturing locations and respond quickly to changes in customer demand or market developments. The investment in Hams Hall has enabled the plant to grow and play an ever-increasingly important role in the production of these latest engines.”
Production of a small number of new engines was first introduced at Hams Hall last year. Three-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo technology 1.5-litre petrol engines are hand-built exclusively at Hams Hall on a special production line for the BMW i8, the first purpose-built, plug-in hybrid sports car. This engine has already contributed to a series of award-wins for the revolutionary vehicle as well as two class and an overall win at the International Engine of the Year awards.
Overall, the new Efficient Dynamics high-tech engine family includes petrol and diesel engines, all employing TwinPower Turbo technology and ranging from 1.5 to 3.0 litres. With different power ratings, the engines can be adapted to a variety of vehicle concepts. Commonality across the engines makes it possible to be extremely flexible in achieving significant efficiences at high production volumes, as well as being able to produce additional special versions of the engines at relatively small volumes across the network of engine plants.
To get a glimpse inside the Hams Hall engine plant, tune in to the new BBC2 series ‘Building Cars Live’, presented by James May, Kate Humble and Ant Anstead. The Hams Hall plant is one of the key suppliers to MINI production at the Oxford-based vehicle manufacturing plant that will feature in the programme this autumn.
Motoring.com.au discusses the new Clubman and is adamant:
MINI says the new MINI Clubman and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer are two entirely different cars even though they share the same UKL chassis architecture and wheelbase.
In fact, MINI Clubman 'project expert' and mechanical engineer Faris Gerum – who was responsible for all aspects of the MKIII Clubman barring its powertrain – wants to ensure the phrase ‘shared platform’ is struck from any record.
Speaking with assembled Australian and New Zealand media at the MINI Clubman range’s international media launch in Stockholm, Gerum conceded the “architecture” is similar but insists there’s no interchangeability between the MINI and BMW wagons.
“For it to be a shared platform, you would have to be able to remove one body and add another… this is not the case here.”
Further, certain engines and transmission options that are now shared between the brands (including the new eight-speed automatic we will see in the Cooper S Clubman, along with its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine) receive specific ECU tuning to suit the application, meaning the finished products deliver a specific driving experience based on the model’s targeted market. . . .
BusinessCar's final fleet test drive report on the 5-door MINI Cooper concludes:
. . . There are a few niggles on the infotainment system in terms of how intuitive it is, but as a car to put some corporate sales hopes on, the five-door hatch should comfortably add 4000 additional fleet registrations as predicted.
Car Trade, based on other industry articles, advises:
. . . the new gen Countryman will be a brand’s answer to full size proper SUVs with the necessary ruggedness and strength. The brand has also made clear the new offering will not be a crossover or a hatch made to look tough. . . .
The Bay State Banner test drove the new 2015 MINI Cooper JCW at Lime Rock Park racetrack in Connecticut and concludes:
Buyable ranking: 7. All in all, the Mini Cooper wins for originality and fun factor but if you’re planning to do lots of city driving, you should expect a bumpy ride.
getreading contrasts and compares the vehicle with this final resolution:
In the Mini you’re in hot hatch sweet spots much of the time, and you feel more connected, more involved, and the sound is sweeter too. Isn’t that what a hot hatch is meant to be all about?
MotoringFile reviews the 2016 MINI Countryman and advises, in part:
. . . Our week in our well specced ($38,000) 2016 MINI Countryman Cooper S wasn’t anything special. Or to put it another way we simply lived in it. That included commuting, a couple airport trips and hauling kids and gear. But then again that likely sums up the most typical use cases for the four door Countryman.
* * *
The saving grace of the Countryman is how it drives. While the steering is more vague than the new generation of MINIs, its agility is excellent for a small four door crossover. In many ways it defies the segment as something that isn’t user friendly (when everything else strives to be) and delivers a legitimately engaging driving experience (when nothing else outside of MINI does). If you can look past its interior and aging drivetrain (or stay away from the auto) the Countryman still offers something relevant to the driver looking for all weather traction and four doors in an efficient package.
Austin American Statesman in its short article on the MINI Cooper.
BMWBlog looks at:
the latest Gran Turismo-inspired video by Autocar, they test out two of the best front-wheel drive hot hatches on the market, the Mini Cooper S JCW and Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy, against two of the best rear-wheel drive sports cars on the market, the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota GT 86, to find the best affordable sports car.Here's the video:
MINI has introduced the limited edition Cooper JERMYN in Japan.
Named after Jermyn Street in the Mayfair district of London, the special edition is based on the Cooper S and features a unique Lapis Luxury Blue exterior with 18-inch alloy wheels.
Bigger changes occur in the cabin as the special edition has been equipped with unique leather seats that feature Union Jack inspired headrests. The model also has a nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel, dark cottonwood trim and heated front seats.
The special edition will be available in both three- and five-door body styles and production will be limited to 180 units.
love:mini announces "Power Maxed MINI Challenge Taster Days" in the U.K.:
Have you ever fancied racing? You have?! Well here's a great opportunity to get behind of the wheel of a proper racing MINI and see if it's something you want to get involved in.
MINI Challenge is running three Taster Sessions across the country for drivers interested in trying out racing for the first time. . . .
MotoringFile offers a comprehensive guide on the new Clubman and notes:
MINI has big plans for the Clubman. First up will be an all wheel drive version expected within the next 12-18 months. The system will be identical to the Countryman’s new system which is a new iteration of the R60’s.