WHAT'S COMING UP?

Pinnacles National Park Run Details

Hi Everyone,  RAIN or SHINE we will visit Pinnacles National Park on Saturday, November 11, 2017. MEETING/DEPARTURE TIME: 9:00am/9:30am ...

MINI Reveals 2016 MINI JCW Convertible

Car posts information on the new release scheduled to be at the 2016 New York Auto Show in March:
The Mini John Cooper Works is a rocket-powered rollerskate, adding a dollop of extra power (and extra grilles) to the already speedy Cooper S.

Now Mini’s chopped the JCW’s roof off, creating a suitably over-the-top range-topper for the newly introduced Mk3 Convertible family . . . .

Perfect Shoes For The MINI Driver

BMWBlog says these are the shoes for MINI drivers and tells why,The Concepts x Nike Free Trainer 1.0 Thermal.

". . . Are You Having Fun Yet?

". . .of course, yes" is the proper response according to a review of the MINI JCW in theguardian.

MotoringFile's First Week With A New MINI Clubman Cooper S

MotoringFile writes about its first week with the new MINI Clubman Cooper S. Among its observations:
One week in and the superlatives are rolling in for our six door MINI around the MotoringFile HQ. So much so that at least one of us is considering buying our own Clubman after experiencing it first hand. All the attributes we found in our first look at the Clubman are still impressing us after a week of living with it. . . .

MINI USA's First Appearamce At Barrett-Jackson Auctions

BMW Group PressClub USA put out this "Media Alert":
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – January 27, 2016… MINI makes its first appearance at the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions in Scottsdale, AZ. The MINI display features the full range of current MINI products including newest products from the brand’s line-up - the all-new MINI Clubman and the all-new MINI Convertible. In the spirit of the proceedings, a vintage MINI Clubman from the 1960s will also be a highlight.

The display includes the MINI lounge where auction attendees can take a break and charge their phones or tablets. There will also be a MINI photo booth where attendees can take a picture to post on social media using the hashtag #MINIatBarretJackson.

The 2016 MINI Clubman starts at $24,100 and is available in MINI showrooms today. The MINI Convertible starts at $25,950 and arrives in US showrooms in March 2016, just in time for Spring. All prices exclude the $850 Destination & Handling fee.
If you are in Scottsdale this week and want to stop by and check it out, please contact Dave Buchko by e-mail at dave.buchko@bmwna.com or by cell phone or text at 201-321-6857. . . .

Tony Hawk In MINI 2016 Super Bowl Commercial

Limited Edition MINI Countryman Park Lane For Malaysia

PaulTan.org highlghts, with a photo gallery, the limited edition run of 88 MINI Countryman Park Lanes that will be sold in Malaysia.

The 2016 MINI Clubman S Has "Controversial Looks"

evo asks, "can the way it drives make up for those controversial looks?" It decides:
. . . The Clubman has a better ride than its hatchback cousins, with additional suppleness to how it deals with harsh surfaces. The longer wheelbase adds an additional level of body control when the undulations come thick and fast and the corners are long and open. The only issue is from the standard-fit Pirelli Cinturato tyres. As we’ve found on our JCW long-termer, they simply aren’t up to the task, relinquishing grip far too early in corners with a sensation of the sidewalls falling in on themselves. It’s enough to make you back off and stop enjoying all that the Clubman has to offer. . . .

Turkish, Chinese BMW 730i's Equipped With MINI 2.0L

Carscoops reports:
. . . The new 730i’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline mill has an 82mm bore and 94.6mm stroke, which means it’s based on the B48 family of engines found in a number of models in the BMW Group, ranging from the MINI Cooper JCW to the latest BMW 225i and 330i in Europe, as well as the upcoming 740e PHEV – sans the electric motor. . . .

Don't Drive Like This Chinese MINI Hoon

The Daily Mirror provides commentary on this weaving, no signals used MINI driver in China who probably racked up enough points on his or her license in thsi video to have it suspended:

Danny Milner's Take On The MINI JCW As Hot Hatch

Danny Milner took the Pistonheads 2015 MINI JCW for a drive and provided his disappointments and surprises, such as:
. . . Which brings me to the handling. Frequently described as go-kart like, Mini has taken this cliche and run with it, to the point where selecting Sport mode brings up the reminder that you're unlocking 'Maximum Go Kart Fun'. Now, for me, go-kart handling evokes ideas of plentiful mechanical grip, direct steering and undiluted feedback. But sadly, where our JCW is concerned, these are not characteristics found in abundance. It lacks adhesion to the road, doesn't feel particularly agile and there's never a reassuring build-up of force before the front end begins to push on. The manual car we drove recently was much better in every respect, but having been unable to try some non-runflat tyres means we can only guess that this is the missing piece of the puzzle in the quest to unlock its full potential. . . .

More Spy Shots Of 2017 MINI Countryman

autoblog has posted a bunch of spy photos of a lightly disguised next generation Countryman.

2016 MINI Hatch Voted Supermini Of The Year

JustBritish reports:
Readers of BusinessCar magazine have voted the MINI Hatch as Premium Supermini Car of the Year 2016. This marks the fourteenth consecutive year that the MINI Hatch has won the coveted award. . . .

Chris Evans' Take On The New MINI Clubman S

Chris Evans drives and reviews the new MINI Clubman S for the U.K.'s MailOnline. He waxes:
. . . This car looks very, very cool. Much more realistic, more authentic and more credible than the silly-shaped modern Mini Countryman. It’s sleeker, flatter, meaner and more in proportion. Like a wasp compared to a bumblebee, an Audi RS6 to a Volvo XC90. . . .

Exoskeleton MINI Lift



[Source: Break]

Jalopnik Examines The 1992 Austin Mini 1000

Jalopnik offers its opinion, via writer Flavien Vidal, on whether the little bugger still deserves the hype that it garners giving it an 8 out of 10.

Car And Driver Provides A 2016 Clubman First Drive Review

According to Car and Driver:
Your cool uncle is in town, and he's driving a Clubman.

Dual Clutch Transmissions Coming To MINIs In 2018

MotoringFile discusses MINI drivetrains and says its sources indicate:
. . . MINI intends to offer dual clutch automatic transmissions starting with November 2017 production. . . .

Marathoning With A MINI Countryman

love:mini discusses fitness expert Ross Edgley's fitness challenge, to complete a marathon while at the same time pulling a MINI John Cooper Works Countryman behind him.

Fluffy Bunny In The New MINI Clubman

Jalopnik teases its review of the new MINI Clubman.

Saturday, February 20, 2016 - Run For Absent Friends

NORCAL MINIS will be visiting Mt.Hamilton once again for our annual run in memory of our club's founders. This year we'll also be naming honorary members.

We'll start in Fremont and make our way to the top of Mt.Hamilton. Time and location to be announced soon. Go to the NORCAL MINIs CALENDAR for the most up to date information on this run.


MINI Teams With HAX On Start-up Business Accelerator

Green Car Congress advises:
MINI and HAX, a division of venture capital firm SOSV, have launched a startup accelerator program to support, educate, and invest in compelling new businesses. Urban-X by MINI and HAX will combine the core competencies of MINI, including design, engineering, and usability, with HAX’s best-in-class acceleration processes, investing experience, and ability to help companies bring innovative technologies to market rapidly.

The program will assist early-stage ventures with designing and launching products and services that improve life in cities, and addresses the challenges of increasingly dense urban areas . . .

Spy Photos Of Upcoming Countryman In The Rain

WorldCarFans has a photo gallery of clandestine photos of the 2017 Countryman in the rain.

XCar's Video Review Of The 2016 MINI Clubman

Is This Why MINI Is So Important To BMW?

BMWBlog explores why MINI is important to BMW. Its take, in part:
. . . it makes it an easy transition for MINI customers to get into BMWs. This brings in a younger crowd for BMW, people moving up from the MINI brand into the entry-level BMW models, such as the 2 Series and 3 Series. . . .

MINI Launches New MINI Clubman ALL4

Part of what love:mini reports:
MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system, which has previously only been offered on MINI Countryman models, has been specially redeveloped to ensure sportier handling and improved versatility to further enhance the everyday practicality of the new MINI Clubman. . . .

". . . Oozed Character From Every Panel"

That is just one of CarsGuide's observations in its review of the new 2015 MINI Clubman Cooper S that provides this verdict:
Verdict

In a sea of beige hatches and overhyped mini-SUVs, the Clubman is a breath of fresh air.

The extra space inside and the more compliant suspension make it easier to live with around town without taking too much edge off the driving experience for enthusiasts.

But the options list is lengthy and the prices are steep, taking the gloss off this fun little wagon-cum-hatch.

2015 Versus 2015 MINI JCW

The USB Port compares the two and concludes:
. . . As for improved power and interiors, the 2016 model still is one the most powerful car that you can buy in the given price point. Even if the looks of this car are not like a hardcore hot hatch, it still feels like one with all its specifications and features.

At $31,450 (before destination charges), the car is definitely one of the most expensive cars in the hot hatch category, so for people who are looking for a no-frills throwback hot hatch that comes on a budget to match, they should definitely look at the other options.

"The Car That Every Modern Driver Needs"

That is the sentiment of Littlegate Publishing which writes, in part:
. . . Let’s face it, the car isn’t just a vehicle. It’s an extension of ourselves. As such, all drivers enjoy adding character to their motors, and the Mini Cooper family is perfect for doing this. . . .

Official Press Release On The New MINI Clubman

From BMW Group PressClub USA:
SUPREME DRIVING FUN IN EVERY SITUATION: THE NEW MINI CLUBMAN ALL4

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – January 19, 2016 – The market launch of the new MINI Clubman sees the latest model generation of the British brand embark on its advance into the premium compact segment. Additional momentum is now provided by the all-wheel drive system ALL4. The new MINI Clubman ALL4 guarantees an even sportier yet particularly supreme type of driving fun. What is more, its power transmission to all four wheels raises MINI versatility, everyday practicality and long-distance suitability to a whole new level. In this way, the new MINI Clubman ALL4 further establishes its position as an exceptional talent in the compact segment – with the unique versatility of its body concept, individual style and premium quality, as well as outstanding agile handling properties due to the newly developed version of the ALL4 all-wheel drive system.

Similar to the engines and transmissions developed for the latest members of the MINI model family, the new generation of the all-wheel drive system ALL4 optimises both the efficiency and sporty the flair of the models in which it is featured. The power transmission system of the new MINI Clubman ALL4 consists of a power take-off bevel gear on the front axle differential, a dual-section propeller shaft and a rear axle differential with an electrohydraulically controlled hang-on clutch. Its control system is interconnected with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). This enables distribution of the drive torque between the front and rear wheels to be adapted instantly and precisely to the given situation on the road at all times. In this way, ALL4 not only optimises traction and driving stability in all weathers and road conditions but also enhances agility during acceleration and when taking bends at speed.

The alternative to the characteristic MINI front-wheel drive is offered in conjunction with two particularly powerful engines of the latest generation. The 3- and 4-cylinder engines with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology are characterized by spontaneous and spirited power delivery which can be used for even sportier acceleration in conjunction with all-wheel drive. The 134-hp Cooper Clubman ALL4 and the 189-hp Cooper S Clubman ALL4 come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and optionally with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.

With the launch of the new MINI Clubman ALL4, the choice of model variants of the new MINI generation available in the premium compact segment now increases to four. This makes the range of the British brand in this vehicle category even more attractive. Two engines are available to choose from, either of which can be combined with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The high-quality suspension technology, which can be optionally supplemented with Dynamic Damper Control, guarantees typical go-kart feeling with both agile and secure handling properties as well as outstanding driving comfort. All engine variants of the new MINI Clubman also share the innovative vehicle concept of a 6-door car with a generous, versatile interior that is both high-end and distinctive in its design. Four side doors, the characteristic split doors at the rear, five fully-fledged seats and a luggage compartment whose volume can be expanded from 17.5 cubic feet to as much as 47.9 cubic feet by folding down the rear back ensure the highest level of functionality and versatility ever offered by a MINI. The matured premium character of the new MINI Clubman is highlighted by the extensive range of standard fittings including dual-zone automatic climate control, MINI Connected infotainment with 6.5-inch display and support for third party app integration, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming and electric parking brake. Every MINI Clubman also includes MINI Driving Modes and the MINI Excitement Package including LED interior and ambient lighting and a projection of the MINI logo onto the ground from the exterior mirror on the driver's side when opening and closing the car.

The full range of optional equipment to increase driving fun, comfort and individuality is also available for the new MINI Clubman ALL4. In addition to modern driver assistance systems such as MINI Head-Up-Display, Driving Assistant, rear view camera and Parking Assistant, this also includes such features as LED headlamps, Comfort Access including non-contact opening of the split doors, electrically adjustable seats for driver and front passenger, a panorama glass roof, What is more, exclusive MINI Yours and John Cooper Works options are available as well as the navigation system Professional including MINI Touch Controller and the complete MINI Journey Mate in-car infotainment program.
Exterior design: classic shooting brake concept in a modern interpretation.
The new MINI Clubman introduces a contemporary interpretation of the tradition-steeped shooting brake concept. Its distinctive proportions, unique in the compact segment, are characterised by a dynamically stretched silhouette, a powerful shoulder contour, a long roof line and a sloping rear. With a length of 168.3 inches, , a width of 70.9 inches, a height of 56.7 inches and a wheelbase of 105.1 inches, it is significantly longer than both its predecessor and the MINI Hardtop 4 door. The car's distinctive appearance is also accounted for by the horizontal rear lights and a combination applied to a MINI for the first time to reduce aerodynamic drag: Air Curtains - air inlets in the outer areas of the front apron - together with the air outlets known as Air Breathers, which are positioned behind the front wheel arches.

In addition to the circular headlamps set in a chrome frame, the hexagon contour of the radiator grille and the strikingly curved powerdome on the bonnet, typical MINI design features also include the side turn indicator elements known as side scuttles and the black surrounds on the bottom edge of the body. Other equally characteristic aspects are the short overhangs and the large track, which indicate the car's stable stature and - together with a low centre of gravity - contribute to a handling agility that can now be felt more intensely with the all-wheel drive of the new MINI Clubman ALL4.

Exclusive design features are indicative of the powerful engine in theMINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4. The front apron has a distinctive shaping and there are large cooling air inlets for the brakes. What is more, the Cooper S Clubman ALL4 has an additional opening on the bonnet and a chrome rib in the radiator grille bearing a red "S" with a chrome surround. The chrome side scuttles likewise bear an "S" logo. At the rear of the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4, striking features are the aerodynamically optimized bumpers with diffuser element and two widely spaced exhaust tailpipes. In addition, the two all-wheel drive variants of the new MINI Clubman can be identified by their conspicuous "ALL4" inscriptions on the front side panels.

The range of exterior paint finishes available for the MINI Clubman has been expanded at the launch of the all-wheel-drive models to include the new Digital Blue metallic. The roof and exterior mirror caps can be optionally finished in one of the contrasting colorcolors white, silver or black.

Interior: lots of space, distinctive design with sporty flair.
Comfortable freedom to move on five fully-fledged seats, versatile space and a distinctive cockpit design - these are the characteristic features of the new MINI Clubman interior, whose high-end ambience is supplemented with a particularly sporty touch in the all-wheel drive models. A clear sign of the more sophisticated character of the MINI Clubman is its exceptionally wide instrument panel with cockpit facia frame. This design feature is also echoed in the door trim panels and centre console. With the new MINI Yours Interior Styles option, the striking door trim design is highlighted by means of indirectly illuminated decorative strips.

The central instrument typical of the brand is integrated particularly harmoniously in the dashboard. A red toggle switch located underneath the central instrument serves as the engine start/stop button. The centre console reaches up to the dashboard and provides space for a storage compartment and two cupholders as well as the switch for the standard electric parking brake and the standard MINI Controller. The standard trim of the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 also includes sports seats for driver and front passenger as well as black chequered dash surfaces.

The new all-wheel drive system ALL4: fast and precise, compact and efficient.
Power transmission to all four wheels now enriches hallmark brand driving fun in the new MINI Clubman ALL4 with the addition of a particularly appealing aspect. The electronically controlled all-wheel drive system distributes drive torque between the front and rear axles as appropriate to each specific situation on the road. This enables highly spirited acceleration and increases agility when taking bends at speed. What is more, ALL4 ensures supreme traction and optimized driving stability in all weathers and road conditions. In this way, the all-wheel drive system underscores the character of the new MINI model in the premium compact segment, which is defined by versatility as well as outstanding everyday practicality and long-distance suitability.

The latest version of the all-wheel drive system ALL4 is particularly compact and weight-optimized in its design. The new construction principle also promotes the efficiency of the MINI Clubman ALL4. The drive power delivered by the engine via the manual or Steptronic automatic transmission in the form of engine speed and torque is initially fed to the front axle differential. An integrated single-stage power take-off bevel gear diverts the power and relays it to a propeller shaft leading to the rear axle. Here power transmission to the rear axle differential is effected in a continuously variable manner via a hang-on clutch, depending on the given situation on the road.

In normal driving situations with active Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), the new MINI Clubman ALL4 uses front-wheel drive as is typical of the brand. This enables a reduction in lost torque of up to 30 per cent in power transmission to the rear axle. If necessary, the hang-on clutch can relay torque to the rear wheels within a fraction of a second by means of an electrohydraulic pump. Fast and precise adaptation to the given situation on the road is possible because the all-wheel drive system is interconnected with the driving dynamics system DSC. Its control unit permanently calculates the ideal power distribution between front and rear wheels. Not only are the wheel rotation speeds and the current longitudinal and lateral acceleration figures taken into account here but also the road speed, accelerator position, engine torque and steering angle as well as the settings of the driving dynamics system and the standard MINI Driving Modes. Based on this data, it is possible to identify early on any risk of drive slip when setting off, in the event of a particularly intense load requirement or during dynamic cornering; in this way it is possible to anticipate and counteract any tendency to lose traction or any oversteering or understeering of the vehicle. Thanks to intelligent control, ALL4 feeds all the power of the engine to the place where it can be converted most effectively and efficiently into driving fun.

The propeller shaft of the ALL4 system is designed as a dual-section tubular shaft. Its joints permit compensation of component movements. The front and rear joint provide the interfaces to the power take-off bevel gear and the hang-on clutch, while it is attached to the body in the area of the central joint. The front section of the propeller shaft also serves to absorb deformation energy in the event of a collision. The efficiency-optimized mode of operation of the ALL4 system is also supported by the hang-on clutch. This can be operated in a particularly energy-efficient mode when there is no power transmission to the rear wheels.

It is instantly activated whenever necessary, however, and directs the appropriate amount of drive torque supplied by the propeller shaft to the rear wheel differential, from where it is transmitted in equal parts to the right and left rear wheel. Differing wheel rotation speeds arising from the specific situation on the road are compensated for in the usual way by means of differentials on both the rear and front axle. Drive slip is suppressed by the driving dynamics system DSC by means of selective braking on individual wheels.

Taking the form of an electronic locking function for the front axle differential, the standard Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) optimises traction when accelerating out of bends by means of selective braking. In DSC Off mode, this prevents spinning of the front wheel on the inside of the bend and transmits drive power to the outer front wheel instead. The Performance Control function is another standard feature that helps enhance agility in the MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4. (Part of optional John Cooper Works Exterior package in the MINI Cooper Clubman ALL4.) It supports precise steering into bends even before the threshold range is reached and regardless of the DSC mode selected. Braking on the two wheels on the inside of the bend impacts positively on the car's self-steering response and suppresses the risk of understeering. Other functions of the driving dynamics system DSC include the anti-lock brake system ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Cornering Brake Control (CBD), the braking and drive-off assistant, the brake dry function and Fading Brake Support. It is also possible to activate the DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) mode at the press of a button, permitting controlled slip and thereby facilitating set-off on loose sand or in deep snow.

Two engines [sic] with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology: a lot of power efficiently distributed over four wheels.
The power distributed as needed by the all-wheel drive system ALL4 between the front and rear axle is produced by highly powerful 4-cylinder engines of the latest generation with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. These make for sporty driving properties and are also able to demonstrate their qualities in the area of efficiency in the new MINI Clubman ALL4. Thanks to the optimized weight and efficient mode of operation of the new all-wheel drive system, the boost in terms of driving fun and supreme forward thrust only involves a very slight increase in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions as compared to the respective models with front-wheel drive.

With a peak output of 189 hp, the 2.0-litre engine in the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 is the most powerful engine in the compact model's portfolio. Its technology package comprises turbocharging, gasoline direct injection with centrally placed injectors, fully variable valve control in the form of VALVETRONIC as patented by the BMW Group and variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust side (double VANOS). It mobilises a maximum torque of 207 ft lbs at 1 250 rpm.

With the standard 6-speed manual transmission, the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 accelerates in 6.7 seconds from standing to 60 mph, while in conjunction with the optional 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission the standard sprint takes just 6.6 seconds. The top speed is 140 mph in each case. Regardless of transmission, this represents an improvement in 0-to-60 acceleration of 0.3 seconds compared with the front-wheel drive Cooper S Clubman.

The advanced engine technology helps the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine in the MINI Cooper Clubman ALL4 achieve superb acceleration, especially at speed, without sacrificing fuel economy. The power unit generated a peak output of 134 hp and puts its maximum torque of 162 ft lbs on the line at just 1250 rpm. The engine is combined as standard with the 6-speed manual transmission and is available for the first time with the 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. This enables a run from standing to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds. Innovative transmissions for increased driving fun and efficiency.

The transmissions available for the new MINI Clubman ALL4 have also been newly developed for the current model generation of the brand. The 6-speed manual transmission is characterised by low weight, high internal efficiency and shift comfort optimized by means of carbon friction linings for the synchroniser rings. A gear sensor also enables active engine speed adaptation for especially sporty shifting when accelerating and increased comfort when shifting down (rev matching).

With its broader gear spread and smaller engine speed steps, the 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission provides an especially favourable basis for efficient, comfortable and sporty driving. An 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic transmission is optionally available for the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 that offers even shorter shift times and is operated in manual mode by means of shift paddles on the steering wheel. It also has a Launch Control function for traction-optimized acceleration with maximum dynamic performance from standing.

Typical MINI suspension technology, characteristic go-kart feeling.
In conjunction with all-wheel drive, too, the high-quality suspension technology with a single joint strut axle at the front and a multilink rear axle provides an ideal basis for the agile handling known as the go-kart feeling. The large track width and long wheelbase of the MINI Clubman ALL4 benefit the model-specific interpretation of this construction principle. 
 
The new development of all front axle parts has resulted in an optimisation of kinematics as well as component stiffness and weight. The particularly stiff wheel suspension on the rear axle also enhances the agile handling properties of the MINI Clubman. Dynamic Damper Control is available as an optional extra. This allows the damper program map to be adjusted via MINI Driving Modes.

The new MINI Clubman ALL4 comes as standard with the speed-related Servotronic steering support for the electromechanical power steering. Both all-wheel drive model variants come off the production line with alloy wheels. The Cooper Clubman ALL4 comes with 16-inch light alloy wheels, while the Cooper S Clubman ALL4 features 17-inch light alloy wheels. The range of special equipment features includes additional light alloy wheels sized 17 to 19 inches.

A complete set of safety features, innovative driver assistance systems, intelligent connectivity.
In addition to the torsionally stiff, rigid and also weight-optimized body structure, a complete set of standard safety features also contributes to the outstanding occupant protection of the new MINI Clubman ALL4. This comprises eight airbags, as well as 3-point belts on all seats. A tire pressure display for each individual wheel is also included as standard.

The driver assistance systems offered for the new MINI Clubman ALL4 serve to increase both safety and comfort. The MINI Head-Up Display which extends from above the steering column promotes concentration on the road. In addition to the cruise control with brake function, the Driving Assistant system is also available. This comprises not just camera-based active cruise control as well as collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function but also high beam assistant and speed limit sign detection. Additional options include the Parking Assistant and rear view camera.

The unique MINI Connected in-car infotainment program is also available in its entirety for the new MINI Clubman ALL4. Thestandard MINI Connected infotainment system includes a 6.5-inch display,and offers extensive integration of smartphones in the car, allowing the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driving experience by means of apps. Operation is intuitive and reflects hallmark brand style, using the MINI Controller in the centre console and the color display in the central instrument.

The features of the MINI navigation system Professional include an 8.8-inch version of the on-board computer and the MINI Touch Controller with touch-sensitive surface.

The current version of the MINI Connected App comprises new and exclusive functions to increase comfort and driving fun. The online search function makes it easier to find addresses. The applications Sports Instruments and Force Meter can be used to show information on the central instrument display such as the level of current engine power and torque in use and longitudinal and transverse acceleration. The new function Streetwise provides the driver with tips for an optimum route even before the journey gets underway. The Technology Package includes an 8.8-inch display with navigation and enables use of the Journey Mate app including innovative functions for trip preparation and support as well as Real Time Traffic Radar with highly precise, up-to-date traffic information.

The Clubman ALL4 will go on sale in April at MINI dealers across the U.S. Customers looking to build or pre-order a new MINI Clubman ALL4 can use the configurator that will be available at MINIUSA.com in late January or visit their local MINI dealer. For full vehicle specifications, please see the detailed product news release here...

Bespoke Bovine MINI

According to The Daily Toggle you can get it right now:
Now, when you build your MINI using the MINI Configurator, you will be offered the opportunity to make a selection from the Bespoke Bovine Collection. These hand-raised, grass-fed bovine are available only to MINI owners and have been genetically modified to uphold the ideals and characteristics of the brand. . . .

MINI Inspires Pitti Generation(s)

Here is the Official Press Release via MotoringFile:
MINI and Pitti Immagine are joining forces at the Pitti Uomo 89 – the world’s most important international event for men’s fashion and contemporary lifestyle – to continue to promote young international talents in the world of fashion.

For the first time, from 12 – 15 January 2016 at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy, MINI will present “The Latest Fashion Buzz”, a selection of international designers who have come up with new and modern ideas in menswear. These are artists who, through their originality and bold innovations, have designed collections that express their personality.

The new MINI Clubman as inspiration for Pitti Generation(s)

MINI will also provide its own exclusive interpretation of the topic “Pitti Generation(s)” at the 89th Pitti Uomo and present an exceptional variation of a playground in the form of the “MINI Gentleman’s Playground”.

This elegant and ingenious structure was inspired by the typical characteristics of the new MINI Clubman – the latest member of the new generation of the MINI model family – and brings together two decisive phases in a person’s life: childhood and adulthood, creating a meeting place for young and old, where people can spontaneously follow their own instinct and explore their identity in an authentic way.

New MINI brand strategy

The BMW Group already presented the new MINI product and brand strategy at the MINI Clubman world premiere in Berlin in June 2015. The new brand identity is defined by design, authenticity and intrinsic value. The global relaunch will take the MINI brand into a new era and, at the same time, build on the brand’s tradition of constantly reinventing itself and shaping the spirit of the age.

The new brand philosophy dispenses with all that is unnecessary to allow more room for what really matters. It focuses attention on core messages and communicates in an authentic manner. The new logo, new typography and new tonality are geared towards the basic principle of clarity and authenticity – and reinterpret the brand DNA so that it can continue to shape the spirit of the times in the future.

MINI and Pitti

The Pitti Immagine is an annual trade show held in Italy with a focus on fashion. The Pitti Uomo, a trade show exclusively for men’s fashion, has been held twice a year in Florence since 1972 and promotes young, upcoming and sometimes unconventional fashion labels. MINI and Pitti Immagine have been working together on various projects since January 2015.

Among other achievements, MINI and Pitti jointly introduced the young designer Alberto Premi as a major talent at the 87th Pitti Uomo. Premi went on to present a special MINI edition of his innovative shoe collection at the Salone del Mobile 2015 in April 2015.

MINI showed at the 88th Pitti Uomo in June 2015 that its philosophy can also be applied outside of the automotive world. Together with six young Italian talents, MINI designed the “MINI Gentleman’s Collection inspired by the new MINI Clubman”. The six-part “Capsule Collection” combines Italian handicraft with creative and innovative details.

Following the huge success of the “MINI Gentleman’s Collection”, the collaboration with young designers and talents will continue at the 90th Pitti Uomo in June 2016.

The Tiny Mini That Dominates Circuit Racing

Petrolicious takes a close look at Greg Wold's 1965 Mini Cooper S that has been in use as a race car since 1968.

2016 MINI JCW Convertible Revealed

Overdrive reports on the reveal and writes, in part:
. . . The new Mini John Cooper Works Convertible comes equipped with McPherson struts at the front and a multilink rear axle. The front axle gets aluminium swivel bearings while the wishbones are made of high-strength steel. At the rear axle, a larger proportion of highly rigid steels ensure increased stiffness combined with reduced weight. Braking duties are taken care of by the 4-piston fixed caliper disc brakes that have been designed in collaboration with Brembo. . . .

An EAS MINI JCW

Get your Google Translate ready! Der Tuning und Styling Blog profiles Southern California tuner European Auto Source's tuning of an R56 MINI John Cooper Works:
These are the details of the Mini John Cooper Works R56:

John Cooper Works GP diffuser
John Cooper Works GP sport exhaust system
green mirrors
green towing
ST suspension lowered suspension
tinted windows all round
possibly an increase in output - (chip tuning, tuning box, compressor or the turbo conversion, NOS etc. -. Information is still pending)

2016 MINI Recalled For Steering Box Error

love:mini informs that ConsumerAffairs reports:
. . . MINI has recalled one 2016 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door in the U.S., manufactured November 24, 2015 which may have been made with incorrect parts in the steering gearbox and could lead to an increased risk of a crash. . . .

N14 Timing Chain Class Action Gets Preliminary Court Approval

CarComplaints.com reports:
A MINI Cooper N14 engine timing chain lawsuit has been granted preliminary approval after BMW agreed to settle the lawsuit originally filed due to timing chain tensioners. The timing chain lawsuit could include tens of thousands of owners and reach $30 million.

Lead plaintiffs, Joshua Skeen and Laurie Freeman, claim the timing chain tensioner allows the pistons and valves to connect with too much force and results in engine failure. The plaintiffs claim the MINI Cooper timing chains should last at least 10 years or 120,000 miles, but the alleged defect causes engine problems years too early.

The lawsuit alleges the N14 engine timing chain tensioner can cause an owner to spend thousands of dollars to repair the engine after the warranty has expired. In some cases, timing chain and engine repairs had been performed while under warranty only for the problem to reoccur after the warranty expired.

The lawsuit includes past and present U.S. owners and leasees of the following MINI Cooper cars with N14 engines:

2007-2009 MINI Cooper Hardtop
2008-2009 MINI Cooper Clubman
2009-2010 MINI Cooper S Convertible

Members of the timing chain class-action lawsuit who paid for engine repairs caused by the timing chain will receive up to $4,500. In addition, the automaker will extend the MINI Cooper warranty for the timing chain and tensioner to 7 years/100,000 miles.

MINI owners can also receive complete compensation for timing chain repairs performed at MINI dealers, or a reimbursement of up to $850 for timing chains and $120 for tensioners if the repairs were performed by an independent repair shop.

For an owner who lost money when selling a MINI Cooper with an unrepaired engine, the owner could receive up to $2,500 if the engine was damaged by the timing chain or tensioner.

BMW will create a special website for MINI Cooper owners affected by the timing chain lawsuit, but information about the website is not available.

The MINI Cooper N14 engine timing chain lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey - Skeen, et al. v. BMW of North America LLC. . . .

CarBuyer's Video Two Cents On The 2015 MINI Clubman

Al-Attiyah Finishes Dakar 2016 Second - May Leave MINI

According to Motorsport.com:
Two-time Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah says he is out of contract for next year's edition of the race and is open to offers.

Having won the Dakar in 2011 and 2015, Al-Attiyah finished runner-up to Stephane Peterhansel in 2016 - pending the outcome of an appeal filed against the Frenchman. . . .

Here are the final 2016 Dakar Rally standings (courtesy of GlobalPost):
1. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret (FRA/FRA/Peugeot) 45 h 22:10.
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Mini) 34:58.
3. Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) 1 h 02:47.
4. Mikko Hirvonen/Michel Périn (FIN/FRA/Mini) 1 h 05:18.
5. Leeroy Poulter/Robert Howie (RSA/RSA/Toyota) 1 h 30:43.
6. Nani Roma/Alex Haro Bravo (ESP/ESP/Mini) 1 h 41:06.
7. Cyril Despres/David Castera (FRA/FRA/Peugeot) 1 h 53:04.
8. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS/Toyota) 2 h 01:45.
9. Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (FRA/MON/Peugeot) 2 h 22:09.
10. Harry Hunt/Andreas Schulz (GBR/GER/Mini) 3 h 11:30.

Team Giant-Alpecin To Drive MINI Clubmans

road.cc reports MINI Netherlands will supply MINI Clubmans to the competitive WorldTour bicycling team for use as support vehicles.

MTTS 2016 "Track To Track"

The Daily Toggle observes that MINI Takes The States 2016 will go "track to track" giving participants the opportunity to experience HPDE and events including Miles Ahead MINI Performance Motoring School and the Autobahn Country Club – Joliet.

CarAdvice Spends A Week With The 2015 MINI JCW

After a week with the 2015 MINI JCW CarAdvice gives the car a 7.5 out of 10 Lifestyle Rating and discouragingly exclaims, in part:
. . . As a fan of Mini cars and the Mini brand, I can’t help but attach some level of disappointment to the new JCW. It’s not a bad car by any stretch of the imagination but after a week with the car, getting a taste of what life would be like to live with it long-term, it doesn’t feel ‘Mini’ enough – falling short of the genuine character and flair of past models. . .

Ten Complaints About MTTS

The Daily Toggle itemizes them and includes:
. . . 7. “These events are entirely too casual. There should be at least three formal dinners because I packed my best sets of heels and I expected a red carpet.” . . .

David Bowie's 1999 Customized Mini

Time looks at the recently deceased rockstar's 1999 mirror finish designer Mini:
. . . Back in 1999, London’s Design Museum marked the 40th anniversary of the iconically British Mini with a celebrity design contest. Among the entrants was Bowie, who designed the above mirror-plated Mini. It’s so perfectly easy to imagine The Thin White Duke rolling up to a concert in this, twisting and contorting to secure his escape.

New MINI 8 Speed Transmission "A Huge Step Forward"

MotoringFile asserts the new automatic MINI 8 speed transmission is "a huge step forward" as it:
. . . enables both wider and closer gear ratios than the 6AT delivering improvements in both fuel efficiency and engine performance. How much of an improvement . . .

The "Best Supermini"

According to love:mini:
It’s a New Year and a new win for MINI, as the British brand is named best Supermini in The Sunday Times Top 100 Cars of 2016.

Fending off stiff competition in its category, the MINI Hatch was commended by The Sunday Times judges for its hi-tech engines coupled with its refined ride, road noise and comfort.

MINI Hatch’s build quality was also praised, with the judges commenting: “MINI has not lost its touch when it comes to creating a cabin that’s distinctive, luxurious and stylish.' . . . .

DIY Blinged Out MINI Cooper


Customized Mini Cooper Bling-Bling, HK from Jay Nashban on Vimeo.

Want To Buy John Cooper's Personal Mini?

The Daily Toggle announces:
John Cooper’s last personal Mini Cooper will soon be for sale. Artcurial Motors in Paris will auction the one-of-a-kind Mini next month.

The car is a BMW Rover-era 1998 Mini Cooper purchased and customized by John Cooper himself. Swiftune increased the engine size to 1,380 cc which gave an output of 138 bhp. The exhaust comes from Janspeed. . . .

Here's the Artcurial Motors auction page for more details.

"MINI A Mighty Power In Sub-compact Class"

Check out the accolades that the Traverse City Record-Eagle.com story on the new MINI:
Here’s a car named for its mission. The Mini Cooper fits nicely into the sub-compact segment with lots of available power, sleek styling and high-end curb appeal. 
What we like most about driving the Mini, a subsidiary of BMW, is its nimble handling, firm suspension and ease of driving. If parallel parking is challenging for you, this car will fit into a tight spot head first without the need for the backup zigzag.

Fully Loaded MINI Cooper S Or Base Model BMW 228i?

It is a choice examined by BMWBlog compares them and asks:
. . . A fully loaded MINI Cooper S will run you about $32,000, give or take a couple of silly extras, like roof rails and what not. But for that you get the brilliant little engine, great handling dynamics and good practicality along with heated leather seats, a sunroof, navigation, a premium sound system, ambient lighting, a head-up display and BMW’s iDrive. So it’s not bad value for money.

A base model BMW 228i will run you about the same money, as it starts at $32,850. For that, you get BMW’s excellent N20 engine, a manual gearbox (though an automatic is a no-cost option, making it the better deal), a great looking car, four seats, four wheels and that’s about it. No navigation, no heated seats, leatherette interior and no sunroof. It’s a pretty barren [sic] place to be. However, it is fun and it is a BMW.

So for the money, which would you rather have? A fully loaded MINI Cooper S, that’s tons of cheeky fun, more practical than you’d imagine and loaded to the gills with options, or a base model BMW 228i that’s just as much fun, can do rear-wheel drive stuff and drives quite a bit nicer but comes with no extra luxuries?

MINI Tweaks Free Maintenance Program For 2017

MotoringFile reports on changes coming to the MINIUSA Free Maintenance program:
. . . As before, all new MINI vehicles will come with 3-year, 36,000 mile, free maintenance for 2017. As it is with the current program this coverage is non-transferable. What is changing is what is covered. More specifically the following items have been removed from coverage of the new program:

Brake pads

Brake discs

Wiper blades [sic]

Engine drive belts

MT clutches

To coincide with this change, this March 2016 MINI will begin to offer an additional range of fully transferable dealer-sold MPU products that provide an opportunity to further enhance and extend coverage. However the key word there is offer. They will not be free.

"Brand’s Best Practical Alternative To Traditional Hatchbacks"

Carscoops provides this CarBuyer Video Review and pronounces upon the New MINI Clubman:
. . . As a true Mini, the new Clubman is considered a fun-to-drive, but certainly not cheap, competitor in its class, though the quality of the cabin places it in the top spots among its rivals, going some way in justifying the higher price tag.

In the end it’s all a matter of perspective , but if you look at the Mini Clubman as a genuine premium alternative to the traditional offerings of the compact segment, then suddenly it feels like a good option, provided you don’t go crazy with the expensive options list.

Kelley Bluebook Reviews The "MINO"

Kelley Blue Book reviews the 2016 MINI Clubman, calling it a "MINO" - MINI in name only. It writes, in part:
. . . The new Mini Clubman looks huge, and it's definitely the biggest Mini on the market. It's more than a foot longer, nearly 5 inches wider, and a tiny bit taller than its predecessor, and is even longer than the Mini Countryman by 6.6 inches. However, the 2016 Mini Clubman is actually not much bigger than a Volkswagen Golf, and still smaller than cars like the Mazda3 5-door.

The payoff is in interior space. There's now 17.5 cubic feet of cargo area behind the rear seats, which expands to nearly 48 cu.-ft. when the rear seats are folded. All five occupants have more room than ever before, and there's enough room in the rear that fears of deep vein thrombosis are a thing of the past.

The new Mini Clubman is also an order of magnitude more refined than its predecessor. The cabin is quiet at speed, and the ride quality is improved to the point that a long road trip in the Clubman seems perfectly reasonable. . . .

Keeping The Fish Happy In The New Clubman

Jalopnik draws our attention to Green Mode and how difficult it is to keep the fish in the bowl when driving the new Clubman.

Dakar 2016 - Stage Five - 8 MINIs In Top 20

love:mini reports:
. . . The second part of the marathon stage took the teams not only to Uyuni but also to an altitude of 4,600 metres above sea level. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT) / Mathieu Baumel (FRA), Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Michel Périn (FRA) and Orlando Terranova / Ronnie Graue (both ARG) secured top-10 positions, in the fifth stage, with Nani Roma / Alex Haro (both ESP) coming 11th. . . .

MINI's Big Dream Realized With Clubman

CITY A.M. posits:
. . . Mini has done a brilliant job of giving the Clubman much-needed practicality, without taking away the sparkle that buyers want. . . .

Harry Hunt's Dakar 2016 MINI Diary

Autocar publishes Harry Hunt’s Dakar Rally daily diary. Hunt is a British driver – and Mini UK brand ambassador - who is participating in the event.

NORCAL MINIS CALENDAR & OTHER EVENTS