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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 ...

Critter to Critter Run - September 25, 2016

CRITTER TO CRITTER RUN
Annual Member Meeting

Meet up at Starbucks (1186 South Main Street, Salinas, CA 93901) at 9:15am for Driver's Meeting and leave promptly at 9:30am to not be late for our private tour at the Monterey Zoo (400 River Road, Salinas, CA 93908). Tour is about 90 minutes. Members can pre-purchase tickets $10/per adult or child.

Monterey Zoo Tickets
After our tour we'll take scenic River Road south, passing through agricultural and winery areas to Carmel Valley Road (some of the road is only single lane) up Carmel Valley to Los Laureles Lodge. Lunch and annual meeting at Los Laureles Lodge. Members please RSVP to your email invitation by 9/22 so we can let the restaurant know ahead of time.

We're collecting donations to help the Monterey County SPCA, which has taken in many animals displaced by the fire. They are asking for cash donations, towels, pet food, pet toys, pet supplies and pet beds. Join us after lunch for a bonus run to go over Laureles Grade and to help drop donations off at the Monterey County SPCA, across from Laguna Seca and easy access to Hwy 68.

Not a member? Email us or click on the Buy Now button to the right to Join the Club.

Redding/Lassen Volcanic National Park - October 8/9, 2016

Here's our plans for the Redding/Lassen Volcanic National Park weekend. We hope to see many of you as we enjoy this great National Park. An invitation has been been extended to Shasta MINIS & Capital City MINIS to join us as well. Come meet fellow club members for a fun weekend away.
Saturday - October 8, 2016 - Redding
Meet: 9:30 AM
Peet's Coffee & Tea
1671 E Monte Vista Rd, Vacaville
From here we’ll motor up to Redding via 505 & I-5.

Lunch: TBD
After Lunch we’ll visit:
Sundial Bridge & Turtle Bay Exploration Park
844 Sundial Bridge Drive
Redding, California 96001
Park Admission: Includes admission* to the Museum, Forest Camp, Parrot Playhouse, and Botanical Gardens. Adult (16+) $16, Child (4-15) $12, Seniors (65+) $12, Members and Children 3 & under Free. 
*Bring a new or gently used book to get $2 off admission.
Enjoy the bridge and park as long as you want. It closes at 4pm. Check in to your hotel and we’ll see you later for an evening of fun.  

Evening:  Movie Night at Benton Airpark 
Benton Airpark  (www.flybenton.com)
2600 Gold St
Redding, CA 96001
We’ll see “The Italian Job” in an airplane hanger. You'll get to pick which movie we see - the 1969 British Classic or the 2003 Mark Wahlberg version. Admission: $5 per person Movie time: 7pm-9pm Enjoy FREE POPCORN. Beer, wine, and soda available for sale!

Arrive Benton Airpark at 6pm to eat & socialize.  Bring your own food or pitch in $5 per person for pizza delivery from Westside Pizza. 
Sunday - October 9th - Lassen Volcanic National Park
Breakfast:
Breakfast is on your own, please eat at your hotel or elsewhere before meeting for departure to park.
8am departure for:Lassen Volcanic National Park 

Meet:
Target
1280 Dana Dr.
Redding, CA
We’ll head to Lassen via Hwy 44 then 89, then 36 to Red Bluff before heading home. The drive through the park takes about two hours (with stops) from the Manzanita Lake entrance (Hwy 44) to the Hwy 36 entrance. 

Park Admission: Vehicle Pass $20. Free for those of us with a Senior Pass - don’t forget to bring it!
Audio Tour:
The park offers an audio tour that corresponds to each of 16 markers along the park's 30-mile highway. You’ll need to download the files before you get to the park if you’d like to have this as part of your drive. See this page for the audio files: https://www.nps.gov/lavo/learn/photosmultimedia/audio-tours.htm
Pets in the Park: Where may I go with my pet?
A good rule of thumb is that a pet may go anywhere a car may go: roads and road shoulders (not snow-covered), campgrounds, picnic areas, and parking lots.
 
Where are pets not allowed?
Pets are not permitted on any hiking trail, in the park backcountry (including snow-covered roads or trails), in any body of water, or inside visitor centers or other park facilities.

Lunch:
You can bring your own food or purchase from the Lassen Cafe & Gift or the Manzanita Lake Camper Store. We’ll have lunch together. After lunch, those who want to go to Bumpass Hell will go do the hike and those that aren’t up to it can make their way home.

Bumpass Hell trail
is a rewarding way to experience the park's largest hydrothermal (hot water) area. This moderate three-mile round-trip hike leads to a boardwalk where you can listen to belching mudpots, watch as steam escapes from Big Boiler fumarole, and marvel at bubbling and boiling pools.

Start: Bumpass Hell parking lot
Round Trip Distance: 3 miles
Round Trip Time: 2 hours
Terrain: easy 300-foot descent
Elevation: 8000 feet

The Trail: The trail is quite easy, though the altitude (8,000 feet) can make the trail seem moderately difficult. Hiking boots are recommended as the trail crosses generally rocky land with some tree cover, and without much change in elevation until the 100-foot drop into the thermally active basin. The active area can be seen (and smelt!) from far away - a wide basin filled with various steaming pools and unusual multi-colored soils, stained orange, brown, yellow and green by sulfur and other minerals. Together with the occasional white snow patches, the (usually) deep blue sky and the aquamarine waters, the spectacle is extremely beautiful and colorful.
________________________________________________________________________

Hotel Suggestions:

Fairfield Inn & Suites Redding
5164 Caterpillar Road
Redding, CA 960003

Standard Rate: $127 pre-paid
Non-Smoking * Free Breakfast * Pets welcomed
La Quinta Inn & Suites Redding
2180 Hilltop Dr
Redding,CA 96002
Rates start at $72.00, lower with AAA or AARP, etc.
Non-smoking hotel * Free Breakfast * Pets welcomed

There are other hotels in the area, if you prefer a particular brand.
Greetings to all members of our wonderful club!

As the year seems to be quickly coming to an end and another annual member meeting is just around the corner, I would like to take a moment to talk about some very important changes happening within the club.

As most of you know by now, Tara and Scott will be starting a new chapter in their lives and moving to Colorado, leaving a big need for member participation in order for the club to continue on in the fashion that it has since it began in 2003. Tara has done a fantastic job of managing the inner workings of this large club, which i might add has grown into a rather large "family" as the many members have developed special bonds and friendships that can be easily recognized each and every time we all get together for our runs and functions. This is an undeniable fact that we must work together to maintain as we will all be missing Tara and her excellent leadership as she begins her new life with the love of her life Scott. They will both be missed so much by all of us!

What I am asking at this point is this: If at all possible we would like to see as many of our active, and for that fact, inactive members as possible attend the annual member's meeting next month in Monterey. Strength in numbers! 

This is your club and without your input and proactive participation, we are not able to really know what each and everyone of YOU, the members and heart of this wonderful club and family, would like to see and do in the coming year and beyond. It is your club, and every idea is important for the survival and enjoyment of what we have ALL worked hard to build together.

Many of you know me from my past association with the club as VP a few years back, but for the many new members whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, I have been known to be a "wild and crazy" guy. I had to drop out of the club for a while as my family needed me due to caring for Senior parents, so with my lovely wife Carol, who was the club secretary at the same time, we did what we had to do. We joined in 2006 when we purchased our first MINI, and we instantly fell in love with the whole concept of a social club like this where we could all share our passion for these wonderful little cars. Little did we know at that time that it was really a large "family" and that we would be making those special relationships and bonding like everyone is still doing today as I mentioned earlier in this not so short note.

The long and short of it here is this, We need your help in many ways to keep the club going in it's many special ways! 

IT IS YOUR CLUB AND EVERYONE'S INPUT IS VALUABLE! I HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL AT THE MEMBER'S MEETING!

Rick Sherman aka: Past Vice President ( of the greatest little car club in Northern California )
PS: please feel free to email me about anything! 


It's been a great run!

A great finish on a great day with NorCal MINIS. The morning started with breakfast compliments of Mini of Marin. A big THANK YOU to them for hosting, providing goodies and a fabulous suggestion for lunch at Sam's Anchor Cafe.

Many of us have been wanting to go to Angel Island or have let too many years go by without revisiting. Today was a good day! We saw spectacular views around the island. Our tram tour guide was entertaining.  And we got to watch a canon fire. BOOM!



Back in Tiburon, we dined on some really good seafood at Sam's Anchor Cafe. A huge THANK YOU to restaurant manager Julie for setting up a private room to accommodate our group of 34! As the day went on, many hugs and good-byes were exchanged. The most emotional one was by your President.




I've been organizing for our group for the past 3 years and been an active member since 2007. The familiar faces and inviting friendships are what I'll miss most as I embark on my next chapter in Colorado. I'll see you all again at MTTS2018 or a run when I'm in California. Until then, this is your club so do what you can to support it.

All the best,
Tara Hunter

SUNDAY, 8/21/2016 ANGEL ISLAND ADVENTURE

*** Carpool to Tiburon Ferry is encouraged & appreciated. More details during Drivers' Meeting ***

Living in the Bay Area, have you heard about Angel Island? Do you know about it's historical significance? Join NorCal MINIS on Sunday 8/21 for an adventure that will want you coming back for more.

We'll board the Angel Island Tiburon Ferry to the island. Ferry ride is about 12 minutes. Round-trip ticket includes ferry ride and admission into the park ONLY. Adults (ages 13 -64) $15.00, Seniors (ages 65+) $14.00, Children (ages 6–12) $13.00, Small Children (ages 3–5) $5.00. CASH ONLY.

In appreciation from our friends at MINI of Marin, they will be hosting breakfast at the dealership  starting at 9:15 am. (5880 Paradise Drive, Corte Madera). Driver's meeting at 10am. Please do not be late or we will miss the boat!

Tram tickets must now be purchased directly from the Angel Island website using http://angelisland.com/. Scroll down to Tours; Book Tram Tour; and, Choose 8/21 at 11:45am.

After you've gotten a taste of what Angel Island has to offer, we return to shore for a late lunch at Sam's Anchor Cafe (27 Main St, Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920). Please RSVP with number of people attending here. This is a very popular restaurant and seating is limited.

If You Value Your MINI Stay Out Of Florida

[Source: SmartAsset]

Automobile 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible Review

Eric Wiener provides his review to Automobile and concludes:
. . . When it comes down to it the 2016 Mini Cooper convertible still offers nowhere near the fun or true sports-car cred the Miata or Fiat 124 packs, but that’s also not the point. There’s room for four, opportunity for a convincingly upscale interior you can’t get on a Beetle, and so much more personality than you get from the stoic Audi A3 or the dated Buick Cascada. More so than any of the other cars in the Mini lineup, the convertible succeeds in its mission. As a lively and endearing open-top cruiser, it continues to occupy a unique niche that attracts buyers from all over the consumer spectrum.

Review Of The HRCR Mini Cup

love:mini covers the Carfax Stages run by Oxford Motor Club and focuses on the classic Mini winners.

MINI ALL4 Racing Team Wins Hungarian Baja

MotoringFile carries this official press release:
Official Release: The 16th edition of the Hungarian Baja concluded today after a spectacular opening event of a Super Special Stage (SSS), followed by two days of challenging long distance rally action over three Special Stages. The end result of this tough competition saw MINI ALL4 Racing cars fill the top two positions.

MINI ALL4 Racing crew of Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and co-driver Michel Périn (FRA) started the Hungarian Baja with an impressive second place in the opening Super Special Stage on Friday evening (12th Sept). By the end of Saturday evening, after Special Stages 2 & 3, the “Flying Finn” had placed his MINI ALL4 Racing at the head of the leader board.

By keeping a cool head and working in perfect harmony with co-driver Michel Périn, MINI ALL4 Racing #2 completed SS4 of the 675 km event in first place with an obviously delighted Hirvonen at the wheel…

“We had a great weekend,” said Hirvonen. “Everything went perfectly – although I did not expect the Hungarian Baja to be so demanding, so difficult, especially when I saw the length of the stages, which I thought were to be more like sprints. But they were really technical in places and narrow, and with the rain and mud they proved to be difficult. But everything worked perfectly. I’m really happy to get my first victory with Michel and the MINI ALL4 Racing.”

Bryce Menzies (USA) and co-driver Peter Mortensen (USA) were equally delighted with their second place finish and with good reason: this is only the third competitive race for Menzies at the controls of a MINI ALL4 Racing. Co-driver Mortensen was wearing an even bigger smile at race end because this was his first marathon rally race in a MINI ALL4 Racing.

Menzies: “Leading up to this race we didn’t know what to expect. It was really challenging; from the high speed roads; the trees; and then the open grass fields where it was really rough. I think we did really well; the whole team and, of course, the MINI ALL4 Racing. I’m looking forward to the next rally.”

As a development event, the Hungarian Baja proved to be an ideal venue. The differing terrain provided useful insight for the development teams of technical service supplier X-raid – but especially in preparation for the fast approaching Dakar rally 2017.

The third member of the MINI ALL4 Racing family, #5 Van Loon Racing, fell victim to a large, unavoidable hole on Stage 2 (Saturday). Fortunately, it was only severe car damage that ruled Dutch pairing Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar out of the rest of the race.

The next race of the 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies is Baja Poland, 25–28th August.

MINI Convertible Vs. Mazda MX-5

Top Gear holds a shoot-out and concludes:
. . . Despite its stuck-in-treacle urgency, decapitating the Mini doesn’t hurt its playfulness. The wheelbase feels short and the whole car agile, so it responds keenly to mid-corner inputs, if you fancy cocking about a bit. The driving position is more sorted than the cramped Mazda’s too, and we prefer its heftier, more accurate steering.

Initially, it’s actually the Mazda that feels less sporty. Not just in how light ’n’ twirly the steering is, but the softness. The angles it adopts as it rolls into bends are downright alarming at first, but trust grip is there and it turns dull mini-roundabouts into an autotest treat. You drive the Mini hard once, just to see how it copes (and end up fairly impressed). The Mazda, on the other hand, is something you’ll delight in provoking every single day you drive it.

"Eminently Flawed, Imminently Likeable"

That is part of the headline for TFLCar's review of the 2016 MINI Cooper Clubman.

Classic Mini One Of 5 Cars Stuff Wishes Would Be Brought Back

New Zealand's stuff bemoans the end of production of five cars, one of which is the classic Mini and wishes they would reenter production:
. . . Yes, yes, we know there actually is a current Mini, but what would really excite us is a proper mini-Mini.

The sort of thing BMW has teased us with before - a tiny city car dripping with Mini design cues. Except this time it could be built out of modern, high-strength materials, making it small and light. Fit an electric drivetrain low in the tiny body to ensure superb handling and run the whole interior off a smartphone app so that it's also superbly minimalist inside.

Make the design relentlessly modern, but with enough Mini design cues to keep everyone happy. Job done.

This Is Austin's New Car


Austin's New Car - Mini Cooper 2010 by Delmerio

Top Gear's First Drive Review Of the 2016 JCW Convertible

Tom Harrison writes a first drive review of the 2016 MINI John Cooper Works Convertible for Top Gear. He states, in part:
. . . the ride isn’t great anyway – ours didn’t have the adaptive suspension, which would improve matters – but when you thump over a pothole or expansion joint, you can just about feel the whole thing twist and flex, especially through the seatback, steering column and if you happen to be looking through the rearview mirror, the view through which very subtly betrays the different ways the front and rear ends are moving about.

This is not a deal-breaker for the JCW soft-top – it was always going to be less stiff than the hard-top – but the degree of flex makes us wonder if an open-Mini is better enjoyed as a more softly sprung Cooper… . . .

Buy Madonna's MINI

That MINI Show reports, in part:
. . . On August 20, 2016 The Historics at Brooklands auction will be offering up the daily driver/get around car that Madonna and Guy Ritchie purchased new while married. The Jet Black 2002 (R53) MINI Cooper S is a well equipped first generation, 6 speed manual with leather seating, and only 25,000 miles on the clock. The purchase includes documentation proving the original owners of what is now a 2 owner car.

What would make this a particularly great collectible for MINI and Madonna fans is that she did sing about this particular MINI in her 2003 single American Life. Although the model for sale should not be mistaken for the “militarized” MINI that she rode on as part music video for American Life, which was pulled from broadcast, and re-edited to better fit with a heated political climate that surrounded the early Iraq War that had just begun.

Estimated to sell at auction for approximately $8,000-12,000 US, more information can be found at www.historics.co.uk and online bidding is available at www.proxibid.com just don’t forget that you might have a bit of a hard time importing it stateside without working some pretty major loopholes, or possibly disassembling and transporting it piece by piece. . . .

MINI ALL4 Racing To Take On Hungarian Baja 2016

TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk reports on the MINI ALL4 Racing Team as it readies for this weekend's Hungarian Baja:
. . . Americans Bryce Menzies/Peter Mortensen will be fielding the #1 MINI All4 Racing car. Joining Menzies/Mortensen will be the #2 crew of Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen and France’s Michel Périn and the #5 crew of Dutchmen Erik van Loon/Wouter Roosegar to complete the three MINI All4 Racing crews competing at the Hungarian Baja this weekend. . . .

AutoGuide.com Reviews The 2016 MINI Cooper S Convertible

Sami Haj-Assaad reviews the 2016 MINI Cooper S Convertible for AutoGuide.com and concludes:
. . . Is it worth it? It depends if you value what the MINI offers. Few compacts convertibles deliver such a combination of style, performance and technology. The MINI Cooper S convertible seems to have it all, but it doesn’t come cheap.

July 2016 Worlwide Record High MINI Sales

MotoringFile posts this official MINI Press Release:
Official Release: BMW Group achieved a new July sales record with a total of 180,080 vehicles delivered to customers around the world, an increase of 4.0% on the same month last year. Coming off the back of a record first half-year, this solid start to the third quarter sees year-to-date sales climb 5.5% with 1,343,217 vehicles delivered worldwide.

Following on from its best-ever first half year, MINI achieved record sales in July with 26,439 (+4.0%) vehicles delivered to customers around the world. A total of 201,337 MINIs were sold in the first seven months of the year, an increase of 5.2% and the first time the brand has sold over 200,000 vehicles by this point in the year. The brand’s biggest growth drivers in the year-to-date are the MINI Convertible (17,225 / +65.9%) and the MINI Clubman, which has been delivered to more than 32,000 customers around the world.

In Europe, combined monthly sales of BMW and MINI totalled 79,815 in July, up 5.6% compared with the same month last year. Year-to-date sales in Europe are up 10.5% with a total of 622,664 vehicles delivered. Almost all markets in the region have contributed to this strong growth with the three biggest markets, Germany (182,390 / +7.8%), the UK (136,914 / +9.6%) and France (49,755/ +13.0%) playing a significant role.

Sales of BMW and MINI vehicles in Asia also saw strong growth last month with a total of 56,819 vehicles delivered to customers in July (+7.9%). In the first seven months of the year, a total of 417,730 BMW and MINI vehicles were sold in Asia, an increase of 7.4% compared with the same period last year. The region’s biggest market, Mainland China, achieved an 8.5% increase compared with the first seven months of last year, with a total of 287,753 vehicles sold. Year-to-date sales in Japan (41,750 / +8.2%) and South Korea (34,569 / +9.9%) also show strong growth.

Sales of BMW and MINI in the Americas decreased 3.9% in July compared with the same month last year, with a total of 38,097 vehicles delivered to customers in the region. Year-to-date sales of BMW and MINI vehicles in the region total 260,621, which is down 7.4% compared with the same period last year. While sales in Canada (25,524 / +7.3%) and Mexico (18,308 / +9.1%) are up, the increasingly competitive market in the USA has seen year-to-date deliveries decrease 9.5% with a total of 209,131 BMW and MINIs delivered to customers.

First Generation MINI GP: A UK Bargain Hero

Top Gear extols the virtues of the original MINI GP and awards it the title "Bargain Hero":
Hot hatch specials are all the rage nowadays. Fast Golfs, Meganes and Abarths are only too happy to bin the non-essentials – like back seats – in the hunt for speed, precision and trackday paddock kudos.

Beating VW, Renault and Fiat to it, though, was Mini, with the Cooper S Works GP. Limited to 2,000 cars, with around 450 coming to the UK, it was pieced together by Italian coachbuilder Bertone for maximum speciality.

It cost £22,000 new, but nowadays you can pick one up for less than half that. Read on to see if that’s a good idea…

Motoring Research's First Drive Of The MINI JCW Challenge Edition

Motoring Research writer Richard Aucock takes a first drive in the 2016 MINI John Cooper Works Challenge Edition and provides this verdict:
. . . We think the MINI John Cooper Works Challenge is a corker. It’s very special to drive, with componentry directly derived from racing cars giving it a quality, purposeful, high-ability attitude on the road. The engine is no more powerful than a regular JCW, but this doesn’t matter: it’s plenty fast enough and, like all good Minis since 1959, it’s the chassis that does the work.

Plant Oxford and Evo have done a great job – so much so, this surely can’t be just a one-off. Here’s to more Engineered by Oxford MINIs in the future. Hopefully with slightly greater availability and slightly less eye-watering pricing than this one. . . .

2017 MINI Cooper Countryman Spied Towing

autoevolution's spy photographers caught the vehicle doing some towing tests in the mountains of Western Europe:
. . . MINI is expected to showcase the 2017 Countryman publicly by the end of this year. Commercial debut of the all-new Countryman is expected to take place in early 2017.

Meet Nigel

bgdrewsif at NorthAmericanMotoring.com filmed this 2 minute video on his 2016 F56 "Nigel":

The Daily Drive Test Drives The 2016 Cooper S Convertible

John Biel writes in the Consumer Guide's blog The Daily Driver about his test drive and provides this "Quick Hits" assessment:
Quick Hits

The great: Fun to drive, fuss-free top operation

The good: Composed ride for the size and class

The not so good: Prices climb quickly as options are added

#DefyLabels Rio

Environmentally Green Classic Mini


We will leaf this right here.

This photo of Cotswold Motoring Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

"Topless Fun"

Jackson Toh reviews the 2016 MINI Convertible S for 9tro and concludes:
. . . As the final cherry on top of the exhilarating topless experience, the Convertible will thrill you to no end with its very vocal exhaust system that backfires with a bassy pop continuously as long as you release the throttle after some serious revving.

We really liked driving the Cooper S Convertible but the experience was dampened by a ride that was a little too harsh. MINI has finally gotten the roof perfect in our opinion, not only is it versatile and impressive, it folds away quickly as well with better insulation all in a neater packaging. Without diluting the MINI DNA, the Convertible remains a very fun car to cruise along twisty roads thanks to its agile chassis and a powertrain that is eager to please.

MINI Worker Jailed For Stealing 1,000+ Catalytic Converters

According to The Oxford Times:
THE mastermind behind the theft of more than 1,000 catalytic converters at the Cowley Mini Plant was brought back to court after he made up a letter used in mitigation.

Lee Loveridge, of Plover Drive in Greater Leys, was handed a sentence of 10 months suspended for 18 months at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday.

But yesterday, the father-of-six was jailed for 14 months after it was found a character reference letter thought to be from his own employer was in fact written by him.

Loveridge and Luke Trotman both pleaded guilty to stealing £67,000 worth of catalytic converters from October 2014 to February 2015. . . .

176 Miles Per Hour In A 1964 Mini Cooper S

nzmotorracing recalls the record breaking run by the Kiwi Land Speed Racing Team at the 2012 Bonneville Speed Week with a record class speed of 146.6 miles per hour. This year they are back shooting to break their record by up to 30 miles per hour!

MINI JCW Team Takes On Road America

MotoringFile covered the MINI JCW Team as it approached Road America this past weekend, round 7 of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Here's a sample:
. . . At Road America we will see the departure of one popular driver and the return of another.

The team parted ways with James Vance who had started the season driving the #52 MINI JCW and recently switched to the #37. It’s really a shame since Vance had done some of his best driving in recent weeks. Mark Pombo returns to the #37 after a three race absence and as practice and qualifying would show, he hasn’t slowed down a bit.

The team showed good speed in both practice sessions, the best of which was the first session. Brothers Mat and Mark Pombo both put up top 10 speeds. Mat Pombo had an excellent lap of 2:31.594 which had him leading most of the practice session and ultimately ending up with the second fastest time. . . .
For the unfortuate race results read this MotoringFile article

2007-2013 MINI Water Pump Class Action Settled

According to Top Class Actions:
. . . Under the terms of the settlement, BMW agreed to compensate consumers for any repairs made to replace the water pump in 2007 to 2013 MINI Coopers. Eligible Class Members will receive up to $500 for any repairs already completed.

Should any other individuals experience water pump failure in their MINI Cooper vehicles during the Settlement Warranty Period, the part will be replaced at no charge to the owner or lessee and can be taken directly to a dealership for repair.

BMW has also agreed to pay an additional $692,500 in attorneys fees and costs and a service award in the amount of $2,500 to Herremans for her service as Class Representative in the MINI Cooper class action lawsuit.

Individuals who choose to exclude themselves from the settlement or object to the settlement must do so no later than Aug. 26, 2016.

Video From Final Nurburgring Testing Of 2017 MINI Countryman JCW

MotoringFile posted ths Motor1 video the vehicle during final suspension calibration testing.

Car And Driver Likes The MINI Clubman Without All The Options

Joseph Caparella writes about the real base MINI Clubman for Car and Driver:
. . . We’re not choosing the Golf as an arbitrary measuring stick. The new Clubman is sized almost identically to that iconic, 10Best Cars–winning German hatch, and, at least in this low-spec model, the Mini is priced in the same range as the Golf. But for all the overlap on paper, the character of the two cars couldn’t be more different.

The charming and cheeky Clubman offers a fun sort of foil for the slightly anodyne, no-nonsense nature of the Volkswagen. That pragmatic approach extends to packaging efficiency, at which the Golf excels; it has more back-seat and cargo space than the Clubman. But those who appreciate a bit of individuality may be charmed by the Mini’s details such as the center-stack toggle switches and color-changing ring around the infotainment screen. Others may simply find them gimmicky. The dual cargo doors that take the place of a conventional hatch might also come across as silly to some, but at least they spring to action quickly and provide a wide aperture when fully opened. Each door also has its own diminutive windshield wiper—if that doesn’t tickle your cute reflex, you’re not Mini material. . . .

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying An R53

Road & Track purports to tell you all you need to know if your considering buying a first generation MINI Cooper S

Who Should And Shouldn't Buy A 2016 MCS

Autos Cheat Sheet explores who should and should not buy a 2016 MINI Cooper S. Who shouldn't?:
. . . There are plenty of people out there who like the Subaru Impreza because it holds its resale value, want the Ford Focus because they come from a Ford family, or will stick with a Volkswagen Golf forever because that’s all they’ve ever owned. A Cooper S isn’t for them. Plenty of car buyers don’t find anything fun about cars — they’re just appliances to get from A to B, and the Cooper S’s charm would likely be lost on them. . . .

auto123.com's 2016 MCS Clubman Review

Trevor Hoffman reviews the 2016 MINI Cooper S Clubman for auto123.com and sizes it up this way:
. . . As you can see, it’s difficult to find fault with MINI and especially hard to knock the new 2016 Clubman. It embodies all of the brand’s notable quality, delivers exciting driving dynamics, offers multiple powertrains and drivelines, achieves enviable efficiencies, is available with otherwise unfathomable feature sets, and continues on iconic British style, albeit within a larger, more accommodating body that should go far to win over new buyers who might have never considered MINI before. . . .

MINI Ray Replaces Entry Level MINI One Down Under

Australia's motoring reports that:
An affordable new variant joins the local MINI range with effect from August, priced from $29,000 for the three-door model, including on-road costs.

Named the MINI Ray, the new model replaces the MINI One in the range, and is powered by the same 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol three-cylinder engine producing 75kW and 180Nm. Combined-cycle fuel consumption is 4.9L/100km, or 5.0L/100km with the optional six-speed automatic transmission. . . .

Car And Driver Inspects The 2016 Manual MCS Convertible

Car and Driver looks at the manual transmission version of the 2016 MINI Cooper S Convertible and decides:
Highs and Lows 
Highs:
Turbocharged engine is a gem, six-speed manual is a pleasure, convertible top is versatile.

Lows:
Harsh ride, cowl shake, pricey.

MPGOMATIC.COM Video Review Of The MINI Clubman

MINI Ramps Up Electric Motor And Battery Production

MotoringFile carries this BMW Group PressClub USA press release:
Official Release: With its long experience in the field of electric mobility, its ultra-modern production facilities and its specially trained employees, the Dingolfing plant has established itself as the main competence centre for eDrive technology within the global production network of the BMW Group. Ever since the launch of the first BMW i production models, the Dingolfing plant has produced high-voltage batteries and other powertrain and chassis components for these vehicles. Prior to that, the plant already supplied high-voltage batteries for the BMW Active E, BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid, BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid and BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid.

Now, with the market launch of the first plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW core- brand models – for which the plant supplies the rear-mounted electric motors and all high-voltage battery packs – production of BMW eDrive components in Dingolfing is scaling up once again. Over the past years, the BMW Group has invested more than €100 million in electric drive technology in Dingolfing, strengthening the plant’s competitiveness and securing jobs. Although the production processes for electric motors and high-voltage batteries are highly automated, the plant is taking on increasing numbers of highly qualified employees. The number of people employed in production of components for plug-in hybrid vehicles will increase from around 100 at the present time to more than 200 in the medium term. Technology transfer from BMW i also generates innovations in production and equips it for the future. The transfer of technology and know-how from the development of BMW i models also extends to the production side, as is clear from a glance at the manufacturing capacities for electric drive technology. The experience acquired by BMW i not only flows into improving key features of the BMW eDrive components themselves, it also makes for more flexible and quality-oriented production processes at the Dingolfing plant.

This internal cross-brand knowledge transfer mirrors the BMW Group’s all- encompassing approach to electric mobility in general. Electric drive components that play a key role in the driving experience are developed in-house. In addition to electric motors and the high-voltage batteries, this also includes the power electronics and the vehicle electrical system – which provide the basis for intelligent energy management. The decision to develop and produce eDrive technology within the company means the BMW Group has acquired a level of systems expertise that is unique among its competitors. Extensive know-how about all the individual system components is paired with an in-depth understanding of electric drive technology as an overall system. Innovations and improvements can be quickly and directly incorporated as exclusive USPs into the product substance of eDrive components. All this helps to strengthen the BMW Group in its quest to be the industry leader in the EV segment. The BMW Group’s decision to develop and produce eDrive technology in-house means that the entire portfolio of drive technology for all electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles always conforms to the high standards of the BMW Group on quality, reliability and safety. At the same time, the performance characteristics of this drive technology can be counted on to provide all the models in which these components are fitted with their signature brand attributes. The in-house principle also makes it possible to develop and improve the products and the production processes in parallel.

The parallel relationship between the product portfolio and the production process can already be seen in the configuration of the new manufacturing facilities at the BMW Group’s plant in Dingolfing. A total area of approximately 6,000 square metres in the new production hall acts as the global production network’s main manufacturing site for eDrive components. Approximately 1,500 square metres of space is devoted to the production of electric motors and battery modules, while a 1,000-square-metre area is used for the assembly of the high-voltage batteries. In all these areas, the manufacturing facilities are configured to allow rapid expansion of production capacities, which can even be doubled in size with no negative impact on the efficiency of the production process. Also, a number of existing vacant spaces on the site could potentially be used to extend the overall production capacity for electric drive systems even further.

Similar flexibility can be seen in the eDrive product portfolio itself. The BMW Group has developed a modular design system whereby electric motors and high-voltage batteries of varying size, performance and type can be developed on the basis of shared, standardised design principles and common basic characteristics. With this combination of standardisation and flexibility, the Group is equipped to cover the requirements of all of its current and future all-electric and plug-in hybrid models. What’s more, the scalable architecture is also the key to offering these models at attractive prices, comparable with those of conventionally powered vehicles of similar power and performance. The modular strategy also allows eDrive components for a wide range of BMW i and BMW iPerformance models to be produced simultaneously on a standardised production line. In this way the BMW Group is able to respond flexibly to changes in market demands, and is able to smoothly integrate the production of new model versions into the existing production process.

Electric motors from Dingolfing: bespoke technology and innovative manufacturing deliver the expected driving experience in electric models as well.

With its strategy of in-house development and production of eDrive technology, the BMW Group aims to ensure that its customers are also offered the driving experience expected of the BMW Group brand in question when driving an electric model. As a result, the Group is able to differentiate itself clearly from competitor brands in the electric market too, through such characteristics as dynamic performance, efficiency and comfort. The electric motors play a key part in this. The motors used in the BMW i and BMW iPerformance models feature a high power-to- size and power-to-weight ratio and offer linear power delivery extending right up into the high rpm range, along with exceptional efficiency. These characteristics are the product of a special design principle, the incorporation of BMW i know-how into a wide range of detailed features, and innovative production processes.

The stator and rotor, both produced at the BMW Group’s Dingolfing plant, are then attached to the casing of the motor. The assembly line is highly flexible, and individual employees are trained to be able to perform a range of different operations. The U-shaped arrangement of the workstations ensures that this flexibility is combined with high efficiency. At all stations the components are delivered to the operator in an ergonomic manner. At the same time the work stations are adjustable for height and tilt to suit individual ergonomic needs. Most operations can be performed either from a sitting or a standing position. This special way of working contributes to the high production quality of the eDrive components that leave the Dingolfing plant.

The high specific output and sporty characteristics of eDrive motors are a result of the extensive optimisation of the permanently excited synchronous electric motor technology on which these motors are based. For example the stator consists of up to two kilometres (1 1?4 miles) of copper wiring, which is specially wound for extra- compact dimensions. The stator production process comprises the packaging and insulating of the individual sheet metal sections, and drawing in and forming the coils. The sheet metal sections are joined by laser welding. Rotor assembly also follows a special process. After the magnets have been inserted and caulked in the rotor structure, which is made up of numerous sheet metal sections, the cooled rotor shaft is shrink-fitted into the heated component. Only then is the rotor magnetised, which considerably simplifies the overall assembly process. During final assembly of the motor, the stator is first of all shrink-fitted into the motor casing, which has previously been induction-heated to a temperature of around 150 degrees Celsius. Then the rotor is inserted. After all other parts have been fitted, and a function test has been carried out, the fully assembled electric motor can be flange-mounted to the transmission.

Customized battery packs: standardised design, individual configuration, maximum efficiency.


Production of the high-voltage battery packs for BMW i and BMW iPerformance models at the Dingolfing plant happens in two stages. The first, highly automated stage involves packaging the externally supplied lithium-ion cells into modules. These modules, each comprising 16 cells, are then mounted, together with the connectors, controllers and cooling systems, in an aluminium housing. The battery packs are in each case configured to meet the requirements of the model in which they are installed, and may comprise either five or six modules. The modular design principle allows high-voltage battery packs with common basic characteristics and quality standards to be custom-configured to the size and geometric requirements of the specific model. Every model can therefore be fitted with a battery that is optimally adapted to the available installation space and the intended positioning of the battery in the vehicle.

The design and manufacture of the high-voltage battery packs provide further examples of knowledge transfer from BMW i. Numerous production techniques that contribute to their high quality and reliability were first used in the production of battery packs for the BMW i3 and BMW i8, since which time they have been continuously refined and improved. Following an initial inspection on arrival at the Dingolfing plant, the externally supplied battery cells, which are built to the BMW Group’s precise specifications, are readied for the largely automated module assembly process. Robots then apply a layer of bonding agent, package the cells into groups, pressure-weld the module frame to the grouped cells, fit the thermal interfaces and laser-weld the cell contacts. The finished modules can then be assembled into a complete battery pack tailored to the requirements of the specific model. The BMW Group’s Dingolfing plant currently produces three different types of high-voltage battery pack, using what is known as a cellular manufacturing process. Cellular manufacturing offers exceptionally high levels of flexibility, while also ensuring efficiency and quality. This means that for batteries too, manufacturing capacity can be adjusted at any time to meet changing requirements, while new versions can always be easily integrated into the production process.

Depending on the version, the battery pack comprises five or six modules, which are installed in an aluminium casing equipped with pre-installed cooling systems and connectors. The modules are automatically bolted in place and linked up using electrical connectors. This installation technique means that in the event of a fault it is possible to simply swap individual modules rather than having to replace the entire battery. The servicing workload is further reduced by the internal layout of the battery, which allows the insulated modules to be taken out without risk after opening the casing. Last but not least, the swapping of battery modules only requires minimal dismantling of the cooling system. The coolant circuit of the vehicle’s air conditioning system is also used to cool the battery. Its gaseous coolant provides direct cooling of the cells. This approach ensures highly efficient temperature control, since the heat transfer from the evaporation process is direct and therefore much more efficient than if an additional medium were used. This allows a particularly compact cooling system to be used. At the same time, there is no risk of liquid being released in the event of a collision.

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