Auto blogFri, 30 May 2014 18:30:00 EST
We fell in love with the Mini Superleggera Vision Concept from the moment we laid eyes on it. The little convertible blends retro and modern together better than any Mini in years. There is even more good news about the roadster as well because the company is considering actually building it. We even have some renders of what the production version could look like.
Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer tells Automotive News at the 2014 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, that the Superleggera might have a life beyond its debut. "We wanted to test how Mini enthusiasts worldwide were reacting to such a different type of Mini. So far, it has re
ceived overwhelming appreciation," he said to AN. But here's the bad news. All of the unique elements of the droptop wouldn't be cheap to build. Pricing would likely be around 35,000 euros if BMW gives it the green light, according to Schwarzenbauer. It's too early to know whether the road car would use the electric motor from the concept or something more conventional.
Mini fans have had plenty to chew on lately. In the past month alone, the Anglo-Saxon automaker revealed its quirky, one-off Paceman Adventure pickup and dazzled showgoers over the weekend at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este with the Superleggera Vision concept. But what enthusiasts (to say nothing of dealers) have been really waiting for since the debut of the new Mini hatchback late last year has been the new John Cooper Works performance model. And that's just what we have here.
Spied undergoing testing at the Nürburgring, this JCW prototype looks about ready for production, but is still keeping its front end under wraps. We can still discern the larger front intakes and bigger brakes with red calipers front and rear, and while the rear bumper is still stock, the wheels are definitely JCW: similar to those worn by the John Cooper Works Concept unveiled in Detroit a few months ago, they look more like five-spoke versions of the outgoing GP model's four-spoke units than the BBS-style alloys of the last John Cooper Works hatchback.
The new JCW is still probably a few months away from debut, but we're expecting around 230 horsepower under the hood when it does arrive.
Remember a couple of years ago when Tony Hawk jumped over a Lexus LFA on his skateboard? Well that was nothing compared to what he's done here.
Sure the LFA is a more impressive car than a Mini hatchback, but that Japanese supercar was sitting still when the world's most famous skater jumped over it. And it was parked sideways. This time Tony's jumped a moving car, front to back. It gets even more impressive than that when you see what happens to the ramp after he's done with it, but we don't want to ruin the surprise.
The stunt was performed in celebration of the partnership between Mini USA and Hawk's Birdhouse Skateboards Tour, details of which you can read in the press release under the video below.
It could be argued that Mini has not built a pretty car since the R53, the first of the reborn Minis, was put out to pasture at the end of 2006. I've owned two R53s, so yes, I'm horribly biased. The styling situation in Oxford hasn't improved much for 2014, either, as the bigger, more frightened-looking Mini begins to arrive in dealerships, boasting a very un-Mini-like front overhang. This, though, this works.
It's called the Superleggera Vision, and straight away, we should point out that it's not designed by Mini. It's a product of Touring Superleggera, whose other creations include the stunning Disco Volante. It's a darn nice piece of design, and we're especially fond of its tiny, Jaguar D-type-like rear fin. It's also perfectly designed for it's debut location - the Concours d'Elegance at Italy's Villa d'Este.
Despite being a Mini, the Superleggera still boasts a traditional roadster layout, with a long hood and a shorter rear deck. The front end boasts a pair of traditionally styled Mini headlamps, which sit above a version of the new Cooper's gaping grille. The profile is brightened by a pair of character lines, the most noticeable of which runs from ahead and over the front wheel wells toward the back of the diminutive droptop. Of course, we can't not mention that amazing fin. It should be fitted to every Mini Roadster posthaste. The rear of the car, meanwhile, almost reminds us of an old Aston Martin Vanquish, thanks to the shape of its taillights and their rounded rectangular enclosure. And yes, those are union jacks inside the taillights. God save the queen.
Is Mini constricting its staggering array of model variants or expanding it? That depends largely on which way you look at it. Because while some models may not make the cut as the second-generation family is gradually replaced with the third, others appear to be joining the fold. They just might not bear different model names.
Take, for example, the vehicle pictured here. It's a five-door version of the latest Mini hatchback, but won't necessarily replace the Clubman wagon - particularly since that's precisely what appears to be pictured alongside it. While the five-door hatch appears to simply add an extra set of portals - full-size ones, from the look of it, not backwards-opening half-doors - to the existing three-door version, the new Clubman appears not only longer but also wider, giving it that much more interior space.
Of course that could all be an optical illusion generated by swirly camouflage designed to do just that, but from the apparent readiness of both models, we'll find out one way or another soon enough - whatever they're called.
Yesterday, we brought you the news of the existence of this Mini Paceman Adventure tiny truck, and the story of how it came to be. Long story short: it was a lighthearted collaboration between apprentices and instructors at parent BMW plants in Germany. The mini-sized pickup bed and off-road kit may not make the Paceman All4 actually practical, but we'd argue that they do make the one-off fairly loveable.
Apparently the Mini photographers agree with that "loveable" part. We'd heard that there were some better, higher-resolution images of the Paceman Adventure on the way, but we didn't expect there to be hundreds of them. But as you can see, the shooters went out and thoroughly documented the pickup, shooting it in several locations, still and moving, and documenting some of its construction as well. Find your favorite in the massive gallery of images, above.
With coupes and convertibles, hatchbacks and crossovers, Mini has done just about every bodystyle we could think of, and then a few more as concepts. But it hasn't done a pickup. At least it hadn't until now.
What we have here is a Mini Paceman (that, of course, being the coupe version of the Countryman) which has been transformed into a pickup by a group of BMW interns. It's called the Mini Paceman Adventure, and it's currently on display at the Mini dealership in Munich. According to BimmerToday.de, the project involved not only chopping the roof and installing a makeshift pickup bed, but also reinforcing the body, reforming the underbody and B-pillar, fitting off-road tires (including a spare fitted to a roof rack) and a handful of other minor modifications.
The photos are a little sketchy (although the dealership tells us a better set will be available soon), but from what we can see, it looks like a pretty solid project - one that makes us wonder if the apprentices' bosses might be paying attention. Because next to the Mini Coupe with its oddball backwards-hat roof treatment, this one-off looks as sensible as you'd expect from a group of German interns.
It was just a few days ago that Mini unveiled its refreshed Countryman at the New York Auto Show, and now it has followed up with the revised version of that model's coupe counterpart, the Paceman. Revealed today at the Beijing Motor Show, the new Paceman adopts all the changes applied to the new Countryman - which is to say, not a whole lot, but maybe enough to keep it current for the masses of customers in the market for a three-door version of a vehicle that's bigger than its stablemates but smaller than most other crossovers.
Pictured here in Piano Black (one of three new shades on offer alongside Midnight Grey and the Jungle Green in which the new Countryman was featured), the mildly refreshed Paceman has, like its five-door counterpart, been so subtly updated that we can scarcely tell the difference... even after sorting through the press release below. There are some minor revisions to the exterior, the cabin features slightly updated equipment, and the Cooper S gets an extra few horsepower. And that's about all she wrote, folks.
Mini will offer the updated Paceman worldwide with a wide array of four-cylinder engine options. With no budget-oriented One model, the Cooper is the base model with a 122-horsepower version of the brand's ubiquitous 1.4-liter four and the John Cooper Works sits at the top of the range with 218 hp. The two diesel specs are present as well, and buyers cam choose (on most models) between front- and All4 all-wheel drive.
Mini Malaysia wants you - at least those of you in Southeast Asia - to know that the new Mini has a riptide of adrenaline and sharp teeth underneath its larger, more ergonomically efficient exterior. To make the point it enlisted the aid of Putrajaya roads, local agency Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid and four local action sports stars: Fizzy, Shuk, Rizlan and Nasa.
A bog standard Mini Cooper S is the star, its 192-horsepower engine and rollcage-free cabin reinforcing the message that you can do the same thing in a model right off the showroom floor... if you happen to have the same skills as Ivan Khong, the Malaysian Gymkhana Champion behind the wheel. You can read the backstory in the press release and watch how it all comes together in the video below.
When Mini introduced the Countryman in 2010, it emerged as the brand's first crossover, its first five-door model and its first to offer all-wheel drive. It also arrived mid-lifecycle in the last generation of Mini Cooper hatchback, with which it shares little more than a passing family resemblance. Now that the Anglo-Saxon automaker is moving on to its third generation of retro hatch, it's given the Countryman a bit of a refresh to keep it current.
Unveiled today at the New York Auto Show, the new Countryman incorporates some very minor cosmetic tweaks to the exterior - so minor, in fact, that you'd be hard pressed to tell one from the other even if viewed side by side. Some subtle enhancements have been implemented to the interior as well, where the large central speedometer remains where it was in the middle of the dashboard (unlike the new Cooper hatch that moves it to where you'd normally find the instrument cluster, behind the steering wheel). The rear seats, however, offer more adjustability.
Mini will offer the new Countryman worldwide in an array of powertrain configurations, ranging from the bare-bones Mini One Countryman with a 1.6-liter naturally-aspirated four offering just 98 horsepower all the way up to the twin-turbo John Cooper Works with 218 hp - North American customers will get the latter, but not the former. The mid-range Cooper S has been enhanced by seven horses to deliver 190 hp, while overseas-only diesel models range from 90 hp to 143. Buyers will be able to choose between a six-speed manual or automatic and front-or all-wheel drive. There are also some new colors on offer and a host of optional equipment, all of which you can read about in the press release below.