Auto blogTue, 05 Nov 2013 17:40:00 EST
Mini is well underway testing the third-generation of its four-place Cooper Convertible, as evidenced by these photos, showing the new droptop riding along on a flatbed.
Codenamed the F57 - as opposed to the "F56" designation for the Hardtop - the Convertible will ride on the same UKL front-drive architecture that will underpin its hardtop brother, not to mention its German cousins, the BMW 1 Series GT and X1. According to our spies, it'll share more than a few of the BMW i's lightweight technologies and will include such advanced features as electronically adjustable dampers. That seems like some high-dollar tech for a droptop Mini, but we'd be quite happy to see it arrive all the same.
From the beltline down, we can expect the Convertible to feature almost identical styling to the Hardtop. Based on the spy photos, there's not a lot to see above the belt line, either. The roof carries roughly the same shape, and will probably fold in a similar Z-pattern to the current canvas top.
BMW has been offering Frozen editions of its cars for several years now highlighted by matte paint and very limited production, and now Mini is getting in on the game with Frozen Black versions of the Paceman and Countryman. Unlike our report from earlier in the week, these models will not wear the Batman-sounding Black Knight name, but instead, like the BMW models, will be dubbed Frozen Edition. That previous intel also had it that production of the Frozen Edition Minis would be limited to just 60 units. Now official, Mini has not confirmed how many - or few - of these limited edition models it would build.
The Frozen Black paint adds silicates to the lacquer finish creating a "matted impression," which sounds like it should be easier for owners to maintain and wash, although Mini still advises against waxing or polishing. This special paint will be offered on all S, Diesel and John Cooper Works versions of the Paceman and Countryman, though it's not clear as of this writing if any will be offered in the US. Mini's press release for the Frozen Black Paceman and Countryman is posted below.
Mini is certainly no stranger to a special edition, as unique option and styling packs have been a staple of the Mini line since its return to the US market, but it's next special trim is quite a big departure from previous cars. It's based on the Countryman, and is called the Black Knight Edition.
As you cans see from the image up top, it'll sport a sinister, matte-black paint scheme, making this Mini not unlike BMW's range of Frozen Edition cars. First reported on by those Mini-obsessed folks at MotoringFile, the Black Knight Edition Countryman will be limited to 60 units, and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, making this car quite a bit different from previous special editions, which generally stuck around for a full model year.
According to MF, the matte finish will only be available on the Cooper S Countryman, although oddly, one of the teaser images shows a John Cooper Works badge. BKE models should be coming nearly loaded, which means that there's not a lot of customization done and the price tag is probably going to be exorbitant for a Mini. Buyers will, though, have the choice of front- or all-wheel drive and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
With all the recent news about automated vehicle technology (from Ford, Nissan and Toyota, among others), Mini is bringing some not-so-groundbreaking tech into its products to better keep the driver connected to the car. Other than stating that these new technologies will roll out in future models, there is no telling when we could see them starting to show up, although our best guess is the 2015 Mini Cooper.
Two of the more notable technologies that Mini will introduce include a head-up display system (shown above) and the "city braking" system to work in conjunction with collision warning and passenger detection. The automated braking system is made possible with the forward-mounted camera, which is also used for adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming headlights and a street sign detection system (to relay speed limit and traffic sign info to the driver). A new parking assist feature helps drivers find a properly sized parking spot, and then drivers can take advantage of the backup camera.
Mini obviously isn't the first to introduce these technologies, but it might be among the first to bring such a large number of advanced safety features into a car priced under $30,000 - though there is no telling how much these options will cost. The automaker has issued a brief press release for its upcoming driver assist systems, which is posted below.
The first generation of the reimagined, BMW-backed Mini was a simple things, confined to two body styles - hatchback and four-seat convertible. It wasn't until the second-generation platform came along that Mini began truly expanding, offering a long-wheelbase model, a roadster, a coupe, a five-door crossover, and a three-door, um, thing?
BMW is aiming for 10 to 12 different vehicles from just two brands off one platform.
According to an interview between Automotive News Europe and the BMW board member that oversees Mini, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the funky British brand will be expanding far beyond the seven body styles it currently offers. "With the new ULK architecture, we currently have in mind eight to 10 models," Schwarzenbauer told ANE. That architecture he mentions, will also underpin the BMW 1 Series GT and the BMW X1, meaning that BMW is aiming for 10 to 12 different vehicles from just two brands off one platform (and that's only what we know about).
The third generation of reborn Mini is nearly upon us. Just look at the trail of breadcrumbs the Anglo-Saxon automaker has been leaving us.
First we saw the upcoming new Mini Cooper, spied from above at a photo shoot, which Mini was quick to point out was not its best angle. Then BMW's retro-hatch division showcased the Mini Vision concept, and followed up just yesterday with details of the new engines and chassis that will underpin the latest model. And now we have the clearest batch of spy shots we've seen yet.
Not only were these shots taken from a better angle, but also show the new Mini in the more tempting Cooper S trim - complete with hood scoop, split-spoke alloys, roof spoiler and twin central exhaust tips.
Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:02:00 EST
The 2014 Cooper will come with a three-cylinder engine and the Cooper S will get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, both with Mini's TwinPower turbochargers.
We have seen spy photos of the all-new Mini Cooper. We have been teased about its drivetrain. Now we have the engine details confirmed by BMW.
BMW Group has made some changes to its design team since August 1, and has shuffled top personnel to different positions at BMW Design, Mini Design and Rolls-Royce.
The BMW Design team led by Karim Habib (middle, right) gains a new head of Exterior Design in Domagoj Dukec (right), who has worked for the exterior design team since 2010 and shaped the Concept Active Tourer.
Oliver Heilmer (left), who has worked for BMW's interior design unit since 2000 and designed the 5 Series interior, replaces Marc Girard as head of Interior Design BMW Automobiles. Marc Girard goes to manage BMW's subsidiary design group, BMW DesignworksUSA.
Ask anyone that's driven a classic Mini, and they'll probably tell you that their first reaction to driving it was a lot like the start of this video - whooping, shouting, laughing and a whole lot of smiling. This video, from Jon Quirk, editor-in-chief at Auto Trader UK, highlights the connection between him and his Rover Mini Paul Smith. He really nails the man-machine interface that makes owning a great car so much fun. Besides that, Quirk does a good job of enumerating what is so enjoyable about driving a fun car on a twisting road.
For our British readers, this video is also meant to test the waters for a new format from Auto Trader UK, called "I Bought One." With Quirk's Mini, the car-buying site is looking at telling the story of people and their interesting cars. We think this video is a great start, with high production value and solid content. Head on over to the YouTube channel, and let them know what you think. But first, scroll on down for the entire video on this awesome Rover Mini.
BMW has agreed to settle a number of class-action lawsuits out of court. The suits stem from drivetrain issues on the 2001 to 2006 R50 Mini Cooper - in particular, its continuously variable transmission. The transmission was known to fail, often without warning on otherwise healthy and well-maintained vehicles. This wasn't the only major issue to afflict the original BMW-era Mini models.
According to legal site Topclassactions.com, the suits alleged that BMW knowingly hid the defects in the CVT from customers while informing dealers of the issue. The first suit was filed in 2011, while four additional suits have followed. Now, BMW has reportedly settled, offering to reimburse 1,200 owners that needed repairs within eight years or 150,000 miles of their purchase. Repair prices for the transmission range from $6,000 to $9,000.
Under the agreement, BMW will also offer up to $4,100 to members of the suit that had fixes performed at a third-party shop, while owners who sold their cars at a loss due to the issues are slated to receive up to $2,000. Finally, owners who are part of the suit will be warrantied for a further eight years and 150,000 miles.