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Auto blogFri, 16 Nov 2012 12:01:00 EST
About three weeks prior to this brief yet balls-to-the-wall drive on the Spanish island of Mallorca, I saw that Mini USA announced pricing for the keenly anticipated Mini John Copper Works GP. And that number would be - *a-hem* - $39,950 for starters.
I am always intent upon finding the pinnacle of what a certain car promises me, and almost at any cost. Almost. When I think "steaming hatchback," I think of something exactly like this Mini GP, and the steep price doesn't squelch my pleasure. They're only building 2,000 of them anyway, and the units coming to the US will start arriving in owners' hands on March 16 of next year. These buyers will be extremely happy and remorse-free.
Five scorched laps at the very Mini-perfect Circuito Mallorca RennArena showed me all.
French drivers Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret drove a Mini Countryman to a class win at this year's Dakar Rally, and to commemorate their win, Mini has introduced a limited-volume car that will only be sold in France. The Mini John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 Dakar Winner 2013 might be a mouthful to say, but it's a fitting tribute to Peterhansel's eleventh Dakar win as this Countryman is painted to look like the rally car and only 11 will be sold in the Peterhansel's home country.
Sporting a similar green-over-matte-black paint scheme as the Dakar Countryman, the JCW Countryman ALL4 Dakar Winner 2013 also adds green accents to the full-length top and side stripes, the side marker lights and also contrasting stitching inside the cabin. Adding to the car's rally look, this special edition will also include the racers' number card on the front doors, Dakar decals on the front and rear and Peterhansel's signature on the hood. Grille-mounted rally lights, bright red brake calipers and unique 19-inch wheels with dark-painted inserts finish off the exterior design.
Miniacs, note November 18 on your calendar. That's when the all-new Mini Hardtop will debut. Now, this might not be a great deal of news, after all, we already showed you the car, codenamed F56, a few weeks ago. But this full unveiling should bring with it even more detailed exterior images, a full look at the cabin and if we're lucky, performance numbers.
History buffs will also note that November 18 is the birthday of Sir Alec Issigonis. It was Issigonis that penned the original idea for the Mini on a cocktail napkin, envisioning a car with a transversely mounted engine, the wheels pushed out to all four corners and plenty of cabin space for occupants. That car had a remarkably small footprint and was quite efficient, perfect for tackling the fuel shortages brought on by the Suez Crisis in 1959's Great Britain. An unintended side-effect of its design was that it was also an absolute hoot to drive.
The November 18 debut will take place at Mini's home, Plant Oxford, in the UK. Following that, November 20 will see a near-simultaneous debut at both the Tokyo Motor Show and Los Angeles Auto Show. We'll be on hand to bring you all the details.