‘Frozen Black’ Paceman and Countryman announced

MINI Paceman JCW 'Frozen Black'

MINI has announced the arrival of a new Frozen Black metallic, a limited edition paint finish which will be available on high-end Paceman and Countryman models.

They say the “shimmering” finish is weather and car wash resistant. Although, care has to be taken when polishing and waxing so as not to result in an “unwanted gloss effect”. Naturally, BMW has a range of official care products available to ensure your not so shiny black paint stays as good as new.

Frozen Black can be optioned on Cooper S Countryman, Cooper SD Countryman, Cooper S Paceman, Cooper SD Paceman, John Cooper Works Countryman and John Cooper Works Paceman models. At this stage it’s not clear how limited the option will be, or if it will be available to Australian buyers. However, MINI states: “Due to the labour intensive process used to apply this exclusive body colour during production it is limited to a restricted number of cars.”

Let’s also assume you’ll need to pay for the privilege of that labour intensive process, but again, no word yet as to the expected cost of this paint finish.

We know there’s a lot of discontent out there about the Paceman and Countryman models. But we don’t car what anybody says, this looks cool! More after the break.

McLaren Mercedes-Benz MINI Mitsubishi Motor Shows Nissan Opel Pagani Peugeot Porsche Renault Rolls-Royce Seat Skoda Subaru Tesla Toyota Volkswagen Volvo

2013 Geneva Motor Show in pictures – part 2

2013 Geneva Motor Show

You can have your fancy pants limited-edition Lambo, or your stonking new LaFerrari, even the McLaren P1; we’re not really interested. The car of Geneva, for us, is the Porsche 911 GT3. That’s the one we’d like to take home and get intimate with. And so begins the second and final part of our Geneva Motor Show image gallery. There’s over 120 new  images to see and enjoy.

MINI Motorsports

MINI Countryman rally car on its way down under


Speaking at the recent Autosport International event Dave Richards, Prodrive boss, confirmed at least one of his MINI Countryman customer cars will be heading to Australia.

According to Richards, “We’ve got cars going all over the world now. We’ve had orders from Brazil, Australia, the Middle East, the Far East, all across Europe, so you’ll see the MINI out there very quickly.”

Unless someone is keeping a very big secret we can expect the order(s) with Prodrive to be for a Super Production racecar; cars suited to WRC category are not eligible for local competition.

You can watch Richards’ full interview after the break and the snippet about Australia is about 4 minutes 40 seconds in.

[via | Thanks to Robbo for the tip]


2011 MINI Countryman – Australian pricing

MINI Countryman

The love it or hate it MINI Countryman will be in showrooms around Australia before the end of next month. So, how much will this left of centre MINI hurt the hip pocket? It’s probably no surprise to learn the Countryman won’t be cheap, and pre-driveaway pricing starts at $37,700 for the entry-level Cooper model.

The price to play at the other end of the scale is $56,050 for a Cooper S All4, including Chilli pack. Without the extra goodies you’re looking at $50,400. In the middle sits the front-wheel drive only Cooper S version, which starts at $47,500 (add $5650 for Chilli pack).

Also arriving, a month or so later, are two diesel powered Countryman models. The Cooper version starts at $40,950 or you can opt for the all-wheel drive model priced from $43,850.

It’s interesting to note MINI is preparing quite a list of model variants; there’s 10 in all if you count the Chilli option as a separate model. It will be more interesting to see how well this car sells in Australia. Overseas markets have proved quite fruitful for MINI.

Until we see the Countryman for ourselves we’re unsure if we are in the love it or hate it camp. From what we’ve seen so far, though, we’re leaning towards love it.

Full pricing details after the break. MINI is holding back tech specs and other local market detail until the launch, we’ll bring them to you as soon as we can.

MINI Motorsports

MINI All4 crashes out of Dakar

MINI All4 Racing

Word has come through via twitter that the MINI Countryman All4 has crashed out of the 2011 Dakar Rally. Ironically the race-ending incident happened during a test run on the rest day.

Despite suffering technical problems on the first day of racing and dropping to 78th, the MINI had been making good progress since then and had consolidated a top ten outright position.

It’s understood that while driver Guerlain Chicherit was kept under observation following head trauma, he was not hospitalised and no major injury was suffered.

UPDATE: Picture of the crashed MINI added—look at the state of it—courtesy of the Stage 7 Dakar update (see below).

[via MotoringFile]


MINI WRC team signs Dani Sordo


Further good news for Prodrive’s MINI WRC program with word coming through overnight that they have signed Spanish ace Dani Sordo.

Speaking about his new contract Sordo said, “There has been a great deal of excitement surrounding MINI’s return to the WRC, so to be part of this new team is a fantastic opportunity for me.”

He will join British driver Kris Meeke who signed on last September. Full details after the break.

MINI Safety Issues

MINI Countryman granted 5-star crash rating

MINI Countryman

The love it or hate it MINI Countryman now has one less reason to hate it. It’s performance at the latest round of Euro NCAP testing saw the not-so-MINI awarded a 5-star crash rating. The Countryman scored 84% for the Adult Occupant category, 83% for Child Occupant, 63% for Pedestrian and 71% for Safety Assist.

Interestingly the model tested was a right-hand drive Countryman Diesel, so these results are directly relevant to the Australian market. Most cars tested by Euro NCAP are left-hand drive.

You can read the full Euro NCAP report HERE. After the break you can watch video footage of the Countryman’s test, as well as reading the press release from MINI PR.

[Pic: Euro NCAP]


VIDEO: Making of the MINI WRC

MINI Countryman WRC

After the jump you can see a brief “making of” video about the MINI Countryman WRC. Progress seems to have come along nicely following the official signing of documents with Prodrive in July. The MINI’s first race will take place in Italy next May.

Shame about super imposed type over the clip.

[Source: MotoringFile]

MINI Motor Shows WRC

Paris 2010: MINI WRC


MINI has just revealed its new Countryman-based WRC car in Paris. It looks pretty mean in that first pic, too. Will this be the coolest car in world rallying?

After the break you can see more pics, brief technical details and a couple of short interviews with Ian Roberston, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW Group and David Richards, Prodrive Chairman.

Update 4 October: Extra pics from the Paris stand can be seen HERE.


MINI WRC prototype filmed in Portugal

MINI WRC prototype

Prodrive are are testing their new MINI WRC car in Portugal this week. Thankfully, some keen rally fans have been on hand to film the action. After the break you’ll see a selection of videos posted to YouTube which show, if nothing else, the turbocharged 1.6 litre engine sounds nuts as the car rips along the gravel roads. We can only hope, for the sake of the WRC, that Prodrive get this MINI thing right!


Want to buy a WRC car?

MINI/Prodrive WRC

As most readers will be aware MINI and Prodrive recently announced a new partnership which is set to produce lovely little WRC racecar offspring. So, if you reckon the MINI Countryman is not all bad, plus you have a spare £346K (AU$600K) burning a hole in your pocket and you know how to flick a Scandinavian, or something like that, then head on over to MotoringFile and download the official brochure.


Dave Richards talking MINI and the WRC

Dave Richards

Dave Richards, Prodrive chairman, has been talking recently about the return of MINI to the world rally stage. You can see a brief television piece after the break. A more in-depth interview is also available on the WRC website. Here’s a snippet:

“The traditional way of producing a rally car is that a manufacturer comes along and asks you to make a car out of this product. Instead, we took the new regulations and said, right, what would the ultimate car look like? We used reverse engineering. Three months in, we looked at what we’d got and analysed this against the cars of all the manufacturers in the world. By March 2009 we had come up with 11 target cars. Then we went to talk to the manufacturers.

“Ironically the MINI wasn’t on that list because the car as we knew it was too small. It just didn’t fit the rules. But during discussions we found out that a new, larger car was in development – the four-door Countryman – and it went straight to the top of our list. Firstly, as being just about perfect in dimensions and layout, and secondly being one of the most iconic names and rally brands ever.”

Follow the source link below for the full interview.

[Source: WRC | Thanks to Chris for the YouTube tip]