A jet powered MINI, what could possibly go wrong?

Jet powered MINI crashes at Snetterton

A jet powered MINI on a mildly moist Snetterton race track. It’s all fun and games until the first corner comes along!

Thankfully, it appears, the driver emerged unscathed from his fuselage.

[Source: Mattzel89]


MINI officially responds to F56 spy pics

2014 MINI F56 prototype

MINI has taken the unusual step of releasing an official statement in response to the spy shots of its new F56 Cooper S which spread around the interwebz on Tuesday:

Aggressive and relentless papping is something British celebrities have had to learn to live with. Members of the Royal Family, as well as actors, footballers and top models are all familiar with the sensation of being caught in uncompromising situations, and now MINI is the latest victim. Absolutely unaware and without make-up, the youngest member of our family was caught by sensationalist photographers in a highly private moment. The young one was yellow and completely defenceless. We understand the worldwide interest in our family but it is not the British way to send such unfavourable pictures around the globe.

But like a good stiff-upper-lipped Brit, MINI shall not complain, although we would like to officially state that we are not flattered. The published pictures do not reflect our good looks any way. As every celebrity knows, those extra long telephoto lenses have the devastating ability to negatively distort all surfaces, lines and angles. Therefore our advice: next time come closer to the object of desire. If that doesn’t work, don’t worry,  shortly you will have the opportunity to experience the MINI up close and personal, and to take pictures from all angles.

We think that statement means one of two things. Either the whole thing is a publicity stunt to attract attention ahead of the official release of pics and information (more likely), or they have been shocked into last minute changes after unfavourable commentary about the look of the F56 (less likely).

More pics of the original spy shots can be viewed at Autoblog.


F56 MINI spied ahead of late year debut

MINI F56 prototype

Autocar brings us a series of images showing the 2014 MINI Cooper S with almost no disguise. It looks as though the two cars captured were on location for a photo shoot and this the first real opportunity we’ve had to see what the third generation MINI will look like.

Restyled headlights appear to have circular LED daytime running lights around the outside. Based on these pics the new front grille is less than successful. Let’s hope it looks better in reality.

In side profile view there’s no obvious differences from the current R56 model, aside from the larger rear wing. The new model does have a longer wheelbase. At the back you can see the centre-mount exhaust tips for the Cooper S are more prominent than they’ve ever been. Actually, from the back the new MINI looks quite good.

We don’t have a lot more to go on inside other than what we learnt in July last year, which is a heavier reliance on BMW parts and the loss of the centrally-mounted speedometer.

The F56 is due for a debut later this year, most likely at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Sales will commence in 2014.

[Source: Autocar]

MINI Safety Issues

MINI says makeup or drive

MINI makeup or drive TVC

Apparently there’s a real problem in Mexico with women applying makeup while they drive. In response MINI has come up with this public safety announcement.

[Source: MotoringFile]

BMW MINI Porsche

Isn’t that nice

MINI congratulates Porsche

In a rare show of inter manufacturer love BMW has passed on an official note of congratulations to Porsche for the 50th anniversary of the 911. They’ve done so as stewards of their own 50-year-plus icon the Mini/MINI.

There’s a full statement and more pics from BMW after the break, but this paragraph gets to the heart of the message:

It’s tempting to wonder how different history would have been without the creators of these two successful cars. Neither Sir Alec Issigonis nor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche had any inkling that their designs would come to be considered immortal icons of modern times. Indeed, you would have needed a very clear crystal ball to see that Porsche had just dreamt up the most successful sports car of all time and Issigonis the “world’s only cool small car”.

BMW also makes reference to that questionable MINI v Porsche publicity stunt at Road Atlanta back in 2010.


I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

MINI Rocketman Concept

This funky little MINI Rocketman concept was one of the stars of this year’s Geneva Motor Show. We’ve previously heard a production model is likely and now we can start to put a date to MINI’s latest plans. According to Auto Express the Rocketman will launch in 2014.

Sized at around 400mm longer and 500mm wider than the original classic Mini, the Rocketman represents a genuine return to mini motoring. The final version will be MINI’s entry-level model and is expected to carry over the 3+1 seating configuration from the concept as well.

The Rocketman will draw from BMW’s i brand, too. That’s likely to mean the use of a carbon fibre shell and aluminium chassis, in order to keep weight down.

Ian Robertson, BMW sales and marketing director, explains “MINI will never produce a car under the ‘i’ brand—this is exclusively for BMWs—but the technology we are developing for the ‘i’ family of cars will certainly be made available for the rest of the BMW Group.”

[Source: Auto Express]


MINI WRC Rally d’Italia debut in pictures


After a long build up the MINI WRC made it’s full race debut at Rally d’Italia on the weekend. Dani Sordo achieved consistent results bringing his car home in sixth place. Kris Meeke had a few teething problems and did not finish the race. Dave Wilcox, Technical Director, has a debrief on the event where he details some of Meeke’s issues.

There’s quite a break now until the MINI WRC is back in competitive action at Rally Finland (28–30 July). Dani Sordo will be back in the car this weekend, though, fulfilling promo duties at the Cornbury Park Rally Show near Oxford.

Meanwhile, here’s a small gallery of images of the two MINI WRCs from Sardinia.


MINI WRC Team: Ready to go


This time next week we’ll be reflecting on the return of MINI to the world rally stage at Rally d’Italia. Can drivers Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke make an impression in the John Cooper Works WRC?

Dave Richards, Team Principal, seems quietly confident, “The MINI has performed better than we dared hope in testing and the S2000 car’s debut in Portugal was very encouraging. However, we are all too aware of the challenges ahead of us and take nothing for granted, but whatever the outcome, Sardinia will be an historic event for the entire team and everyone who has supported us to get this far.”

After the break you can see the team’s latest video and press release.


MINI WRC Team officially launched

MINI WRC team launch

The MINI WRC Team was officially launched in Oxford overnight. To celebrate the occasion, one of the team’s works drivers, Kris Meeke, took to the Plant Oxford forecourt and performed a motorkhana display in his new MINI John Cooper Works WRC. Amateur video footage of that run can be seen below.

It’s all about development for the MINI WRC in 2011 and they will take part in a reduced program competing in just six of the 13 rallies on the WRC calendar. From 2012, though, the MINI WRC Team will be hoping the lessons learnt this year will allow them to challenge the established teams from Ford and Citroën. Meeke will be joined by Spanish rally ace Dani Sordo, so the driving roster should be up to the task at hand.

Rally Jordan takes place this weekend, then in early May, the MINI WRC will debut at Rally d’Italia in Sardinia.

David Richards, Chairman and Chief Executive, Prodrive Group, can’t wait for the team’s first race, “We have been working towards this moment for more than two years and it is truly exciting to be launching the MINI WRC Team and what I believe is the most stunning car in World Rallying, the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. We have an experienced team, a talented driver pairing and, most importantly of all, a strong partnership with MINI. We are now eagerly looking forward to demonstrating the performance of the car on its debut in Sardinia in just a few weeks.”

More detail below from MINI motorsport, including a link to download the team’s full media kit. There’s over 30 pages of info to keep you interested. You can also keep abreast of MINI motorsport activities by checking out their website, which includes links to various social media.

[Thanks to Aaron for the video tip]


MINI Paceman due in 2012

MINI Paceman Concept

MotoringFile brings word the MINI Paceman will be going in production in 2012. Plans to build the Paceman were confirmed by BMW board member Ian Robertson earlier this year, but no were dates given.

The Paceman will be built alongside the Countryman at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria. It’s expected the Paceman will be on sale in late 2012. Although the production model will wear a different badge, something starting with C most likely.

[Source: MotoringFile]

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.