Monthly Archives: September 2012


National Geographic Megafactories: Plant Oxford and the MINI Coupé

National Geographic Megafactories: Plant Oxford and the MINI Coupé
National Geographic UK’s Megafactories Series 5, which has covered Guinness, the Boeing 747, the Swiss Army Knife, and others, turned its cameras on MINI.  Shown in this episode is the plan and operation of MINI Plant Oxford by following the production of the new MINI Coupé through body in white, paint, and assembly.  Plant managers discuss the challenges of building a MINI every 68 seconds while adjusting to the new Coupé model.

An interesting side story is told where rejected MINIs are sent to a separate part of the plant to be turned into MINI CHALLENGE racecars.  Some MINI CHALLENGE racing in Anglesey, Wales is shown.

The program shows the production of the 2 millionth MINI with an appearance by British Prime Minister David Cameron.  It ends with the launch of the the MINI Coupé at the Frankfurt Motor Show and a brief statement by Anders Warming.


collectibles: Disney Pixar Cars 2 MINI

Disney Pixar Cars 2 MINI: Becky Wheelin
More than a year ago we posted the Disney Pixar Cars 2 MINI Cooper “Ronnie del Cooper” which came in a set of four cars.

Recently, Disney Pixar expanded the Cars 2 die-cast collection with “chase” cars: limited cars inserted randomly for collectors to “chase” after.

One of the current “chase” cars is a MINI Cooper which is numbered 33 and named Becky Wheelin.  The 1:55 scale die-cast car is blue metallic with a black and white checkered roof and side mirror caps.  Again, this car was not a main character, but appeared in the background of a few scenes in Cars 2.


MINI releases online John Cooper Works press book

MINI John Cooper Works press book
MINI has released an online press book called MINI John Cooper Works which covers all current aspects of the performance sub-brand.  The electronic press book is available in English and German and contains about 100 pages of text, tables, and photographs.  It covers all MINI JCW models including the forthcoming 2013 MINI JCW GP and MINI JCW Countryman. The content is divided into six main sections:

  • Introduction
  • History
  • Models
  • Tuning
  • Motorsport
  • Specifications
You can also download the MINI John Cooper Works press book in English (PDF 115 MB) and German (PDF 169 MB).

leaked MINI Paceman photos

MINI Paceman

Autoblog has posted photos of the forthcoming MINI Paceman which were supposedly released early by MINI Space.  The photos are apparently scanned from an upcoming issue of The MINI International.


MINI wins class at the 24 Hours Barcelona

Besaplast MINI No. 42 at the 24 Hours Barcelona

The Besaplast Racing Team of Franjo Kovac, Fredrik Lestrup, Thomas Tekaat, and Ralf Eisenreich have won the A2 class at the 24 Hours Barcelona today.  Their No. 42 MINI Challenge-based car had a very strong showing, winning by 13 laps over the second place car.  The MINI was a remarkable seventh place overall.

Here are the results for all of the MINI entries:

Place No. Team Drivers Car Laps
1 42 Besaplast Racing Team Franjo Kovac
Fredrik Lestrup
Thomas Tekaat
Ralf Eisenreich
MINI John Cooper Works Challenge 595
5 46 Schirra-Motoring Friedrich von Bohlen
Harald Grohs
Markus Oestreich
MINI John Cooper Works 570
7 45 Team Partl Motorsport 2 Christian Bock
Felix Partl
Rainer Partl
MINI John Cooper Works 564
13 43 [s.i.g.] motorsport 1 Michal Viteck
Michal Kramer
Thomas Miniberger
Jan Cervenka
MINI John Cooper Works Endurance Coupé 484
DNF 44 [s.i.g.] motorsport 2 Daniel Skalicky
Premyslav Bartos
Ivo Ragan
Thomas Kwolek
MINI John Cooper Works Endurance Coupé 398

See the final results (PDF) and the  final results by class (PDF).


MINI John Cooper Works Countryman Press Kit

2013 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman

BMW Group PressClub Global released the Press Kit for the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman.

The MINI family is constantly expanding, and new additions have also been made to the range of John Cooper Works models. For the first time, race-bred thrills can be experienced in combination with the transfer of power through all four wheels. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, fitted with the most powerful engine in the MINI model range and equipped as standard with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, assures the driver of extreme driving fun on any terrain. Powertrain and chassis technology underpinned by extensive motor sport expertise teams up with the vehicle concept of the first MINI with four doors, a large tailgate and up to five seats to introduce the famed handling characteristics and looks of John Cooper Works models to additional target groups in another new segment.

The MINI Countryman has displayed its sporting potential in a string of impressive performances in the World Rally Championship (WRC) – proof, were it needed, that the brand’s first five-seater shares the racing genes which define the character of every MINI. Now John Cooper Works has polished these inherent talents to dazzling effect in a production model.

Unique combination: variable-usage interior, impressive output, poise and assurance in an extremely wide range of road conditions.

Within its class, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman brings an unrivalled combination of race-focused powertrain technology, all-wheel drive, premium profile and versatile interior to the table. And its inimitable style also comes to the fore through various design features and an exclusive selection of paint finishes, light-alloy wheels and interior materials. The standard equipment of the sixth model in the John Cooper Works line-up includes an aerodynamic kit which lends extra muscle to the front and rear apron, as well as bespoke side skirts, 18-inch light-alloy wheels and the sports car cockpit ambience which has become a speciality of John Cooper Works models.

The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman captures the imagination by imbuing the traditional MINI go-kart handling characteristics with an even sharper edge. The fast and precise responses of the all-wheel-drive system allow it to demonstrate impressive poise and assurance in challenging road and weather conditions and off the beaten track. The 4,133-millimetre-long, 1,789-millimetre-wide and 1,549-millimetre-tall MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is equally adept when it comes to crossing the boundaries of urban mobility, and its generous levels of space and seating comfort encourage the driver and passengers to admire the qualities of this versatile performance athlete over longer journeys as well.

Four or five seats, up to 1,170 litres of luggage space.

With short overhangs, a high waistline and a powerful over-the-wheel stance, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman draws its design inspiration from the time-honoured MINI template. The family ties are also emphasised by styling cues such as the characteristic contours of the radiator grille, large headlights set into the bonnet, voluminous wheel arches and vertical rear light clusters. Features particular to this model include the John Cooper Works badges on the radiator grille and tailgate, and red-backed, anthracite-coloured side indicator surrounds on the diagonal link between the A-pillars and the front wheel arches. Customers can choose from a selection of seven exterior paint shades. The contrast paint finish for the roof and exterior mirror can be ordered in the red shade exclusive to John Cooper Works models, as well as white and black. Sport Stripes in the same colours are available as an option.

The rear of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman can be specified with either a seat bench for three passengers or – as a no-cost option – two individual seats. The rear seats can slide fore and aft in a 60 : 40 split (if the three-seat bench is specified) or individually, and their backrests can be adjusted for tilt and folded down individually or in a 40 : 20 : 40 split (three-seat bench) to increase boot capacity from 350 to as much as 1,170 litres.
The Centre Rail storage and attachment system is also part of standard specification.

The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will be built at the
BMW Group’s partner firm Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria. Production will take place alongside the other variants of the MINI Countryman on a separate assembly line set up and operated according to the exacting standards of the BMW Group. As with all the brand’s models, the
high-performance powerplant for this sharpest of all MINI Countryman models will be sourced from the Hams Hall engine plant, one corner of the MINI Production Triangle in England.

Download the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman Press Kit (PDF).


five MINIs enter the 24 Hours Barcelona

Schirra Motoring MINI John Cooper Works

From MINI Motorsport:

MINI is represented by a strong contingent of five cars at this year’s 24-hour race in Barcelona. Great things are expected of all four teams on the endurance circuit.

Class victory, class victory, class victory: all four MINI teams lining up at this year’s endurance event – a total of five cars – have made it their mission to send the fastest car in their category into action at the 24-hour race in Barcelona from 7th to 9th September. They face tough opposition in the Catalonian capital, with 18 driving crews starting out in the A2 class at the demanding “Circuit de Catalunya”, which for many years has regularly hosted Formula One races. The five MINI crews will have to show real stamina. They cannot afford to let the many Renault Clios in their class out of their sights, particularly as they are equipped with sequential gearboxes to make their drivers’ lives easier.

The race begins at noon local time on Saturday, 9/8.

42 Besaplast Racing Team Franjo Kovac
Fredrik Lestrup
Thomas Tekaat
Ralf Eisenreich
MINI John Cooper Works Challenge
43 [s.i.g.] motorsport 1 Michal Viteck
Michal Kramer
Thomas Miniberger
Jan Cervenka
MINI John Cooper Works Endurance Coupé
44 [s.i.g.] motorsport 2 Daniel Skalicky
Premyslav Bartos
Ivo Ragan
Thomas Kwolek
MINI John Cooper Works Endurance Coupé
45 Team Partl Motorsport 2 Christian Bock
Felix Partl
Rainer Partl
MINI John Cooper Works
46 Schirra-Motoring Friedrich von Bohlen
Harald Grohs
Markus Oestreich
MINI John Cooper Works

Read the article 5 MINIs? That’s right, 5 MINIs and follow the race on the 24 Hours Barcelona website.


worldwide MINI sales for August 2012

2012 MINI John Cooper Works Coupe

From BMW Group PressClub Global:

MINI brand sales climbed +18.5% to 18,671 vehicles worldwide in August (prev. yr. 15,762). MINI had an excellent month in many of its larger markets such as the U.S. (5,718/ +83.9%), Great Britain (1,503/ +24.4%) and China (1,877/ +61.5%). Sales for MINI have increased by 8.3% to 192,652 vehicles in the first eight months of 2012 (prev. yr. 177,831).
The MINI Countryman remains one of the key growth drivers with 63,817 vehicles sold since the beginning of the year, an increase of +22.9% over the same period in 2011 (51,920).

August 2012 August 2011 change year-to-date 2012 year-to-date 2011 change
18,671 15,762 18.5% 192,652 177,831 8.3%

See all MINI sales worldwide by month.


2006 MINI GP vs. 2013 MINI JCW GP

2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit

2013 MINI John Cooper Works GP

Now that the European specifications for the new MINI JCW GP have emerged, We thought we’d compare the figures with the original 2006 MINI GP.  The 2013 MINI JCW GP is longer, but slightly less wide and a bit lower.  The new version is 88 pounds (40 kg) heavier but makes up for it with a slight power increase from 215 hp to 218 hp.

MINI is trumpeting the new JCW GP’s fast time of 8:23 on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, an 18-second improvement over the 2006 GP’s time of 8:41.

So if the weight has gone up and the power is up only slightly, where does the improved performance come from?  Three major improvements come in the aerodynamics, suspension, and brakes of the new GP.  Here are the specification and performance figures for comparison.

2006 MINI Cooper S with
John Cooper Works GP Kit
2013 MINI
John Cooper Works GP
Dimensions
Length 143.9″ (3655 mm) 148.6″ (3774 mm)
Width 66.5″ (1689 mm) 66.3″ (1683 mm)
Height 55.8″ (1417 mm) 54.8″ (1393 mm)
Wheelbase 97.1″ (2467 mm) 97.1″ (2467 mm)
Weight 2,469 lb (1120 kg)  2,557 lb (1160 kg)
Drag Coefficient 0.35 0.35
Engine and Transmission
Type and Displacement Supercharged
Inline 4 Cylinder 1,598 cm³
Turbocharged
Inline 4 cylinder 1,598 cm³
Power 215 hp (159 kW) @ 7,100 rpm 218 hp (160 kW) @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 180 lb-ft (244 Nm) @ 4,500 rpm 192 lb-ft (260 Nm) @ 1750–5750 rpm
Transmission 6-Speed Manual,
front-wheel drive
6-Speed Manual,
front-wheel drive
Suspension
Front MacPherson MacPherson
Rear Multi-Link Four-link
Brakes
Front 12.4″ (315 mm) Vented Disc 13.0″ (330 mm) Vented Disc
Rear 11.0″ (280 mm) Vented Disc 11.0″ (280 mm) Vented Disc
Wheels and Tires
Wheels 18″ x 8″ Alloy 17″ x 7.5″ Alloy
Tires 205/40-R18 Performance 215/40-R17 87W Performance
Price
MSRP (Including Destination) $31,150 N/A
Performance
Top Speed 146 mph (235 km/h) 150 mph (242 km/h)
Acceleration (0-62 mph) 6.5 seconds 6.3 seconds
Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined) 24.7/38.0/29.3 mpg N/A

[Sources:MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit brochure, BMW Group PressClub Global.]