Monthly Archives: June 2012

MINI social networking sites (updated)

Facebook logoMINI has always stood for fun, community, and technology, so it’s not surprising that MINI embraced the Internet and social networking. Not just for marketing, but to connect a community of MINI owners. From the start, MINI USA created an Owners’ Lounge on its website to give owners a place to discuss and show off their MINIs. They have created official blogs and event websites. MINI has also taken advantage of popular social networking sites to reach out to MINI owners, potential owners, and fans.

official websites

MINI Owners’ Lounge – Official MINI USA website. Must own a MINI and set up an account (by VIN).

MINI Space – Site with creative projects, competitions, events, thoughts, and ideas, by MINI.

social networking sites

Facebook | MINI – Official MINI Facebook page.

Facebook | MINI Canada – Official Facebook page for MINI Canada.

Facebook | MINI Countryman – Official Facebook fan page for the launch of the MINI Countryman.

Facebook | MINI Motorsport – Meet fans and motorsport enthusiasts, get the latest news, and share your best pics.

Facebook | MINI Space – Official Facebook page for the MINI Space website.

Facebook | MINI TROPHY – Official Facebook page for the German MINI racing series.

Facebook | MINI United – Official Facebook page for MINI United.

Facebook | MINI UK – Official Facebook page for MINI USA.

Facebook | MINI USA – Official Facebook page for MINI USA.

Instagram – MINI – Official Instagram user profile for MINI.

Instagram – MINI Space – Official Instagram user profile for MINI Space.

MySpace – Hammer & Coop – MySpace site for the Hammer & Coop online episodes.

Pinterest – MINI – Official Pinterest page for MINI.

Pinterest – MINI Motorsport – Official Pinterest page for MINI Motorsport.

Twitter @MINI – Official MINI Twitter page.

Twitter @MINI Space – Official Twitter page for the “Creative use of Space. An urban initiative by MINI.”

Twitter @MINI United – Official Twitter page for MINI United.

YouTube – MINI’s Channel – Official site for MINI video ads, announcements, premiers, and events.

YouTube – MINI Motorsport’s Channel – Official site for MINI Motorsports videos and events.

YouTube – MINI USA’s Channel – Official site for MINI USA video ads, announcements, premiers, and events.

social networking apps

Facebook | MINI Mate – Find fellow motorers by MINI model, location, gender, age, and relationship.

Facebook | MINI Moments – Share photos from MINI events.

smartphone apps

MINI LINK App – Official MINI USA social networking app for the Apple iPhone.

MINI Clubvan gallery

Austin Mini Van MINI Clubvan

We announced the MINI Clubvan Concept debut back in February.  Recently, MINI USA included the MINI Clubvan when they announced model year 2013 prices, so we knew it was coming.  Now MINI has made it official in press release with new photos.

Munich. With two seats, five doors and wall-to-wall MINI style and personality, the MINI Clubvan – the world’s first premium compact delivery van – has it all. With this groundbreaking model, based on the MINI Clubman platform, MINI is translating the brand’s hallmark driving fun and inherent charisma to new applications aimed at the urban user. As the first premium vehicle of its kind, the MINI Clubvan sets new standards of style, quality and driving fun in the small car-based van segment. For the first time, trend-conscious commercial users can now make a stylish and sophisticated statement when carrying out deliveries to their equally discerning customers.

The enhanced functionality offered by the MINI Clubvan is based on a closed-off load area extending from the rear doors right up to the driver’s and front passenger’s seats. Cargo can be easily accessed either through the wide-opening split rear door or via the right-side Clubdoor. With its two-seater configuration, its fixed partition between the passenger compartment and load area, and its opaque, blocked-out rear side windows, the MINI Clubvan is classed as a commercial vehicle and therefore taxed at a lower rate. So as well as being the world’s only premium model in its segment, the Clubvan is also the first MINI commercial vehicle.

The MINI Clubvan comes in three model versions: the 72 kW/98 hp MINI One Clubvan, the 90 kW/122 MINI Cooper Clubvan and the 82 kW/112 hp MINI Cooper D Clubvan. This charismatic cargo carrier will hit the showrooms in autumn 2012.

MINI Clubvan colorsFrom the announcement we know these exclusive features of the MINI Clubvan:

  • The US will offer only the MINI Cooper Clubvan.
  • The Clubvan comes in only four colors: Pepper White, Ice Blue, British Racing Green, and Midnight Black.
  • It has exclusive 15″ Delta Spoke wheels (which can be upgraded).
  • Standard interior has a black color scheme with Cosmo cloth seats and “Fine White Silver trim strips”.
  • It’s classified as a commercial vehicle.

Read the entire press release Handle with care, deliver in style: the MINI Clubvan gets ready to roll up.

MINI Clubvan Designer Facebook App

MINI Clubvan Designer on Facebook

Now that MINI has made the MINI Clubvan official for production.  MINI has released the MINI Clubvan Designer Facebook app.  The app within Facebook lets you design the side graphics on a Clubvan.  You can even submit your design to The MINI International and have it appear in the magazine.

See the Library of Motoring bookmobile below.

Visit the MINI Clubvan Designer on Facebook.

Library of Motoring MINI Clubvan

collectibles: MINI model year 2012 pocket brochure in Spanish

MINI model year 2012 pocket brochure (English) MINI model year 2012 pocket brochure (Spanish)


In March, after the launch of the MINI Roadster, we featured the MINI model year 2012 pocket brochure with Roadster.  MINI USA also produced a Spanish-language version which we recently acquired.

Like the English version, the stapled, 24 page brochure gives each model (plus JCW) its own slogan:

  • SÉ ORIGINAL.  (MINI Hardtop)
  • SÉ ABIERTO.  (MINI Convertible)
  • SÉ DIFERENTE.  (MINI Clubman)
  • SÉ AUDAZ.  (MINI Coupe)
  • DEJA QUE TE MIREN.  (MINI Roadster)
  • SÉ LEGENDARIO.  (MINI John Cooper Works)
  • SÉ VERSÁTIL.  (MINI Countryman)

Colors shown for models except the Countryman: Pimienta Blanca, Pimiento Rojo, Azul Hielo, Verde Inglés de Carreras, Azul Relámpago, Blanco Plateado, Eclipse Gris, Negro Medianoche, Gris de Clase Superior, Azul Láser, Azul Arrecife, Plata Reluciente, Chocolate Caliente, Especias Naranja, Verde Laguna.

Colors shown for the Countryman: Amarillo Brillante, Blanco Claro, Café Claro, Azul Surf, Rojo Puro, Negro Absoluto, Verde Oxford, Gris Real, Azulísimo, Plateado Cristal, Azul Cósmico.

The MINI USA catalog number is MINI-2104-130M-R55, R56, R57, R58, R59, R60 MY12 para utilizar entre 02/12-07/12.  36USC220506.

MINI USA announces model year 2013 prices

2013 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman

MINI USA just released pricing and options changes for MY2013.  The MINI Hardtop, Convertible, and Clubman increased by $200.  The MINI Coupe has the smallest increase at $150.  The MINI Roadster jumps up $1,200 but now includes the semi-automatic roof and rear wind deflector as standard equipment.  Model year 2013 production in Oxford begins next month, but the Austrian-build Countryman must wait until November for the changeover.

All 2013 pricing includes a $700 Destination and Handling charge (unchanged from 2012).

Model/Variant MY2013 MY2012
MINI Hardtop
Cooper $20,400 $20,200
Cooper S $24,000 $23,800
John Cooper Works $30,800 $30,600
MINI Coupe
Cooper $22,150 $22,000
Cooper S $25,450 $25,300
John Cooper Works $32,050 $31,900
MINI Roadster
Cooper $26,250 $25,050
Cooper S $29,250 $28,050
John Cooper Works $36,400 $35,200
MINI Clubman
Cooper $22,100 $21,900
Cooper S $25,800 $25,600
John Cooper Works $33,000 $32,800
MINI Convertible
Cooper $25,850 $25,650
Cooper S $28,850 $28,650
John Cooper Works $36,000 $35,800
MINI Countryman
Cooper $ TBA* $22,450
Cooper S $ TBA* $26,050
Cooper S ALL4 $ TBA* $27,750
MINI John Cooper Works GP $ TBA*
MINI Cooper Clubvan $ TBA*

*MY 2013 MINI Countryman, Clubvan and John Cooper Works GP pricing will be announced closer to their respective launches in the fall.

Key Equipment / Technology Changes

Bluetooth will be standard on every 2013 MY vehicle (formerly a $500 option), replacing Sirius Satellite Radio.

  • Sirius will now be an option ($250) and includes a one-year subscription.

The Technology package now includes Sirius Satellite radio, Comfort Access in addition to the existing MINI Connected feature. A center armrest (with integrated iPhone adapter pre-wiring) is also included.

A new Premium package ($1,250) has been added for the MINI Hardtop and Clubman that includes the three most-popular options—a Dual-pane panoramic sunroof, Automatic wipers and Automatic climate control. Bundled together, they offer a $500 discount.

Specific Color / Option Changes by Model

MINI Roadster
The semi-automatic roof and rear wind deflector are now standard on all MY 2013 Roadster variants.

2013 MY Production
MY 2013 production of MINI Hardtop, Convertible, Clubman, Coupe and Roadster will begin in July 2012.

MY 2013 production of MINI Countryman will begin in November 2012.

MY 2013 production of MINI Clubvan will begin in September 2012.

MY 2013 production of the John Cooper Works GP will begin in the fall (exact timing to be confirmed.)


MC2 on the future of MINI styling

MC2 June/July 2012 cover
MC2 announced the next issue (June/July 2012) will have a fresh new look.

To go along with the new magazine design, Issue 38 contains a “multi-part series on the future of MINI styling, from the hatchback to the potential of the pickup, van and Moke.”  The cover shows a rendering which MC2 says is based on information they have:

It’s that MC2 has a few friends that know more about auto design than MINI news and info sites, and with the help of a world-renowned auto designer, stylist, and insider, we thought it was time to talk about MINI Futures. That designer is an old friend of ours, Mark Stehrenberger, a rarely-disputed source that is giving MC2 first crack at the coming facelift, Paceman, Moke, MINIvan, and pickup – and something that surprised even us – with his renditions of the future of our MINIs.

Visit the MC2 website to read more on the coming Issue 38.

Read back issues of MC2 (issues 28-32) for free.

AC Schnitzer RAPTOR MINI JCW Coupé

AC Schnitzer RAPTOR MINI Coupé
German tuner AC Schnitzer claims to have the fastest MINI with their AC Schnitzer RAPTOR, built from a MINI John Cooper Works Coupé.  They managed to increase the horsepower from 211 PS (208 hp) to 300 PS (296 hp) while reducing weight by 220 lbs.  From the AC Schnitzer RAPTOR webpage:

With the sensational time of 1:10.87 mins, the new concept vehicle “AC Schnitzer RAPTOR” (based on the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé) completed the Hockenheimring lap and put the competition in its place in a direct comparison.

One basis of evaluation in vehicle tests, time and time again, is lap times on the world famous Grand Prix circuit in Hockenheim. The 300 HP/221 kW powerful AC Schnitzer RAPTOR has catapulted itself into the premier league of real sports cars with its lap time of 1:10.87 mins.

Once again in 2012, the “Tuner Grand Prix” hosted by “sport auto” magazine on the Hockenheimring played a major role in AC Schnitzer’s schedule. The time had finally arrived on the Pentecost weekend: 25 tuners battled for the best lap times in 16 classes.

The new RAPTOR (based on the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé) concept vehicle impressively put the competition in its place and circuited the Grand Prix track in Hockenheim in a sensational time. The RAPTOR was an astonishing 1.11 seconds quicker than the fastest MINI from the previous year: the AC Schnitzer EAGLE (based on the MINI John Cooper Works)

Not only the competition paid respect to the “little Aachener”: the “sport auto” editorial team gave the RAPTOR an individual test there and then and was able to improve the lap time by another 0.32 seconds to a fabulous time of 1:10.87.

So what does a lap time of 1:10.87 mean?  It means that the AC Schnitzer RAPTOR MINI JCW Coupé posted a faster time than some very expensive and fast exotics and sports cars.  See the amazing list of cars beaten by the RAPTOR.

AC Schnitzer RAPTOR (on sports tyres) 1:10.87 min.
Mercedes SLS AMG 1:10.8 min.
Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera 1:10.9 min.
Porsche 911 Turbo S 1:10.9 min.
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (on sports tyres) 1:12.0 min.
BMW M3 GTS (on sports tyres) 1:12.5 min.
BMW M5 1:12.9 min.
Porsche 911 GTS 1:12.9 min.
Ferrari Challenge Stradale (on sports tyres) 1:13.0 min.
Ford GT 1:14.1 min.
BMW 1 series M Coupé 1:14.1 min.
Porsche 911 Carrera S 1:14.3 min.
Ferrari 575 Maranello 1:14.7 min.

[Source: AC Schnitzer press release (PDF).]

You can see the AC Schnitzer RAPTOR in action in their video from the Hockenheimring:


Ride along with this in-car video:


See more photos and read more about the RAPTOR in the SPORTcars article And again the fastest MINI comes from Aachen [Google translation from the original German version].

The new-look MINI Rocketman Concept

MINI Rocketman Concept (2012)

Last year MINI showed off the MINI Rocketman Concept (shown below) made from carbon fiber plastic and having dimensions closer to the classic Mini.  Later MINI indicated that it wasn’t going to put the Rocketman into production.  So it was a surprise earlier this year when this “new-look” MINI Rocketman appeared and now MINI has officially debuted it.

MINI Rocketman Concept (2011)

Munich/Oxford/London. This summer the best athletes from some 200 countries will gather in London, England for the London 2012 Games – the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet. A total of 302 medals for the Olympic Games and 503 for the Paralympic Games will be up for grabs between July and early September, but the Games are about more than outstanding sporting achievement alone. The event plays a particularly important role as a platform for cultures to interact. And for London itself, there is the opportunity to once again put its best foot forward as host city. British premium car brand MINI will roll out the red carpet for the Olympians and Paralympians with the new edition of a spectacular small car study first presented at the International Geneva Motor Show 2011. The new design of the MINI Rocketman Concept combines innovative ideas for personal mobility in major cities with classical, unmistakably British design features inside and out. This extraordinary car will be on show in the BMW Group Pavilion, which is located close to the Olympic and Paralympic Village and will act as a showcase for the company during the Games.

The MINI Rocketman Concept caused quite a stir at the Geneva Motor Show 2011 as a ground-breaking new concept car majoring in driving fun in tight spaces. The 3+1-seater, with its three doors and an exterior length of just over three metres, is imbued with the timeless core values of the brand: irresistible design, clever functionality, smile-inducing agility and exceptional efficiency. In the process, it also offers a very contemporary take on the “creative use of space” principle that has held sway at the British carmaker for more than 50 years. The concept car approaches classic Mini territory in terms of dimensions, while advanced technology underpins a lifestyle-focused mobility solution equipped for life in large cities such as London over the years ahead. The MINI Rocketman Concept’s spaceframe is made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic, enabling a lightweight construction. Its innovative interior concept accommodates three full-size seats and an extra seat suitable for short journeys.

A commitment to British style and the roots of the brand.

The new edition of the concept car sees MINI reaffirming its commitment to the brand’s British roots. The classic Mini reached out from its homeland to leave an indelible mark on roads around the world, and MINI Plant Oxford now produces no fewer than five models for the brand’s global markets. The new MINI Rocketman Concept wears its British heritage on its sleeve, most prominently in its exterior and interior colour schemes and more subtly through the use of extremely high-quality materials and stylish details. All in all, it embodies a typically British form of sporting elegance.

The colours of the British national flag, the Union Jack, come to the fore on both the outside and inside of the car, red and white accents accompanying the dominant dark blue. The body’s non-metallic paintwork is interspersed with exposed carbon components at the front end and around the doors. And the 18-inch light-alloy wheels have white polished areas and a metallic red accent. Matt Porcelain White paintwork is also used for the mirror caps, boot opener and surrounds for the radiator grille and headlights.

The grille structure – made up of MINI logos – could certainly be described as an “eye magnet”, thanks also to its red metallic paint finish and contrasting white surround. A red strip emphasises the path of the hallmark MINI diagonal link between the wheel arch and door at the foot of the A-pillar. This takes a particularly chunky form on the concept car and also makes a feature of the door hinges. The two-section split boot opening consists of one upward-pivoting element and a second segment which extends out of the body in the form of a drawer – and which is also painted blue on the inside in the new MINI Rocketman Concept. The rear lights have a trapezoidal stirrup design and work using projector technology.

Another special feature is the distinctive lighting design for the roof. The concept car has a full-surface glass roof, whose illuminated braces recreate the look of Britain’s Union Jack flag. Even when the roof is not illuminated, the braces – running horizontally, lengthways and diagonally – continue to shine in bright Porcelain White. In darkness, the integrated optical fibres provide a pleasant indirect illumination of the interior and a compelling night design visible from the outside. On the new MINI Rocketman Concept, the roof’s transparent surfaces are bordered by a metallic red painted strip.

All aboard for a sporting ambience and tribute to London.

The Union Jack-led colour concept is also employed extensively and to stylish effect inside the new edition of the MINI Rocketman Concept. The interior exudes a sporting ambience, while intricate details emphasise the car’s connection to London. The inner door panels and rear side sections are trimmed in dark blue nubuck leather, while the familiar MINI elliptical door rings provide an effective contrast with their white leather. The circular surrounds for features such as the air vents, door pulls and stereo speakers, are split into two sections and consist of a red inner ring and white outer ring.

The exposed carbon elements in the interior accentuate the MINI Rocketman Concept’s high-tech character and are incorporated into its colour scheme. For example, the blue paintwork used for the dashboard merges smoothly into black around the steering wheel, producing a harmonious flow of colour into the dark carbon surfaces. The most distinctive element of the dashboard is the cockpit surface, which is bordered by a red bar and has a striking 3D effect. Its relief structure depicts the name of every host city of the summer Olympic Games in the modern era using artistically intricate lettering, with London given particularly prominent billing.

The seat surfaces blend blue nubuck leather with an innovative textile fibre. The upper sections of the seats’ side bolsters, which provide additional support under dynamic cornering, are made from a rubberised material whose composition takes its cues – in terms of both style and function – from high-performance sports textiles and shoes. The seat belts also share the dark blue tone of the seat surfaces, while thin red and white strips add extra flourishes.

The new design of the MINI Rocketman Concept also displays its sporting spirit, Brit-chic style and eye for extravagant details through the range of sophisticated accessories for the interior. The stowage compartment on the centre console between the driver and front passenger symbolises a basketball court with miniature players. The key fob for the new concept car, meanwhile, comes in the form of a rocket decked out in British national colours. Other interior features include a rucksack attached behind the front passenger seat, which is made from the same rubberised material used for the seat bolsters and also sports the three-dimensional cockpit motif.

The new edition of the MINI Rocketman Concept cuts an unquestionably British and unmistakably MINI figure. Designed to welcome the athletes taking part in the “greatest sporting show on earth” to London this summer, the new edition of the concept car underlines the central role played by typically MINI customisation in every new product idea from the brand. The MINI Rocketman Concept also captures the imagination with its innovative technology, giving it all the ingredients it needs to lay on an irresistible combination of driving fun and sustainability. This, then, is further evidence of the brand’s extraordinary creativity in the design of solutions for urban mobility over the years ahead.

BMW wins award for MINI Cooper S engine


MINI repeats as winner for the VALVETRONIC turbocharged engine that powers the MINI Cooper S.  From BMW Group PressClub Global:

Munich / Stuttgart.Unbeaten titleholders and triumphant newcomers have secured the BMW Group’s renewed pre-eminence at the 2012 International Engine of the Year Awards. Powerplants guaranteeing efficient power delivery in current BMW and MINI models topped no fewer than four out of eight displacement categories. The quartet of trophy-winners comprised two four-cylinder engines, a straight-six and an eight-cylinder. Scooping up best-in-class wins were the 1.6-litre turbo unit of the MINI John Cooper S, the four-cylinder engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology that drives the new BMW 328i, among others, the straight-six with M TwinPower Turbo of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, and the V8 under the bonnet of the BMW M3. This year’s winners were selected by an international panel of judges made up of 76 motoring journalists from 36 countries. The Engine of the Year Awards were presented against the backdrop of the Engine Expo trade fair in Stuttgart.[…]The 2012 competition saw the prize in the 1.4-litre to 1.8-litre displacement class handed to the engine that drives the MINI Cooper S, in a reprise of its success last year. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder develops peak output of 135 kW/184 hp with the help of a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct petrol injection and variable valve control based on the BMW-patented VALVETRONIC technology. Among the key attributes of this unit are not only its eager power delivery but also exemplary efficiency for its class.

Read the entire press release (including the winning BMW engines) Engine of the Year Awards 2012: BMW Group scores with four, six and eight cylinders.