MINI: 2014 Cooper S hatch quick drive

September 16th, 2014 by Richard Edwards

At the same time as I had the keys to the latest Mini Cooper S in my pocket, I happened upon a documentary from Britain’s BBC as to why the German automotive industry was so much better than their own.

Among a number of obvious reasons – vehicle quality, labour relations, arrogant management – was that the Germans work heavily to develop, and then protect, their brands.

And that work is clearly evident in the history of the Mini. BMW have managed to take what was an iconic small vehicle decades ago, and turn it into a brand, which in the space of a decade has become so strong that they can stick it to a range of vehicles with little but come round headlights and cutesy styling nods to the past.

Continue reading “MINI: 2014 Cooper S hatch quick drive” »

MINI: 2014 Cooper Hatch review

August 19th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The Mini is 55 years old, being first produced in 1959. 55 years is the same amount of time as the longest serving UK prisoner, serial killer John Straffen, had served when he died in 2007. However, this Mini initially slayed its competition, was killed off in 2000 and then was reborn into a not-quite-so-mini Mini in 2001 under BMW’s ownership where it has continued to be popular, although arguably less iconic. Continue reading “MINI: 2014 Cooper Hatch review” »

Mini Cooper Baker Street 2012 Review

March 27th, 2013 by darren


Whether it’s Sherlock Holmes or Gerry Rafferty, most of you will have heard of the real-life Baker Street, in London. Mini isn’t shy about releasing special themed editions of its cars and with this one you get an enormous amount of extra equipment and bling (around $10-12,000 worth) over a standard Mini Cooper, but for less than four grand more – a total price of $39,900.

Mini-Cooper-Baker-Street-rqThe Baker Street comes with satellite navigation, 16-inch black alloys, Baker Street trim and Bluetooth and USB functionality. You get the same Continue reading “Mini Cooper Baker Street 2012 Review” »

Mini Cooper D 2011 Review

July 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Back in 1959 when the first batch of Minis rolled off the production line few assumptions followed the unique vehicle. Back then it would have been slightly fanciful to assume that over fifty years later this diminutive model would be still going strong. But to think that in 2011 there would be a diesel-powered Mini that needs less than four litres of fuel to cover 100km, well that would have seemed unbelievable. Mini’s latest Cooper D can do exactly that, but achieving an exceptionally low fuel economy figure isn’t always enough. Present day buyers want fuel frugality as well as more traditional desires like comfort, style and dynamic ability. Can the updated Mini Diesel deliver in full? Car and SUV took a spin in the 2011 Cooper D to see if the future has arrived.

Cosmetically the Mini hatch shape hasn’t been severely restyled since BMW first created the ‘new’ Mini back in 2001. There have been a number of modest tweaks and the 2011 facelift continues that tradition with some subtle changes inside and out. The front end is modernised with a new bumper arrangement that has a broad lower air intake and recessed fog lamps. Use of chrome trim on the air intake adds visual width and further chrome work on the grille and surrounding the headlights dresses it up nicely. At the back there’s new LED taillights and a replacement rear bumper. Continue reading “Mini Cooper D 2011 Review” »

Mini officially reveals its 2012 Cooper Coupe

June 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mini has officially released images and specifications for its 2012 Cooper Coupe today and it stacks up as one fun machine. Built to be the quickest and most aggressive Mini in the range the Coupe is the first two-seater ever produced by the brand.

Mini’s Coupe will be available in three variants, the standard Cooper Coupe, Cooper S Coupe and John Cooper Works Coupe (pictured).

Exterior styling is consistent with the numerous spy shots circulating online and is has similarities to the Cooper hatch but some design cues all its own. Steep A-pilars push into a short, sloping rear roofline with an integrated roof spoiler. There’s a unique-for-the-brand speed-activated boot wing at the rear while up front it’s more familiar with the same round headlights and broad blackened grille. The coupe will also get a handful of unique colours.

In the compact cabin Mini’s Coupe keeps with the rounded theme but it’s adapted to fit into the smaller body shape. Replacing the rear seat in the standard hatch is a small cargo shelf with two integrated storage bins. Space in the hatch is understandably limited but longer items can pass through the rear bulkhead into the cabin if required.  Continue reading “Mini officially reveals its 2012 Cooper Coupe” »

Mini to debut high-torque Cooper SD in Geneva

January 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mini family of vehicles is continuing to grow with more body styles and models but the latest addition appears to be a new engine option.

Rumours and speculation is flying around that Mini is on the verge of launching a new high-performance diesel engine at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March. The cars fitted with this new motor will carry the SD designation (combining the S from the top-spec gasoline engine with the D from the diesel model).

While official details haven’t been announced yet early reports are indicating it could be a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine which will produce 106kW of power and up to 305Nm of torque. That’s a solid measure of torque and if that figure is true the SD engine will easily surpass the torque figures produced by any of the existing Mini engines — even the JCW model. If it goes ahead expect the Mini Cooper SD to be a strong performer.

Mini refreshes model range for 2011

June 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The second generation of BMW’s modern Mini has been tearing up the streets for a couple of years now and it has just received a subtle refresh. With the exception of the newly introduced Countryman crossover, the remainder of Mini’s lineup including the hatchback, Clubman and convertible models has received a subtle facelift with fresh styling updates and new diesel engines for the 2011 model year.

All variants of the Mini have been given a new front bumper design to refresh the face and improve pedestrian protection by larger deformation zones, new light elements in the headlamps, redesigned side gill housings with indicators, restyled rear bumpers and LED tail lights now on all models. There are five new paint colors on the Mini pallete and fresh alloy wheel designs to choose from.

Inside, there are redesigned controls for the centre console, steering wheel, air conditioning and audio systems. There are new materials and colours including six new upholstery choices, and two new interior color lines for door cards and side panels.

Sitting under the bonnet, there’s an all-new 1.6-litre diesel engine that shares the same internals and variable turbine geometry as BMW’s 2.0-litre diesel units. When used in the Mini, it will be offered with two output ratings – 90HP in the Mini One D and 112HP in the Cooper D.

The diesel engine will also feature for the first time in the Mini Convertible.

The refreshed 2011 Mini will go on sale globally from September.

Mini drops first official images of Countryman prototype

May 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The largest Mini yet is arriving in the next few months in the form of the long awaited Countryman crossover. To remind us all of its impending arrival BMW has dropped a pile of fresh photos of a marginally camouflaged prototype along with details on the powertrains and trim levels. When it is initially launched In Europe, the Countryman will be offered with five engine options, including two diesels.

Trim levels start off in familiar fashion with a Mini One and One D, Cooper D and Cooper S. All of these receive the updated Mini 1.6-litre four-cylinders with all three petrol engines now boasting BMW’s Valvetronic full variable valve control system. The top-spec 181 horsepower Cooper S now has the same direct injection system previously reserved for the John Cooper Works models. There is no word yet on a full JCW Countryman being offered, but Mini fans need something to look forward to.’

All Countryman variants get a six-speed transmission in either manual or automatic form, and the Countryman is also the first Mini to be offered with all-wheel drive. The new system, called ALL4, uses an electromagnetically controlled center differential to distribute up to 100 percent of torque to either front or back axle when required. The Countryman is also the first Mini to have true four passenger seating and will have an optional three passenger rear bench seat or 2+2 seating as standard.

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