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Archive for the ‘Mini’ Category

PostHeaderIcon BMW X2

2018 BMW X2

Rumors have been stirring about BMW building an X2 crossover since 2011, but it took some four years to see it in the metal for the first time. The small SUV first hit the streets in October 2015 and resurfaced again in January 2016, heavily camouflaged on both occasions. Later on, a concept car was showcased at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, making the company’s intentions about expanding the X lineup clear as daylight. Come 2017 and the X2 broke cover as the company’s sixth crossover. Essentially a sleeker, coupe-like version of the X1, the X2 competes against the likes of the Audi Q2, which was launched in 2016. It also completes BMW’s lineup of so-called coupe-style crossovers, which already includes the X6 and the X4.

The new compact SUV shares underpinnings with the second-generation X1, which rides on the same UKL platform found in the Mini Cooper and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. As a result, the X2 is front-wheel driven in the absence of xDrive AWD and also borrows the X1’s powertrains, meaning it will cross the pond to the U.S. in similar configurations. A North American launch date has yet to be announced as of October, but the X2 will become available in Europe starting November. Until we find out more about that, let’s have a closer look at the X2 in the review below.

Continue reading to learn out more about the 2018 BMW X2.

Exterior

  • Unique exterior design
  • Brand-new grille for SUVs
  • M Sport trim
  • BMW badges on the C-pillars
  • New tailgate design
  • Same wheelbase as X1
  • Full-LED headlamps
  • Optional 20-inch wheels
  • Exotic Galvanic Gold paint

2018 BMW X2 - image 740705
“While its name suggests it is part of the same range as the X4 and X6, the X2 is significantly different design-wise”

While its name suggests it is part of the same range as the X4 and X6, the X2 is significantly different design-wise. When BMW first announced the X2, many enthusiasts, us included, expected it to be a coupe version of the X1, or what the X6 is in relation to the X5. But no, the X2 doesn’t a raked roofline. Sure, it’s decidedly sportier than the X1, but it doesn’t quite fit in with the X4 and the X6. It kinda stands out on its own in the lineup, and this is a good thing for BMW, a company that adopted the “same sausage, different lengths” strategy for the majority of its vehicles in recent years.

It also sports a few design features of its own. While the headlamps are shared with the X1, the grille and the bumper are unique to this nameplate. Unlike other X SUVs, the X2 grille is wider at the base than at the top, a first for a BMW. It’s not yet clear whether this new design will make it on other BMW crossovers, but it gives the X2 a broader, more distinctive appearance. Down below, BMW ditched the usual horizontal side vents for triangular cutouts. In addition, the center vent is rectangular instead of trapezoidal, which further enhances the X2’s unique look.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740712
“While the headlamps are shared with the X1, the grille and the bumper are unique to this nameplate ”

The profile remains familiar compared to the X1, but there are a few changes worth mentioning. There are less creases on the lower doors, more cladding on and above the side skirts, and a new roofline and side window configuration. While the X1 comes with the traditional rear quarter windows behind the rear doors, the X2 has plain C-pillars. Combined with the slightly raked roof, it provides a sleeker profile, but it’s not as sporty looking (or hunchback?) as the X4. As a somewhat exotic feature, the X2 is the first X model to have BMW roundels on the C-pillars.

The X2 has a unique design around back as well. The taillights are the first the stand out. Although just as large as the ones seen on other X models, they look sleeker and they get wider in the lower area instead of the top. The tailgate is also neatly integrated into the body thanks to a lower crease that separate the badges from the upper section. The bumper is taller too and unlike other X models it includes the license plate recess.

Overall, the X2 is BMW’s first unique design since the i3 and i8.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740711
“The X2 is the first X model to have BMW roundels on the C-pillars ”

In terms of size, the X2 is only 0.78 inches shorter than the X1, while the wheelbase is identical. On the other hand, it stands 2.75 inches lower than the X1. BMW says that the X2 has a drag coefficient of only 0.28, which is a big achievement for a crossover.

Moving over to features, there are four equipment trims. Full-LED headlamps are standard on every model but the base SE. On top of getting LED lamps, the M Sport and M Sport X versions are available with 20-inch wheels, an exclusive feature in the segment. As standard, both models are fitted with 19-inch wheels, while the SE uses 17-inch V-Spoke style rims.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740839

The trims are set apart by different cladding too. The SE and Sport models have black trim around the wheel arches and in the bumpers, while the M Sport X, shown in the photos above, use Frozen Grey inserts. On the SE and Sport models, the rear bumper is finished in the body color and matte black. The M Sport models feature Dark Shadow metallic, while the M Sport X has a bespoke diffuser insert in Frozen Grey for a stronger contrast. Every model can be specified in BMW’s new Galvanic Gold paint, a rather exotic option for this niche.

COMPETING DESIGNS


2018 BMW X2 - image 740729

2017 Audi Q2 - image 667919

The X2’s main competitor is the Audi Q2, which is already available in showrooms as the pioneering vehicle of this new niche. Although it has most of the trademark Audi features we’re familiar with, the Q2 brought quite a few new styling cues to the market. For starters, it the first Audi crossover that strays from the Q7. While the Q5 and Q3 are mostly shrunken variations of the Q7, the Q2 adopted a somewhat different design. Up front, the “singleframe” grille has a more squared-off look, while the headlamps are taller, shorter, and slightly swept back. These features help the Q2 seem a bit more massive than it really is, which is a good thing given its relative car-like size. The big outlets in the bumper add a touch of sportiness to an otherwise boxy front fascia. Things are different than the usual Audi norm around back too. The rear end is made of horizontal lines almost exclusively. It’s essentially a three-tier design layout, with rear glass and roof spoiler assembly stacked on top of the fascia and the bumper seamlessly. Only the taillights stand out thanks to their almost square design — which is opposed to the thin and wide units seen on other Audis. From the sides, the Q2 looks like a compact hatchback on stilts, but the sloping roof, the missing quarter window and the silver-painted C-pillar set it apart from any other Audi on the market.

Audi Q2 BMW X2
Wheelbase (Inches) 102.1 TBA
Length (Inches) 165.0 TBA
Width (Inches) 79.09 TBA
Height (Inches) 59.37 TBA

Interior

  • Interior borrowed from X1
  • Horizontal styling cues
  • Modern looks
  • Contrast stitching all over the place
  • New Dakota leather in Magma Red
  • Micro Hexagon fabric
  • Oak grain veneer
  • 16.6-cubic-feet trunk
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen

2018 BMW X2 - image 740771
“While the exterior is unique in the X lineup, the interior of the X2 is identical to the X1 ”

While the exterior is unique in the X lineup, the interior of the X2 is identical to the X1. This doesn’t come as a surprise though given that BMW, much like any other carmaker, wants to keep development costs as low as possible. Of course, it also has to do with the fact that the two crossovers have identical wheelbases.

So if you’ve already seen the X1, you’ve basically seen the X2 as well. The good news is that the X1 is relatively new, having been redesigned in 2015. The layout is pretty much standard for modern BMWs, with horizontal lines used on the dashboard and the door panels. The A/C vents have a similar orientation, as do the control panels in the center stack. The purpose of this configuration is to make the cabin seems spacious, but we must not forget that the X2 is after all a compact vehicle, so it’s not as comfortable as the X5.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740756
“The layout is pretty much standard for modern BMWs, with horizontal lines used on the dashboard ”

The good news is that contrast stitching on the dashboard, center console, and the seats is included as standard, giving the cabin a premium look. While the base model has fabric upholstery, the M Sport version comes with fabric and Alcantara. If you want leather in the standard package, you need to get the range-topping M Sport X variant. Fancier options include new Dakota leather in Magma Red and Micro Hexagon fabric with yellow stitching, as seen in the photos above.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740767

Trim finisher options are also varied and include high-gloss black, aluminium, and matte oak grain veneer. There’s also an optional lighting package with orange, lilac, mint, bronze, blue and white ambient lighting. If natural light and sun is your thing, you can opt for a panoramic roof with a tilting and sliding front section.

Trunk space is rated at 470 liters (16.6 cubic feet), which is an extra 65 liters (2.3 cubic feet) compared to the Audi Q2. No info on luggage room with the rear seats folded flat, but it’s safe to assume that X2 will offer at least 1,000 liters (35.3 cubic feet).


2018 BMW X2 - image 740823
“Trunk space is rated at 16.6 cubic feet, an extra 2.3 cubic feet compared to the Audi Q2”

As far as infotainment and technology goes, the 6.5 inch touchscreen for the iDrive with navigation system is standard. Optionally, you can get the full-color BMW Head-Up Display, which projects all important driving information and assistance system readouts onto the windscreen, in high resolution.

Speaking of assistance systems, the optional Driving Assistant, included in the Drive Pack, adds Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display, anti-dazzle High Beam Assistant, as well as Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function. As an upgrade to the Driver Pack, the Driving Assistant Plus also features the Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function. This feature maintains a constant speed between 19 and 87 mph, as selected by the driver, and a safe distance to vehicles traveling ahead.

There’s also Traffic Jam Assistant, which takes over both proximity control and lane-keeping tasks from the driver at speeds of up to 37 mph. But while it uses steering assistance to keep the car in the middle of its lane, the driver needs to have at least one hand on the steering wheel for the system to work. Rear Park Distance Control and the rear-view camera are standard.

THE COMPETITION


2018 BMW X2 - image 740817

2017 Audi Q2 - image 667684

I don’t know about you, but when I look inside the Q2 I see the A3 hatchback. Sure, the steering wheel looks a bit more modern, the dashboard trim is thicker, and the door panels have been revised, but the instrument cluster, the center console, and the round A/C nozzles on the dashboard are clearly taken from the A3. That’s not to say that the Q2 looks old and its technology is dated, but I thank that its original exterior deserved a more unique cabin. And needless to say, if I had the option to choose between an A3- or Q3-inspired interior, I would’ve preferred the latter. But despite being just a rehashed A3 styling-wise, the Q2 is quite fresh when it comes to technology and features. The crossover utilizes Audi’s current fully digital instrument cluster, with a 12.3-inch screen that is similar to the one seen in the TT and R8. The configurable display offers two main views — one with large speedometer and tachometer gauges toward the center and one with the two gauges off to the sides with the entertainment or maps screens displayed between them. However, this cool screen is optional, with the entry-level model getting the analog cluster. Standard features include a seven-inch infotainment screen atop the dashboard (linked to a rotary dial near the gear lever), Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and USB. Navigation is optional on less expensive trims, as is the Bang & Olufsen sound system.

As far as space and practicality go, the Q2 is on par with the Q3 up front, offering similar legroom, headroom, and shoulder room for the driver and passenger. In the back, the Q2 isn’t as roomy, but there’s decent space and headroom for two adults. Being almost five inches shorter than the A3 hatchback, the crossover might not be very comfortable for tall adults during long journeys. Trunk space is rated at 405 liters (14.3 cubic feet), which is some 50 liters (1.7 cubic feet) more than you find in a modern hatchback. With the rear seats folded flat, it increases to 1,050 liters (37 cubic feet).

Drivetrain

  • Same drivetrains as X1
  • Gasoline and diesel engines
  • 2.0-liter diesel with standard AWD
  • Optional AWD for other models
  • xDrive20d with 190 horsepower
  • 0 to 62 mph in less than eight seconds
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Sport driving mode
  • Possible X2 M in the future

2018 BMW X2 - image 740832
“The small crossover will make its market debut in xDrive20d form”

As speculated from the very beginning, the X2 will borrow its engines from the X1. The small crossover will make its market debut in xDrive20d form, which comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood. The turbodiesel mill is rated at 190 horsepower 295 pound-feet of torque, which is identical to its X1 counterpart. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes 7.7 seconds, while fuel consumption is estimated at 61.4 mpg on the British cycle. CO2 emissions are as low as 121 g/km, a competitive figure in this class.

More variants will be launched in 2018, including the gasoline X2 sDrive20i and the diesel X2 sDrive18d and X2 xDrive18d. The gas model will use a 2.0-liter four-pot rated at 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, but as it turns out it won’t get an all-wheel drive versions. The sDrive18d will also feature a 2.0-liter four-banger, but tuned to deliver 148 horses and 243 pound-feet. Unlike the gas model, this diesel will have optional all-wheel drive.


2018 BMW X2 - image 740840
“More variants will be launched in 2018, including the gasoline X2 sDrive20i and the diesel X2 sDrive18d and X2 xDrive18d”

The X2 also benefits from Hill Descent Control, which enables to to automatically maintain a desired speed on steep descents by taking care of brake control for the driver, who can focus on steering only. The crossover is also equipped with the Driving Experience Control switch, allowing the driver to choose between the default Comfort mode, the efficiency-enhancing Eco Pro mode and Sport mode. The latter setup gives the car even more dynamic steering and drivetrain responses. If the optional Dynamic Damper Control is added, the car’s suspension can be adjusted even more precisely for spirited driving.

There’s no word on when the X2 will get the more powerful xDrive25i and xDrive25d versions or even the iPerformance hybrid variant, but all three should be on the table. BMW had nothing to say about a potential X2 M model, but it should arrive right after the X1 M.

COMPETING PERFORMANCE

Just like the X2, the Q2 is available with a wide array of drivetrains in Europe, its main market. The gasoline range begins with the 1.0-liter three cylinder unit rated at 116 PS and 200 Nm of torque (114 horsepower and 148 pound-feet). This engine mates to a six-speed manual standard and a seven-speed DSG optionally and comes in a front-wheel-drive configuration only. Sprinting from 0 to 62 mph takes around 10.5 seconds, while top speed is rated at 118 mph. Next up is the familiar 1.4-liter TFSi, a four-cylinder that’s available with 150 PS and 250 Nm (148 horses and 184 pound-feet). The unit comes standard with FWD and the six-speed manual, but quattro AWD and the seven-speed DSG can be selected from the options list. Depending on specs, hitting 62 mph can take between 8.5 and nine seconds, while top speed is 127 or 129 mph Finally, the 2.0-liter TFSI pumps 190 PS and 320 Nm (187 horses and 236 pound-feet) of twist in the Q2 through a seven-speed DSG and quattro all-wheel drive. Naturally, this version is the quickest, needing only 6.8 ticks to hit 62 mph on its way to a top speed of 136 mph.

“The range-topping model benefits from standard Quattro and automatic transmission and needs only seven seconds to get to 62 mph.”

If you’re a fan of diesels, you get three options too. The base 1.6-liter TDI generates 116 PS and 250 Nm (114 horsepower and 184 pound-feet). Much like the base gas model, FWD and the manual are standard, but the automatic and Quattro can be had as options. Accelerating to 62 mph takes 10.7 seconds, while top speed comes in at 118 mph. Those who want more oomph can get it from the 2.0-liter TDI. This engine comes in two flavors, one that cranks out 150 PS and 340 Nm (148 horses and 251 pound-feet) and one that’s good for 190 PS and 400 Nm (187 horses and 295 pound-feet). The least powerful version uses FWD and the six-speed manual as standard, hits 62 mph in 8.7 seconds, and tops out at 129 mph. The range-topping model benefits from standard Quattro and automatic transmission, needs only seven seconds to get to 62 mph and its top speed is estimated at 135 mph.

Should the Q2 cross the pond to the U.S., you will only get the 2.0-liter TFI version at first. A diesel is likely to follow at some point, but only the range-topping 2.0-liter TDI will be offered.

Audi Q2 1.0 TFSI Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI CoD Audi Q2 1.6 TDI Audi Q2 2.0 TDI Audi Q2 2.0 TDI BMW X1
Engine 1.0-liter three cylinder 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder diesel 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder
Horsepower 114 HP 148 HP @ 5,000 – 6,000 RPM 116 HP @ 3,250 – 4,000 RPM 148 HP @ 3,500 – 4,000 RPM 187 HP @ 3,500 – 4,000 RPM 228 HP @ 5,000–6,000 RPM
Torque 148 LB-FT 184 LB-FT @ 1,500-3,500 RPM 184 LB-FT @ 1,500-3,200 RPM 250 LB-FT @ 1,750-3,000 RPM 295 LB-FT @ 1,900-3,300 RPM 258 LB-FT @ 1,450–4,500 RPM
Top Speed 118 mph 131 mph 122 mph 131 mph 135.5 mph 131 mph
0-100 km/h (0-62.1 mph) 10.5 seconds 8.5 seconds 10.3 seconds 8.1 seconds 7.3 seconds 6.6 seconds
Curb Weight 2,788 Lbs 2,888 Lbs 3,251 Lbs 3,262 Lbs 3,543 Lbs

Prices


2018 BMW X2 - image 740849

Pricing for the X2, which goes on sale from mid-November 2017, starts from £33,980 in the United Kingdom. BMW has yet to announce available for the U.S. market, but it should cross the pond to North America sometime in 2018. Likely to arrive in sDrive25i and xDrive25i forms, it should retail from around $29,000.

Other Options To Consider

Mercedes-Benz GLA


2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class - image 562371

The GLA was actually designed to compete against the BMX X1 and Audi Q3, but it can be cross-shopped with both the X2 and Q2 due to its hatchback-like body style and sporty profile. Also based on a car, in this case the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the GLA is the company’s smallest crossover to date. Introduced in 2014, it sports the brand’s current and familiar styling language with a big grille and swept back headlamps at the front and large taillights to the rear. It also lacks quarter windows, which makes it similar to the X2 and Q2, but unlike its competitors, the roof line makes it less of a coupe and more of a hatchback on stilts. Drivetrain-wise, there are many options available. The gasoline range includes a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with either 120 horsepower and 148 pound-feet or 154 horses and 184 pound-feet and a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. As far as diesels go, the 1.5-liter engine generates 108 horsepower and 192 pound-feet, while the 2.1-liter oil burner cranks out either 134 horses and 221 pound-feet or 168 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. Finally, the GLA 45 AMG delivers 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist from its gas-powered, 2.0-liter four-cylinder for drivers in need of a performance-oriented crossover. U.S. pricing for the GLA starts from $32,850.

Read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz GLA

Nissan Juke


2015 Nissan Juke - image 544650

Granted, the Nissan Juke is not a premium crossover, but if you don’t care about a luxurious interior and fancy tech, this is a great option to consider. Not only one of the first coupe-shaped compact crossovers on the market — it has been around since 2010 — the Juke also has a rather intriguing design, making it unique in just about any company. The drivetrain lineup might not be as diverse, but Nissan offers a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine in a wide array of output flavors. The base model comes with 93 horsepower and 103 pound-feet, but customers can upgrade to 115 horses and 116 pound-feet. The turbo range begins with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet, while the range-topping Nismo version comes with 197 horses and 184 pound-feet. If you want a diesel, there’s the 1.5-liter dCi unit good for 109 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Needless to say, it’s not the most powerful crossover out there, but it’s the most affordable, retailing from $20,250 in the U.S.

Read our full review of the Nissan Juke.

Conclusion


2018 BMW X2 - image 740853

Though I’m no big fan of the X4 and the X6, which I find rather ugly and useless (albeit attractively powerful), the X2 has everything it needs to become an important member of BMW’s SUV lineup. Smaller than the X4 and X6, the X2 is significantly more affordable, which will bring new customers to BMW dealerships, especially enthusiasts who can’t afford the bigger SUVs and drivers who simply want a city crossover with sporty looks. With the X2, and the upcoming X7, BMW’s circle of X-badged SUVs will finally be complete.

  • Leave it
    • Yet another useless small crossover?
    • Not the prettiest BMW out there
    • No M version anytime soon

References

BMW X2


BMW X2 Arrives In Paris In Concept Form - image 690239

Read our full review of the 2016 BMW X2 Concept.

BMW X4


2015 BMW X4 - image 545240

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X4.

BMW X6


2015 BMW X6 - image 555202

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X6.

BMW X2 Concept


2016 BMW X2 Concept - image 690610

2016 BMW X2 Concept - image 690611
“"The BMW Concept X2 combines the fast-moving body language and low-slung proportions of a coupe with the robust construction of an X model." – Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design”

Check out our full review of the BMW X2 Concept.

Spy Shots

October 10, 2017 – BMW X2 caught wearing no camouflage


2018 BMW X2 - image 737587

2018 BMW X2 - image 737592

October 6, 2017 – BMW X2 caught testing in Munich


2018 BMW X2 - image 736646

2018 BMW X2 - image 736652

June 7, 2017 – BMW X2 reveals more of its front end


2018 BMW X2 - image 719291

2018 BMW X2 - image 719293

December 13, 2016 – BMW X2 Goes Winter Testing


2018 BMW X2 - image 698032

2018 BMW X2 - image 698033

November 15, 2015 – BMW X2 caught testing close to the BMW development center in Munich


2018 BMW X2 - image 695470

2018 BMW X2 - image 695473

January 18, 2016 – BMW X2 caught testing in the snow


2018 BMW X2 - image 662379

2018 BMW X2 - image 662384

November 6, 2015 – BMW X2 testing on the streets of Munich


2018 BMW X2 - image 654499

2018 BMW X2 - image 654500

Updated History

Updated 10/06/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 out for a new testing session on the streets of Berlin.

Updated 06/07/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 out for a new testing session – and this time the prototype shows more of its front end. The production version X2 is expected to be unveiled in September at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Updated 11/15/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 out for a new testing session close to the BMW development center in Munich.

Updated 10/10/2016: At the recent 2016 Paris Auto Show we saw the X2 Concept. Based on the concept, we decided to create a rendering for the production version. Check it out and let us know what do you think about it in the comments section below.

Updated 11/16/2015: Based on the recent rumors and speculations, we created a rendering for the upcoming BMW X2. We hope you like it.

Updated 11/06/2015: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 testing on the streets of Munich. The X2 will be offered in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions, with an M version also being a possibility. BMW will offer both gasoline and diesel engines – borrowed from the X1, with a plug-in version set to arrive at a later date.

PostHeaderIcon Mini Cooper 1499 GT

It’s a funny thing what a special edition car can do to polish an automaker’s shine. Nobody knows this better than Mini, which has created its fair share of special edition models, including one that it had just announced for the French market: the Mini Blackfriars Edition. Now, it’s doubling down on the SE goodness with yet another offering called the Mini 1499 GT.

In essence, the 1499 GT is not a special edition model that was concocted out of someone’s imagination, but rather, a tribute piece to one of the most iconic Minis to have hit the pavement: the 1971 1275 GT. Most of the functioning 1275 GTs have probably been lost in the sands of time and rust, but the 1499 GT is now here to breathe some life back to the legacy of the legendary hatchback. Between exterior features that pay homage to the classic Mini to suspension tweaks that ensure that it can perform as well as advertised, the new Mini 1499 GT is a stunning example of the best of what Mini can come up. The only downside is that only 1,499 units of the car will be made, and worse, all units will be sold exclusively in the UK market. It’s a bummer, sure, but don’t let dampen your spirits. It’s rare enough to see a special edition tribute car that properly pays homage to the car it’s supposed to be tipping its hats to. It’s even rarer to see one that takes the inspiration to a level that makes people actually reminisce about the classic. The 1499 GT does that, and then some.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper 1499 GT.

What makes the Mini Cooper 1499 GT special?


2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT - image 737857
“There’s a lot to like about the Mini Cooper 1499 GT, especially if you count yourselves as fans of the original 1275 GT”

There’s a lot to like about the Mini Cooper 1499 GT, especially if you count yourselves as fans of the original 1275 GT. I may not be old enough to remember the latter’s rise to fame, but I do remember riding in one when I was a little tot. It wasn’t the most luxurious car to begin with, and the interior space was literally unbearable even for a petulant child. But boy, oh boy, the old 1275 GT had character, something that a lot of today’s cars continue to lack. Not only that, but the 1275 GT also attracted plenty of attention, something I’m confident the 1499 GT will also have in droves.

The biggest and most important styling cues of the 1499 GT can be found in the exterior where customers are given a choice of getting the special edition hatchback with either a Pepper White finish or a Midnight Black paint. Here’s the catch though: depending on the color, the color of the distinctive graphics on the body will also change. Should customers opt for the Pepper White version of the 1499 GT, the graphics will be featured in pure black. On the other hand, a Midnight Black body will be treated to gold side stripes, the same exact stylistic feature that elevated the 1275 GT into one of the most famous cars Mini has ever produced. Don’t take my word for it; look at the photo. You’ll see what I’m talking about.


2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT - image 737862

Outside of the choice in body color, the 1499 GT also received a slew of aesthetic and aerodynamic upgrades, most notably the inclusion of John Cooper Works front and rear bumpers, spoiler, side skirts, and even bespoke door entry plates. The special edition Cooper also benefits from getting tinted windows, clear indicator lenses, and a set of 17-inch black allow wheels.

Step inside the car and the upgrades to the interior are just as dramatic, maybe even more so than the exterior. Greeting you once you open the door are sports seats dressed up in leather and Dynamic. Just in front of the driver’s sports seat is another JCW transplant: a sports steering wheel with its own Chili Red stitching. There are also scattered Piano Black trimmings throughout the cabin, to go with carbon black details, an Anthracite headlining, and enough JCW badges to emphasize the contributions made by the German automaker’s performance division.


2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT - image 737851

2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT - image 737853
“Step inside the car and the upgrades to the interior are just as dramatic, maybe even more so than the exterior”

Suffice to say, the Mini Cooper 1499 GT hit all the right spots as far as paying homage to the 1275 GT is concerned. It even has the whole “affordable” spiel down pat, thanks in large part to the car carrying nothing more than a small-capacity Twin Power turbo three cylinder engine that produces a total of 102 horsepower. Powerful it is not, and the 1499 GT shows as much with an acceleration time from 0 to 60 mph of 10.1 seconds and a top speed that’s likely locked in at around 120 mph.

Designed to pay homage to the classic 1275 GT, the car will be limited to just 1,499 units in the UK market. The automaker says just like the car that inspired it, the new 1499 GT is affordable, offers unique styling features and an “entertaining drive.”


2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT - image 737854

In other words, the Mini 1499 GT is an affordable Mini hatchback with a unique personality of its own. Don’t confuse it for a road-wrecker because it’s far from one. It does offer a good and hearty slice of Mini nostalgia, something that very few of its kind have been able to do. By that merit alone, the 1499 GT already stands out from other special edition Minis around, including the Blackfriars Edition.

What’s the deal with the Mini 1275 GT?


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The Mini 1275 GT’s history dates all the way back to 1970 when then Mini owner British Leyland decided to bring Ford designer Roy Haynes into the fold. Haynes, as some of you may know, is the designer of the Ford Cortina Mk II, and his initial responsibility was to revamp the Mini lineup. Tapping into his experience with Ford, Haynes went and restyled the Cooper, giving it larger headlights, a revised bumper, a boxy snout with a fender-to-fender grille section, and was fitted with a set of 10-inch Rostyle alloy wheels. That design eventually came to be the Mini 1275 GT as we know it today.

The 1275 GT ended up being a unique car of its own, owing to the fact that it was offered with a 1.275-liter four-cylinder engine that used a four-synchro close-ratio four-speed manual transmission. More to that, the 1275 GT was also the first Mini in history to receive a tachometer, a pretty useful trivia for the next time you find yourselves talking to someone who claims he knows more about the automaker than he actually does. Soon enough, the 1275 GT laid the foundation for what would come to be known as the “People’s Car” in Britain, a status that not a lot of other cars have been able to replicate in the years since. The 1275 GT even proved successful enough that its production ran for nine years before it was replaced by the Austin Metro in 1980. In that time, a total of 110,673 1275 GTs were made.


2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT - image 737863

Incidentally, one of those 1275 GTs actually went up for sale earlier this year in Los Angeles, California. According to Petrolicious, the model in question came with a Bronze Yellow exterior and a Black Vinyl interior. It also underwent significant restoration, owing to the fact that its owner actually found it “unloved on his brother’s work premises at Somerford Mini” back in 2004. The unidentified owner eventually bought the car and spent good money restoring it, even going so far as to get specialists from Somerford Mini to carry out the car’s complete restoration.

In the end, the car itself sold for $25,000, as good of a deal as you can find for a restored 1971 Mini 1275 GT that, at that time, only had 10,000 miles in it since it was rebuilt.

References

Mini Cooper


2014 Mini Cooper - image 532525

Read our full review on the 2017 Mini Cooper.


2017 MINI Electric Concept - image 732151

Read more Mini news.

PostHeaderIcon Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition

Mini’s pantry of special edition models is stock full of unique creations, adding weight to the thought that the German automaker is no stranger to this fancy exclusives. Even with an inventory that’s bursting at the seams, special edition work soldiers on for Mini with the presentation of its latest creation, the Cooper Blackfriars Edition.

Taking inspiration from the Blackfriar’s section of London where the order of Dominican monks who carry the same name reside, this unique Cooper hatchback is defined by its subdued yet effective upgrades. There’s plenty of black to go around too, a nod to the traditional black robes worn by the Blackfriar’s monks. Inspired color motifs aside, the special edition Cooper also features plenty of unique details in its exterior and interior, not to mention the references to the Blackfriars from where it got its name. It’s not the flashiest special edition Mini Cooper we’ve seen, and it may not even be the most appealing one, but it does stick to the identity of the institution that it takes inspiration from. That’s more than what we can say for other special edition vehicles that lack the connection to what they’re supposed to be celebrating or at least shining a light on.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition

What makes the Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition special


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“The focus was put squarely on Blackfriars, an area of central London where the famed Blackfriar monks reside”

Like with most special editions to come out of Mini in recent years, there’s as much importance put on the name it gets as there is on the actual features that make it unique in the first place. The streets of London themselves have turned into a rich pool of special edition versions from the German automaker with past works including the Baker Street Special Edition, Mayfair Special Edition, and Bayswater Special Edition. There’s even been a Green Park Edition, proving that there are no shortages of places in the bustling metropolis that Mini can’t draw inspiration from.

This time, the focus was put squarely on Blackfriars, an area of central London where the famed Blackfriar monks reside. These monks traditional wear black cloaks over their white habits as a way to identify their order. It’s no surprise then that the Mini Cooper Blackfriars Edition gets a similar black-ish treatment, albeit without any hints of white in it. The all-black look is the visual highlight of the hatchback. It features a dominant black body color, matte black trim on the B- and C-pillars, and a set of 17-inch Cosmos Spoke wheels with its own dark accents. Typical of Mini’s special edition models, the Blackfriars Edition also comes with identifying badges throughout the body as a way to ensure that nobody confuses it for anything other than a special edition Cooper.


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“On the interior the treatment is largely similar with the use of black leather and fabric upholstery”

Move inside, and the treatment is largely similar with the use of black leather and fabric upholstery to dominate the interior. Those who end up buying this special edition model will also be treated to a navigation system, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, and a panoramic sunroof.

Unfortunately, not all variants of the Cooper will be given the Blackfriar’s treatment as only the lower trims of the Mini Hardtop, including the Cooper, Cooper D, One, and One D, will be available with the Blackfriars special edition. Worse, and somewhat ironically, the special edition Cooper will actually be exclusive to the French market. That means that despite the car being inspired by an area in London, those who live in the UK aren’t unlikely to get the car for themselves.


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“The special edition Cooper will actually be exclusive to the French market”

It may seem strange to think of it in those terms, but Mini’s history of naming its special edition models after different streets and areas in London isn’t a prelude to these models being sold exclusively in that market.

What were the other special edition Minis that were named after places in London?


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There’s been a lot of them over the years, but some of the most prominent ones were the Bayswater Edition, Mayfair Edition, Baker Street Special Edition, and Green Park Edition.

The Bayswater and Baker Street Special Editions were introduced back at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Yep, that’s how long Mini has been hustling on this front. As expected, both SEs came with unique styling touches. The Bayswater Edition, for example, featured an exclusive Kite Blue metallic finish with optional Midnight Black and Eclipse Grey finishes available for the Cooper S and SD models. In also received special racing stripes on the hood and side mirrors, a black-finished roof, and a new set of 17-inch wheels.

Meanwhile, the Baker Street Special Edition was presented in Geneva with a Rooftop Grey metallic finish with special racing stripes on the hood, black mirror caps, and a new set of 16-inch alloy wheels. Optional paint finishes – Pepper White and Midnight Black – were also part of the offering.


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Note: photos of the Mini Cooper Bayswater Special Edition.

If Mini isn’t naming its SEs after streets in London, it’s doing so with specific – and popular – areas in the metropolis. One such example was the Cooper Green Park Edition, which also arrived in 2012. This particular Cooper SE was defined by a
Pepper White paint finish complemented the company’s traditional British Racing Green finish on the roof. Aside from the fancy two-tone color, the Green Park Edition also had with an interior dressed in the same Pepper White color with seats that came in either black or Polar Beige.


2012 MINI Cooper Green Park Edition - image 450342

Note: photo of the Mini Cooper Green Park Edition.

References

Mini Cooper


2014 Mini Cooper - image 532525

Read our full review on the 2017 Mini Cooper.


2017 MINI Electric Concept - image 732151

Read more Mini news.

PostHeaderIcon Amazon Alexa to Be Featured in All BMW and MINI Models from Mid-2018

The versatile voice-controlled executive personal assistant thingy known as Amazon Alexa is entering a strategic partnership with BMW. From the middle of next year every new BMW and MINI model will have this system built-in, giving the vehicles a whole new host of connectivity capabilities. 

This move will also give teh upper hand to Amazon Alexa in its healthy competition with Apple’s Siri and Microsoft Cortana. So it’s be better good, or else it’s not only going to hurry its parent company, but also BMW. Not to worry, though, because it seems this Alexa thing is a pretty decent bit of kit. cloud-based voice service will enable BMW Group customers to access a variety of services, entertainment features and shopping facilities while on the move by simple voice interaction. Here’s a few examples of what Alexa can do for you:

The availability of Alexa in the car now makes it possible to use functions enjoyed at home while out on the road as well. This is a huge leap forward for BMW in upgrading their Connected services. Every new feature that they will introduce in future will also be integrated so that it’ll work seamlessly with Alexa. On a grander scale, such services will ultimately connect all the cars in the worlds to the net and that opens up a floodgate of new services, opportunities and threats.



“By making this step of integrating Alexa into our models from mid-2018, BMW and MINI will form a more intrinsic part of our customers’ digital lifestyles,” remarked Dieter May, Senior Vice President Digital Services and Business Models at the BMW Group. “Voice control first featured in BMW Group cars many years ago, and we are now enhancing its functionality by adding a digital ecosystem, which will open up all sorts of new possibilities that customers can access quickly, easily and safely from their car.”

The post Amazon Alexa to Be Featured in All BMW and MINI Models from Mid-2018 appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Say What? Who’s Valued Higher Than Ferrari?

In a surprising twist of fates, Mini now outranks Ferrari in terms of corporate value. The rankings come by way of Interbrand, a global brand consulting firm, which says Mini is worth $5.11 billion and Ferrari only $4.87 billion. While a half-billion might be a small margin, Mini’s lead over the Italian supercar automaker comes as a big surprise. Of course, it’s worth noting Ferrari is new to Interbrand’s list of Best Global Brands.

CarScoops reports Mini’s success can be attributed to its 3.1-percent year-over-year sales increase for a total of 230,925 vehicles sold globally. Mini’s completely revised 2017 Countryman has seen a 12.9-percent jump in sales over this time last year and the Mini Convertible boasts a whopping 20.3-percent sales increase over 2016. Of course, Mini’s focus is on sales volume whereas Ferrari is concerned with exclusivity and brand image.

In the grand scheme of things, both Mini and Ferrari are small fish compared to larger automakers. Mini’s parent company, BMW, is valued at $41.5 billion and ranks third in the automotive sector behind Mercedes at $47.8 billion and Toyota at $50,2 billion. Outside the automotive sector, Apple takes the top honors with a value of $184.1 billion followed by Google at $141,7 billion. A huge gap exists between the second-place Google and third-place Microsoft, with Bill Gates’ former company only valued at $79.9 billion. Still, the software giant outranks all other companies on Interbrand’s list.

References


See How The 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman Drives - image 734334

Read more Mini news


2018 Ferrari Portofino - image 731428

Read more Ferrari news.

PostHeaderIcon The Mini Cooper Countryman Has The Heart of a Supercar

Did you know the all-new 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman shares its turbocharged engine with a supercar? Indeed it does. Perhaps even more surprising, the Countryman only has 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Wait, what? Yep, the Countryman shares it internal combustion engine with the BMW i8 – the hybrid halo coupe hailing from Munich.

The engine in question is BMW’s B38 1.5-liter turbocharged inline three-cylinder. The all-aluminum mill uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing mixed with an 11:1 compression ratio and a single-scroll turbocharger to make its power. Two interesting side notes: the turbo is the first ever to use an aluminum housing and BMW still brands the 1.5-liter with the TwinPower name despite it not having a twin-scroll turbocharger.

Despite the technological wizardry, the Mini Countryman still weighs around 3,500 pounds, meaning it isn’t a hot performance machine. The sprint to 60 mph takes roughly 9.5 seconds and top speed caps at 120 mph. Needless to say, the Countryman isn’t a BMW i8.

Speaking of which, the BMW i8 hooks its 1.5-liter three-cylinder to a 7.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors. Combined, the gasoline-electric hybrid system zaps out 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. While technically not supercar numbers either, the i8 is capable of hitting 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and reaching a top speed governed at 155 mph – far more impressive than the Countryman.

Still, it’s interesting to see how BMW has used the same engine two very different ways in two very different vehicles. So, what do you think? Does the shared engine boost your view of the Mini Cooper Countryman or degrade your view of the BMW i8? Let us know in the comments below.

References

BMW i8


2017 BMW i8 – Driven - image 732595

Read our full driven review on the BMW i8.

Mini Countryman


2017 Mini Countryman - image 692990

Read our full review on the Mini Countryman.

PostHeaderIcon Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept

I suppose we should’ve expected something like this from Mini. Give the company an inch, and it’s more than happy to take a mile. Take the new John Cooper Works GP Concept for example. On the surface, the concept’s objective is pretty simple: pay tribute to its conquest in the Monte Carlo Rally back in 1967. But like everything that Mini does, it’s as interested in simply giving homage to a rally car as it is in making a statement and going above and beyond what’s needed. That attitude gave birth to the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit and the Mini John Cooper Works GP from 2006 and 2012, respectively. Now, Mini’s back with a new randy concept called the John Cooper Works GP Concept, and wouldn’t you know it, it looks positively stunning.

Nobody’s going to ever accuse Mini at being bashful, but even the JCW GP Concept seems to have been done with a simple purpose in mind: get a Cooper JCW and drown it in aerodynamic bits. Even Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer describes the JCW GP Concept as “driving fun in its purest form,” and it’s hard to even come up with a reasonable argument otherwise. The end result is a car that can make even the most demented of tuning firms blush with pride, though I suppose getting that kind of reaction is already old hat for Mini. Good to know then that after all these years, the BMW-owned automaker still has what it takes to grab everyone’s attention the way very few of its peers in the business are able to.

Updated 09/18/2017: Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept looked even more aggressive on the Frankfurt floor. Check our gallery for more images from the show.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept – IAA Preview

Along with the new electric concept MINI will reveal at this year’s IAA a hot racing concept. The MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept showcases at the Frankfurt Motor Show the “racing essence of a MINI,” whatever that means. We have to say though, it does look pretty awesome. 

Now, this MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept looks way too concept-y to be taken seriously, but we can’t rule out a production version in the near future. For one thing, MINI is quick to remind us this concept is inspired by 2012 MINI John Cooper Works GP and 2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit. And those were limited edition models which proved quite successful. So if you are charm by this baby, there is a chance you may get to know it better.

There is as yet no details available on what sort of power something like MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept would boast. This is a pure design exercise for the moment, and a good one at that. It is basically a MINI with massively flared arches, large air intakes and grilles, insane aero parts that look like radioactive mutations (in a good way though), and other evocative shapes and colors and accents. We do hope the design of the GP concept spawns copycats in the world of aftermarket and we see tuners offering bodykits like this for regular MINIs.



“The MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept is all about the unfettered feeling of driving and levels of performance found in motor sport competition,” says Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad. “This is driving fun in its purest form.”

The post MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept – IAA Preview appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon MINI Electric Concept

The modern Mini Cooper was launched in 2001, some 42 years after the British firm launched the original model. This time build under BMW Group ownership, the Mini became more of a fashion statement rather than an affordable, people’s car, but this is exactly what turned it into a big hit. Redesigned in 2006 and 2013, the Cooper grew larger and larger and gained more technology with each generation. In 2017, Mini introduced its first hybrid model, the S E Countryman All4, and it’s now looking to launch its first-ever electric car. And it just unveiled the Mini Electric Concept ahead of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Designed as a preview for a production model that will be introduced in 2019, the Mini Electric Concept arrives almost ten year since Mini built its first EV, the Mini E. More of a demonstration vehicle rather than a production car, the Mini E was produced between 2009 and 2010 in the form of a three-door Cooper. More than 600 cars were deployed in several countries for on-road testing in a project that eventually led to a couple of BMW trial cars and finally the i3. A modern reinterpretation of the Mini E, the Electric Concept moves Mini one step closer to joining the EV market. It’s a bit late to the party, but as they say, better late than never.

Updated 09/19/2017: We added a series of new images taken during the concept’s debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Electric Concept.

PostHeaderIcon MINI Electric Concept Set for IAA Debut

Looks like MINI, the great British icon of yesteryear, is finally ready to go electric. This will be showcased at the Frankfurt Motor Show twith MINI Electric Concept. They promise all the good MINI qualities are retained in the Electric concept, and looks-wise at least that seems to be the case. 

Of course many MINI fans are going to lament the electrification of their beloved car. But this is what is needed for the brand to remain competitive. MINI Electric Concept isnot that horrible a proposition, anyway. As mentioned it looks alright, and it is going to be as close to the regular MINI in terms of driving and handling. Well, that is the goal at least. We have to wait and see if the go-kart feeling of the MINI translates well in the world of volts and amperes. The production version of the MINI-E will most likely get aversion of BMW i3’s drivetrain.

“The MINI Electric Concept is a quintessential MINI – compact, agile, simply the ideal companion for everyday driving. At the same time, it conveys a whole new take on the concept of sportiness,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “Indeed, aerodynamics and lightweight design aren’t just important in the world of motor sport; they are also essential factors for maximising electric range. The car’s surfaces have a sense of precision and contemporary clarity about them that lends added impact to the car’s efficient character. Plus, striking accents and vivid contrasts give the exterior that distinctive MINI twist.”






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PostHeaderIcon MINI Countryman Earns Euro NCAP 5-Star Safety Rating

countryman-safety-rating

The new version of the MINI Countryman has been through the rigorous crash tests and evaluations of the Euro NCAP organization and, with a degree of inevitability, it has passed the tests without breaking a sweat. What we mean by that is the trendy SUV got a 5-star rating.

That means the Countryboy, which is more apt for an urban-oriented car like this, is one of the safest vehicles in any class you can buy and trust the lives of your children to. Actually, the MINI Countryman is particularly good as protecting children since in NCAP tests the car performed brilliantly regardless of the size and seat position of the occupants. The safety agency also praised the Countryman for the performance of its headrests which effectively protect the passengers from neck and spine injuries in the case of a rear-end crash.

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The new MINI Countryman also features an impact absorber in the front apron area as well as an active engine hood for optimum pedestrian protection. In the case of a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist, the hood is automatically raised up to prevent the risk of injuries occurring due to impacting especially hard parts of the engine. So not only is this car safe for you, it is also easy on those you may run over!

The post MINI Countryman Earns Euro NCAP 5-Star Safety Rating appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Official: MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

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With the launch of the new 2017 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 the British brand presents its first model with a plug-in hybrid system which provides emission-free electric drive. The hybrid Countryman uses a 3-cylinder petrol engine and a synchronous electric motor which promises an average fuel consumption of 2.3 – 2.1 litres per 100 kilometres and the CO2 emissions figure of 52 – 49 grams per kilometer.

Those figures are pretty astonishing, especially when you take into account the fact that the hybrid system powering the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 churns out 224 hp. Another amazing number is the top speed of 125 km/h in electric mode along with a range of up to 42 km. Last but not least, we have the ALL4 four-wheel-drive system which is electrified.

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Being a plug-in hybrid means MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 needs the occasional charging via the power outlet. But it’s not that bad since the lithium-ion high-voltage battery can be charged at a wallbox in 2:30 hours. Charging at a regular household socket takes 3:15 hours. The Cooper S E also features an eDrive toggle switch which enables the driver to switch between various self-explanatory operational modes including AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE, and SAVE BATTERY. The rest of the car is standard Countryman, which is a nice blend of style, practicality, and quirkiness. Unless they give this model an unreasonable price tag, the Cooper S E Countryman plug-in is the one every buyer should choose.

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PostHeaderIcon David Brown Revives the Classic Mini Cooper with Modern Tech

Introduced in 1959, the original Mini Cooper revolutionized the city car market and became so popular that it remained in production until 2000. The nameplate was purchased by BMW and relaunched in a more modern form in 2001, but most enthusiasts agree that things haven’t been the same. Nearly two decades have passed since the original Mini was discontinued and David Brown Automotive is bringing it back to life.

Called Mini Remastered, the new old Cooper is more than just a reproduction replica. While carefully crafted to resemble the original car from 1959, the small hatchback has been remastered to “meet the demands of modern day life.” The exterior may not give away the modern production process of the car (unless you look closely), but the interior has been redesigned to include all sorts of high-tech features, including a premium infotainment system.

The original engine has also undergone a complete transformation. Not only more powerful, it also runs smoother than Mini’s original unit, while returning improved performance and fuel economy. David Brown Automotive says that over 1,000 man hours go into creating each Mini Remastered. Let’s find out why.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon 2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works Unveiled

Mini just revealed the new Countryman John Cooper Works, which means the compact crossover now gets more space, more style, and more importantly, more speed. Now in its second generation, the Countryman JCW is the largest and most powerful Mini yet.

In case you were unaware, John Cooper Works is Mini’s performance badge, homage to the famous sports car designer of the same name. Any modern Mini with an inkling of sporting intent carries the JCW designation, and as such, the Countryman JCW gets upgrades to the engine, transmission, AWD system, suspension, aero, and interior design.

Let’s get down to the specifics then, shall we? Mounted behind the grille is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which was turbocharged to 228 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 258 pound-feat of torque between 1,450 and 4,500 rpm. And if you’re keeping score, that’s 20 ponies more than the outgoing Countryman.

Features include direct fuel injection, plus variable valve control and variable camshaft control (a.k.a. BMW’s Double Vanos system). Specific to the JCW model are new pistons, a new intercooler, and an additional radiator. There’s also a sport exhaust with a controllable flap and dual chrome tips.

Incredibly, Mini says the turbo pumps out an eye-popping 2.2 bar of boost (31.9 psi), but that’s gotta be a typo – we think 1.2 bar (17.4 psi) is closer to the truth!

Performance figures look like 6.2 seconds to 60 mph, while top speed is capped at 145 mph.

Cog swaps come courtesy of a standard six-speed manual, while an eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic is optional. Further JCW touches include a sportier suspension, 18-inch alloy rollers, and a Brembo brake package.

Outside, you’ll find more aerodynamic touches, plus larger intakes up front. The headlights get LEDs as standard. The body also gains 6.7 inches in length, 1.3 inches in width, and an extra 2.9 inches in the wheelbase.

Inside is seating for five, plus JCW-specific sports seats. Pilots can select from multiple driving modes, and should enjoy the 6.5-inch infotainment screen and various Connected features.

The 2018 Mini Countryman JCW will make its worldwide debut this coming April at the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show. Look for it in U.S. dealerships around that time.


PostHeaderIcon BMW X2

Rumors have been stirring about BMW building an X2 crossover since 2011, but we had yet to see it in the metal until 2015. The small SUV finally hit the streets in October 2015 and resurfaced again in January 2016, heavily camouflaged on both occasions. Although BMW has yet to officially confirm the X2, a concept car was showcased at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, making the company’s intentions about expanding the X lineup clear as daylight.

Essentially a sleeker, coupe-like version of the X1, the X2 will compete against the likes of the Audi Q2, which was launched in 2016 after intense speculation. It will also complete BMW’s lineup of X-badged SUVs, which will include no fewer than seven nameplates once the range-topping X7 hits dealerships. Naturally, the X2 will be part of a trio of coupe crossovers, which already includes the X6 and the X4.

The new crossover should share underpinnings with the second-generation X1, which rides on the same UKL platform found in the Mini Cooper and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. As a result, the X2 will also borrow the X1’s powertrains and cross the pond to the U.S. in similar configurations.

A launch date has yet to be announced, but given that the concept was unveiled in the third quarter of 2016, the production model should break cover sometime in 2017. Expect it to arrive Stateside for the 2018 model year. Until that happens, we created a rendering based on the concept car to go with the speculative review below.

Updated 12/13/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW X2 out for a new testing session, this time during winter conditions.

Continue reading to learn out more about the 2018 BMW X2.


PostHeaderIcon Mini Countryman

Launched in 2010, the Countryman is one of the newest additions to the Mini family. Based on the Crossover Concept, the company’s first mini SUV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive model was added for the 2014 model year, a year before the Countryman received its mid-cycle refresh. Longer, wider and taller than any other Mini, the Countryman just got even larger with the second-generation model.

The new Countryman was spotted testing in Germany as early as September of 2014. Two years have passed and the crossover was unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. Significantly larger than its predecessor, the new Countryman boasts a new exterior and a revamped interior with modern features and new technology. Although Mini claims that the new crossover “remains firmly rooted in the tradition of the British brand,” the modern-day Countryman has very little in common with the original two-door estate from the 1960s.

This will be highly noticeable among purists, some of which might be offended by the comparison, but open-minded fans will probably appreciate the enhanced roominess and larger trunk space that come with a longer and wider body. The redesigned crossover will hit North American shores starting March 2017. Stay tuned for updates.

Updated 12/07/2016: Mini announced prices for the 2017 Countryman which will go on sale in March 2017.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 Mini Countryman.


PostHeaderIcon Meet the Mini Countryman E Prototype

The first production series hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, may be only two decades old, but hybrid drivetrains have become increasingly popular over the years, to the extent that nearly every automaker offers or is at least working on one. Such is the case with Mini, which is about to launch its first-ever hybrid.

Still being tested on public roads ahead of production, the company’s first hybrid will be based on the Countryman crossover. Dubbed Countryman E, it’s almost identical to the conventional model, but uses hybrid technology borrowed from BMW, and is all-wheel drive when the combustion engine and electric motor are used at the same time.

Although Mini has yet to showcase a production-ready model and the prototype is still wearing the familiar black-and-yellow camouflage, the hybrid is identical to its gasoline and diesel siblings on the outside. Like any plug-in, it does feature a charging socket, but the device is discreetly integrated into the small vent on the left bumper (or side scuttle in Mini talk). The production car will also sport an “E” badge, but other than that, you won’t know it’s a hybrid.

Inside, the start/stop button in the center of the dashboard glows yellow instead of red, while the instrument cluster display will include a battery status display and other hybrid-specific information.

Mini didn’t say what engine and electric motor make up the hybrid drivetrain, but a turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-cylinder and a compact motor rated at 88 horsepower are the most likely options. The three-pot will spin the front wheels, while the electric motor will be installed right over the rear axle and will motivate the rear wheels.

The British firm says that the hybrid model will always start in electric mode, while the combustion engine will be engaged depending on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity with which the driver operates the accelerator pedal. Speaking of the latter, Mini promises “catapult-like acceleration” due to the instant torque generated by the electric motor. The drivetrain will have three modes. Auto eDrive will permit speeds of up to 50 mph, while Max eDrive will allow the driver to travel with speeds of up to 78 mph. The third mode is Save Battery, in which the combustion engine moves the car while the high voltage battery retains charge at a constant level or recharge via the generator.

The hybrid also gives us our best look at the next-generation Countryman. The design is obviously evolutionary and the vehicle appears to ride a little taller than the current model. It should also be longer and wider, as all Mini cars have grown larger with each generation. The new Countryman will be unveiled by the end of the year and arrive in showrooms in 2017.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Mini John Cooper Works Clubman

Mini showed off its new design language in the 2014 Mini Cooper, and since then, Mini brought us a four-door version of the hatch and revamped the Mini Countryman. Then in late 2015, Mini finally pulled out all of the stops and offered the next-gen Mini Clubman for the 2016 model year. The biggest change came in the size department as the Clubman is now 12.4-inches longer and 4.6-inches wider than before. Other styling changes include things like larger headlamps and fog lamps, new taillights, and exhaust pipes that are integrated into the rear bumper. At launch the Clubman was offered with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder or a 2.0-liter four-banger in the Clubman S. The latter offered 189 horsepower and a 6.9-second sprint to 60 mph. That’s great and all, but there was still room for something better, and Mini has finally made it happen with the new John Cooper Works Clubman.

Powered by a twin-turbo, 2.0-liter, the JCW Clubman delivers 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque which makes it the most powerful and torquiest production car that Mini has made to date. As is the usual case with JCW models, the new Clubman gets its own unique features like Black 18-inch wheels, performance seats, and tuned suspension. It also comes equipped with Mini’s latest iteration of the ALL4 all-wheel drive system to help keep things from getting squirrely during spirited driving or extreme maneuvers.

Thomas Felbermair, the VP or Mini of the Americas, said,” Performance and versatility are part of our DNA and our heritage so naturally there has always been a plan in place to bring the John Cooper Works variant to the Mini Clubman model. The addition of the John Cooper Works design and performance enhancements and the new ALL4 all-wheel drive system to the already versatile Mini Clubman model we have once again raised the bar in the premium compact segment.”

With that said, let’s dive on in a take a look at all the finer details of the Mini JCW Clubman.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works Clubman.


PostHeaderIcon BMW to Strengthen its Electrification Portfolio

Earlier this year, BMW announced that it was more interested in developing autonomous technology and would essentially shift its focus away from developing electric cars like the BMW i3 and i8. With the “i” division slated to get less attention, there was obviously some drama within the company as executives had mixed feelings about straying away from the brand’s electrification strategy. We weren’t really aware of the tensions within Bimmer over this situation until we learned of rumors that BMW board members had decided to skip the Paris Auto Show altogether to finally put the issue to rest. Now, Handelsblatt has learned from an unnamed source that there has been some progress made and that some BMW models will see electrification without getting the official “i” treatment.

With the BMW i3 struggling to meet sales expectations, it isn’t really a surprise that some executives are iffy on investing more money into the brand’s electrification strategy. But, according to that unnamed sources, executives have agreed to bring battery power to not only the 3 Series but the BMW X4 crossover as well. Furthermore, Mini will also see some electrification with at least one Mini model absorbing a battery pack and electric motor into its architecture as well.

For now, this is all rumor of course, but word has it that the electric Mini would take some DNA from the Mini Rocketman Concept. There’s no word as to whether or not the electrified 3 Series and X4 would be an all-electric or plug-in hybrid, so it could really go either way. BMW should come to a finalized decision sometime this month at which point the company will make an official announcement.


PostHeaderIcon Mini Countryman

Launched in 2010, the Countryman is one of the newest additions to the New Mini family. Based on the Crossover Concept, the company’s first mini SUV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive model was added for the 2014 model year, a year before the Countryman received its mid-cycle refresh. Longer, wider and taller than any other Mini, the Countryman is currently being built alongside the Paceman by Magna Steyr in Austria. With the facelifted version of the current model having arrived in dealerships for the 2015 model year, the Brits are already working on the next-generation Countryman.

The new Countryman has been spotted testing in Germany as early as September of 2014, but the thick camouflage and the pre-production components offered very little hints as to what will change. Come 2016 and the test vehicles are closer to their production forms, meaning there are more details to run by. Having just received a new set of spy shots, we decided to have a closer look at the upcoming Countryman before it makes its official debut. Speaking of which, expect the crossover to break cover at the next Geneva Motor Show in March 2017.

Updated 09/12/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Countryman out for a new testing session – most likely the final one before the car’s official debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in October.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mini Countryman.


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