Image credits: © MINI.

MSRP: $24,350-34,500
Invoice: $21,915-31,050

2012 MINI Roadster news, pictures, specifications, and information
• MINI is pushing ahead wîth the rigorous expansion of its model family. The latest addition to the range is the MINI Roadster, the sixth model in the brand's current line-up and the first open-top two-seater in its history. Cutting-edge, typically MINI interpretation of the compact, two-seater sports car concept wîth manually-opening soft-top roof; first premium car of its kind in the small car §egmènt; unique package appealing to demanding target groups wîth a penchant for elegant sportiness, spontaneous open-top driving fun and irresistible design; inspiring handling fuelled by powerful engines and sophisticated chassis technology; unrivalled scope for individualisation.

• Faithful reproduction of the MINI design language within the proportions of a roadster; clear focus on two-seat design and open-air driving experience; sporting charisma, wîth short overhangs, powerful over-the-wheel stance and high waistline typical of MINI; unmistakable design features and hallmark details underline the car's brand identity.

• Three-box body structure wîth a strikingly stepped rear end; elegantly sweeping roadster look thanks to heavily raked A-pillars and a waistline rising up slightly along the length of the body towards the flat rear end; stands more than 20 millimetres lower than the MINI Convertible; manually operated soft-top roof wîth straightforward mechanism for spontaneous, rapid opening and closing.

• Full-blooded go-kart feeling and outstanding safety levels thanks to bespoke chassis set-up, low centre of gravity, torsionally rigid body and optimised aerodynamic properties; Electric Power Steering and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) as standard, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) wîth EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) optional (standard in the MINI John Cooper Works Roadster); roll-over bars in polished stainless steel; active rear spoiler extends automatically at 80 km/h (50 mph); MINI John Cooper Works Roadster wîth standard John Cooper Works aerodynamic kit.

• Focused two-seater concept wîth stowage area behind the driver and passenger seats, through-loading system and 240-litre luggage area; wide-opening tailgate for comfortable loading; optional: wind protection insert between the roll-over bars.

• Latest-generation four-cylinder engines; most powerful petrol and diesel units in the MINI line-up; MINI TwinPower Turbo technology; MINI John Cooper Works Roadster wîth 155 kW/211 hp, MINI Cooper S Roadster wîth 135 kW/184 hp, MINI Cooper Roadster wîth 90 kW/122 hp, MINI Cooper SD Roadster wîth 105 kW/143 hp; exemplary efficiency thanks to MINIMALISM technology.

• Bespoke colour and materials concept for upholstery, exterior mirrors, trim elements and Colour Lines; exclusive MINI Yours options and Sport Stripes in contrasting colour provide further individualisation; high-quality standard equipment including speed-sensitive §teering assistance, electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, Park Distance Control, air conditioning (MINI Cooper S Roadster, MINI Cooper SD Roadster, MINI John Cooper Works Roadster) and audio system wîth MP3-compatible CD player and AÚX IN connection; options include black headlight housing, xenon Adaptive Headlights, Comfort Access, automatic climate control and the Always Open Timer; wide range of entertainment and communications options: Harman Kardon hi-fi loudspeaker system, MINI navigation system, MINI Connected features including Driving Excitement app, web radio, Google services, RSS news feeds, Mission Control, and in-car use of Facebook and Twitter.


• Engine variants:


MINI John Cooper Works Roadster:

Four-cylinder petrol engine wîth MINI TwinPower Turbo technology and numerous technological details carried over directly from motor sport.
Displacement: 1,598 cc, output: 155 kW/211 hp at 6,000 rpm,
max. torque: 260 Nm/192 lb-ft at 1,850 – 5,600 rpm (280 Nm/207 lb-ft wîth Overboost at 2,000 – 5,100 rpm). Acceleration 0–100 km/h (62 mph): 6.5 seconds, top speed: 237 km/h (147 mph). Average fuel consumption according to EÚ: 7.3 litres/100 kilometres (38.7 mpg imp), CO2 emissions: 169 g/km.

MINI Cooper S Roadster:

Four-cylinder petrol engine wîth MINI TwinPower Turbo technology. Displacement: 1,598 cc, output: 135 kW/184 hp at 5,500 rpm, max. torque: 240 Nm/177 lb-ft at 1,600 – 5,000 rpm (260 Nm/192 lb-ft wîth Overboost at 1,730 – 4,500 rpm). Acceleration 0–100 km/h (62 mph): 7.0 seconds, top speed: 227 km/h (141 mph). Average fuel consumption according to EÚ: 6.0 litres/100 kilometres (47.1 mpg imp), CO2 emissions: 139 g/km.

MINI Cooper Roadster:

Four-cylinder petrol engine wîth fully variable valve management based on the BMW Group's VALVETRONIC technology. Displacement: 1,598 cc, output: 90 kW/122 hp at 6,000 rpm, max. torque: 160 Nm/118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm. Acceleration 0–100 km/h (62 mph): 9.2 seconds, top speed: 199 km/h (124 mph). Average fuel consumption according to EÚ: 5.7 litres/100 kilometres (49.6 mpg imp),
CO2 emissions: 133 g/km.

MINI Cooper SD Roadster:

Four-cylinder turbodiesel wîth MINI TwinPower Turbo technology. Displacement: 1,995 cc, output: 105 kW/143 hp at 4,000 rpm, max. torque: 305 Nm/225 lb-ft at 1,750 – 2,700 rpm. Acceleration 0–100 km/h (62 mph): 8.1 seconds,
top speed: 212 km/h (132 mph). Average fuel consumption according to EÚ: 4.5 litres/100 kilometres (62.8 mpg imp), CO2 emissions: 118 g/km.

Source - MINI

MINI at the NAIAS Detroit 2012.

Individual style, innovative technology and the high standards of quality set by the world's first maker of premium small cars form the basis for the worldwide popularity of the MINI model range. And now the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2012 in Detroit is set to host the beginning of another new chapter in the brand's global success story. The NAIAS 2012 is the venue for the world premiere of the MINI Roadster. The first open-top two-seater in the MINI model range provides a spontaneous, unadulterated recipe for urban driving fun. A contemporary take on the compact, open-top sports car concept, the MINI Roadster boasts advanced drive and chassis technology, and a classical, manually operated soft-top roof which can be opened and closed quickly and easily.

The design and technology of the MINI Roadster are geared squarely to laying on open-top driving fun for two. With its inspiring agility and cutting-edge efficiency, expressive design and remarkable practicality, the youngest MINI representative gives the brand's traditional qualities a fresh new twist. All of which will see the MINI Roadster unveiled at the NAIAS on 14 – 22 January 2012 welcomed not only as an attractive addition to the current model range, but also as the world's first premium model of its kind in the small car §egmènt.

The market launch of the MINI Roadster adds a sixth model to the MINI family, and the increased variety in its ranks presents MINI wîth additional ways of winning over new target groups for the brand and its products. Ten years after the introduction of the MINI to the ÚS market, the British brand has established itself as a byword for infectious driving fun within compact dimensions and earned itself a growing community of fans. The ÚS has been the most important single market worldwide for MINI cars for several years now; the brand has not only added consistently to its model range over recent years, it has also steadily increased the number of MINI dealers in the ÚSA. The result has been a succession of new sales records.

The MINI Roadster: two seats, unlimited driving fun.
The MINI Roadster embodies a sporty driving experience of enviable purity and spontaneous open-top fun for two. The latest model to join the MINI line-up treats the small car §egmènt to another refreshing shot of innovation. Smile-inducing agility, compact dimensions and low fuel consumption endow the new model wîth an exceptional skill-set for the challenge of urban mobility. Added to which, its variable-use luggage area gives the driver extra freedom when it comes to carrying sports gear or setting out on trips for two.

The body design of the two-seater MINI sees the hallmark design language of the brand's cars repackaged within the proportions of a compact roadster. Parallel lines, athletically taut surfaces and harmonious curves combine wîth a distinctive, low-slung silhouette to give the MINI Roadster an elegantly stretched figure. Time-honoured MINI characteristics, such as its large circular headlights, hexagonal radiator grille, side indicator surrounds and vertically stacked rear lights, flag up the brand identity of the new car. However, the Roadster also adds some distinguishing features of its own to the mix, including a strikingly stepped boot extending from behind the passenger compartment and a heavily raked windscreen.

Stylistically, the robust soft-top roof of the MINI Roadster follows in the classic British roadster tradition. When opened, it folds down flat behind the seats, keeping the car's elegantly sweeping lines intact. This layout encompasses a clear visual separation of the car's boot (capacity: 240 litres) from the passenger compartment, while a wide through-loading system behind the seats enhances practicality. Plus, the high-opening tailgate and low boot sill makes it that much easier to load up items of luggage.

Together wîth the reinforced windscreen frame, two stainless steel roll-over bars provide optimised occupant protection in the event of the car turning over. The safety equipment on board the new MINI Roadster also includes front airbags and head-thorax airbags integrated into the outer sides of the seat backrests, three-point inertia-reel seatbelts including belt force limiters and belt tensioners, and a Tyre Defect Indicator.

The MINI Roadster will be available wîth a choice of three powerful and efficient petrol engines when it is launched in the ÚS market.

The model line-up will range from the MINI Cooper Roadster (121 hp) via the MINI Cooper S Roadster (181 hp) to the sharpest performer of all, the MINI John Cooper Works Roadster, whose powerplant develops 208 hp. State-of-the-art technology ensures that all the model variants produce a combination of zesty power development and exceptional fuel economy. In customary MINI style, the Roadster channels the engine's power through to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Alternatively, the MINI Cooper Roadster and MINI Cooper S Roadster can also be specified wîth a six-speed automatic as an option.

A quality of chassis technology unparalleled in the small car §egmènt, including Electric Power Steering and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), combines wîth the torsionally rigid body (complete wîth special strengthening elements) and the car's lower centre of gravity to deliver addictive agility and unbeatable active and passive safety. The aerodynamic balance of the MINI Roadster is optimised by an active rear spoiler, which extends automatically when the car reaches 80 km/h (50 mph).

The wealth of standard equipment can be complemented by a selection of high-quality extras, the typically MINI variety in the range of optional equipment and accessories, giving owners the best possible tools to adapt their cars precisely to their personal style.

Variety breeds success: the MINI model range for 2012.


The popularity of the MINI brand is based on an unmistakable product range which engenders a strong affinity between MINI fans and their cars. The model range captures the imagination of contemporary target groups who are not only lòòking for high standards of quality and technology in their choice of compact car, but also want to express their own individual style. The expansion of the MINI family to include six models allows the brand's hallmark expressive design, agile handling and premium quality to be combined wîth the specific qualities of various vehicle characters. The traditional MINI concept has now been expanded beyond the MINI, MINI Convertible and MINI Clubman to include the MINI Countryman, which was conceived purposefully to meet the requirements of additional target groups. The first MINI to come wîth four doors, a large tailgate and, if desired, ALL4 all-wheel drive, has given the brand's growth an extra boost in the ÚSA, as elsewhere. And over recent months, another model devoted to the provision of sporty driving fun – the MINI Coupé – has built on this momentum. Now the Coupé is set to be joined by another two-seater, in the form of the MINI Roadster.

Whatever the type of MINI, a range of engine variants and a package of equipment compiled according to the customer's requirements ensure that all MINI drivers can look forward to a car that fits the image in their mind's eye as closely as possible. In addition to the extensive range of exterior paint finishes, interior colours, seat variants and comfort-enhancing equipment, a host of factory-fit exterior design options, model-specific interior trim elements and Colour Lines give customers all they need to configure their car precisely to their personal preferences. An additional opportunity for personalisation is provided by the exceptionally rich selection of accessories. This far-reaching potential for individualisation is another of those special features that shapes the character of the MINI brand. The scope for customers to tailor their car to their own specifications is also attracting increased interest in the ÚS market, as word spreads that every MINI can be enjoyed not only as a byword for driving fun, but also the expression of personal freedom and individuality.

The annual North American International Auto Show is one of the world's most important car shows. As the traditional curtain-raiser to the year, it will point the way for the entire automotive once again in 2012. Over 150 exhibitors from every corner of the earth will come together in Detroit's Cobo Center to present new models and other product innovations. The organisers are expecting more than 5,000 media representatives from around the world to attend the event, along wîth some 750,000 members of the public.

Source - MINI

Now the long period of waiting is finally coming to an end: A very special version of the MINI is making its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, injecting a fresh breeze into the world of motoring – the new MINI Convertible. Introducing this versatile four-seater, MINI is combining the distinctive pleasure of driving an open car wîth the unique enjoyment you can only feel at the wheel of a genuine MINI.
Combining supreme fun wîth practical value.

The MINI Convertible is a fully-fledged four-seater clearly standing out from the start as a genuine MINI regardless of whether the roof is up or down. For the design features and proportions so characteristic of the MINI have been consistently carried over to the MINI Convertible: The steeply raked windscreen and the optimum seating position enjoyed by the driver ensure an unforgettable open-air experience also when driving wîth the roof down. So the new model version leaves no doubt that motoring pleasure is an outstanding factor on all four seats of this uniquely popular cult car.

Clearly, the MINI Convertible boasts a clever all-round concept wîth supreme function and optimum use of space available.

Striking profile.With its roof down, this classy convertible really looks at its best. The waistline gradually rising to the rear gives the car a strong and distinctive profile further accentuated by the chrome strip continuing along the complete window line. The steeply raked windscreen, complete absence of a B-pillar, the rollbars made of extra-strong aluminum pipes behind the rear-seat backrest, as well as the compact, folding roof all bear testimony to the unique style of a classic convertible.

The new MINI Convertible is entering the market initially in the guise of the 66 kW/90 bhp MINI One and the 85 kW/115 bhp MINI Cooper. The top-of-the-range MINI Cooper S Convertible will be following later.

In standard trim the MINI Convertible comes on 15-inch steel or, respectively, light-alloy rims (MINI One/MINI Cooper) running on 175/65 R15 tyres. As an option, both models are available wîth attractive 16- and 17-inch light-alloy wheels, wîth the 17-inch five-star Bullet light-alloy wheels developed exclusively for the new open-air version.

A convertible wîth a sliding roof all in one.

The roof available in three colours opens up fully automatically within just 15 seconds: Pressing a button, you first open the integrated sliding roof, then the complete soft roof as such. With the soft roof folding to the rear, the roof columns are automatically retracted and the rear side windows move down at the same time. The intelligent Z-folding mechanism allows the complete roof to fold up in compact arrangement behind the rear seats, wîth no need for a tonneau cover.

The sliding roof integrated in the soft top can be opened infinitely up to 40 cm or 15¾´´ while driving, up to a speed of 120 km/h or 75 mph. Clearly, a feature quite unprecedented in the convertible market.

Optimum utilisation of space available.

Folding out to the back, the rear lid is held in position when open by two steel cables wîth a spring-mounted retractor system. This allows use of the rear lid wîth its hinges facing to the outside as a practical loading panel able to carry a weight of up to 80 kg or 176 lb.

The MINI Convertible is able to carry a maximum of 400 kg or 882 lb, and the luggage compartment accommodates 165 litres wîth the roof closed. And even wîth the roof down, driving in the open air, luggage compartment capacity remains a substantial 120 litres.

The Easy Load system offers generous through-loading capacity: With the roof closed, all you do is turn two levers in the luggage compartment to fold up the bottom section of the cover fastened on a tightening bracket and attach it in position. Then, wîth the rear lid open, you have very convenient access to the luggage compartment through a large opening able to accommodate even bulky objects. And in conjunction wîth the rear seat backrests folding forward and fastened securely in position, luggage compartment capacity can be increased to no less than 605 litres.

Boasting features such as its highly functional roof, the variable luggage compartment even wîth the roof open, an ultra-strong and stiff bodyshell, as well as the chassis wîth its multi-arm rear axle, the MINI Convertible sets the standard in its market §egmènt in many other other respects too.

That go-kart feeling so typical of the MINI.

Combining a very stiff bodyshell wîth superior chassis and suspension features, the open-air models, like their fixed-roof counterparts, once again offer a unique symbiosis of superior agility and handling. The drive concept as such, the long wheelbase, a low centre of gravity, wide track, the multi-arm rear axle and the direct, electrohydraulic power §teering all go together to provide the foundation for the excellent driving behaviour and go-kart feeling so typical of the MINI Convertible.

Sporting performance wherever you go.

Vital Stats
Engine : 1.6 L., 4-cylinder
Power: 122 hp
Torque: 118 ft-lbs

6-speed Manual, 6-speed Automatic
Both versions of the MINI Convertible feature a 1.6-litre four-cylinder power unit developing maximum output of 66 kW/90 bhp in the MINI One and 85 kW/115 bhp in the MINI Cooper. Maximum torque of 140 Nm/103 lb-ft and, respectively, 150 Nm/111 lb-ft comes at just 3000 and, respectively, 4,500 rpm. A smooth-shifting five-speed manual gearbox is standard on both models. Top speed of the MINI One Convertible is 175 km/h or 109 mph, wîth acceleration to 100 km/h in 11.8 seconds. Fuel consumption in the composite EÚ cycle is 7.2 litres premium/100 km, equivalent to 39.2 mpg Imp.

Maximum output of 85 kW/115 bhp gives the MINI Cooper Convertible a top speed of 193 km/h or 120 mph. Acceleration to 100 km/h from a standstill comes in just 9.8 seconds, fuel consumption in the EÚ cycle is 7.3 litres/100 km, equal to 38.7 mpg Imp.

High standard of safety.


Benefitting from its stiff body structure and restraint system comprising, inter alia, two 'intelligent' frontal airbags and two seat-integrated head/thorax side airbags as standard, the MINI Convertible naturally complies wîth the world's strictest crash standards required by law. A wide range of constructional improvements and features ensures a particularly high standard of torsional stiffness preventing the door-sills from bending in in the event of a head-on collision and offering the occupants optimum protection in an impact from the side.

Should the MINI Convertible ever be involved in a rollover, the A-pillars encompassing a tube made of ultra-strong steel guarantee a strong load-bearing function. And at the rear double rollbars made of high-strength aluminium tubes, complete wîth integrated headrests, afford superior passenger safety.

A high standard of active safety is ensured, inter alia, by four disc brakes, four-sensor ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), as well as Cornering Brake Control (CBC). Available as an option, Automatic Stability and Traction Control (ASC+T) as well as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) help to provide superior driving and tracking stability in an extreme situation.

MINI in colour.

The MINI Convertible is available in 10 exterior colours, two of which are reserved exclusively to this open-air model: Hot Orange and, to provide a particular effect, Cool Blue. And while the MINI One Convertible comes only wîth a black roof, the roof of the open-air MINI Cooper is available in Black, Blue, and Green. The exterior mirror housings, in turn, are again finished in Black on the 'basic' model and come in body colour on the MINI Cooper Convertible.

High-quality textile materials and surfaces give the interior special harmony and balance. The dashboard and door linings are available in Silver and Anthracite and also come as a further choice in wood and aluminium trim.

The seat upholstery is available in 3 different types of cloth, 3 combinations of cloth and leather, and wîth three different choices of all-leather upholstery.

Everything goes.

The wide range of standard equipment featured from the start on the new Convertible comprises, inter alia, an electrically operated roof complete wîth sliding roof function, a heated glass rear window, two frontal and two head/thorax side airbags, four-sensor ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), BMW's Tyre Defect Indicator (TDI), electrically operated rear-view mirrors and window lifts, power §teering, Park Distance Control (PDC), a rev counter, height adjustment on the both driver's seat and §teering column, as well as central locking wîth remote control plus comfort opening.

To fulfill all kinds of individual and personal wishes, the MINI Convertible comes wîth an equally wide range of special equipment comprising features such as xenon headlights, a TV navigation system wîth a 16:9 colour display, high-quality HiFi audio systems, a heated rear window, automatic air conditioning, a wind deflector, a wide range of light-alloy wheels, a multifunction §teering wheel, a rain sensor, and the interior mirror complete wîth anti-dazzle function.

Successful and popular.

Apart from the MINI Convertible making its debut in Geneva, the four existing fixed-roof models already very successful in the market are naturally also to be admired at the Show: the MINI One, MINI One D, MINI Cooper, and MINI Cooper S. And 'popular' is indeed the right word to describe these successful models already delivered to more than 176,000 thrilled customers the world over.

Source - MINI
The British Motor Corporation came into existence in 1952 by the merging of two manufacturers, Nuffield Motors and Austin. Nuffield was known for its Morris line of vehicles, while Austin had its 'Seven' model line. The transition for the two manufacturers was difficult and had been forced out of necessity. After World War II, many vehicle manufacturers could not stay in business due to destroyed factories, recovering economies, strained resources, and lack of funds. Combining the two companies was a means to stay in business.

A fuel shortage was occurring. German engineers quickly adapted and began producing fuel-efficient vehicles. Examples include the Volkswagen Beetle. Leonard Lord, Chairman of BMC and former head of Austin, commissioned Sir Alec Issigonis to design a vehicle to compete with the German-made vehicles.

Alec Issigonis was a graduate of Battersea Technical College. After graduation he worked as a draftsman for a plethora of engineering projects. Later, he joined Morris Motors where he was tasked with creating and fitting suspensions to the Morris vehicles.

Issigonis was outfitted with requirements to create a fuel-efficient, affordable, safe vehicle capable of carrying four individuals including luggage. To save on development costs, it was requested that an existing BMC engine be used. What he created was a vehicle that sat atop of 10 inch wheels. By using smaller wheels there was little need for wheel wells.

The car was expected to carry four individuals; the combined weight of the passengers being greater than the entire vehicle. A suspension was needed that could accept this pay-load. With his prior experience creating and working with suspensions, Issigonis designed a rubber cone suspension.

A 950 cc, four cylinder, BMC engine was selected. It was mounted in the front and expected to power the front wheels, a system that was revolutionary at the time. Instead of mounting the engine longitudinally, it was place transversely. The transmission was place under the engine due to space constraints.

When Issigonis presented his designs and recommendations to Lord in 1958, changes were requested. Instead of the 950 cc engine, a 34 horsepower, 848 cc engine would be used, making the vehicle slower but more importantly, more safe. The other request was to make the vehicle two inches wider.

There were two versions of the car when it was first introduced on August 26, 1959. The only difference between the 1959 Austin and Morris versions was their badges.

John Cooper had designed vehicles that successfully won the Formula One championships in 1959 and 1960.

He proposed a marriage between his 1000 cc Formula Junior engine with the Mini. Lord approved the idea and in 1961 the Mini Cooper was born. It was fitted with a 997 cc engine producing 55 horsepower. Later, the Cooper S came into being with the advent of the 970 cc and the 1275 cc engine - the latter capable of 76 horsepower.

From 1964 through 1967 the little car dominated the Monte Carlo Rally. The car easily achieved these victories using a 91 horsepower engine.

Minis became more than just a practical car, they became a fashion statement. This, combined with their practicality, fuel efficiency, and success on the race track, created an overwhelming demand for the little car.

In the 1980's, the Mini was starting to loose momentum. Rover tried to revitalize the Mini brand by creating special editions. In all, there were more than 40 different editions created between 1980 and 2000.

A merger with British Motor Corporation and another company produced the Britsh Leyland Company. Later, it became Rover Group. Currently, it is owned by BMW.

In 2001, BMW introduced the MINI. The MINI currently has three Cooper models. Their main differences being the size of the engine and the horsepower rating. A convertible has also been included to the line-up.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007

Three generations of driving fun: The MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S through the years.

For three generations and over 50 years, the Cooper name has identified a MINI offering even more in the way of driving fun. The idea, hatched by brilliant Formula One designer John Cooper, to fuel the agile small car wîth an extra hit of performance and turn it into a sporting machine for the road and track has lost none of its appeal. But the Cooper has never been about horsepower, as a comparison between the classic Mini and its two successors resoundingly proves. The key here is the basic principle of the creative use of space, combined wîth the inimitable go-kart feeling that runs like a thread through the three generations of the legendary small car. These famous handling traits are enjoyed by drivers on bendy country roads and city streets around the world, wîth the classic Mini and 21st-century MINI still regularly crossing each other's path.

The small British car positively craves twists and turns demanding quick and precise changes in direction; this is where it feels most at home. The classic Mini was tailor-made for tackling hairpins and corner-strewn roads, and it still looks the part today – aided by the healthy 46 kW/63 hp available in a Mini Cooper towards the end of its production run. The classic Cooper was built up to autumn 2000, by which time its successor was already twitching in the starting blocks. In contrast to the original Mini, the new model was available in Cooper guise from the outset. And wîth 85 kW/115 hp under the bonnet, it would do its nameplate proud. From the word go, the car's powerplant and chassis formed a harmonious alliance to deliver unbeatable driving fun. As John Cooper realised, sometimes you actually can't have too much of a good thing. 50 years ago he unveiled the 70 hp Mini Cooper S. And today, its youngest descendant places 135 kW/184 hp at the disposal of its driver. As if that wasn't enough, the turbocharged engine powering the latest MINI Cooper S also sets the benchmark for efficiency in its output class.

When Alec Issigonis set out to develop a new small car for the British Motor Corporation in the mid-1950s, his priorities were space and price. Indeed, at a touch over three metres in length, the classic Mini offered astonishingly generous accommodation for passengers and their gear alike. Issigonis settled on a front transverse installation for the four-cylinder engine, under which lay the gearbox, plumb between the wheels. The positioning of those wheels at the far corners of the car and the Mini's short overhangs did the rest. The Mini was small on the outside but roomy on the inside, not to mention – at around 600 kilograms – extremely light. The principles underpinning its design remain the template for small and compact cars in the modern era.

However, it was left to another key figure in the brand's history to uncover the vast well of sporting talent under that diminutive shell. John Cooper, a friend and business partner of Mini creator Issigonis and winner of two Formula One constructors' world titles, was quick to spot the car's dynamic potential, and in 1961 the first Mini Cooper hit the roads. Production of the Cooper was temporarily suspended in the 1970s, but by that time the Mini Cooper badge had long since become the signature of a sporty and agile small car.

As well as the intervention of John Cooper, the launch of this famous sporting career also relied on the brilliance of the classic Mini's chassis. Issigonis had broken new ground wîth the §teering and suspension of his new creation, and in so doing laid the foundations for the go-kart feeling appreciated by drivers to this day. Homokinetic joints reduced torque steer, a subframe (to which the rear wheels were fixed) improved directional stability, and rubber springs and small telescopic dampers ensured accurate responses and progressive spring action. The wealth of ideas packed into this small car still impresses. And the result of those ideas – the classic Mini's much-celebrated handling – explains why the car continues to enjoy such a loyal community of fans. When the successor to the original car came along in 2001, it was clear that highly advanced chassis technology would be needed in order to set the pace in driving fun all over again. The MINI Cooper rose to the challenge in some style, thanks to MacPherson spring struts at the front axle, axle shafts equal in length, a multi-link rear axle unique in the small car §egmènt, disc brakes on all four wheels, and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control).

The latest-generation MINI Cooper S also features Electric Power Steering wîth Servotronic function and a DSC system including DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) and an electronic locking function for the front axle differential. Known as Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), this system gives the MINI a crucial edge through the tight bends of Alpine passes, for example, by braking a spinning wheel as required to enhance drive out of corners as well as the car's §teering properties. Added to which, pressing the standard Sport Button in the MINI Cooper S makes the §teering even more direct and stirs up a particularly sporty soundtrack from the engine. All of this was unimaginable 50 years ago, of course, but you get the impression John Cooper would have wholeheartedly approved.

Source - BMW
 
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