PressClub Global · Article.
1959 – 2009. Fifty Years of MINI.
Fri May 22 09:00:00 CEST 2009 Press Kit
The concept was always unique – and to this day the MINI remains unique in all its features, qualities, and characteristics: It was fifty years ago, to be precise on 26 August 1959, that British Motor Corporation (BMC) proudly revealed the result of their development activities in creating a new, revolutionary compact car. And indeed, the public right from the start were able to admire no less than two new models: The Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven. This double premiere of two almost identical four-seaters was of course attributable at the time to the broad range of brands offered by BMC in the market, but it was also of very symbolic nature
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1959 – 2009. Fifty Years of MINI.
1. Younger than Ever.
The MINI Model Family Over the Years. 2
2. Looking Back, Looking Ahead.
MINI 50 Mayfair and MINI 50 Camden. 10
3. From the Racing Track Straight to the Road.
John Cooper Works and the MINI Success Story in Motorsport. 17
4. MINI All the Way – Always Different.
Customised to Your Personal Taste. 25
5. Traditional Values and Modern Diversity.
Concept and Technology. 32
6. From the Original to the Original.
MINI Design and Concept Cars. 45
7. The Revolutionary with the Drawing Pad.
Sir Alec Issigonis, the Father of the Classic Mini. 55
8. Made in England – Then and Now.
MINI Production between Past and Future. 59
9. Individualists Unite!
MINI United – Meeting Place of the Worldwide MINI Community. 63
10. The Car for All Classes,with the Qualities of a Star.
MINI as a Member of Society. 67
11. Small Car, Great Show.
MINI Marketing. 71
12. Inspiring Character.
MINI Lifestyle and Special Editions. 76
13. A Question of Style.
The MINI Collection. 79
1. Younger than Ever. The MINI Model Family
Over the Years.
The concept was always unique – and to this day the MINI remains unique in all its features, qualities, and characteristics: It was fifty years ago, to be precise on 26 August 1959, that British Motor Corporation (BMC) proudly revealed the result of their development activities in creating a new, revolutionary compact car. And indeed, the public right from the start were able to admire no less than two new models: The Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven. This double premiere of two almost identical four-seaters was of course attributable at the time to the broad range of brands offered by BMC in the market, but it was also of very symbolic nature.
Lots of space inside with minimum dimensions outside, seats for four passengers, impeccable driving characteristics, superior fuel economy, and a very affordable price – precisely this was the brief the creator of the Mini, automotive engineer and designer Alec Issigonis, received from BMC’s Top Management. And the brilliant ideas he implemented in developing this two-door for a family of four had an impact quite sufficient for more than one single car, an impact therefore carried over successfully to other model variants.
Precisely this is why the Mini Van and Mini Estate also appeared on the market in the very first year of production of the classic Mini. And ever since the re-birth of the brand with the market launch of the MINI in 2001, the principle already applied successfully fifty years ago has once again proven its full value: a superior concept is always convincing in many different variants and renditions. Both the MINI as well as the MINI Clubman and MINI Convertible show their individual strength and unique character, while right inside they are one and the same car in particular: a MINI.
Right from the start the very first sales brochures proudly presenting the Morris Mini-Minor highlighted the car’s clear and steadfast orientation to the future. But to what extent these prophecies would really come true, hardly anybody would have believed back then.
Today, fifty years later, we know that only very few car concepts have survived such a long time, and none of them has ever been converted into such a wide range of variants as the Mini.
One of the reasons for this outstanding success is that from the start the Mini met all the requirements of its time, while offering further qualities in the same process. Measuring just 3.05 metres or 120" in length and selling at a retail price of £ 496, the Mini was simply perfect for small parking spaces and low budgets. Through its driving qualities and the charming character of its proportions alone, the Mini was however also of great interest to the ambitious motorist seeking not only compact dimensions and superior economy, but also sporting performance particularly in bends as well as individual style on the road.
This blend of different qualities remains as popular today as ever before, with a concept likewise younger than ever. Hence, the current MINI is also more up-to-date and, at the same time, more fascinating than any of its competitors, combining unparalleled efficiency, lasting value of the highest calibre, and incredibly agile handling in the modern mega-city with unrivalled sportiness and design full of expression and quite unmistakable.
Longer, stronger, more sophisticated, more versatile: the first variants of the classic Mini.
Introducing the classic Mini, Alec Issigonis, the creator of this unique car, clearly fulfilled his mission. The Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven, differing solely through their radiator grille, wheel caps and body colour, were both powered by a four-cylinder engine fitted crosswise at the front and delivering maximum output of 34 hp from 848 cubic centimetres.
The performance of both models was identical, as was their luggage capacity of 195 litres or 6.83 cubic feet at the rear. Everybody was thrilled by the generous space available, the efficient but powerful engines, the good roadholding and the comfortable suspension this new compact car had to offer. But Issigonis was already looking far into the future – and he was not the only one.
As early as in 1960, BMC added a Mini Van to the classic Mini. Then, proceeding from this van structure with its closed side panels, BMC introduced an Estate version with glass windows all round as well as two rear doors, like the Van.
Like the saloons, this body variant was also marketed as the Morris Mini-Traveller and the Austin Seven Countryman with exactly the same technical features. And at the latest in 1961 the potential of the classic Mini really became clear once and for all, the year starting with the introduction of the smallest of all transporters, the Mini Pick-Up. Just half a year later two other Minis, this time at the noble end of the scale, saw the light of day: the Wolseley Hornet and the Riley Elf.
Now, therefore, two further BMC brands were able to benefit from the concept of the classic Mini, both models proudly bearing their own distinguished look through their majestic radiator grilles, an extended luggage compartment and swallow-tail wings at the rear.
A very special variant destined more than any other to create the legend of the classic Mini made its appearance in the second half of the year: the Mini Cooper. John Cooper, the famous engineer and manufacturer of sports cars already a close friend of Alec Issigonis, had recognised the sporting potential of this new small car right from the start, when the first prototypes appeared on the track. So he received the go-ahead from BMC’s top managers to develop a small series of 1,000 units of the Mini Cooper featuring a modified power unit enlarged in size to 1.0 litres and offering maximum output of 55 hp.
The response to this car entering the market in September 1961 was quite simply euphoric, with only one further request from enthusiasts everywhere: even more power! So Issigonis and Cooper enlarged engine capacity to 1,071 cc, raising engine output to 70 hp.
This made the Mini Cooper S a truly exceptional performer not only on the road, with Finnish driver’s Rauno Aaltonen’s class win in the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally marking the starting point for a truly unparalleled series of outstanding success in motorsport. The highlight, of course, was three overall wins in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, and 1967.
Versatility at its best: from the Mini Moke to the Mini Clubman.
In August 1964 BMC presented yet another version of the classic Mini originally conceived for military use: the Mini Moke, a four-seater open all round and destined to remain in the price list for four years.
The “bodyshell” of this unique car was made up, for all practical purposes, of the floorpan with wide, box-shaped side-sills, together with the engine compartment and windscreen. To the event of rainfall, a folding soft top appropriately referred to as a “ragtop” at least tried to provide certain protection.
Using the drivetrain and technical features of the “regular” Mini, the Mini Moke became a genuine success particularly in sun-drenched parts of the USA and in Australia.
By 1967 the time had come for a thorough update of the classic Mini, the car receiving a more powerful engine offering 38 hp from a larger capacity of 998 cc.
Two years later the Mini Clubman joined the range as a slightly larger model with a somewhat different front end compared to the classic Mini. Indeed, this sister car was some 11 cm or 4.33" longer than the original, the Estate version replacing the Morris Mini-Traveller and the Austin Seven Countryman measuring exactly 3.4 metres or 133.9" in length, while width, height, and wheelbase remained unchanged.
At the same time the Mini Cooper was taken out of production, being replaced by the top model in the Clubman range, the Mini 1275 GT developing 59 hp from its 1.3-litre power unit.
A number of other details also changed in 1969, the front sliding windows so typical of the classic Mini since the beginning being replaced on all models by wind-down windows, the door hinges at the outside being moved to the inside, and a special “Mini” badge now standing out proudly on the engine compartment lid.
Never-ending classic Mini and the comeback of the Mini Cooper.
Numerous special versions of the classic Mini with all kinds of highlights – from sporting to trendy, from distinguished to fresh – entered the market as of mid-1970.
Between 1980 and 1983 the model range was streamlined appropriately, with the Clubman, Estate and Van leaving production. The “only” car left over, therefore, was the classic Mini with its 1.0-litre power unit now delivering 40 hp. And customers, simply loving the car, remained faithful to this little performer for years to come, the five-millionth classic Mini coming off the production line at Plant Longbridge in 1986.
In 1990 fans the world over were delighted to celebrate the comeback of the Mini Cooper once again entering the model range. Now this special model was powered in all cases by a 1.3-litre, production of the 1.0-litre in the Mini ending in 1992 on account of growing requirements in terms of emission management. So from now on all models came with the 1,275-cc power unit and fuel injection.
Yet another new variant of the classic Mini made its appearance in 1991 as the last new model in the range. And this was indeed the only Mini to originate not in Britain, but in Germany: Like some tuners before him, a dedicated Mini dealer in the German region of Baden had cut the roof off the classic Mini, turning the car into an extremely attractive Convertible. And contrary to earlier attempts, the result was so good this time in its quality that Rover Group, now responsible for the classic Mini, decided to buy the construction tools and production equipment for the Mini Convertible, which from 1993 to 1996 accounted for sales of approximately 1,000 units.
Production of the classic Mini finally ceased once and for all in the year 2000. In the course of time more than 5.3 million units of the world’s most successful compact car had left the production plants in numerous different versions, among them some 600,000 cars built at Plant Oxford between 1959 and 1968.
But even after 41 years, there was still a long way to go. For after a break of not quite one year, a new chapter in the history of this world-famous British brand opened up in 2001.
A new start in 2001 – starring the MINI Cooper right from the beginning.
Taking over Rover Group in early 1994, BMW also opened up new perspectives for the Mini brand. The first step was to present a concept version of the MINI Cooper at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show offering an outlook at the new interpretation of this unique small car from Great Britain. As a modern rendition of the Mini’s concept so rich in tradition, the new version for the first time combined the classic values of its predecessor with the demands made of a modern car set to enter the 21st century.
The series production version of the MINI Cooper made its first official appearance in November 2000 at the Berlin Motor Show, the future-oriented interpretation of the original entering showrooms just a year later in the guise of the 85 kW/115 hp MINI Cooper and the 66 kW/90 hp MINI One. Featuring front-wheel drive, four-cylinder power units fitted crosswise at the front, short body overhangs and ample space for four, the new models successfully took up elementary features of the classic Mini. And while the exterior dimensions of the car were now larger, meeting modern requirements in terms of interior space, the design of the new model clearly retained the proportions so typical of the brand, as well as the unmistakable design icons at the front, the rear and at the side, thus boasting a clearly recognisable link between the MINI and its classical predecessors.
At the same time the MINI built in Oxford stood out clearly as the first premium car in the compact segment, achieving a status strongly reflected by a level of safety uniquely high for a car of this class as well as the uncompromising standard of quality so typical of BMW.
The new MINI also set new standards through its surprisingly agile handling, immediately moving right up to the top in terms of driving pleasure. So here, too, the new model followed in the footsteps of the classic Mini, but now with a lot more power and performance thanks to the most advanced and sophisticated drivetrain and suspension technology.
Ongoing success the world over – from 2004 also in the MINI Convertible.
Almost overnight, the new interpretation of this classic small car developed into a worldwide story of success continuing to this very day. The introduction of new engine variants, to mention such one significant highlight, served to offer additional momentum, the MINI Cooper S with its 120 kW/163 hp compressor engine entering the market as an exclusive driving machine in June 2002, the MINI One D just a year later setting new standards in terms of all-round economy and efficiency as the first diesel in the history of the brand.
The desire to drive a MINI in the open air, finally, also came true much faster than in the classic model, with the MINI Convertible making its debut in spring 2004. In the four years to follow some 164,000 units of this truly outstanding model with its hydraulically operated soft roof came off the production lines in Oxford in the guise of the MINI Cooper S Convertible, the MINI Cooper Convertible, and the MINI One Convertible.
From the original to the original: the second generation of the MINI.
Showing tremendous success in the market, the MINI outperformed even the wildest expectations. Indeed, it quickly motivated the consistent continuation of this concept, taking up and fulfilling additional potentials in many areas.
Further enhanced in an evolutionary design process and thoroughly renewed in technical terms, the second generation of the MINI entered the market in November 2006. Following the motto “From the Original to the Original”, the design of the MINI already receiving the greatest praise everywhere was further refined in numerous details giving even greater emphasis in particular to the sporting virtues of this compact and agile performer. So that now the looks of the car really conveyed a clear signal confirmed from the start by the driving experience.
New, even more powerful and, at the same time, far more efficient engines, together with the further enhanced suspension technology, served in this new generation to offer even greater driving pleasure so typical of MINI. Both the MINI Cooper S with its 128 kW/175 hp power unit and the 88 kW/120 hp MINI Cooper introduced from the start thrilled aficionados everywhere through their enhanced driving performance combined with significantly greater fuel economy and emission management.
Modern versatility: the MINI Clubman and the new MINI Convertible.
Almost exactly one year to the day after the launch of the new model generation the MINI model range was further enhanced by an innovative new concept in autumn 2007: With its wheelbase 8 cm or 3.15" longer, the MINI Clubman offers the driver and passengers many new ways and opportunities to enjoy the driving pleasure so typical of the brand. Indeed, through its versatility the MINI Clubman successfully re-interprets the traditional shooting brake concept confirming both the car’s sportiness and function through the stretched and sleek roofline and the steep panel at the back.
Compared directly with the MINI, the MINI Clubman is 24 centimetres or 9.45" longer overall, with its longer wheelbase serving completely to provide extra legroom at the rear.
On the MINI Clubman the driver’s and passenger’s doors are supplemented by an additional entry on the right-hand side of the car as well as the two wings of the Splitdoor at the rear hinged on the outside. Thanks to the additional door on the right-hand side of the car, the Clubdoor opening against the direction of travel, the MINI Clubman offers also the rear-seat passengers comfortable access to the rear seat bench. The two-piece Splitdoor, in turn, takes up an authentic detail from the car’s classic predecessors – the Morris Mini-Traveller and the Austin Mini Countryman – back in the 1960s. And last but not least, the generous luggage space in the MINI Clubman (varying in capacity from 260–930 litres or 9.1–32.6 cubic feet) may be enlarged in a flexible process, with very easy and convenient loading and unloading through the rear doors.
The latest addition to the model range is the second-generation MINI Convertible. With its even more sporting design, active and passive safety optimised in every respect, a wider range of functions and the latest generation of power units, this unique Convertible, the only premium car of its kind in the MINI segment, once again moves up the benchmark for supreme driving pleasure.
The new MINI Convertible stands out clearly through its everyday driving qualities and, at the same time, simply begs the driver and passengers to enjoy the thrill of open-air motoring wherever they go. The soft roof opens and closes electrohydraulically within 15 seconds, even at speeds of up to 30 km/h. The unique sliding roof function on the new MINI Convertible, in turn, is activated by an electric motor, the front end of the soft top moving back by up to 40 centimetres or almost 16".
Improved all-round visibility with the roof closed results, first, from the slightly larger side windows at the rear and, second, from the newly conceived, fully retracting rollbar. This single-piece rollbar moving up instantaneously whenever required normally remains slightly below the headrests at the rear, not in any way obstructing the visibility of the driver looking back. At the same time the single-piece rollbar provides sufficient space for integrating a large through-loading between the luggage compartment and the passenger compartment, again giving the new MINI Convertible additional variability and increasing the car’s loading capacity to a maximum of 660 litres or 23.1 cu ft.
The current range of engines is more versatile than ever before: The MINI is now available with a choice of no less than four gasoline and one diesel engine, while the MINI Clubman comes with three gasoline and one diesel power unit, the MINI Convertible currently with two gasoline engines.
For the first time there are also three unique models from John Cooper Works, the MINI John Cooper Works, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, and the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible, as truly outstanding athletes in their range, offering a particularly intense experience of MINI power and performance through their 155 kW/211 hp four-cylinder engine derived from motorsport.
All of these three truly outstanding athletes are fully-fledged members of the MINI production range and are built at MINI Plant Oxford alongside the other variants of the MINI. So they are required to meet the extreme demands of the race track as well as the wide range of challenges in everyday traffic in each and every detail.
Offering qualities of this kind, MINI underlines the commitment to premium which has always applied to John Cooper Works and their outstanding cars. Integrated development processes ensure product qualities tailored perfectly to the MINI, while the strictest quality requirements following the demanding standards of the BMW Group guarantee absolute reliability, quality of finish, and authenticity in design.
2. Looking Back, Looking Ahead. MINI 50 Mayfair and MINI 50 Camden.
The worldwide MINI Community is celebrating the 50th birthday of the brand on the occasion of the MINI United Festival at the legendary British race track in Silverstone from 22–24 May 2009.
Two special models also on the starter grid in Silverstone are the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden, two cars which will most certainly convey the great spirit at the anniversary party into lasting driving pleasure on the road. For through their characteristic design and exclusive features alone, these two models live out both the great tradition and the visionary power of the MINI brand.
Both the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden are available with two petrol engines and one diesel. They will be launched into the market in September 2009, production of the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden starting exactly fifty years after the official presentation of the classic Mini and being limited to just one year.
The modern drivetrain and suspension technology featured by the MINI also gives these two anniversary models truly fascinating agility in combination with exemplary fuel economy and emission management. Particularly the 128 kW/175 hp four-cylinder with its twin-scroll turbocharger and direct gasoline injection powering the MINI Cooper S 50 Mayfair and the MINI Cooper S 50 Camden offers truly outstanding performance on the road. And all this comes with combined cycle fuel consumption to the EU standard of just 6.2 litres/100 km (equal to 45.6 mpg imp) and a CO2 rating of just 149 grams per kilometre.
Featuring fully variable valve control and offering engine output of 88 kW/120 hp, the power unit of the MINI Cooper 50 Mayfair and the MINI Cooper 50 Camden likewise has everything it takes for truly sporting performance. Average fuel consumption of just 5.4 litres/100 km or 52.3 mpg imp in the EU test cycle, in turn, as well as a CO2 rating of 129 grams per kilometre, set new standards in terms of efficient motoring pleasure.
Last but certainly not least, the 80 kW/110 hp four-cylinder diesel in the MINI Cooper D 50 Mayfair and the MINI Cooper D 50 Camden combines supreme economy with impressive torque and pulling power. And here average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of 3.9 litres/100 km, equal to 72.4 mpg imp, and a CO2 rating of 104 grams per kilometre, mark unparalleled records in the premium segment.
The MINI anniversary: looking back and looking forward.
For the first time since its market launch in 2006, the latest generation of the MINI offers the opportunity in the car’s anniversary year to enjoy supreme driving pleasure in particularly exclusive style. Hence, the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden follow the principle already applied by the classic Mini to accentuate individual highlights in the character of this highly successful performer from Great Britain. The anniversary of the brand therefore offers an ideal opportunity to look back at the fascinating tradition of the car and to look forward at the unique future and outlook of the MINI.
Both of these perspectives are expressed by the names of the new models. As in the past, the two anniversary models are named after boroughs of London also very popular and well-known far away from the British capital. Mayfair is lauded the world over for its exclusivity growing so significantly over the years and decades, while Camden is the home of a trendy and culturally versatile urban lifestyle.
Setting their respective standards, both models represent those values so typical of MINI that have grown over five decades as well as the car’s potential for ongoing development.
Characteristic design, exclusive features.
Both in their design and their features the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden stand out clearly from the current, “regular” production models. Numerous features helping to make these two cars truly unmistakable are indeed reserved to these individual anniversary models, making each version truly unique in its own right. Special body paintwork, light-alloy rims tailored to the car, special materials and surfaces within the interior as well as a range of colours tailored specifically to the MINI 50 Mayfair and, respectively, the MINI 50 Camden underline the exclusivity of these special models available only for a limited period.
The jubilee placard proudly surrounded by chrome trim on the radiator grille provides clear testimony to the tradition of the brand now going back fifty years, bearing the number “50” in typical MINI design and boasting the colours of the Union Jack – red, white, and blue.
In addition to the wide range of regular features already provided on the respective engine variant, each MINI 50 Mayfair and each MINI 50 Camden comes not only with sophisticated paintwork, seat upholstery and trim, but also with a wide range of other comfort features. Apart from air conditioning, seats adjustable for height and with electric heating, the Lights Package as well as the on-board computer, these features include the Storage Package, additional storage options, a 12 V power socket in the luggage compartment and angle adjustment on the rear-seat backrests.
MINI 50 Mayfair: noblesse oblige – dedicated to extravagant style.
Back in 1982 the classic Mini already came as a special Mayfair model combining supreme comfort and an extravagant look. Today the new MINI 50 Mayfair interprets this style of sophisticated understatement in a new, modern way. High-quality materials, stylish details and a colour scheme offering classic elements throughout determine both the outer and the inner looks of this very special car.
For the first time and only on this anniversary model the body of a MINI Hatch is finished in the special Hot Chocolate metallic paintwork colour so far available exclusively on the MINI Clubman and the MINI Convertible, combined with a white roof. On request the body is also available in Pepper White or Midnight Black paintwork as an alternative to this highly attractive brown colour.
The MINI 50 Mayfair comes on 17-inch, white-painted 12-spoke light-alloy wheels in Infinity Stream Spoke Design exclusive to this particular model. In their design, the wheels follow the classic multi-spoke look, with the spokes themselves being slightly concave to give the car a truly powerful appearance. The white paintwork on the wheels, finally, interacts with the white contrasting colour of the roof.
Yet another new feature is the engine compartment lid with almost three-dimensional stripes in light-brown Toffy metallic and white pinstripes at the edges. Additional headlights on the radiator grille, mirror caps with paintwork changing from brown to black on the way up, and a discreet “Mayfair” logo on the direction indicators at the side round off the exterior design of this anniversary model.
The combination of Toffy paintwork with white highlights is also to be admired within the interior of the MINI 50 Mayfair again absolutely exclusive in its character. The seats demonstrate their unique style through their finish in Lounge leather complete with piping round the edges, Toffy colour, and additional white piping.
A further highly attractive effect is provided by double-cap seams on the seats finished in the same, modern and technically appealing turquoise-green colour as the frame around the “Mayfair” logo to be admired not only next to the direction indicators at the side, but also on discreet seat trim adorning the inner surfaces of the front-seat backrests.
The gearshift lever knob on the manual gearbox likewise comes with turquoise-green double-cap seams providing a visual link to the seats.
As yet a further highlight, the Carbon Black interior colour is combined with special trim on the dashboard finished in brownish black to reflect the colour of the mirror caps. The trim bar finished in Toffy at the bottom becomes black as it moves further up, providing a perfect transition to the dashboard likewise finished in black.
The Colour Line at the bottom of the instrument panel and the armrests on the door linings as well as the gearshift lever knob are likewise finished in Toffy, while the trim panels on the doors are in Piano Black.
All this is further embellished by a Toffy Brown inlay in the lower half of the steering wheel rim, footmats with white piping, the Chrome Package also available on other MINI models, as well as door entry trim proudly bearing the “MINI 50” model designation and the “Mayfair” logo.
MINI 50 Camden: dynamic and progressive all in one.
With its dominating colours Silver, White and Black, the MINI 50 Camden even at very first sight highlights its technical clarity and sporting character. Body paint in White Silver metallic is combined with a white roof, and the MINI 50 Camden is also available in Midnight Black metallic or Horizon Blue metallic.
The 17-inch light-alloy rims likewise exclusive to this model stand out in particular through the contrast between their silver inner surfaces and the matt, polished contour lines around the rim hump and on the outer edges of the spokes, thus characterising the futuristic impression of this likewise very special model.
With its lines extending towards the A-pillars, the sporting, almost three-dimensional silver stripe trim on the side shoulders of the engine compartment lid accentuate the sporting and dynamic character of the MINI 50 Camden.
Like on the MINI 50 Mayfair, the mirror caps come in twin-tone stripes extending upwards on the MINI 50 Camden merging from silver into pure white. In combination with the xenon headlights featured as standard on the MINI Cooper S 50 Camden, the headlights themselves boast black-tinted lenses as a particularly progressive highlight forming a clear contrast to the rest of the exterior in its brighter colour.
The side indicator frames house the Union Jack in black-and-white and the “Camden” model designation forming the logo of this special anniversary model also to be admired, together with the designation “MINI 50”, on the door entry trim.
The interior of the MINI 50 Camden comes in an equally contrasting colour scheme combining the Carbon Black interior colour with special trim on the instrument panel interchanging from white to silver, like the caps on the exterior mirrors.
The trim panels on the doors, in turn, come in Fluid Silver, while the sports seats in cloth/Ray leather boast leather surfaces, just like the bottom edge of the instrument panel and the armrests in the door linings, finished in Tech White.
The black centre strips on the doors, in turn, come in a discreet pattern with interrupted white stripes, while the seat panels on the inner half of the backrests bear the “Camden” logo.
Twin-tone double-cap seams – black on the outside, turquoise-green on the inside – visually combine the leather and cloth surfaces on the seats. Green and white seams also provide additional colour highlights on the black gaiters around the handbrake and gearshift levers, and on the gearshift lever knob.
The rim on the leather steering wheel is highlighted additionally by a white seam, while turquoise-green colour highlights as well as design lines on the mirror caps and the trim surfaces to be admired on both the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden come as a common feature shared by both anniversary models.
Highly exclusive but featured as standard: HiFi system and Mission Control.
In addition to the particularly wide range of standard features on the two anniversary models, the MINI 50 Camden also features a top-end audio system. This new HiFi system from car audio specialist Harman Kardon sets standards for enjoying music in a MINI. The high-performance digital amplifier, for example, just like the loudspeaker units, is perfectly tailored to the MINI.
An optional feature is a USB port for connecting external audio sources and a special interface for an Apple iPod. And last but not least, the customer also has the choice of an interface for integrated control of the car’s audio and telephone functions on the latest Smartphones such as the Apple iPhone.
The market launch of the new MINI 50 Camden also marks the debut of a new generation of in-car entertainment systems. Referred to as “Mission Control”, this entertainment system processes and evaluates a wide range of vehicle, driving and ambient signals, providing the driver with relevant information and instructions in that unique style so typical of MINI.
Mission Control underlines the status of the MINI as a genuine personality in the world of motoring and intensifies the driver’s feeling and impression of interacting directly with the car, the signals coming from the car itself being used to generate new, situation-based dialogues time and again.
These dialogues are based, among other things, on information regarding safety and comfort settings, requesting the driver and passengers, say, to buckle up their seat belts and use the air conditioning, and incorporate current information on driving conditions such as the current status of the vehicle, with the focus on criteria such as outside temperatures or the level of fuel in the tank.
In addition to the entertainment aspect, the system offers a functional aspect supporting the driver over and above existing functions in properly interpreting all kinds of information and using data for appropriate action.
Mission Control in the MINI 50 Camden is the first step into a brand-new world of interactive in-car entertainment, offering a driving experience never seen before.
MINI 50 Mayfair and MINI 50 Camden: ambassadors for the character of the brand.
Fifty years of MINI – this great anniversary offers the opportunity, looking back and into the future, to highlight some significant highlights of the brand and its character.
The origin of the brand in Great Britain and the style of MINI both timeless and unmistakable are just as significant in this context as the sophisticated, future-oriented technology and sporting potential of this small premium car. Both the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden highlight precisely these qualities through their design and equipment concepts precisely tailored in a specific direction.
The harmonious configuration of the two anniversary models also provides ample room for customisation. Following the usual MINI standard, each MINI 50 Mayfair and each MINI 50 Camden is built exactly to the customer’s order. Additional options for personal comfort are provided, for example, by the MINI navigation system, automatic air conditioning, the Vision Package made up of a heated windscreen, a rain sensor, the interior mirrors with an automatic anti-dazzle function and automatic headlight control, as well as Comfort Access. Further options are foglamps, Park Distance Control, and a glass sliding/vent roof.
Six-speed automatic transmission together with shift paddles on the steering wheel are available as an alternative to the six-speed manual gearbox featured as standard. The optional Sports Button varying the control maps of the gas pedal and the steering as well as, where fitted, the shift times of the automatic transmission, ensures further enhancement of driving pleasure in both the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden.
3. From the Racing Track Straight to the Road. John Cooper Works and
the MINI Success Story in Motorsport.
It is in the car’s DNA and it was obviously there right from the start: the sporting talent of the classic Mini.
When Alec Issigonis was requested by British Motor Corporation (BMC) in late 1956 to develop an economical but nevertheless fully-fledged small car with four seats, it quickly became clear that this new model would be truly innovative and, indeed, revolutionary in every respect.
Front-wheel drive, extremely short body overhangs, a wide track, a low centre of gravity, optimum use of space and low weight were defined right from the start as elementary features of the new model.
Looking at the first drawings of the new car by his business partner and friend Alec Issigonis, sports car wizard John Cooper noticed yet another significant quality right from the beginning: He recognised that this ingenious concept for an economical compact car also provided the ideal starting point for a most promising sports model, setting out on the process of tuning the Mini even before the car had entered the market.
This set the starting point for an unprecedented story of success in motorsport, closely connecting the name John Cooper with the sporting myth of the MINI to this very day. Outstanding victories in the Monte Carlo Rally are just as much part of this common history as the successful production cars proudly bearing the name Cooper.
Now integrated within the MINI organisation, John Cooper Works represents the epitome of supreme driving pleasure based on both well-founded know-how in motorsport and successful cooperation going back years and even decades.
Apart from accessories for the drivetrain, suspension, streamlining, and design, three special versions of the MINI now also bear the brand logo so symbolic of outstanding performance: the MINI John Cooper Works, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, and the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible.
Racing pioneer John Cooper teaches Mini how to win.
Born in Surrey in 1923, John Cooper was one of the most outstanding celebrities in international motorsport – both as a driver and, even more so, as a constructor.
Together with his father he established the Cooper Car Company in 1946, the two enthusiasts starting out with the construction of racing cars first for Formula 3, later also for Formula 1. Through their concept of a mid-engined sports car Charles and John Cooper set a truly revolutionary trend in the entire world of motorsport in 1955, Cooper racing cars winning both the Constructor’s and Driver’s titles in the World Formula 1 Championship in 1959 and 1960, for the first time in the history of motorsport with the engine mounted in the middle. And with this concept proving its success so convincingly, it is no surprise that soon all cars in Formula 1 came with a mid-mounted engine.
John Cooper and Alec Issigonis became close friends in the course of time after meeting and competing against one another at numerous races. There were also professional ties between the two enthusiasts, with the Cooper Car Company buying engines from BMC.
When it came to the Mini, however, the sporting ambitions of the two constructors were very different: Issigonis was looking above all at the right car for everyday motoring, Cooper was thrilled by the sporting potential of this small and nimble performer. So back in 1959, the very first year of the Mini, he sent his driver Roy Salvadori to Monza in the very first Mini Cooper, a special one-off model built specifically for this purpose. And indeed, this new sports car immediately proved its qualities on the way to Monza, Salvadori covering the distance more than an hour faster than his colleague Reg Parnell – who just happened to be driving an Aston Martin DB4.
Motivated by initial success in the 1960 Monte Carlo Rally, Cooper suggested building a GT model based on the Mini. And despite Issigonis’ rather sceptical opinion at least to begin with, George Harriman, the Chief Executive Officer of BMC, ultimately decided to build a small series of 1,000 Mini Coopers featuring a 55-hp power unit, that is 21 extra horsepower made possible by far-reaching modifications of the engine.
The Mini Cooper’s top speed was approximately 130 km/h or 80 mph. The car’s transmission ratios were adjusted to the sporting potential of the engine and disc brakes on the front wheels ensured adequate stopping power.
Soon Issigonis was also thrilled by the results of these efforts. So joining forces with John Cooper, he quickly started working on the next engine upgrade, increasing engine bore to the ultimate limit on the Mini Cooper S: At 1,071 cc, engine capacity remained below the mark of 1,100 cc applicable in the particular class of motorsport seen as the target, with the engine revving up to impressive speeds. Maximum output was 70 hp at 6,200 rpm, maximum engine speed was 7,200 rpm.
This version was again equipped with new brakes, braking power being boosted by a brake servo.
1964–1967: the golden years in the Monte Carlo Rally.
This set the basis for sensational success in motorsport, the Mini Cooper S hitting the headlines in Monte Carlo for the first time in 1962. With Finnish driver Rauno Aaltonen at the wheel, this small but highly nimble performer successfully left behind a whole pack of far more powerful Goliaths. But just three kilometres away from home, Aaltonen, leading the race at the time, misjudged a bend and finished the Rally with a rollover.
Only a year later, however, Aaltonen made up for this misfortune, bringing home class victory in the Mini Cooper S and finishing third overall.
But even more – and even better – was still to come: Entering the 1963/1964 rally winter, the Mini Cooper S was simply oozing power in comparison with its predecessor. So in a spectacular race, Paddy Hopkirk brought home first place overall in the Monte Carlo Rally, the small performer becoming a legend in motorsport virtually overnight.
A year later Finnish racer Timo Mäkinen with his co-pilot Paul Easter repeated the same triumphant victory, reaching the finish line after thousands of kilometres as the only driver without one single penalty point – despite the worst weather imaginable. Indeed, only 35 out of 237 cars entered in the event were able to finish the Rally that year, among them no less than three Mini Cooper S.
The following year was the year of the hattrick, Timo Mäkinen, Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk scoring an absolutely incredible victory, finishing first, second, and third. But this was followed by bitter disappointment, the first three cars being disqualified because the rally commissioners came to the conclusion that the low beams on the Mini’s main headlights failed to comply in full with the homologation rules.
Even so, the public were completely thrilled by the three Mini drivers, despite this questionable decision, Hopkirk, Aaltonen and Mäkinen therefore entering the annals of the Monte Carlo Rally as the “Three Musketeers”. And indeed, just one year later Rauno Aaltonen received truly overwhelming applause and acknowledgement when bringing home the third overall victory of the Mini Cooper S in the Monte Carlo Rally. Especially because this time there were no complaints about his car.
Legendary racing careers started at the wheel of a Mini.
The Mini was however highly successful not only in rally racing, but also on road circuits, bringing home numerous wins in the 1960s. Indeed, through its long list of successes in motorsport, the Mini became the most outstanding racing car of the entire decade.
A particularly interesting point is that many spectacular racing careers started at the wheel of a Mini, a certain racing driver from Austria called Nikolaus Andreas Lauda entering his first hill-climb race at the wheel of a classic Mini near the Austrian town of Linz in April 1968, and immediately finishing second. Only two weeks later Lauda again confirmed his talent when scoring his first racing victory in a career which would take him on to three Formula 1 World Championships. And just like Niki Lauda, Formula 1 Champions Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Jochen Rindt, and James Hunt all gained their first racing experience in a classic Mini.
Just like the car’s sporting career, sales of the Mini Cooper with its special configuration developed by John Cooper Showed an exceptional story of success from 1961–1971, the name “Cooper” becoming a synonym worldwide for passionate driving pleasure in the Mini.
The fact that this tiny car had inspired the two-time Formula 1 World Champion to build outstanding sports cars was sufficient proof of the Mini and its qualities. And indeed, the unique driving experience inducing John Cooper right from the start to continue the development of the Mini all the way to perfection was equally thrilling back then for every fan of sporting automobiles.
Motorsport meets lifestyle: the MINI CHALLENGE.
In the meantime MINI has become a regular sight on the race track, the MINI CHALLENGE held for the first time in 2004 becoming one of the most successful and popular clubsport series in the world.
This year the series will be held in four countries (Spain, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany), making it more international than ever before.
Boasting a line-up of no less than 39 registered cars, the German MINI CHALLENGE 2009 already shows record participation, just as the number of races for the Championship is greater than ever before, with no less than 16 races on eight racing weekends.
As usual, these races will be held on the occasion of most outstanding motorsport events in Germany and neighbouring countries. As an example, the MINI CHALLENGE 2009 will be making a strong appearance on the occasion of Formula 1 events (GP of Germany, Nürburgring) and in the WTCC World Touring Car Championship (Oschersleben).
A very special highlight of the season will be taking place in Great Britain, the German MINI CHALLENGE 2009 moving to the home country of the MINI brand exactly in time for MINI’s 50th birthday, where the race will be the sporting highlight of the MINI United Festival on the legendary Silverstone Circuit.
The MINI CHALLENGE owes its exceptional popularity to a truly innovative concept: motorsport meets lifestyle – a mixture very appealing to both drivers and fans alike.
The list of drivers also contributes to the popularity of the event, with old hands and rookies from motorsport taking on celebrities from show business and many other disciplines of sport.
The sporting symbol of the MINI CHALLENGE is equal chances, with all drivers entering the races in cars identical in technical terms. Through the superior handling of the MINI and the high standard of safety equipment in the racing models, the MINI CHALLENGE is of particular interest to racing beginners and ambitious amateur drivers.
Ready to race: the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE.
The official, one and only racing car entered in the MINI CHALLENGE is the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE based on the series version of the MINI Cooper S and set up by MINI’s racing engineers for the outstanding demands of professional motorsport.
Having been raced since 2008, the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE has already thrilled drivers everywhere. For apart from the “go-kart feeling” so typical of the MINI, the car offers a most intense driving experience at the high level of genuine motorsport. And as a further asset, not only drivers participating in the MINI CHALLENGE are able to enjoy this outstanding racing car, but also other, ambitious motorsport enthusiasts who naturally have the option to buy the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE too.
Special power treatment makes the already very dynamic and muscular regular engine of the MINI Cooper S a genuine high-performance athlete ready for racing in the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE. The power unit within the engine compartment is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct gasoline injection. Maximum output is 155 kW/211 hp at an engine speed of 6,000 rpm.
To provide this kind of ideal racing performance, the characteristics of the engine have been additionally optimised, with maximum torque of 260 Newton-metres or 192 lb-ft maintained consistently between 1,850 and 5,700 rpm. Overboost increases this muscle even further to 280 Newton-metres or 206 lb-ft in the range from 2,000–5,000 rpm. And since the turbocharger develops its superior effect at just 1,400 rpm, the driver need not fear that usual turbo “gap”.
Every horsepower in the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE has to cope with a power-to-weight ratio of only 5.09 kg or 11.2 lb – a figure which places the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE close to the most thoroughbred and dynamic sports cars. Performance on the road is correspondingly impressive, the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE accelerating from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds. By contrast, the car takes just 3.1 seconds or 31 metres (102 ft) to return to a standstill from this kind of speed.
Top speed, finally, is 240 km/h or 149 mph.
Yet a further forte is the very high speed the car is able to reach in bends, the limited-slip differential making it much easier for the driver to remain on the ideal line also when coming out of a bend at high speeds, to accelerate without the slightest interruption, and therefore to “swing round” all of that speed in accelerating on to the next straight.
The MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE gives the driver the assurance even under extremely demanding conditions that he is driving safely and smoothly on the track at all times. This is made possible by the suspension equipped with adjustable shock absorbers specially conceived for motorsport.
With these shocks, ground clearance, damper pressure (inbound and rebound) and suspension response may be adjusted to the demands and requirements of various race tracks, power being fed to the front wheels through the usual six-speed manual gearbox.
The MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE comes on 17-inch lightweight rims in MINI CHALLENGE design and with specially developed racing tyres. Minimum starter weight (car and driver) is 1,170 kg or 2,580 lb.
One of the important factors contributing to the superior handling of the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE is the John Cooper Works Aerodynamics Package comprising a special racing-type front spoiler, a rear diffuser, and an adjustable rear wing. Combined with one another, these components not only eliminate lift forces, but even generate growing downforce as the car becomes faster. These aerodynamic improvements are indeed conceived in such a way that downforce between the front and rear axle is perfectly balanced.
Unique safety concept – typical of the MINI CHALLENGE.
Combining motorsport and safety has always been one of the primary commitments in the MINI CHALLENGE. This explains why the standard of safety offered in the events is particularly high, the racing cars featuring a safety cage welded firmly to the body.
Over and above the sports bucket seat combined with a six-point seat belt, standard equipment also includes the HANS (Head And Neck Support) system well-known in Formula 1 and now carried over for the first time to a clubsport car, with its highly effective protection of the driver’s neck area. Another example is the ABS anti-lock brake system remaining fully functional through its set-up perfectly adapted to racing requirements.
The MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE also guarantees fast action and superior safety in pitstops, for example in qualifying. Each racing car comes with its own integrated hoist mechanism made up of four pneumatic stands moving out of the bottom of the vehicle under compressed air to lift up the entire car instantaneously. Clearly, this enables the driver and his team to change tyres virtually within a matter of seconds.
John Cooper Works – the epitome for extreme driving pleasure in the MINI.
John Cooper Works guarantee outstanding performance not only on the race track, but also on the road.
Even back in the 1970s, John Cooper Works Tuning Kits for production versions of the Mini were very popular and even back then the classic Mini equipped with such special features and components was able to show its most outstanding virtues both visually and in technical terms.
The same applies to the tuning kits for the MINI Cooper S and the MINI Cooper Successfully introduced after the re-launch of the brand and available in the market under the label of John Cooper Works. The current tuning kit for the MINI Cooper S is made up of a sports air filter, a sports silencer and modified engine electronic management, even minor expenditure serving to increase power to 141 kW/192 hp and give the car particular signs of distinction in both its looks and sound.
Clearly, the three extremely sporting versions of the MINI live out all the performance-oriented character of the brand. Following the MINI John Cooper Works and the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible will also be entering the market in this anniversary year.
The most important feature shared by these three outstanding models is their drivetrain and suspension technology carried over from the racing version of the MINI CHALLENGE. Over and above the 155 kW/211 hp power unit, this gives the three road-going models a wide range of other components serving to convey the supreme power of the engine smoothly, safely and with full agility to the road.
Apart from the 17-inch light-alloy rims likewise derived from the racing version in the MINI CHALLENGE as well as appropriately large and powerful disc brakes on all four wheels, DSC Dynamic Stability Control including DTC Dynamic Traction Control and an electronically controlled locking function on the front axle differential all come as standard.
4. MINI All the Way – Always Different. Customised to Your Personal Taste.
Driving a MINI is not just a matter of getting from A to B, but rather an expression of your own personal style. And indeed, the many options to customise the MINI give the enthusiast a wide range of opportunities in bringing out his – or her – personal taste and preferences.
Offering a wider range of features and highlights and going into greater detail than any other manufacturer of small and compact cars, MINI gives the customer the freedom to bring out his or her individual style and choice on the car, an exceptionally wide range of exterior and interior colours, seat upholstery and trim variants setting the foundation for a personal configuration tailored to the driver.
A further point is that both the MINI as well as the MINI Clubman and the MINI Convertible are available with numerous highly attractive and sophisticated options straight from the plant, again enhancing both driving pleasure and motoring comfort.
The range of Original MINI Accessories offers further highlights, comprising classic motorsport technology in John Cooper Works components, comfort-oriented features such as an iPod interface, features highly practical in everyday use such as a roof rack made of ultra-strong, eloxy-plated aluminium bars, or exceptional components such as additional headlights and extravagant roof trim.
From something special to a one-off masterpiece: customisation straight from the factory.
The unusually wide range of equipment and accessory features offered on the MINI reflects the strong awareness and critical perspective of the customer in choosing such a small premium car. Opting for a MINI, the customer from the start expresses his or her sense of special values. He identifies with a car concept which, more than any other, offers pure harmony of emotional values and up-to-date qualities. The characteristic design and the unmistakable style of the brand, unparalleled driving pleasure, premium quality and modern, very efficient drive technology form a symbiosis quite unique in this segment of the market.
This exceptional position of the MINI comes out even more clearly whenever each specific model stands out from the crowd through its sophisticated and stylish features. Hence, a typical MINI is not just an exceptional vehicle, but in nearly all cases a genuine one-off masterpiece.
The wide range of options in customising the car is reflected right from the start in the production process. Every MINI is built specifically to the customer’s order at the MINI Plant in Oxford. Every customer is able to put together his or her MINI precisely to his or her personal wishes. All production and logistic processes are highly flexible, catering for this wide range of variants right from the start.
Considering the numerous options and items of equipment and, as a result, the almost infinite range of variants conceivable, it is extremely unlikely that two absolutely identical MNIs will leave Plant Oxford within one and the same year of production.
Customisation of the classic Mini: special models for VIP customers, more power straight from the factory for all drivers.
In the days of the classic Mini, only particularly prominent or affluent customers had the option to choose similar customisation features of this calibre straight from the plant.
Clearly, this small but revolutionary performer right from the start arose the fantasy of particularly trendy aficionados, actors, fashion designers, musicians and even members of the Royal Family regularly expressing their demand for customised versions of the Mini. Special paintwork and particularly sophisticated equipment features came right at the top of their list, British actor Peter Sellers, for example, placing several orders for particularly extravagant special versions of the Mini in the 1970s. And in 1988 a member of the Brunei Royal Family also asked for a Mini in Flower Power design tailored to his individual wishes and of course appropriately tuned.
In the first year of the classic Mini customers already had the choice of the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini-Minor, which however only differed in terms of their radiator grilles, their body colour and wheel caps. The Riley Elf and the Wolseley Hornet then made their appearance just two years later in 1961 as particularly stylish versions of this new compact car with minor modifications on the outside and upgraded, distinguished features inside. Plush carpets and a genuine wooden dashboard exuded a genuine feeling of luxury.
Further body versions joined the family a bit later, ranging from the Van to the Pick-Up.
The common wish for extra power was also fulfilled quickly, above all through the initiative of sports car constructor John Cooper who had already worked together closely with Alec Issigonis, the creator of the Mini, during the initial development process. The first Mini Cooper delivering 55 instead of 34 hp made its appearance in 1961, with the 70-hp Mini Cooper S entering the market another two years later.
The Mini with automatic transmission likewise appeared at a relatively early point in 1965, taking on a leading role in terms of motoring comfort – especially as up to that time only cars higher up in the market, that is in completely different segments, had offered the option of an automatic transmission.
Very sporting, young and trendy, or unusually distinguished – in the mid-70s fans of the Mini had the opportunity for the first time to highlight particular characteristics of the classic Mini through carefully configured edition models. The first of these special models was the progressively designed Mini Limited Edition 1000 in 1976, with further variants taking up the trend to growing customisation time and again. In many cases these special cars were named after well-known parts of London or famous streets, such as Piccadilly, Chelsea, Knightsbridge or Park Lane.
In 1982 the Mini Mayfair conquered the streets for the first time as a particularly exclusive, top-end model. And following the re-launch of the brand in 2001, special versions of this small but dynamic performer attracted great attention time and again, the MINI Seven bringing back a traditional model designation well-known from the original Mini, the MINI Checkmate highlighting above all the sporting characteristics of this agile athlete.
Paintwork, roof trim, interior materials: typical MINI style with maximum diversity.
The sheer diversity of the current model range as well as a wide choice of options in combining standard and special features on the MINI provide a degree of customisation setting the benchmark even today in the modern world of motoring. Apart from the different engine variants, the wide choice of body paintwork colours, roof trim and soft top options, wheels and seat upholstery, interior materials and trim elements offer even the most discerning customer everything he or she desires to turn the MINI, the MINI Clubman or the MINI Convertible into his or her very personal one-off masterpiece. On the MINI alone, this means some 300 variants in designing the outside of the car plus more than 370 combinations in the interior.
In the 2009 model year the range comes with no less than five different engines for the MINI, four on the MINI Clubman and two on the MINI Convertible. Then there are the three top performers, the MINI John Cooper Works, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, and the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible.
Depending on the model, different paintwork options, roof trim and light alloy wheels are of course also available, in some cases reserved exclusively for the respective model variant. The MINI Cooper, for example, comes with no less than 11 paintwork options as well as eight different wheels available straight from the factory. And even that is not everything, with bonnet stripes in black or white as well as black, white or chrome-plated exterior mirror caps, white direction indicators and Chrome Line on the exterior offering additional variations and an even wider range of choice.
All this is supplemented by accessories such as exterior mirror caps, side direction indicator surrounds, wheel valve caps and door handles in Union Jack or Checkered Flag design, the tank cap in chrome, sport stripes, bonnet stripes and special MINI stickers on the doors. And last but not least, the line-up of light-alloy rims available on the MINI is expanded once again by a number of options in the range of accessories.
The colour of the roof has always been of particular significance on the MINI. Precisely this is why the MINI Convertible, for example, comes with a choice of three roof colours, while the MINI and MINI Clubman naturally offer an even larger range of diversity. Right from the start, as delivered by the plant, these two models offer the choice of harmony or contrasting colours in painting the body and the roof. On the MINI Cooper, for instance, the roof is also available in black or white as an alternative to the colour of the car. The MINI Clubman, in turn, again depending on the customer’s request, comes in the same colour all round or contrasting black or silver on the roof and the frame around the rear doors.
The customer may also choose from a wide range of special roof designs ranging from the Checkered Flag roof, the name “MINI” on the roof, the Union Jack or other national flags, all the way to a heliport look. Indeed, the customer may even design his or her very own, personal motif for the roof as the ultimate sign of individual distinction: Using an online roof configurator, the customer is able to put together his own personal design with a free choice of graphic elements, symbols and even photos.
A wide range of different seats, upholstery options, interior surfaces and trim bars enables the customer to personalise the interior of the car in terms of both equipment and looks. The options available straight from the factory include not only sports seats and a leather sports steering wheel, but also fabric/leather or all-leather seats in various versions and colour options.
The selection of interior colours, in turn, varies from one model to another, with Colour Line in different shades serving to refine the car’s interior ambience, highlighting the armrests on the front doors and at the rear, the lower section of the dashboard, and the seats.
The individual look of the car is rounded off, finally, by trim surfaces in sophisticated wood or cool metal. This trim finish is boasted on the centre section of the dashboard, the ellipsoid frame in the side panels, the door openers and, depending on the model and level of equipment, on seven, 14 or even 16 trim rings.
High-tech and premium quality: upmarket audio and navigation systems.
The range of special equipment available on the MINI, the MINI Clubman, and the MINI Convertible is just as unique as the wide choice of colours and materials. Ambience illumination within the interior included in the optional Lights Package sets a particular highlight, with discreet “waterfall lights” moving down from above and indirect illumination of the centre console, door boxes and door handle shells as well as the side panels at the rear giving the interior a truly unique atmosphere. Adjusting the toggle switch on the front roof frame, the driver or passenger may even vary the colour of the light, depending on their mood, from warm orange to sporting blue.
All models throughout the MINI range are furthermore available with sophisticated entertainment and navigation systems. The controls for the audio system and the 6.5-inch TFT colour display on the optional navigation system are all arranged within the Center Dial.
The audio system comes complete with a CD player. On cars equipped with a navigation unit, the CD player is housed above the removable control panel accommodating the drive unit for the navigation DVD. And to choose the functions shown in the display, a joystick on the centre console offers maximum convenience.
A special interface for complete integration of an Apple iPod is available as an optional extra, allowing the user to choose music files via the controls for the audio system. As an option, a mobile phone preparation kit and, respectively, an integrated hands-free communication option in each case featuring a Bluetooth interface and USB port ensure optimum and safe communication while travelling. This allows convenient integration of a wide range of mobile phones, plus the connection of external audio units and USB media. And last but not least, an interface for integrated operation and control of the audio and telephone functions is also available specifically for the Apple iPhone.
Performance premium-style: John Cooper Works Accessories.
Performance components from John Cooper Works perfectly tailored to the particular character and style of the MINI proudly reveal half a century of glorious tradition in motorsport. The highlights in this wide range of accessories include the Aerodynamics Package and sports suspension with springs finished in red, cross-drilled brake discs, a support bar for the engine compartment, mirror caps in carbon and side direction indicator surrounds finished in a sporting grid structure. A perfect match within the interior is provided by trim bars, the handbrake lever and the sports gearshift lever in carbon trim raising the sporting look of the car to an even higher standard.
The new John Cooper Works instruments for the MINI and MINI Clubman are a particularly attractive addition to the range. These additional instruments reflecting the style of a genuine sports car cockpit come in specific MINI design merging perfectly with the interior of the car. Through their anthracite-coloured dials, they serve furthermore to accentuate the sporting character of the cockpit.
In this case the customer has the choice of three different analogue instruments, with a maximum of two integrated to the right and left of the rev counter, directly in the driver’s line of vision.
The coolant temperature gauge gives the driver clear information on the current running conditions of the engine, the relative torque display offers ongoing information on engine load.
On the MINI Cooper S, the MINI John Cooper Works, the MINI Cooper S Clubman, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, the MINI Cooper S Cabrio and the MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio the driver receives additional information when the Overboost function of the turbocharger cuts in. A lateral acceleration display is furthermore available for all MINI and MINI Clubman models equipped with DSC Dynamic Stability Control, providing clear information on centrifugal forces in bends and on winding roads.
Special options for the Convertible: from the rear rack all the way to the Always-Open Timer.
The new MINI Convertible also comes with special features and accessories quite unique in the car’s segment. Straight from the plant, for example, the new MINI Convertible is available with supports in the rear bumper serving to fit a bicycle rack available within the wide range of accessories. Made of aluminium, this bicycle rack accommodates up to two bicycles. Weighing approximately 14 kg or 31 lb, the rack folds back conveniently to the rear even when carrying two bicycles, allowing easy access to the tailgate for loading and unloading the luggage compartment.
The optional air conditioning available on the open-air MINI comes with a special Convertible Mode automatically activated once the roof of the car is opened. In this mode the desired temperature is consistently maintained regardless of the wind rushing by, the outside temperature and direct sunshine.
Available as a very special option, the Always-Open Timer is a genuine innovation in the Convertible market: Positioned to the left of the rev counter, this additional instrument keeps an exact record, down to the last minute, of the time spent motoring with the roof down. The instrument is activated as soon as the driver starts the engine of the MINI Convertible and the soft top is fully open. In this way the Always-Open Timer offers yet another incentive to enjoy open-air driving pleasure in the MINI as often and as intensely as possible.
5. Traditional Values and Modern Diversity. Concept and Technology.
The economical compact car has a great future!
Precisely this was the fundamental idea and philosophy in developing the classic Mini – and this philosophy is just as appropriate today as it was fifty years ago. The objective was to combine compact exterior dimensions and generous spaciousness within the interior, comfortable and sporting driving behaviour as well as fuel-efficient power units likewise characterising the new extra-small model from British Motor Corporation (BMC).
It was the Suez Crisis in 1956 leading to severe cut-backs in oil supply that prompted BMC to assign automotive engineer and constructor Alec Issigonis with this challenging task. Today, on the other hand, the quest for efficiency has become a general need in public life, this compact car from Great Britain again offering the most convincing answer to this challenge.
Neither the success of the classic Mini nor the unique position and reputation of the current MINI, however, result from such economic qualities alone. For both models also benefit from emotional values borne out by the car’s characteristic flair and its superb handling. So the formula which makes such a particularly economical rendition of mobility so attractive both today and way back then is and was to combine a small car with great driving pleasure.
Boasting the most advanced engine and suspension technology, the MINI is not only the first premium car in the small car segment, but also the unchallenged epitome of driving pleasure. A wide range of technologies serving as standard equipment to reduce fuel consumption as part of the BMW Group’s EfficientDynamics strategy helps in addition to ensure unrivalled fuel economy and emission control.
Delivering maximum output of 80 kW/110 hp, the MINI Cooper D, for example, returns average fuel consumption in the combined EU cycle of just 3.9 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 72.4 mpg imp) and a CO2 emission rating of 104 grams per kilometre, outperforming many competitors with far less engine power.
The classic Mini: an ingenious concept for efficient use of space, outstanding safety on the road, and supreme economy.
Engineering qualities of the highest calibre already served on the classic Mini to provide truly outstanding and technically superior solutions. The first point is that Alec Issigonis opted for a front-wheel-drive concept with the engine fitted crosswise at the front. This principle, now well-established as the standard solution for compact cars, was admittedly not completely new at the time, but had never before been used so consistently to promote driving behaviour and the efficient use of space as it was in the classic Mini.
The specific arrangement of the ten-inch wheels right at the corners of the car likewise served to promote both driving behaviour and the efficient use of space. Wheelbase measured 2.03 metres or 79.9", overall length was 3.05 metres or 120.0", width measured 1.41 metres or 55.5", and the height of the classic Mini was 1.35 metres or 53.1". And the most important point was that 80 per cent of the space occupied by the car – its “footprint” on the road, as it were – was just for the passengers and their luggage.
The body-in-white of the classic Mini weighed a mere 140 kg or 309 lb. But at the same time the bodyshell offered a standard of torsional stiffness quite exceptional back then – stiffness ensured by the two sills extending from front to rear, a lightweight tunnel in the middle of the car taking up the exhaust system, and the wheel arches.
Extending crosswise from left to right, the robust bulkhead between the engine compartment and the passenger cell, a strong crossbar beneath the front seats, and the rear bulkhead leading to the luggage compartment all contributed to this torsional stiffness.
With this kind of stability and stiffness built in from the start, Alec Issigonis and his team of engineers were able to give the classic Mini slender roof pillars and large windows around the passenger cell, helping to enhance both all-round visibility and the feeling of space.
The decision which engine to use in this new small car was no problem, with BMC opting for an updated version of the Series A power unit already featured in the legendary Morris Minor.
This four-cylinder came with a crankshaft running in three bearings, overhead valves operated via tappets and a camshaft at the bottom running on the same side as the intake and exhaust ducts. The fuel/air mixture was supplied by semi-downdraught carburettors, with an electric fuel supply pump being fitted tight from the start.
The longitudinal-flow cylinder head came with heart-shaped pockets in the combustion chamber incorporating the valve openings and spark plugs. This specific design ensured excellent turbulence of the fuel/air mixture for optimum combustion and smooth motoring refinement.
Displacing 948 cc, the engine delivered maximum output of 37 hp and gave the prototype of the new small car weighing just 600 kg or 1,323 lb a top speed of 150 km/h or 93 mph, definitely too much for the suspension and brakes of the Mini. Issigonis and his team therefore decided to reduce engine capacity to 848 cc and cut back engine output to 34 hp at 5,500 rpm. Indeed, this kind of engine speed alone was quite unusual at the time, with only thoroughbred sports cars achieving continuous engine speed of this standard back in the late ‘50s.
Yet a further innovation was the arrangement of the four-speed manual gearbox beneath the engine and directly between the wheels, giving the engine and transmission a shared oil circuit. This left enough space beneath the bonnet for the radiator at the side as well as the steering and ancillary units.
The birth of that go-kart experience.
Issigonis and his team also took a new approach in the transmission of power, that is on the drivetrain. Since the propeller shafts used up to that time tended to deflect out of line under major steering lock, Issigonis decided to use homokinetic joints for the first time in an automobile.
These joints were made up of a ball bearing surrounded by three cages, two of which were connected, respectively, with the incoming and outgoing drive shafts. This, in turn, allowed a sufficient steering angle without distortion or undue articulation, significantly reducing the effect of drive forces on the steering. And this, in turn, set the foundation for the go-kart feeling of the legendary Mini to this very day.
To reduce the forces acting on the light and compact monocoque steel bodyshell, the engineers mounted the entire drivetrain, steering and suspension on a subframe. The independent wheels at the rear were also mounted on a subframe, giving the classic Mini absolutely excellent directional stability.
The other components on the suspension likewise came with a wide range of technical highlights, Issigonis replacing the usual coil, torsion or leaf springs by rubber suspension. To be specific, this was a structure made up of two cones with a layer of rubber in between. The upper cone was bolted firmly to a subframe, the lower rested on the wheel mount. With rubber becoming increasingly hard under increasing pressure, this gave the classic Mini a progressive suspension set-up. Indeed, the properties of this spring system were so good that small telescopic dampers proved to be quite sufficient. And to give the dampers a smooth and fine response, they were fastened outside on upper wishbones at the front and longitudinal control arms at the rear.
Extra comfort: Hydrolastic suspension and automatic transmission.
In 1964 Issigonis placed the emphasis on greater comfort and motoring refinement, introducing an early type of self-levelling on the Mini. To be specific, this was the new Hydrolastic suspension carried over from BMC’s larger saloons and modified for the small car segment.
This unique suspension came with cylinders roughly the size of a one-litre oil can on each wheel comprising the springs and dampers and using a frost-resistant water emulsion as the damper fluid.
On the Hydrolastic system the hydraulic chambers on the front and rear wheel dampers were connected to one another by pressure hoses on each side of the car. So whenever the front wheel ran over a bump on the road, some of the hydraulic fluid was pressed into the “partner” chamber on the rear axle, lifting up the body slightly also at the rear (and, of course, also in the opposite direction).
While this innovative system provided the basic configuration for consistent self-levelling of the car’s body, it never became a lasting success and was taken out of production after seven years.
Issigonis and his team followed the example of larger cars in upmarket segments also in other areas, seeking quite often to achieve an even higher standard in the Mini. A good example is the automatic transmission introduced as an option in 1965 and making the classic Mini one of only very few small cars available at the time with such a “luxury”.
An even more significant factor was that the automatic transmission taking up hardly any more space than a conventional manual gearbox came with four forward gears, while most luxury cars at the time had only three gears.
Sales of the classic Mini exceeded the figure of one million units just six years after the car had made its debut. By this time the range comprised not only the two original models, the Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven, but also a Mini Van, a Mini Pick-Up as well as the Morris Mini-Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman estate models serving consistently to offer even more space inside the car: While the Traveller and Countryman were only 25 centimetres or not quite 10" longer than their respective counterparts, they were unusually versatile transporters thanks to their wheelbase extended by 10 centimetres or 3.9" and their twin doors at the rear.
Small engine, significant potential for further development.
John Cooper, the sports car constructor who recognised the great potential of this revolutionary small car very early on, is the man we must thank for giving the engine of the Mini originally cut back intentionally to 34 hp a lot more power just two years after the car made its debut.
Engine capacity of the GT model built in a small series at Cooper’s initiative was increased to 997 cc, with stroke up from 68.3 to 81.3 millimetres (2.69–3.20") and bore down from 62.9 to 62.4 millimetres (2.48–2.46"). The compression ratio was raised from 8.3 to 9.0, further features being the larger intake valves and dual carburettors.
The exhaust opening was likewise enlarged and the crankcase reinforced to take up the extra power of the engine.
Cooper also changed the transmission ratio of the individual gears in order to give the car a higher speed in each gear, the first Mini Cooper with its 55 hp power unit now reaching a top speed of 136 km/h or 84 mph as opposed to the “regular” 120 km/h or 75 mph. And being a conscientious man, Cooper also upgraded the car’s brakes, fitting seven-inch Lockheed disc brakes on the front wheels.
The Mini Cooper S introduced in 1963 soon proved that even with these modifications the four-cylinder had not yet reached its limit. This time engine capacity was increased to 1,071 cc, providing maximum output of 70 hp.
Naturally, this extra power also meant higher speed, in this case with an increase to 160 km/h or 99 mph, which is why Cooper once again upgraded the brakes, increasing disc diameter to 7.5" and boosting the brake power of the Mini Cooper S by means of a brake servo.
The series version of the classic Mini was also upgraded for more power in 1967, an increase in capacity to 998 cc giving the engine an appropriate boost in maximum torque from 44 to 52 Newton-metres (32–38 lb-ft) and an increase in maximum output by 4 hp to 38 horsepower.
This version of the four-cylinder was introduced from the start on the sister model of the classic Mini launched in 1969, the new Clubman, as the car was called, being 11 cm or 4.3" longer and the Estate version measuring exactly 3.40 metres or 133.9" in length. Width, height and wheelbase, on the other hand, were exactly the same as on the classic Mini.
A further new model introduced at the time as the successor to the Mini Cooper was the Mini 1275 GT, the top model in the Clubman series powered by a 59-hp 1.3-litre four-cylinder. This engine was later also featured in the classic Mini and was soon upgraded to an even more significant 63 hp.
The 1.0-litre nevertheless remained in the range until 1992, after which all models were equipped with the 1.3-litre fuel injection engine already featured since October 1991 in the Mini Cooper and as of August 1994 also in the Mini, above all due to growing requirements in emission management.
Making a new start with traditional values.
Considered simply on paper, the MINI Cooper and the MINI One bringing back the famous brand in 2001 had hardly any substantial features in common with the classic Mini.
The reasons why this was so are actually quite obvious: Entering the 21st century, the development of a small car for “today’s world” followed conditions and requirements very different from those back in the 1950s. Much stricter safety standards, significantly greater demands in terms of motoring comfort, and brand-new technical potentials allowed and required solutions Alec Issigonis and his team would not even have dreamt of in their days.
The MINI and its forefather nevertheless share some fundamental highlights and features clearly borne out from the start in the new model and expressed by the car’s characteristic design. A further point is that the MINI was developed from the start as a revolutionary new small car. And like the classic Mini, the new model once again featured innovations in technology giving the MINI its unique qualities.
Re-interpretation of traditional values likewise gave the MINI its unmistakable character right from the start, building its status as a youthful car transcending all social classes and highly desirable the world over.
The classic Mini in its day made a significant contribution in introducing the principle of front-wheel drive and the power unit fitted crosswise at the front, making this the standard solution for particularly compact cars. The MINI, in turn, likewise came with short body overhangs, a long wheelbase, the one-wheel-at-each-corner stance and a low centre of gravity as ideal ingredients for extremely agile handling. Once again, therefore, the MINI re-defined the standard of optimum efficiency in the use of space and maximum driving pleasure in such a small car.
The quantum leap into a new era of technology.
Implementing this concept, it was obviously essential to use the most advanced and sophisticated technology. And clearly, four-cylinder power units displacing 1.6 litres, with 16 valves and an aluminium cylinder head were exactly the right successors to the Series A engines originally featured in the classic Mini.
Where 34 hp was still sufficient in 1959, the right kind of power was now 66 kW/90 hp in the MINI One and 85 kW/115 hp in the MINI Cooper. And while the classic Mini with its homokinetic joints for conveying power to the wheels and rubber springs set new standards in suspension technology at its time, the MINI with its McPherson front axle featuring axle shafts equal in length and the multi-arm rear axle likewise absolutely unique in this segment also introduced a new benchmark.
Disc brakes on all four wheels, the anti-lock brake system including CBC Cornering Brake Control and EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution featured as standard also marked this quantum leap into a new era.
As an option the MINI was also available from the start with ASC+T Traction Control and DSC Dynamic Stability Control.
The MINI also took on the top position in its segment right from the beginning in terms of passive safety. Indeed, with its extremely stable passenger cell, frontal and side airbags as well as optional head airbags at the side, the level of safety provided was absolutely outstanding. And last but not least, the Tyre Defect Indicator likewise featured as standard was an innovation never seen before in a small and compact car.
As an alternative to its five-speed manual gearbox, the MINI was available with infinite CVT automatic transmission incorporating a Steptronic function. Using a steel drive belt running on dual-conical pulleys, this transmission fed engine power through continuously variable transmission ratios to the front wheels, while retaining six firm transmission ratios in the Steptronic mode.
A joint control unit for the engine and transmissions served both in the automatic and the Steptronic mode to give the driver the ideal transmission ratio under all conditions. As an option there were also Steptronic switches on the steering wheel enabling the driver to shift gears manually without taking his hands off the steering wheel.
It did not take MINI long – to be precise only until January 2002 – to move up to an even higher level of driving pleasure, the most powerful model in the range ensuring fascinating performance even faster than with the classic Mini and far superior to its 70-hp forerunner.
This new high-performance model was the MINI Cooper S powered by a 120 kW/163 hp four-cylinder compressor engine and featuring both a sports suspension and a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. With this kind of power, acceleration to 100 km/h came in just 7.4 seconds and top speed was 218 km/h or 135 mph.
The first-ever MINI powered by a diesel engine saw the light of day just one year later, the MINI One D providing the most advanced rendition of the highly efficient four-seater philosophy which originally led to the development of the classic Mini: Displacing 1.4 litres out of four cylinders, this all-aluminium power unit featuring common rail fuel injection and an exhaust gas turbocharger offered an ample 55 kW/75 hp. Average fuel consumption in the combined EU cycle, in turn, was a mere 4.8 litres/100 km, equal to 58.8 mpg imp.
The second generation of the MINI: even more efficiency and driving pleasure.
Introduced in November 2006, the second generation of the MINI gave even greater emphasis to the modern qualities of the world’s first small premium car.
The current MINI combines the character and unmistakable design so typical of the brand with an even higher standard of driving pleasure, superior safety also enhanced to an even higher level, and excellent quality of finish. So it is not surprising that the MINI Cooper has scored the highest number of five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test.
The truly excellent occupant safety offered by the new model is based on the body structure optimised to an even higher level and the use of no less than six airbags, three-point seat belts on all seats, ISOFIX child fastenings at the rear, as well as central safety electronics for appropriate management of the car’s restraint systems all featured as standard.
One of the most outstanding qualities of the MINI is its exceptional reliability already confirmed several times by the car scoring top positions in the breakdown statistics of Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobilclub (ADAC), the largest motoring club in Germany and, indeed, worldwide.
Supreme product quality, very sporting handling features and the flair so typical of the brand all come together to give the MINI its truly outstanding appeal, which has ensured the car’s ongoing success in the global market as well as its remarkably strong and lasting value.
All this makes the current MINI not only the epitome of driving pleasure and individual style in its class, but also a particularly good investment.
Innovative technology for reducing fuel consumption and emissions featured as standard.
The market launch of the current MINI also hailed the introduction of a new engine generation beneath the bonnet. Indeed, the brand-new power units make a significant contribution in giving all variants of the MINI not only significantly better performance, but also a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and emissions.
The all-round efficiency offered by the MINI is further enhanced by fuel economy and emission management technologies developed in the context of the BMW Group’s EfficientDynamics strategy. In an appropriate combination on each model, the technologies offered here as standard include Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start/Stop, a gearshift point indicator, Electric Power Steering, a volume-flow-controlled oil pump, as well as an on-demand coolant pump.
All variants of the MINI come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, with optional six-speed automatic transmission enabling the driver to shift gears manually via paddles on the steering wheel.
The MINI Cooper S offers efficiency of the highest standard in every respect. This high-performance model comes with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder delivering 128 kW/175 hp at 5,500 rpm. At the same time the engine develops maximum torque of 240 Newton-metres or 177 lb-ft all the way from 1,600–5,000 rpm, with the Overboost function increasing torque even further for a short spell to 260 Newton-metres or 192 lb-ft.
A twin-scroll turbocharger makes the increase in engine power particularly efficient and highly effective, with the ducts leading out of two cylinders at a time being separated from one another in the exhaust gas manifold and the turbocharger. This particular arrangement enhances turbocharger response and ensures very spontaneous build-up of power.
With this kind of power, the MINI Cooper S accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 225 km/h or 140 mph. Fuel is delivered to the turbocharged four-cylinder through common rail direct injection filled with fuel by a high-pressure pump fitted on the rear end of the intake camshaft. Injection valves positioned to the side of the cylinder head then deliver the fuel within fractions of a second from the common rail directly to the combustion chamber, maintaining an exact dosage in the process.
Again with this kind of technology, the MINI Cooper S combines its outstanding sportiness with average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of just 9.2 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 30.7 mpg imp) and a CO2 rating of only 149 grams per kilometre.
The normal-aspiration power unit of the MINI Cooper likewise displacing 1.6 litres and developing maximum output of 88 kW/120 hp at 6,000 rpm together with peak torque of 160 Newton-metres or 118 lb-ft at a low 4,250 rpm is likewise a new development.
The innovative technical features of this four-cylinder include fully variable valve control developed on the basis of the BMW Group’s unique VALVETRONIC technology. In this case intake valve lift and the opening period are adjusted within fractions of a second to the power and performance currently required by the driver, with valve timing being controlled as a function of engine speed on both the intake and exhaust side.
Such variable valve lift and engine speed-related camshaft management, interacting with one another, serve to optimise the torque curve, power output, efficiency and emission management of the engine.
The MINI Cooper accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 203 km/h or 126 mph. Averaging fuel consumption of just 5.4 litres/100 km in the EU test cycle (equal to 52.3 mpg imp) and offering a CO2 rating of just 129 grams/kilometre, the MINI Cooper again sets the standard for efficient driving pleasure.
The 1.4-litre four-cylinder in the MINI One is a derivative of the 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated power unit in the MINI Cooper and again comes with fully variable valve management.
Progressive aluminium technology makes the smaller variant of the engine a powerful lightweight, just like its “bigger” brothers. Developing maximum output of 70 kW/95 hp and peak torque of 140 Newton-metres/103 lb-ft, the four-cylinder again ensures sporting performance and exemplary fuel economy and emission management. The MINI One accelerates to 100 km/h in 10.9 seconds and has a top speed of 185 km/h or 115 mph. Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 5.3 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 53.3 mpg imp) and the CO2 rating is a mere 128 grams per kilometre.
A further variant of the 1.4-litre makes the MINI One 55 kW the most sporting and, at the same time, the most economical car in its class. Delivering maximum output of 55 kW/75 hp and peak torque of 120 Newton-metres or 88 lb-ft, the power unit in this entry-level model allows acceleration to 100 km/h in 13.2 seconds and gives the car a top speed of 175 km/h or 109 mph. By comparison, fuel consumption is just 5.3 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 53.3 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions are 128 grams per kilometre.
Featuring the most advanced diesel technology, the MINI Cooper D likewise rules alone in its segment. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder again comes with common rail direct fuel injection as well as a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry for optimum development of power at all engine speeds.
Particularly light thanks to its aluminium structure, this diesel engine develops maximum output of 80 kW/110 hp and comes with peak torque of 240 Newton-metres/177 lb-ft between 1,750 and 2,000 rpm. And like on the MINI Cooper S, this maximum torque may be briefly increased by Overboost to 260 Nm or 192 lb-ft.
The MINI Cooper D accelerates to 100 km/h in 9.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 195 km/h or 121 mph. Average fuel consumption of just 3.9 litres/100 kilometres in the EU test cycle, equal to 72.4 mpg imp, sets new standards, as does the CO2 rating of 104 grams per kilometre. Never before, therefore, has a MINI offered the same kind of fuel efficiency and emission management. And nowhere else is the driver able to enjoy so much driving pleasure on so little fuel and with such clean emissions.
John Cooper Works introducing motorsport know-how on the road.
Three particularly powerful versions of the MINI come under the badge of John Cooper Works.
Way back in the 1960s, sports car constructor John Cooper already offered high-performance versions of the classic Mini, achieving outstanding success in both sales and on the race track. No other name, therefore, is connected so closely with the sporting tradition of the brand.
Today the MINI John Cooper Works, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, and the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible represent the common values of driving pleasure, premium quality and individual style at their very best, especially as these high-performance models are based in their development on the MINI CHALLENGE racing car, both the engine and a wide range of other components being derived directly from the racing model.
The power pack within the engine compartment of these three outstanding performers based on the four-cylinder in the MINI Cooper S, was originally upgraded in many features for the MINI CHALLENGE racing model, and now comes with engine output of 155 kW/211 hp in these three production versions. Various special features on the engine serving to boost power, withstand higher temperatures in the combustion chambers and therefore ensure maximum reliability, all lift the engine to a supreme standard.
The increase in power results primarily from the optimised supply and extraction of air as well as appropriate modification of the twin-scroll turbocharger using a special turbine made of a likewise special, top-quality material. A further point is that maximum charge pressure is increased from 0.9 to 1.3 bar overpressure.
Maximum torque of 260 Newton-metres or 192 lb-ft comes at just 1,850 rpm, with torque being briefly increased to 280 Newton-metres/206 lb-ft when accelerating by increasing charge pressure in the speed range between 1,950 and 5,500 rpm.
The MINI John Cooper Works accelerates to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman completes the same exercise in 6.8 seconds. Top speed in both cases is 238 km/h or 148 mph.
The MINI John Cooper Works Convertible accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds and has a top speed of 235 km/h or 146 mph.
In consideration of their supreme performance, all three models keep fuel consumption to an absolute minimum, the MINI John Cooper Works making do in the EU test cycle with 6.9 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 40.9 mpg imp), the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman consuming 7.0 litres (40.3 mpg imp), and the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible 7.1 litres (39.8 mpg imp). The corresponding CO2 ratings, in turn, are 165 and, respectively, 167 and 169 grams per kilometre.
A six-speed manual gearbox tailored to the characteristics of the high-performance engine facilitating the gearshift in dynamic driving manoeuvres.
Other features offered as standard are 17-inch light-alloy wheels derived from the MINI CHALLENGE racing car, appropriately large and powerful disc brakes on all four wheels, as well as DSC Dynamic Stability Control including DTC Dynamic Traction Control. And last but not least, Electronic Differential Lock Control operating in the DSC OFF mode ensures optimum drive power and perfect traction in particularly fast and dynamic bends.
6.From the Original to the Original. MINI Design and Concept Cars.
Innovative, unmistakable, stylish – and inspiring time and again.
Just like the classic Mini, the MINI stands for unique design providing brand-new answers to the challenges of its time. Creating the classic Mini, constructor Alec Issigonis and his team had succeeded in re-defining the entire philosophy of the small and compact car in 1959. Developing the MINI, his successors, as it were, re-interpreted the concept of maximum interior space on minimum road surface in modern, up-to-date style.
The result, created almost four decades apart, was two cars of supreme character proudly presenting their unique qualities in a truly unmistakable manner. Both back then and today, thrilling driving characteristics and irresistible design create one complete unit as the sign of distinction of an entire brand.
The starting point for the design of the classic Mini was a vision following clear targets: smaller than all models produced so far by British Motor Corporation, the new car was still to provide sufficient space for four occupants and their luggage. Clearly, therefore, Issigonis focused on economy of space as the fundamental consideration in the development process.
At the same time he wished to offer an innovative answer to the small and compact cars already available on the market in Europe, following his principle that a good designer should never ever copy the competition.
A clear vision and the right concept: the foundation for the classic Mini.
To provide as much space as possible for the occupants on the car’s very small footprint, even the technical features and components of the classic Mini had to be moved together. The ideal concept making this possible from the start was of course the engine fitted at the front in conjunction with front-wheel drive. But that alone was not enough for Issigonis. For while there was enough space for a four-cylinder power unit beneath the short bonnet, this was only because Issigonis fitted the engine crosswise and placed the gearbox beneath the drive unit. Certainly an innovative interpretation of the “form follows function” principle still one of the decisive factors in the design of the MINI to this very day.
Issigonis set forth all these plans and configurations not in long documents and studies, but rather in a host of drawings and personal sketches. Indeed, he had already succeeded in compensating for his rather limited ambition for mathematics at school and university through his excellent drawings. And now these drawings became the characteristic trademark of this ingenious engineer and constructor.
With just a few strokes of his pencil he was able to create visions, illustrate solutions for complicated technical problems, and therefore develop greater power of conviction than even the most moving speaker in a detailed technical lecture.
Issigonis’ almost contagious euphoria was also expressed by the fact that he often did his drawing on paper table-cloths or menu cards, because his notepad was already full.
One of the legends circulating around the classic Mini is the story of a design sketch done by Issigonis on the paper napkin of a hotel restaurant later used for the first “official” draft on the drawing board in Issigonis’ construction office.
In the course of 1958 both the exterior and the interior of the Mini took on their final shape. Striking features later to become characteristic of the classic Mini were the body panel seams between the wings and the bodyshell facing to the outside.
The reason for this particular feature was quite simply money: welding seams facing to the outside were a lot cheaper in production.
The second feature typical of cost-oriented production also clearly visible from outside was the door hinges on the outside of the doors themselves. And the driver who was not able to make do with the luggage compartment offering capacity of 195 litres or 6.8 cubic feet, was able to quite simply leave the bootlid open – since the lid was hinged at the bottom, it served conveniently as a “tray” even taking up bulky objects fastened more or less safely in position. Indeed, this was not even a secret tip, since high-gloss brochures presented this enlarged loading capacity in colourful pictures.
The interior naturally also followed the car’s minimalist philosophy: A simple cable served to open the doors and the usual dashboard in front of the driver and passenger was replaced in the classic Mini by a small shelf. Right in the middle was the centre instrument, the speedometer and mileage counter as well as the fuel gauge, with two toggle switches for the screen wipers and the lights right below.
Despite numerous detailed changes and modifications, the basic shape of the classic Mini remained unchanged for no less than 41 years. In the course of time this revolutionary small car became a classic in the history of the automobile, a timeless masterpiece chosen in 1995 by the readers of Autocar, the British car magazine, as the “Car of the Century”.
Like its driving behaviour, the typical look of the classic Mini remained a perfect image of the car’s character over years and decades, ultimately providing the starting point for the design of the modern MINI.
Creating the MINI: brand-new, but with unmistakable roots.
Back in the mid-1990s, shortly after BMW had taken over Rover Group, the first plans were considered for a new version of this unique compact car.
A study of the MINI Cooper was the presented at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show, making it quite clear from now on that this was not going to be merely a copy of the classic model, but rather a modern interpretation of the Mini concept so rich in tradition. Indeed, this concept car combined the classic values of the classic Mini with the demands made of a modern automobile on the threshold to the 21st century.
A spectacular sports car concept had already been presented at the beginning of the year on the occasion of the Monte Carlo Rally. Thirty years after the classic Mini had won the Monte Carlo Rally the last time, this two-seater, right-hand-drive mid-engined ACV 30 (Anniversary Concept Vehicle) study definitely hit the headlines not just on account of its truly powerful and muscular proportions. Rather, the study also made it quite clear how the design features so characteristic of the classic Mini – such as the hexagon radiator grille and the large round headlights – could be carried over into a modern vehicle concept.
So the question is obvious: What would the ideal small car look like when carrying forward the ideas and principles of Sir Alec Issigonis, that ingenious constructor, from the 1950s into the 21st century, with all the technical options and customer preferences of these modern times?
Looking for an answer to this question was certainly a promising undertaking right from the start, particularly as neither the drive concept of the classic Mini nor its virtually unchanged look had lost any of their charm over a period of approximately four decades.
Precisely this is why the MINI Project Team run originally by Frank Stephenson and later by MINI Chief Design Gert Volker Hildebrand attached great significance to conveying not only design details, but also the fundamental idea from the early years of the classic Mini to these modern days of motoring.
The MINI was also to be a unique car offering ample space for four with their luggage, featuring an economical drive concept, and boasting driving and handling qualities no other model in this segment was able to offer.
At the same time the development engineers naturally also considered the high standard of comfort now taken for granted as well as the most demanding safety requirements.
The result, obviously, was once again a revolutionary new small car oriented in every respect to the needs of its times and at the same time developed and manufactured according to the quality standards of a leading premium brand.
Design features and design icons.
This harmony of the targets set by the development engineers and the fundamental values of the concept is reflected in a unique design authentically visualising the common character shared by the classic Mini and the MINI and borne out by a beautiful play on lines and joints, circles and ellipsoids.
With the car measuring 3.63 metres or 142.9" in length, the overall layout and proportions, including short overhangs front and rear expressing the agile handling of the MINI through its exterior, were all retained as a faithful rendition of the classic Mini.
The classic subdivision of the car into three sections – the actual body, the window graphics surrounding the entire vehicle as a kind of band, and the roof seeming to hover in space – was taken up again in a modern rendition.
The shoulder line extends from the headlights across the muscular shoulders all the way to the C-pillars, where the roof is closer to the body than upfront on the A-pillars. This creates side window graphics opening up to the front and clearly emphasising the forward-pushing motion and the sportiness of the car.
Features typical of the brand and already unmistakable on the classic Mini were also re-interpreted on the new model. As an example, a modern rendition of the hexagon radiator grille and the round headlights now no longer surrounded by the wings, but rather integrated in the engine compartment lid, help to give the MINI its typical face so characteristic of the brand.
The side direction indicator surrounds serving on the MINI to distinguish the individual model variants, are also acknowledged as genuine icons in design. In particular, the side indicators guide the eyes of the beholder to the joint on the engine compartment lid of the MINI sweeping back at an angle like the joint on the side panels of the classic Mini.
The rear light clusters standing upright also serve once again as a powerful sign of distinction now featuring a sophisticated chrome frame on the MINI. Indeed, this is once again a clear reminiscence to the classic Mini which always boasted its chrome look, consistently rejecting the inundation of plastic in automobile design of the ’70 and ’80s.
Last but not least, the very concave, three-dimensional and powerful design of the rims again takes up and reflects the style of the classic Mini, even if the wheels are now larger, wider, and come on runflat tyres.
The interior of the MINI is likewise unmistakable in its design, the Center Speedo in the middle of the dashboard bringing back a characteristic feature of the classic Mini and enhancing this look to create a truly unique design element.
Up to 1968 the speedometer on the classic Mini was also a central instrument which, through its looks alone, provided decisive inspiration for designing the surrounds on the MINI’s control units and switches.
Further, unique highlights come from the round air vents and the elliptic main elements on the door linings reflecting the design language of “circular elements” so typical of the MINI and also to be admired on the exterior.
More than ever before, the current fortes of the MINI come out on the design of the second generation introduced in autumn 2006. Again following the philosophy of “From the Original to the Original”, both the basic design and the unique details of the car were revised and upgraded in the second generation in a painstaking, evolutionary process.
The powerful stance of the car on its big and muscular wheels now emphasises the sporting character of the MINI even more convincingly. The Center Speedo now even larger than before even offers space for the display of a navigation system, again providing those unmistakable highlights so typical of the brand.
Like the classic Mini, the MINI, thanks to its harmonious and perfectly balanced overall concept, arouses a feeling of affection and almost love at very first sight. To a large extent this is attributable to the cleverly integrated codes of “human body archetype” design language: Through its proportions and friendly mimicry, the MINI arouses the protector’s instincts. The powerful shoulders of the car, in turn, exude a sense of safety and security, and the body itself excels through its softly flowing shapes.
New opportunities: the MINI Concept.
Through its design philosophy alone, the MINI allows up-to-date, ongoing development of all features so typical of the brand while retaining its own, unique character. This starting point also provides a wonderful opportunity to carry over the design language so typical of MINI to innovative vehicle concepts extending the range and wealth of the MINI model family.
The idea to present MINI in a new context was demonstrated for the first time in a fascinating study in 2005, when the MINI Concept made its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Presenting this unique study, MINI paved the way to a brand-new category of cars re-interpreting the classic shooting brake concept in modern style. The MINI Concept therefore took up traditional design philosophies already borne out in the 1960s in the guise of the Morris Mini-Traveller and the Austin Mini Countryman, applying these philosophies to modern-day requirements and therefore presenting new options in the body design and functionality of the MINI.
Following the motto “Travel the World”, the MINI Concept was presented in a total of four renditions, each highlighting specific facets of the MINI brand and focusing on the place where the cars were being presented: In Frankfurt the emphasis was on elegance, at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show the concept model highlighted the British origins of MINI. At the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit the emphasis was on wintersport, and at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show the MINI Concept paid tribute to the legendary success of the brand in motorsport.
In all cases the concept car boasted a truly innovative door arrangement revolutionising the use of and access to the car’s interior: At the rear the designers introduced a Splitdoor configuration based on the classic door arrangement of the Morris Mini-Traveller and the Austin Mini Countryman. This two-piece rear door with each door element hinged far to the outside and opening outwards offered particularly generous access to the luggage compartment of the MINI Concept – a principle shortly thereafter presented for the first time in a production version of the MINI.
The MINI family grows: introduction of the MINI Clubman.
The 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show marked the world debut of the MINI Clubman which has been enriching the model family ever since. Compared directly with the MINI, the MINI Clubman offers 24 centimetres or 9.45" more body length and 8 centimetres or 3.15" longer wheelbase serving entirely to enhance legroom at the rear.
On the MINI Clubman the driver’s and front passenger’s doors are supplemented not just by the Splitdoor at the rear, but also by an additional opening on the right side of the car. This additional door on the right, the Clubdoor opening against the direction of travel like a coach door, offers passengers sitting on the rear seats of the MINI Clubman comfortable and convenient access to the rear passenger area.
In its side view the MINI Clubman is characterised by a dynamic wedge shape created through the interplay of the shoulder line rising up slightly to the rear and the horizontal roofline.
Up the A-pillars, the MINI Clubman is identical to the “regular” MINI. It then gains its unique look through its longer wheelbase and longer roofline extending straight back to the steep rear end.
Yet a further special feature is the slight increase in the roof flanks extending on both sides from the A- all the way to the C-pillars along the entire length of the roof and referred to as the Dune Line. This gives the roofline a truly exciting, eye-catching “sweep” and raises the height of the car’s flank by approximately two centimetres. As a result, the proportions of the MINI Clubman are particularly smooth and well-balanced also from the side.
Like the classic Mini, the MINI is also available with contrasting colours on the roof – and indeed, this particular sign of distinction is of great significance on the MINI Clubman, where, apart from the roof, the C-pillars also come in the contrasting colour ordered by the customer to give the Splitdoor at the rear an additional optical effect. Ultimately this gives the car a very compact look at the rear and adds to its individual, unique appearance on the road.
MINI Convertible: consistently open, MINI all the way.
The open-air MINI now conquering the global market in its second generation is likewise a genuine MINI but at the same time a truly unique character.
While the classic Mini was enhanced by a Convertible model only in the last decade of its unique career, the designers of the new generation of the MINI fulfilled the loud wishes and requests of open-air aficionados far sooner: The first new MINI Convertible was presented at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show three years after the closed MINI, but naturally with the same unmistakable design features.
Apart from the soft roof combining the proportions typical of MINI when closed with a unique silhouette, the four-seater boasted a number of other features typical of a genuine Convertible. The waistline rising towards the end of the car, for example, was accentuated from the start by a chrome bar all round the vehicle, the steep windscreen was just as characteristic as the chrome-plated rollbar. And at the rear the bootlid opening downwards as well as the hinges at the outside offered further features reminiscent in their design of the classic Mini.
The new version of the MINI Convertible is experiencing – and its drivers and passengers are enjoying – its first summer in the year of brand’s 50th anniversary. The front end of this open four-seater once again boasts the face of the current MINI, and the other design features focusing on sporting performance are also the same as on the closed model.
At the same time the new MINI Convertible is even more mature, more sophisticated and sporting in its look. With even larger windows, the soft roof offers optimised all-round visibility and the innovative, single-piece rollbar moves up only when required, thus underlining the proportions of the new MINI Convertible so typical of a new roadster.
Like the side view of the car, the rear end of the new MINI is also even more muscular and powerful in its look. And in the interest of homogeneous surfaces, the bootlid still pivoting at the bottom as before now comes with hinges at the inside.
Breakthrough to the fourth dimension: the MINI Crossover Concept.
Even with the MINI, the MINI Clubman and the MINI Convertible, the brand still offers great potential for further development. Moving into further segments is indeed a very attractive option for the designers, a fascinating example of the wealth of ideas offered by the MINI Design Department being the MINI Crossover Concept presented for the first time at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.
The MINI Crossover Concept is again a typical representative of the MINI design philosophy and, as a new model variant without a historical background, takes the brand into a brand-new dimension.
As the first model in the range measuring more than four metres in length, with four drive wheels, four doors and four single seats, the MINI Crossover Concept offers ample space and freedom of movement at the rear as well as transport capacity never seen before in a MINI.
Further highlights are the car’s very flexible interior layout meeting all individual wishes and requirements.
The MINI Crossover Concept is a truly exceptional four-door, with the conventional arrangement of doors only on the front passenger’s side, while on the driver’s side the MINI Crossover Concept comes with the conventional driver’s door and a lifting/sliding door providing very convenient access to the rear or for loading the car from the side.
The single-piece rear door pivoting to one side with its frameless and retractable window serves to offer additional practical value and easy loading. A further advantage is that the luggage compartment in the MINI Crossover Concept may be enlarged as required by tilting down the rear seats completely into the floor of the car individually by means of a parallelogram kinematic mechanism.
Yet a further innovative feature on the body is the folding top extending throughout almost the entire length of the roof and opening from both front and rear, allowing fresh air and warm sunshine into the car according to the driver’s and passengers’ preferences.
The driver and his passengers enjoy the generous space provided by four single seats with fore-and-aft adjustment also at the rear. Between the seats on the centre console of the MINI Crossover Concept the highly versatile, multi-functional MINI Center Rail extending from the dashboard all the way to the rear offers not only unconventional storage options, but also a direct connection between the front and rear seats.
This consistent connection throughout the interior is further emphasised by the design of the door linings extending harmoniously from front to rear, visually connecting the two rows of seats.
Yet another highlight within the interior is the innovative three-dimensional central instrument, the MINI Center Globe. This combined control and display unit in the form of a sphere featured for the first time worldwide in an automobile sets new standards for the integrated control of entertainment, communication, navigation and vehicle functions.
The MINI Crossover Concept carries that unique feeling so characteristic of MINI into a new dimension. It combines the individual style of the brand with spaciousness and transport capacities of a standard never seen before in a MINI, adding greater flexibility within the interior to meet the most varied requirements of everyday life and leisure-time activities through innovative solutions.
More than ever before, therefore, this new design concept symbolises the MINI’s principle of a car transcending all classes and segments of the population and meeting virtually all kinds of mobility requirements in our modern world.
7.The Revolutionary with the Drawing Pad. Sir Alec Issigonis, the Father of the Classic Mini.
He had already been successful with his own sports cars and he had been commissioned on a number of occasions to develop large saloons. But his favourite project, as Alec Issigonis made it quite clear, was the construction of a simple, extremely functional and very affordable small car.
So when Issigonis, the Deputy Technical Director of the Austin Plant in Longbridge, was requested in late 1965 by Leonard Lord, the Chairman of British Motor Corporation (BMC), to develop a brand-new and truly innovative car, he was absolutely thrilled and knew exactly what he wanted.
The new car was to be smaller than all models built by BMC so far, but nevertheless offer sufficient space for four occupants and their luggage. A four-cylinder already built by the company was to provide the necessary power, while the driving characteristics and the all-round economy of the new small car were to set new standards.
Considering this brief and the demanding requirements to be fulfilled, what Issigonis needed was no more and no less than an absolutely revolutionary new design – exactly the right job for him and his team.
Back then Alec Issigonis was 51 years old, a seasoned constructor and automotive engineer with an unconventional career and an exceptional approach to his work. At the time his contemporaries described him as an almost pedantic tinkerer and a passionate technician simply bursting with enthusiasm.
Issigonis did not always do his designs on the drawing board in the construction office, but rather opted for paper napkins or the little drawing pad he always kept handy to present his ideas to his colleagues and staff members during lunch.
Mathematics he regarded as the “enemy of every creative human being”, and with his wealth of ideas, his enthusiasm and his distaste for compromises he pushed his team forward to top performance time and again.
After just seven months: test drive in the prototype Mini.
Opting for front-wheel drive and the engine fitted crosswise at the front with the gearbox directly below, Issigonis right from the start created ideal conditions for excellent efficiency in the use of space. No less than 80 per cent of the space taken up by the Mini, what one might call the car’s “footprint” on the road, was exclusively for the passengers and their luggage.
Overall length of the new car was 3.05 metres or 120.0", and the Mini might indeed have been even shorter. But Issigonis had exact ideas and intentions, which he presented to his team in a rather unusual manner: He had them cut through a model of the Mini right down the middle, then moving the two halves apart centimetre by centimetre. And when he finally cried out “stop!”, the Mini had reached its ideal length.
Just seven months after the official go-ahead, two prototypes of the new small car were ready to go. So Issigonis invited his boss Leonard Lord to a test drive he still recalled full of amusement years later: “We drove round the Plant, and I was really going like hell. I’m certain he was scared, but he was very impressed by the car’s roadholding. So when we stopped outside his office, he got out and simply said: ‘All right, build this car.’ ”
From this moment on the ongoing development of the Mini in becoming a genuine legend was unstoppable. And Issigonis had secured his position on the podium as one of the world’s most ingenious and influential automobile constructors. The master himself was a bit more reserved, making it quite clear that “I didn’t invent the Mini, I built it.”
Alec Issigonis: straight from a family thrilled by technology.
Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis was born in the Turkish town of Smyrna, today’s Izmir, as the son of a Briton of Greek origin and a mother from Bavaria, on 18 November 1906. He inherited his great interest in technology and machines from his father who, shortly after the turn of the century, ran a company for marine engine technology.
In 1922 the family was forced to flee to Malta when the Turkish state was established in very hectic turmoil. His father died on the island and his mother took him to England where, two years later, young Alec was finally able to drive his first car: a Weymann-bodied Singer in which he chauffeured his mother through Europe in 1925 in a “never-ending series of breakdowns”, as Issigonis recalled later. But it was precisely this unforgettable experience which, immediately upon returning back home, encouraged him to start a three-year course in mechanical engineering at Battersea Polytechnic in London.
Issigonis’ great talent for craftsmanship and his passion for designing and drawing new technical concepts proved barely sufficient at the time to set off his strong distaste of mathematical theory. So he just about managed his final exam, but did not qualify for ongoing studies at the college in Battersea.
His obvious conclusion was to enter professional life as a technical draughtsman and salesman in a design office for automotive technology in London. Buying an Austin Seven from his first salary, he prepared the car for racing and entered his first event in March 1929. In the years to follow Issigonis developed his own monoposto in his spare time with design and construction features destined to later make him famous: the Lightweight Special was absolutely tiny, extremely light, but technically progressive – and successful.
In 1934 Issigonis joined the design and construction team of Humber Ltd., the Coventry-based car maker, where he worked on the introduction of independent suspension. He proved so good at the job that Morris Motors recruited him themselves just two years later on account of his skill in suspension development.
During the war Issigonis had no choice but to work on various military vehicles, which he nevertheless used as “guinea pigs” for technical innovations.
In 1941 Morris launched the Mosquito Project, a compact four-seater for the post-war era. And indeed, despite the most challenging conditions, Issigonis, reputed to be an all-out workaholic, and his the team had the first road-going prototype ready within three years. Precisely this model introduced as the Morris Minor in 1948 became the most successful car built by the brand in the post-war years.
When Morris and Austin Motor Company merged four years later to form British Motor Corporation, Issigonis no longer saw any perspectives for his creativity in future. So he started working for Alvis, with the intention to develop a luxury saloon. But with the project ultimately failing for financial reasons, BMC took Issigonis on again in 1955 as their Deputy Technical Director at the Austin Plant in Longbridge. Here Issigonis was to develop a number of new model series for the small, medium-sized and upmarket segments to secure the future of what was then Europe’s largest car maker.
Since particularly the small car project was acknowledged as very urgent due to the Suez Crisis, the new model made its debut in 1959 as the Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven. Large models only came later, with the four-door Morris 1100 midrange model entering the market three years later and the very spacious Austin 1800 in 1964.
Career and knighthood: honoured for his lifetime achievement.
The success of the classic Mini also gave worldwide fame to the car’s “father”. In 1961 Alec Issgonis, in his position as Technical Director, became a Board Member of Austin Motor Company, and two years later he was appointed to the Board of BMC.
In 1967 he became a member of the Royal Society, the most renowned research society in Britain, and two years later the Queen knighted the father of the Mini.
Sir Alec Issigonis retired in 1971, but remained an advisor to the company until 1987. One year later he died on 2 October, shortly before his 82nd birthday.
To this day this outstanding automotive engineer and constructor lives on in countless memories. And the market launch of the second generation of the Mini was indeed held exactly on 18 November 2006, the 100th birthday of the father of the classic Mini, in the honour of this great man.
8.Made in England – Then and Now. MINI Production between Past and Future.
The first Mini was an Austin Seven coming off the production line in Austin’s Longbridge Plant in Birmingham on 4 April 1959. The team of twins was subsequently completed five weeks later, the first Morris Mini-Minor leaving the Morris Plant in Oxford on 8 May.
The two models were presented to the public together for the first time on 26 August 1959. Despite their different origin, the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini-Minor were virtually identical, the only distinctions on the outside being their radiator grilles, the wheel caps and body colours: The Austin Seven was available in Tartan Red, Speedwell Blue, and Farina Grey, the Morris Mini-Minor came in Cherry Red, Clipper Blue, and Old English White.
Production at the two plants continued for ten years with the model built in Longbridge bearing the name Austin Mini as of 1962.
Plant Oxford, which had been building cars since 1913, built exactly 602, 817 units during this period, all of them the basic version of the four-seater. All other model variants ranging from the Mini Van through the Mini Pick-Up all the way to the Morris Mini-Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman were built in Longbridge.
In 1969 all production activities were concentrated at the Longbridge Plant, with the model range being streamlined and Mini becoming the brand name for this revolutionary compact car. So the days of the twin brothers (or sisters?) were over once and for all.
A million cars in six years: the MINI repeats the rapid start of the classic Mini.
With the brand being re-positioned in 2001 under the guidance of the BMW Group and production of the modern MINI starting as planned, it was only obvious that MINI had to move back to Oxford, the plant so rich in tradition thus once again becoming the starting point for a genuine revolution in the small car market. And like the classic Mini, the MINI made a remarkable start into the market exceeding all expectations: within just six years, Plant Oxford built no less than a million units of the MINI. This was indeed just as long as the classic Mini had taken to exceed the one-million mark, but back then production was still at two plants.
After 41 years and a production volume of more than 5.3 million units, the last classic Mini left Plant Longbridge on 4 October 2000. Since the decision to build the modern MINI in Oxford had already been taken half a year before, only nine months remained from then on to the start of MINI pre-production and just 13 months to the start of actual series production. Clearly, therefore, the roughly 2,500 employees in Oxford at the time and their colleagues from BMW Plant Regensburg supporting the modernisation process faced a great challenge and a truly tight timetable in making this new start into the market.
MINI production in Oxford according to the strict quality standards of the BMW Group.
The BMW Group had already invested some £ 280 million in the Rover Plant in Oxford back in 1996/1997, thoroughly modernising the Bodyshop and Final Assembly. Another project also completed back then was a state-of-the-art Paintshop, at the time the second-largest construction project in Great Britain following the Millennium Dome. And now this was followed by further investments amounting to some £ 230 million serving to modernise and re-structure the plant.
All this made Oxford one of the most modern car production plants in the world, boasting cutting-edge technology specifically for the production of the MINI. No less than 229 production robots were installed at the time to build the body-in-white, with a laser measuring system serving to check the body of the MINI down to a precision of no less than 0.05 millimetres.
The Paintshop was likewise custom-built for the requirements of MINI production, not only allowing very precise and environmentally friendly application of the paint, but also providing the contrasting paint finish on the roof so typical of the MINI Cooper.
Oxford also became the first European car production plant to make exclusive use of electrical tools in final assembly, while the KISS (Core Production Integrating Management System) serves to fully automate communication in the production process by using the most advanced information technology. In this process the complete production of each individual model is electronically documented from the body-in-white all the way to final assembly, again ensuring that every MINI meets the supreme quality standards of the BMW Group.
The original sales target of 100,000 cars a year was exceeded right from the start in the first full year of production, with Plant Oxford passing the 200,000 units a year mark in 2005, a year after the MINI Convertible had been added to the range.
This ongoing success of the MINI called for permanent expansion of production capacities, the BMW Group again investing some £100 million in the Plant in 2005 to prepare facilities for production of the second-generation MINI and to increase overall capacities to some 240,000 units a year.
Flexible, efficient and quality-conscious production in the MINI Production Triangle.
Most of this money was invested in modernising and extending the Body Assembly Shop and in the construction of a second Paintshop.
For the first time within the BMW Group, the Paintshop uses an Integrated Painting Process (IPP) where the rustproofing and primer are no longer applied in separate processes, but rather together with the first layer of paint.
Upon the start of production of the new MINI in autumn 2006, the three productions plants in Oxford (Bodyshop, Paintshop, Assembly), Swindon (Pressings) and Hams Hall (Engine Production) were integrated for the first time in the MINI Production Triangle.
Body panels have been produced in Swindon, some 70 kilometres west of Oxford, since 1954. Today some 1,000 employees in Swindon make about 90 per cent of the pressings and 80 per cent of the pre-assembled body components such as lids and doors for the MINI Bodyshop at Plant Oxford. In all, these pressings are made on 19 pressing lines with a total of 50 individual pressing machines ranging in pressure from 400 to 5,000 tonnes. Each pressing machine is tailored to the size and complexity of the respective component.
The Engine Plant in Hams Hall, by comparison, is relatively new. This Plant near Birmingham has been the BMW Group’s Competence Centre since 2001 for the production of four-cylinder gasoline engines with a capacity of up to 2.0 litres. Since 2005, the BMW Group has invested some £ 30 million in the production of gasoline engines for the MINI.
At the Hams Hall Plant some 1,000 employees build engines with the most advanced technology featuring innovative valve control based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology providing optimum power in the four-cylinder engines featured in the MINI One, the MINI Cooper, and the MINI Cooper Clubman, as well as twin-scroll technology ensuring immediate response of the turbocharged power unit in the MINI Cooper S and the MINI Cooper S Clubman. The plant delivers up to 800 MINI engines per day to Oxford, just in time and just in sequence, that is at exactly the right time and in the right sequence for final assembly.
The innovations in production at the Body Plant in Oxford enlarged once again for even greater capacity include Mobile Standard Production Cells (Mobi-Cells) developed by the BMW Group for a flexible and rapid increase in production in response to current demand. The number of production robots in this sector has increased to 429, making production of the new MINI highly flexible in accordance with the BMW Group’s Customer-Oriented Sales and Production Process (COSP). This allows the customer to change the configuration of his car up to just six days prior to the start of assembly.
Assembly of the MINI, MINI Clubman, and MINI Convertible all in parallel.
In the assembly process, the MINI comes off the same line as the MINI Clubman in production since 2007 and the MINI Convertible now also in its second generation. In accordance with the customer’s specific order and the equipment/options required, the workers fit up to 2,000 components on each individual MINI.
With numerous quality tests integrated in the assembly process, the workers use cordless, portable hand-held computers identifying the vehicle by means of its scanned-in chassis number and then following specific test requirements. After assembly each car goes through a comprehensive inspection regime including an active driving test on the dynamometer and a wide range of electronic tests.
In all, Plant Oxford currently has some 3,700 employees. With demand for the MINI made in Oxford growing consistently, global sales of the MINI in 2008 amounted to over 232,000 units, the number of cars built since the re-launch of the brand thus exceeding the 1.4 million-unit-mark at the beginning of this anniversary year.
A further significant point is that not only the MINI, but also the Oxford Plant is celebrating an important anniversary in 2009, the production of 10 million cars in this university city ever since William Morris started building cars here back in 1913.
9.Individualists Unite! MINI United – Meeting Place of the Worldwide MINI Community.
MINI is celebrating a great anniversary – with enthusiasts from all over the world attending this great event: the MINI United Festival will be held on the Silverstone Race Track in Great Britian from 22–24 May, an anniversary party for all fans of the brand and its products. Guests will enjoy a highly entertaining mix of lifestyle party and music festival, a show programme and motorsport action.
Most of the guests will be coming in their own cars – in many cases covering hundreds of kilometres in the process. This alone will make the car parks around the Festival Grounds a truly unique exhibition area for custom- designed cars, at the same time offering an interesting overview of the 50-year model history of the classic Mini and the MINI.
This anniversary event in the home country of the MINI is the third International Fan Meeting held under the title MINI United. The overwhelming response to the previous meetings was attributable not only to the attractive programme of festival events, but also to the unique enthusiasm fans of the MINI express in their car.
The owner of a MINI is a true individualist showing his or her personal style through the unique design, features and equipment of his car. At the same time MINI owners have many interests in common they express through their unusually active style of communication, as well as their passion for technology, motorsport, lifestyle, and design.
All this comes out very clearly in a most lively club scene, where MINI enthusiasts have got together for common activities in all parts of the world. It is therefore fair to say that the international MINI Community is an unprecedented phenomenon in the world of the automobile.
From regular meetings all the way to an online community: MINI fans are networked the world over.
An active and truly versatile fan community all around the classic Mini was established in Great Britain, the home country of the classic Mini, way back in the 1960s. Right from the start, fans expressed their common interest in the car and the brand by exchanging knowledge and experience all about the Mini and its technical features.
Due to the charming character of this small compact car, owners of a classic Mini strongly identified right from the start with both their car and the brand, sharing this enthusiasm in joint drive-aways and regular MINI meetings, with clubs originally organised on a local basis spreading wider and wider to bring together large regions.
A dynamic club scene also developed quite early on in Germany, gaining additional momentum through the re-launch of the brand and the introduction of the MINI. In the meantime more than 6,000 members are organised throughout Germany in more than 100 classic Mini communities and more than 50 MINI Clubs. Through their wide range of activities, these enthusiasts act as authentic ambassadors of the brand and competent partners for new fans of both the classic Mini and the MINI.
The Community became increasingly international with the general spread of modern means of communication. Upon the introduction of the MINI into the market in 2001, the brand was positioned with the same standard philosophy and spirit for the first time worldwide in all relevant markets. Above all, use of the internet had enhanced the options to interact across national borders and continents.
In Germany alone the MINI Online Community has more than 10,000 members who, through the world wide web, also maintain active contacts with other, similar communities all over the globe.
MINI enthusiasts meet regularly – online and in the street.
The MINISPACE.com website has become an interactive meeting place for particularly creative drivers of the MINI. This online platform brings together people, events, and projects from all over the world.
The website introduced in 2005 as part of the “Creative Use of Space” campaign and providing news, information and statements in several languages including German, serves to initiate and accompany competitions, events, and joint activities.
The guiding motive for MINISPACE.com is to use limited space as creatively as possible. Indeed, this follows the initial philosophy of Mini constructor Sir Alec Issigonis who, creating the Mini many years ago, became the first engineer to build the maximum car on minimum space.
MINISPACE.com conveys this concept to urban projects, using creativity and interaction in even the smallest context to offer maximum fun, lifestyle and freedom for new ideas on both a public and private level. Through MINISPACE.com a worldwide Community is able to participate in these projects, with each member contributing his or her personal input and gaining new ideas for his own activities.
The shared ideas of a creative community also serve to optimise the online sites of MINISPACE.com, using minimum space for maximum impact. All background designs, photos and graphics come from users of the platform who also discuss design and photographic creations in MINISPACE.com blogs or exchange opinions and news through the MINISPACE.com Twitter Service.
As in the past, real-life meetings which, thanks to the use of many communication channels and the support of MINI have taken on impressive dimensions, are naturally still among the highlights of all activities. In 2005, for example, MINI Germany, together with the national classic Mini and MINI Clubs, organised the first national meeting in Germany for fans of the brand. Back then more than 2,500 participants travelled to the National Meeting, heading for the Loreley Plateau on the River Rhine, where they enjoyed a highly entertaining programme with MINI Driver Training, a Design Workshop, meetings with Mike Cooper and rally legend Rauno Aaltonen, as well as the presentation of new versions of the MINI.
A second meeting at the Hildesheim Aerodrome in 2008 proved even more successful, at least in terms of participation, with twice as many MINI enthusiasts from all over Germany attending the event.
The national and international activities in the British club scene are even more spectacular. In 1999, for example, more than 50,000 visitors attended the International Meeting in Goodwood celebrating the 40th birthday of the brand. In 2007 269 cars driving through Blackpool formed the longest MINI convoy the world has ever seen. Indeed, this unique parade was promptly entered in the Guinness Book of Records, breaking the former record set up by the MINI Club in Vancouver, Canada, when 195 cars had formed a similar convoy.
“Friends, Festival, CHALLENGE”: MINI United thrills visitors from all over the world.
The International MINI United Festival has been organised since 2005, supplementing individual market activities in a large number of countries. At the first MINI United Festival in Misano on the Italian Adriatic coast some 6,000 participants from more than 40 countries met to enjoy a great time, more than 1,900 models of the classic Mini and the MINI highlighting the streets all around the race track in Misano.
The sporting highlight, of course, was the World Finals of the MINI CHALLENGE Clubsport series.
Among the participants were eighty British fans of the brand who, travelling to Italy together, enjoyed the MINI United Festival as a wonderful stopover on the way. The longest journey to Misano was covered by a visitor from Moscow, driving some 3,660 kilometres or 2,269 miles in his MINI in five one-day stages.
In 2007 the second MINI United Festival attracted more than 8,000 MINI fans to the Dutch seaside resort of Zandvoort near Amsterdam, the race track serving again to hold two races in the MINI CHALLENGE. And the number of cars representing the brand on the roads around the race track was once again even greater, with more than 3,000 classic Minis and MINIs meeting in Zandvoort.
Now, again two years later, the starter signal for two races in the MINI CHALLENGE, for a wonderful party in that typical MINI style, and for the world’s largest anniversary event of the brand will soon be heard on the legendary Silverstone Race Track in Great Britain. Music acts and stunt shows will create a wonderful atmosphere and there will even be a Kids’ Area for fans of the MINI not yet holding a driver’s licence.
Apart from the current MINI CHALLENGE racing cars, historical racing versions will also be battling it out on the track, the Mini Seven Racing Club entering a fleet of no less than 50 classic Mini racing models.
10. The Car for All Classes, with the Qualities of a Star. MINI as a Member of Society.
Alec Issigonis saw the Mini from the start as a car for everybody – for all kinds of drivers and all social classes. He therefore sought, through the car he had created, to solve the everyday problems of individual mobility.
With this in mind, the compact and economical Mini was exactly the right answer for increasingly dense traffic in the inner city and for the concerns at the time about the reduction of oil supplies following the Suez Crisis.
But soon it became clear that the Mini was much, much more. Its concept alone was so convincing that the car was seen and acknowledged as a trendsetter. Its sporting qualities made the Mini a genuine winner, its charming design made it incredibly popular throughout the population.
So suddenly the Mini had become a genuine cult, its innovative and non-conformist character perfectly reflecting the spirit of the 1960s, at a time when progressive concepts, the thrill of adventure, and even a certain lack of respect versus conventional values dominated the world.
This was a car quite different from others but nevertheless offering more and providing even more fun – exactly the right car at the right time. Very quickly, therefore, fashion creators, musicians and other artists were captivated by the unique style of the Mini, stars discovering the qualities of the car and the world recognising the qualities of the Mini as a star itself.
Launched in 2001, the new MINI, a truly unique car just as popular and charming right from the beginning, quickly established a large, and, in particular, widespread fan community. All over the world, numerous celebrities now enjoy the agile driving pleasure offered by this modern and nimble performer.
No surprise, therefore, that the MINI has already starred as the “leading car” in many Hollywood films. And it is also no surprise that the MINI is to be found in the private fleets of many famous actors, musicians, fashion designers and other stars in show business, society and sport.
Supported by the Queen herself.
The classic Mini quickly gained the reputation of a car for everybody on all levels of society. While Issigonis still regarded practical and economically-minded families seeking sensible mobility at low cost as his target group, he was also aiming at all levels of society as potential drivers of the Mini.
Lord Snowdon, a good friend of Alec Issigonis, deserves the honour to have introduced the classic Mini into the society in London. One of the first owners of this small classic and completely thrilled by the car’s compact dimensions and excellent handling, Lord Snowdon soon became a common sight driving speedily through the British capital. As the husband of Princess Margaret, he obviously used his muscle, making sure that in 1960 Issigonis had the opportunity to present his small car to nobody else but his sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth herself. So when the Queen took her seat next to Issigonis in the Mini, enjoying a lap through the big park of Windsor Castle, the classic Mini had really made a Royal breakthrough.
In the years to come the classic Mini became a genuine scene car particularly in Great Britain, gaining growing popularity throughout all levels of society, in all age groups, and with all nationalities. Time and again, prominent artists gave further momentum to the great reputation of this small performer. Fashion designers Paul Smith and Mary Quant discovered their love for the Mini, stars in the pop and rock scene such as The Beatles, Eric Clapton and David Bowie expressed a clear pledge to this small athlete from Britain.
Trends destined to soon influence not only the fashion, art or music scene worldwide, but also the world of politics and society, came out in full power from Swinging London in the 1960s. Paul Smith, who, among other achievements, became Britain’s most famous designer of men’s fashion by combining classic designs with modern, in many cases very bright and almost screaming colours, even created a limited Special Edition of the Mini in the 1990s.
A unique, one-off Mini boasting paintwork created by Smith in his typical multi-colour stripe livery became at least as popular as this special series, even though it was built only once.
Mary Quant, the style icon of British women’s fashion and the inventor of the mini-skirt, was also inspired by the classic Mini. Shortly after she received her driver’s licence, she ordered a black Mini and later created her own Special Edition characterised by features such as the seat upholstery in black-and-white stripes. And she was just as thrilled by the new MINI: “A really fashionable, happy and smiling car”.
“Keep on Running!” – the Mini and rock’n’roll.
The British music scene in the 1960s had the same broad impact as the British world of fashion, musicians from Britain presenting that unique and unmistakable British style in truly revolutionary songs. And with the Mini offering very similar style and character, the stars were obviously thrilled by the new car. So bands like The Beatles, The Who or The Spencer Davis Group as ambassadors of a new British culture gaining growing popularity the world over also helped to promote the Mini and its unique image.
The legends and stories all about the Mini and its role as a means of transport for the stars remain fascinating to this very day. In 1964, for example, John Lennon ordered a Mini although at the time he did not even have a driver’s licence. His colleague George Harrison lent his Mini to Eric Clapton in 1967 and only got it back three years later. And the story about Spencer Davis is that he wrote the biggest hit his band ever had while driving through the night in the rainy Scottish Highlands on an almost empty tank. That was when, looking at the fuel gauge, only one thought went through his mind: “Keep on Running!”
Roll the film: the classic Mini takes care of the “Italian Job” and is later followed by the MINI.
Nobody knows how often the classic Mini served in films and television as a means of transport or as the star in the background. It is to be admired, at any rate, in the 1966 cult classic “Blow Up” and of course in countless TV and cinema appearances by comedian Rowan Atkinson better known as Mr Bean.
The classic Mini is also one of the very few cars ever to play a leading role in the cinema, for example in the 1969 classic “The Italian Job” starring Michael Caine. The whole film virtually revolves around only one subject, a wild pursuit through Torino with three Mini Coopers. No surprise, therefore, that immediately after the film had premiered Rover launched a special series of classic Minis finished like the film stars themselves and proudly bearing the title of the film.
“The Italian Job” came back to the silver screen no less than 34 years later, this time starring Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg in the new version from Hollywood, presenting the story of a spectacular gold robbery in even more powerful and dramatic style.
When “casting” the four-wheeled stars in the film the producer’s and director’s choice – obviously! – was to go for the new MINI Cooper S now able to present its agility and sporting performance not only on the streets of Los Angeles, but even below the streets of the city.
A year earlier the MINI Cooper had already shown its qualities as the ideal car for wild pursuits in the agents comedy “Goldmember”. In choosing the stars for his production, script writer and leading actor Mike Myers had picked not only an unusual line-up of Hollywood stars – ranging from Steven Spielberg to Tom Cruise, Michael Caine, Robert Wagner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta and all the way to Beyoncé Knowles and Ozzy Osborne – but also six MINI Coopers in Union Jack livery.
In the meantime the MINI Convertible has also made its way to Hollywood, winning over the hearts of movie-goers once and for all in the year 2007. This was in the comedy “The Heartbreak Kid”, in which Malin Akerman and Ben Stiller went on their honeymoon journey in a MINI Convertible. Obviously, on the way this open four-seater became the scene for all kinds of wonderful debates and amusing stories involving the newly-wed on their trip together.
11.Small Car, Great Show. MINI Marketing.
The MINI always hits the headlines wherever it appears – even before a new model is introduced into the market.
Innovative marketing campaigns always good for a surprise and generating great appeal present both the MINI brand and the individual models with their full impact.
MINI marketing uses an exceptionally wide range of communication channels to establish close contacts with potential target groups. Supplementing classic activities in print media, on the radio and television, MINI’s marketing experts developed innovative online activities right from the start tailored precisely to the modern, trend-minded and technology-oriented user of the world wide web and taking the options of interactive communication with the public into account.
Applying this philosophy, MINI sets new benchmarks time and again not only in the world of motoring, but also in the world of marketing. A very good example of this high-flying approach is the launch campaign for the new MINI Convertible: Eye-catching, quick-minded and tongue-in-cheek short films presented in the internet immediately highlighted the open-air driving character of the MINI Convertible, arousing great public response and broad recognition in the film and advertising industry.
MINI was also the world’s first car maker to use an interactive print ad with a virtual 3D model. Applying this innovative augmented reality technology, MINI bridges the gap between the real and the digital world, between the two-dimensional print ad and the three-dimensional product. Only when the beholder has established an online connection to the www.mini.de/webcam website and receives the print ad on his computer’s webcam does the new MINI Convertible appear on his screen as a virtual model – live and in all three dimensions.
Like on a stage, the new MINI Convertible is suddenly parked on the advertising site, true-to-detail 3D data of the car being connected with the live picture. Then, as soon as the ad is moved, the MINI Convertible will also move in parallel, naturally in real time. This allows the beholder to choose his perspective as he wishes, interacting playfully with the model.
Unconventional and unmistakable: MINI marketing as a genuine happening.
All MINI marketing activities show unmistakable style and have a high recall factor. A further feature is their high standard of artistic excellence, with renowned artists in the world of design and film regularly contributing their creativity to the MINI and the band.
Unconventional marketing is indeed of particular significance to MINI within the entire range of communication activities. Precisely this is why innovative and surprising concepts serve time and again when introducing new models to reach important target groups and generate a powerful public effect with great appeal.
Such campaigns often take on the character of an artistic happening, the most coveted prizes and awards regularly confirming the innovative character and wealth of ideas borne out in the brand’s campaigns.
The classic Mini – the “Most Exciting Car in the World”.
Innovative, self-confident, charming: right from the start the classic Mini clearly presented its exceptional character not only on the road, but also in a close dialogue with the public. From the early years classic marketing concepts were used consistently to present the special features of this revolutionary small car in truly convincing style. With a twinkle in the eye, even the very first sales brochures emphasised that the whole world had been waiting for the “Incredible Austin Seven”, the letter “v” in “Seven” being replaced by the number “7”. And the Austin’s sister model, the Morris Mini-Minor, was presented just as proudly as the “Most Exciting Car in the World”.
The Mini marketing experts also kept a close eye on the worldwide success of television, carefully using this new media also for the Mini. Special TV commercials were therefore produced for various purposes in the market, in all cases emphasising selected facets of the Mini’s character and naturally considering the cultural context of the local public.
Whether as the perfect solution for congested traffic in downtown Paris or as the ideal means of transport to the beach in Australia – the Mini was always presented as the right car at the right place. Even in a cartoon it proudly presented its superiority, full of humour and again with that famous tongue-in-cheek style.
Making a new start with innovative ideas.
The re-launch of the brand in 2001 also marked a new beginning in marketing carefully prepared in parallel to the development of the car as such. The main challenge was to establish MINI as the first premium brand in the small car segment, with MINI to be positioned worldwide as a unique and fully independent brand in its own right – a brand revolving around the concept of enthusiasm and thrilling lifestyle.
These principles of brand management remain unchanged to this day, with the MINI characterised by its outstanding product substance and progressive technology, emotional design and agile driving behaviour as well as almost unlimited options in customising the car. A further significant point is finding and maintaining the right balance of continuity of a brand now going back 50 years and its innovative capacities.
Introducing the MINI, customers the world over for the first time had the opportunity to experience premium qualities in a small car. These outstanding qualities and features are indeed to be found in every model made by the brand, at the same time distinguishing MINI clearly from the competition.
The same applies to the brand’s appearance in public, where all marketing tools follow a unique, consistently recognisable style. Graphic elements, colours, the language of pictures and the MINI concept conveyed in words and pictures are clearly defined. MINI is refreshingly different. Through its openness and self-confidence, the brand gains great acceptance, through its appearance it arouses curiosity and appeal.
To arouse the attention of the target group in mind right from the start prior to the market launch of the MINI, the responsible marketing experts have been taking a new approach in communication from the beginning. The magazine “MINI international”, for example, regularly portrays selected cities around the globe, focusing on their particularly creative inhabitants.
Apart from classic communication, other innovative forms of communication such as “guerrilla marketing” are also used. And right from the start in the year 2000 MINI became the first car brand to use the internet not only as an information, but also as a positioning media for the product.
Modern technology providing new opportunities – also in marketing.
To this day technical progress in the area of communication has time and again opened up new opportunities in marketing – opportunities recognised and used very quickly by MINI in many cases.
Making a call on their mobile phone, for example, passers-by were able in 2006 to bring a poster presenting the MINI Cooper S to life. Under the motto “Wake Up the Bull”, the enthusiast was also able to activate clouds of smoke coming out of the MINI’s “nostrils”.
MINI was also the first car maker to astound movie-goers with a virtual test drive presented in a cinema film in 2008 on the agile handling of the MINI Clubman. Applying elaborate tricks and special effects, this film interacted directly with the audience, enabling the movie-goer to influence the driving behaviour of the MINI shown in the film through his or her reaction.
An infra-red camera used for this purpose detected the viewers’ movements, evaluating the information received within fractions of a second and changing the driving behaviour of the MINI accordingly. So that the MINI, driving dynamically along the screen, was not only an emotional, but also a physical experience for the audience.
Even before its world debut at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, the MINI Clubman had already hit the headlines through a number of unusual activities. Indeed, the new model was virtually omnipresent throughout Frankfurt during the entire show. Its rear view, for example, adorned the exit doors at the Airport Arrival Area. In downtown Frankfurt the same attractive view was to be admired on the doors leading to a number of trendy fashion shops. And near the Fairgrounds an installation of four upright cars dug into the ground up to their windscreen again attracted great attention. So following the world-famous Cadillac Ranch created in Amarillo, Texas, in 1974, the unusual rear-end design of the MINI Clubman came out in truly artistic style.
A genuine highlight in the literal sense of the word was the ten-floor-high light projection approximately 100 metres up the Frankfurt Fairground Tower. And last but not least, a MINI Clubman converted into a discotheque on wheels – “The Other Disco” – became a leading player not only in Frankfurt, but later also at music and fashion events in other cities.
Always good for a surprise: MINI installations in public areas.
Making a spectacular appearance in public areas, the MINI not always comes in its usual, ready-to-drive configuration. For ever since the re-launch of the brand in 2001, more than 170 true-to-scale fibre-glass models have been made and used for attractive campaigns in numerous countries.
Back in 2002, for example, the MINI travelled piggy-back on a big SUV through the USA, and a year later it was placed on a drawn catapult up on a poster wall in Canada. Alluding to the outstanding acceleration of the MINI Cooper, the poster requested the beholder to quickly fasten his seat belt. And in winter 2005/2006, finally, a seat for a full-sized MINI was reserved on the ski-lift in the Spanish skiing resort of La Molina.
MINI was of course a perfect host at the 2006 World Soccer Championships in Germany, the MINI Fan Hotel becoming a particularly exclusive place for fans and enthusiasts. Especially fans of the Brazilian Seleção and the Italian Squadra Azzurra just loved staying at the MINI Hotel Brazil and the MINI Hotel Italy. The more non-partisan aficionado, in turn, was able to choose the MINI Hotel International becoming one of the highlights two years later of the RADICAL ADVERTISING Exhibition on the occasion of the North-Rhine Westphalia Forum on Culture and Business in Düsseldorf.
A special activity giving the MINI brand genuine appeal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing remains a highlight to this very day: A special MINI was used in Beijing to offer both tourists and locals a truly intense and unforgettable driving experience. Riding in a MINI rickshaw – a blend of a bicycle and the MINI Clubman – passengers were able to travel in ideal style through the congested streets of Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. Driven by the power of human muscle, this exciting vehicle moved with zero emissions through the streets, the MINI rickshaw offering a perfect combination of the lasting tradition and dynamic progress so typical of Beijing and China as a whole. Combined, of course, with that little bit of fantasy, individual style and humour so typical of MINI.
12. Inspiring Character. MINI Lifestyle and Special Editions.
Creating something very special on the basis of a car already very special – this is the hallmark of the special editions, limited editions and one-off showpieces built time and again in the last fifty years first on the basis of the classic Mini and then on the basis of the new MINI.
This is not surprising, considering that this unique small car has fascinated and inspired artists in all disciplines time and again, fashion designers and painters as well as actors and musicians showing their creativity in designing and creating very special versions of the brand.
No other car has become the object of art and fashion as often and in the same diversity as the classic Mini and the MINI. Indeed, specialists discovered the potential of the classic Mini very early on, adorning the car both outside and inside with exclusive special features tailored to individual customer requests. On behalf of affluent and prominent customers, they therefore created spectacular special models enhancing the cult status of the Mini to an even higher level.
Mini in noble style: the Wickerwork Look.
British actor Peter Sellers was one of the first celebrities thrilled by the Mini and seeking to live out their sense for exclusive style. So giving the originally rather spartan small car particular sophisticated features within the interior and finishing the body in wickerwork design, Sellers promptly started a new trend. Indeed, this design later thrilled Rainier of Monaco to such a extent that he also had a classic Mini built in wickerwork trim as his own very special toy.
Other special versions of the classic Mini likewise remained unique, one-off models being built for many years to the individual taste of their future owners. In fact, it was only in the 1970s that Mini had the idea to offer Special Editions straight from the factory in response to frequent requests for a truly exclusive model.
The first car of this kind, the Mini Limited Edition 1000, immediately proved a success in 1976. On its 25th birthday in 1984, the Mini for the first time appeared as an Anniversary Model, with further Anniversary Models then following every five years until production of the classic Mini finally ceased in the year 2000.
Silver and gold on the car’s 40th birthday.
In the last few years of its production life, the classic Mini again attracted great attention on the part of creative artists. In 1997, for example, British fashion designer Paul Smith created a one-off model boasting unmistakable stripe livery.
A year later Smith designed a Special Edition Mini standing out both through its brilliant blue paintwork and straightforward elegance within the interior.
Celebrating its 40th birthday, the Mini became the subject of passion among an illustrious group of artists, each giving this forever-young small performer their very own, truly unique design look. Super-model Kate Moss, for example, who had already been driving a classic Mini in London for a long time, opted for a cobweb motif, while pop icon Davie Bowie had a Mini manufactured all in chrome and with reflecting glass surfaces. On the road, however, Bowie decided to stick to his regular production model he had bought only recently: “When it comes to parking the Mini is like a sandwich when you feel hungry – it is a perfectly designed classic”.
Actor Michael Caine, to quote another example, gave his black Mini a gold bar look alluding to the successful film “The Italian Job” in which Caine was involved in three Mini Coopers used to transport gold in one of the most spectacular pursuits in the history of the cinema.
A hit right from the start: the new MINI inspires pop musicians.
After the re-launch of the brand, the MINI again attracted the attention of fashion designers and many other artists almost over night. Celebrating the market launch of the MINI, the musicians of Jamiroquai created a one-off showpiece of the new MINI, Jay Kay, the group’s singer and a thrilled fan of stylish cars, adorning the MINI, among other features, with the group’s logo on its doors and bonnet as well as the name “Jamiromini”.
In one of her music videos, Madonna had a MINI Cooper converted for offroad use, the car giving up its doors but instead receiving offroad tyres and camouflage paintwork.
Highlighting the start of sales of the first-generation MINI Convertible in 2004, designers at Bisazza, the Italian lifestyle label, had the idea to present this open four-seater in a dress made of tiny mosaic stones. Indeed, no less than three MINI Cooper S Convertibles as well as two fixed-roof models received this magnificent look in individual style and colours, with more than 30,000 glass stones used on each car.
MINI, fashion, and charity: showing social commitment at the Life Ball.
Joining forces with renowned artists, MINI has been committed for eight years to the largest charity event in Europe, the Life Ball held annually in Vienna and generating revenues for national and international aids care projects. The event thus serves to support projects committed to enlightenment, medical research, and the treatment of HIV patients.
Contributing to these projects, MINI each year presents a special one-off model from the current portfolio finished in unique style by fashion designers.
The succession of Life Ball cars started just a few months after the official market launch of the new MINI with a car covered entirely by red fabric. A year later a MINI One proudly bearing the autographs of numerous celebrities made its appearance at the Life Ball, and ever since 2003, renowned fashion designers have given the MINI their special touch.
The first of these designers was Angelo Missoni adorning a MINI Cooper with countless flower motifs. In 2004 Gianfranco Ferré gave a red MINI Convertible a truly impressive crocodile look, with a MINI Cooper Convertible in Donatella Versace’s exclusive blossom look following in 2005, its interior also highlighting that typical Versace style, with gold-coloured seams on the black leather seats and Swarovski crystals on the gearshift lever.
In 2006 another MINI Cooper Convertible made its appearance on stage at the Life Ball Gala in Vienna, this time in the trendy jeans look of the Diesel fashion label. In 2007 renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino highlighted the outer skin of a MINI Cooper with glittering fireworks motifs offering truly unique glamour. And the 2008 Life Ball MINI, finally, proudly came in the provocative pin-up look of lingerie label Agent Provocateur.
Since 2002 the cars provided by MINI are auctioned after the Life Ball Gala, with proceeds going to aids projects. In the course of eight events, this has already generated more than Euro 300,000 for the fight against HIV infection and AIDS – again another remarkable achievement by MINI.
13.A Question of Style. The MINI Collection.
Driving the MINI is simply fascinating – time and again. But the unique feeling so typical of the MINI goes much, much further. And to express his or her passion for unmistakable style also off the road, the genuine enthusiast will find lots of options in the MINI Collection.
This unique Collection comprises fashion, jewellery, accessories and lots of lifestyle products which make it easier not only for the MINI driver to clearly express his or her individual style. Technology, innovation, fun and quality are the primary features offered by the MINI Collection. And like the MINI model range, the MINI Collection is constantly growing and becoming increasingly versatile. Creativity and inspiration are therefore the name of the game in both cases, constantly presenting new facets of a unique feeling in life. New models and new lifestyle products, therefore, enable the connoisseur to enjoy the typical feeling of MINI in a growing number of situations.
On its route in becoming an international best seller in all classes and on all levels of society, the classic Mini in its day already inspired the world of fashion time and again. Renowned designers created individual, one-off models with exceptional body paintwork and interior features.
In the 1970s the Mini finally proceeded from the garage to the houses of its fans everywhere – as a miniature model for the children’s room or as a collector’s item for the display cabinet.
Introducing the MINI, the Company also decided to start the unique MINI Collection. And from the beginning, this exclusive line-up of outstanding products was characterised by stylish, cosmopolitan and highly appealing as well as truly surprising details. The MINI Collection takes up the latest exciting trends time and again, continuing and enhancing these trends in the typical style of the brand.
MINI all the way: imaginative, versatile, unmistakable.
In their drafts for the MINI Collection, the most outstanding designers focus not only on the latest fashion trends, but also on the design language and lines of the various MINI models. Indeed, the cars also set the foundation for the various products through their colours and materials, helping to create a product portfolio typical of the brand and truly versatile in every respect, and constantly introducing new ideas to remain absolutely unique.
A good example in this context is MINI’s close cooperation with the Japanese brand Onitsuka Tiger, using design features carried over from the MINI Clubman for their range of sneakers. Rubber patches on the front and back of these sneakers have the same honeycomb design as the radiator grille of the MINI Cooper S Clubman, the inner sole comes in the same profile as the leather seats in the car, and a MINI logo is to be admired beneath the tab on the heel.
A new highlight in the fashion range: the MINI Anniversary T-Shirt.
Moving on to fashion products, the current MINI Collection offers particular highlights through a “Drive of Fame” star printed on the various garments and further embellished by attractive embroidery. The range of choice in the Women Styles Collection extends from classic T-shirts bearing various MINI motifs, dresses, sweat shirts and jackets all the way to the Ladies’ Biker Jacket with its upright collar and extra-wide belt.
The Men’s Styles also come with a wide range of T-shirts, sweat shirts and jackets, as well as the Men’s Bike Jacket and a white Men’s Tattoo Longsleeve as brand-new highlights with a print motif applied inside and shining through to the outside.
Various T-shirts and sweat jackets with individual print motifs and styles are also available specifically for the youngest fans of MINI.
Yet a further highlight in the current range is the John Cooper Works Collection comprising both fashion products and accessories as an expression of the brand’s sporting spirit also beyond the race track. And celebrating the anniversary of MINI, the fashion range for men and women now comes with an exclusive T-shirt proudly bearing the anniversary logo at the front.
MINI feeling wherever you go: accessories and lifestyle products.
The MINI Collection also comes with a wide range of bags and cases enhanced once again in the anniversary year – stylish and trendy companions for everyday life and when travelling. In developing and producing these accessories, MINI cooperates with the most renowned suppliers ensuring full observance of MINI’s quality standards.
The other accessories include sunglasses, baseball caps, belts, scarves and watches again in that unmistakable MINI style, as well as numerous products providing special moments on and next to the road. A MINI magnet board, a laptop case, note pads, address books, key rings, bottles for all kinds of beverages, picnic cloths, a rain cover, the MINI Baby Racer for the sporting youngster, miniature models in various dimensions and colours, a car racing set and even a MINI cushion allow the enthusiast to enjoy the individual style and flair of the brand everywhere and all the time.
The Cuckoo Clock reminiscent in its design of the large circular instrument on the dashboard of the current MINI has already become a spectacular classic in the MINI Collection. A particular highlight of this wall clock now available in two versions is the 1:93 model of a MINI or a MINI Clubman running round the face of the clock every hour, with that typical sound of a MINI replacing the call of the cuckoo.
Another equally unique feature exclusive to the MINI Collection is the 14-litre Urban Chill Box serving to keep beverages both cool and hot and available in five different designs.
The MINI Collection: starring at fashion events and on the cinema screen.
The MINI Collection has already become a highlight in the fashion scene and is to be admired regularly at the most outstanding fashion events. One of these events is the renowned BREAD & BUTTER fashion show in Barcelona, where the MINI Collection has already been presented on various occasions. Other, comparable events likewise provide the ideal setting time and again for the MINI brand.
Like the car itself, the MINI Collection has also made it to the cinema screen, with numerous performances in many productions. The Cuckoo Clock and the MINI Baby Racer, for example, play important roles in the Disney production Lily the Witch – the Dragon and the Magical Book. Together with the leading female star Alina Freund, the animated dragon Hector shows his great interest in the MINI Collection in this cinema production of the famous children’s book. In particular he loves the MINI Baby Racer for getting around in fast and furious style.
All products in the MINI Collection are marketed worldwide through the MINI dealer network. An overview of the MINI Collection with all its products is also available online, with all products being presented at www.MINI.com/shop, where the enthusiast may also place his or her orders.
Susanne Spatz, MINI Product Communications
Telephone: +49-89-382-20961, Fax: +49-89-382-20626
Cypselus von Frankenberg, MINI Product Communications
Telephone: +49-89-382-30641, Fax: +49-89-382-20626
Manfred Grunert, Technology Communication, Spokesperson Heritage and ConnectedDrive
Telephone: +49 89 382 27797, Fax: +49 89 382 23927
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