2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Road transport

2004 MINI Cooper S, electric blue/white
Manufacturer: BMW
Production: 2001-present
Predecessor: Mini
Class: Supermini/ Hot hatch
Body style: 3-door hatchback
2-door convertible
Engine: 1.4 l Toyota Diesel
1.4 l Tritec
1.6 l Tritec
1.6 l Tritec Supercharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual
6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 2.46 m
Length: 3.60 m
Width: 1.69 m
Height: 1.39 m
Curb weight: 1050 kg

MINI is both the name of a United Kingdom subsidiary of BMW, and a car produced by that subsidiary since 2001. The car is marketed as a " retro" redesign of the original Mini, which was manufactured by the British Motor Corporation and its successors from 1959 to 2000. To distinguish it from its predecessor, the 'classic Mini', the brand name for the new car is 'MINI', written in all capital letters . It is sometimes called 'The BMW MINI' (despite MINI being a separate subsidary like Jaguar is to Ford), 'The New MINI', or simply 'MINI'. The MINI is manufactured in Cowley, Oxford, United Kingdom, in what was historically the Morris car plant.


The MINI is available in seven models: the MINI One D, the MINI One, the MINI One Convertible, the MINI Cooper, the MINI Cooper S, the MINI Cooper Convertible and the MINI Cooper S Convertible. In Portugal, the MINI One is powered by a 1.4 l version of the Tritec engine but all other petrol powered MINIs use the 1.6 l version. Since 2004, a soft-top convertible option has been available across the entire range.

There are numerous styling and badging differences between the models, perhaps the most obvious being that the Cooper S has a distinctive scoop cut into the bonnet to provide airflow over the top mounted intercooler. The Cooper S also has twin exhausts which exit under the centre of the rear valance. The (non-S) Cooper has more chrome parts than the MINI One and has a single exhaust. The MINI One/D has no visible exhaust pipes at all.

In some markets, such as Australia and the US, only the MINI Cooper and Cooper S are sold because the MINI One's engine was considered to deliver insufficient power to run an air conditioner - a necessary feature in those climates. However, the only difference between the engines in the 'One' and the 'Cooper' models is a software change within the engine control unit which is tuned for optimum fuel economy on the MINI One and for a compromise between power and economy on the Cooper. Almost fifty percent of all MINIs sold in Australia and about seventy percent of those sold in the US are the top-of-the-range Cooper S model.

The names Cooper and Cooper S echo the names used for the sportier version of the classic Mini which in turn come from the involvement of John Cooper and the Cooper Car Company. The Cooper heritage is further emphasised with the John Cooper Works (JCW) range of tuning options that are available with the MINI. John Cooper also created a one off racing model of the MINI one named the MINI one s works. This car features many extras which help to improve performance such as a racing exhaust and air filter as well as uprated suspension. The car also has one of a kind 17 inch racing wheels..


2003 MINI Cooper S and Mk III classic Mini.
2003 MINI Cooper S and Mk III classic Mini.
A 2006 MINI Cooper S Checkmate
A 2006 MINI Cooper S Checkmate

The MINI One, Cooper and Cooper S use a Brazilian-built Tritec engine while the MINI One D uses a Toyota-built diesel engine. In August 2006, BMW announced that engines would in future be built in the UK, making the car essentially British-built again (as well as the final assembly at Cowley, the body pressings are made in nearby Swindon).

While the modern MINI uses none of the engineering of the original Mini, it does capture much of the spirit of the classic car. Like the original, it uses a transversely-mounted four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels. All four wheels are pushed to the corners of the body which is a 'two-box' or ' hot hatch' design. The styling of the car, like that of the Volkswagen New Beetle, is a retro design that is deliberately reminiscent of the original Mini with contrasting roof colours, optional bonnet stripes, optional rally lights and with black trim around the wheel arches and rocker panels that mimic the wide wheel flares found on many classic Minis.

The recent new R56 MINI uses the BMW-PSA 1.4/1.6 Prince 4 cylinder engine. This engine uses a system known as VALVETRONIC to control valves for optimum performance and/or efficiency. The 2006 MINI uses a drivetrain architecture based on that of the Peugeot 207 and the Citroen C3 replacement.

The MINI One and MINI Cooper are available with a continuously variable transmission or with a conventional Getrag five-speed manual transmission. The Cooper S comes with a six-speed Getrag manual or (from the 2005 model year onwards) a fully automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

Technical innovations include an electrically driven power steering system that avoids taking power directly from the engine, equal length driveshafts to eliminate torque steer, and a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension usually found only on rear wheel drive cars. The MINI has a ' drive by wire' electronic throttle, electronic brakeforce distribution, cornering brake control, and electronic stability control to improve control and handling in adverse conditions.

Adding a supercharger to the Cooper S model required that the battery be relocated into the rear of the car — leaving no room for a spare tyre. Hence this model comes with run flat tyres as standard.


A 2005 MINI Cooper S Convertible (Hot Orange/Black) and a 2003 MINI Cooper S (British Racing Green/White)
A 2005 MINI Cooper S Convertible (Hot Orange/Black) and a 2003 MINI Cooper S (British Racing Green/White)

At the ' Salon International de l'Auto' ( Geneva Motor Show) in 2004, MINI introduced a cabriolet ( convertible) model which was released in the 2005 model year and available in One, Cooper and Cooper S versions.

The convertible roof is fully automatic — an unusual feature in such a small car — and can be opened partially to act as a sunroof whilst the car is driving at speed. The convertible model forsakes the rear hatch of the hardtop MINI — replacing it with a drop down 'tailgate' design reminiscent of the classic Mini and incorporating similarly prominent external hinges. The convertible also adds two small power windows for the rear seat passengers which are retracted automatically as the roof opens. The roof is made from a heavy cloth with many layers of insulation; the rear window is of glass and has a heater/defroster but no washer or wiper.

As a joke, (and undoubtedly as a part of MINI's viral marketing approach) purchasers of the MINI convertible were asked to sign a 'contract' promising that they'd drive the car with the roof open at least 90% of the time. MINI also set up a telephone hotline (in the USA: 1-888-DO NOT CLOSE) which one may call to report convertible owners who are driving with the roof up inappropriately. The automated system offers such helpful advice as how to administer a wedgie to the offender.

The Works GP MINI

The last version to be made with the Tritec engine is the "MINI Cooper S Works GP", a lightweight, race-prepped John Cooper Works model. Hand-finished by Bertone in Italy, it was produced as a limited-production run of 2000 cars in 2006, with around 400 of those ear-marked for both the US and UK markets. The 'GP' features more bolstered front seats but has no rear seats, which along with reduced sound-deadening, deleting the rear wash-wipe, offering optional air-conditioning and making other steps to reduce the overall weight, resulted in a weight saving of around 40 kg over a Cooper S. Additionally, the car has enhanced braking and suspension, as well as 218 horsepower from the John Cooper Works engine modification package. In place of the rear seats there is additional body stiffening and below-floor storage areas. There are many unique styling points such as the red door mirrors, a carbon fibre rear spoiler, unique body kit, bespoke (2 kg lighter) 4-spoke alloy wheels and specialised badging. Available in just one colour scheme, Thunder Blue with a Pure Silver roof, each car is individually numbered and features a decal on the roof along with a plaque on the dashboard. The last of the supercharged MINIs and a genuine Limited Edition model, it is expected that the MINI Cooper S Works GP will become a collectors' item.

Success story

MINI owners were invited to bring their cars to the world premiere of The Italian Job
MINI owners were invited to bring their cars to the world premiere of The Italian Job

Whilst the car has been criticized for its poor space-efficiency compared with the original Mini (despite its significantly larger size), its faithfulness to the original's razor sharp handling characteristics and its unique styling has seen the MINI become a sales success in Europe and (from 2002) in the U.S..

BMW has received a significant backlog of orders throughout the life of the car and the Cowley factory is currently expanding to reach a capacity of around 240,000 cars per year; all of this with little conventional advertising.

The car has featured in many movies, most notable of which is the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. (See also: List of movies in which Mini cars are featured.)

As with the classic Mini, the new MINI has a widespread club and enthusiast following and strong after-market support for performance upgrades and styling enhancements. Such community support keeps the brand highly valued and shows BMW's decision to relaunch the MINI as a successful business strategy. The MINI Cooper/Cooper S won the North American Car of the Year award for 2003.


Dr. Alex Moulton, designer of the suspension system for the original classic Mini, is reported to have said of the new MINI, in an interview with MiniWorld magazine ―"It’s enormous — the original Mini was the best packaged car of all time — this is an example of how not to do it… it’s huge on the outside and weighs the same as an Austin Maxi. The crash protection has been taken too far. I mean, what do you want, an armoured car? It is an irrelevance in so far as it has no part in the Mini story."

Many classic Mini enthusiasts are sharply critical of the new MINI, citing the fact that it is two feet longer, a foot wider and almost twice the weight of the classic car — yet it has less rear leg room and less luggage space. Undoubtedly much of this is to do with modern crash protection requirements and the desire to incorporate features such as air conditioning, a supercharged engine with modern emissions controls and a higher level of front-seat comfort than the classic Mini was capable of. This opinion is far from universal and other classic Mini enthusiasts have embraced the modern MINI as a natural evolution of the original concept with many of them owning both kinds of car.

Some MINI convertible owners criticise the poor rear visibility in the convertible. With the roof up the wide areas of cloth down the sides of the car block visibility to the rear quarters and the lack of washer/wiper on the small rear window — combined with the tendency of all MINIs to accumulate dirt on the back end — effectively eliminates all rear visibility. Even with the roof down, the large roll-protection bars above the back seats and the bunched up cloth of the folded roof tends to block a significant fraction of rearward visibility. In an attempt to counter this problem when reversing the car, the MINI convertible comes with rear-mounted proximity sensors as standard equipment (these are available as an option on the hardtop MINI).


MINI is introducing a new version of the car for the 2007 model year, on a reengineered platform with many stylistic and engineering changes. This architecture is shared with PSA Peugeot Citroën and will be more flexible. The engineering will be done in the United Kingdom by MINI/BMW Group UK Engineering.

The so-called 'Mk II MINI' (echoing the 'mark number' naming of the classic Mini) is being introduced in January 2007 in the Cooper and Cooper S badges and the range will be completed in 2007 with the arrival of the Mk II MINI One and a diesel variant . The MINI convertible will continue to use the Mk I platform for at least a year.

Though the Mk II has a familiar look, every panel on the new car will be changed from the old model. New safety requirements mean that the overall length has increased by 60 mm, the front end raised and the indicators have been repositioned inside the headlights. The headlights themselves are now fixed to the front quarter panels rather than being housed within the bonnet so that they are not raised up with it when the bonnet opens. The car will feature a restyled grille and larger rear light clusters. The Cooper S will retain the bonnet scoop in order to keep an association with the outgoing model - although the relocation of the intercooler to the front of the engine means that the scoop is now purely decorative. The C pillars are no longer encased in glass and have been shaped to improve aerodynamics and to reduce the tendency for dirt to accumulate on the back of the car. Much criticised for the lack of rear legroom, MINI has added more space for rear passengers by creating sculpted cut-outs in the rear of the front seats. An engine starter button will replace the conventional ignition key.

The Cooper and Cooper S models will offer a new rear axle and aluminium components to reduce the car's weight and a Sports kit option comprising harder springs, damper and anti-roll bars is offered with both variants. Another key difference is the introduction of an upgraded electric power steering system, the sharpness of which can be increased by pressing a Sport button on the dashboard – which also adjusts the response of the accelerator.

As for engines, the Tritec engine will be replaced in the Cooper model with a 120 bhp 1.6-litre Prince engine with infinitely variable valve timing, developed with Peugeot. It is reported in early road tests that this takes the car from 0-62 mph in a claimed 9.1 seconds and has top speed of 125 mph. Fuel economy of 48.7 mpg on the combined cycle is nearly 8 mpg better. The more powerful 175 bhp Cooper S will see the supercharger replaced by a new twin scroll turbocharger in the interests of efficiency, and will feature gasoline direct injection. This engine also has an "overboost" function which temporarily raises the torque by 15 lb•ft (20 Nm) under hard acceleration. As a result, 0-62 mph is covered in a claimed 7.1 seconds, and top speed is 140 mph. It achieves similar improvements in fuel economy to the Cooper, returning 40.9mpg combined. Both cars will come with six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. The turbocharged engine is the same (although with some French engineering modifications) as the one in the Peugeot 207 GTi/RC.

All models of the Mk II will have the option of "Hill Assist", a new feature which prevents the car from rolling back on an incline by holding the brakes on after you lift your foot from the brake pedal until you press the accelerator.

The interior of the Mk II echoes the style of the earlier model but is in fact a complete redesign. The boot of the new car will have an additional 10 litres of load space.

The Mk II MINI will be built by MINI's Production Triangle - Plant Swindon (body panels), Plant Hams Hall (engine) and finally Plant Oxford, where final assembly work is completed.

Prototype and concept cars

BMW first showed the MINI as a concept car that looked very different from the production cars. It had circular headlamps, huge wheel flares and a much more rounded appearance overall compared to the production design.

Before the first sales of the MINI, prototype versions were shown at the 2000 Paris Auto Show. These were essentially identical to the version that was finally sold except that the colours used ('Candy Blue' and 'Flamenco Orange') have never been used in production cars.

BMW demonstrated a hydrogen-powered internal combustion technology in some of their concept cars in 2000 and 2001, and MINI showcased a hydrogen powered concept car in 2001 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The car differs from electric-motor hydrogen concepts, such as the Honda FCX in that it uses a cylinder-based internal combustion engine.

An all-electric MINI is in use at the British Embassy in Mexico that uses around 200 kg of Lithium Ion batteries. Three electric MINIs were also made for use in some subway scenes in the 2003 movie The Italian Job to satisfy the subway authorities concerns over possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

With higher powered engines, the standard front wheel drive MINI tends to produce more wheel spin instead of more acceleration — a four wheel drive would be a natural solution to that problem. Getrag (who make the MINI's gearbox) demonstrated a four wheel drive version of the MINI in 2004.

MINI Traveller concept car at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show
MINI Traveller concept car at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show

At the Frankfurt Motor show in 2005, MINI revealed a retro version of the classic 'Mini Traveller' station wagon. Based on a stretched wheelbase with two side-hinged rear doors and separate rear seats replacing the split bench seat of the standard MINI. At the Tokyo show, the same basic concept reappeared with some fanciful additions — a circular roof section could be removed to form a picnic table with four folding chairs. The rear side windows were replaced with fold-down storage containers containing cutlery, cups and plates. In Detroit, a further version was presented without the table and chairs — but with a radically restyled interior.

Additional MINI models, including a four-door version, a two-seat roadster and a dune buggy have been shown as computer-graphic mock-ups at various times.


The Mini is currently used in the Grand Am Cup Series. As of 13 September 2006, the Mini is seventh in the standings for the Sport Tourer class.

Retrieved from ""