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Tuesday, October 16, 2007


MINI is the name of a Cowley, England-based subsidiary of BMW as well as that of a car produced by that subsidiary since April 2001.

The car, designed by Frank Stephenson, 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. The name is written in capital letters to distinguish it from its predecessor. Upon general release the car was marketed as "NEW MINI" although it is commonly less officially referred to as "BMW Mini". Originally developed by Rover Group and to be sold under the Rover brand and made at the Longbridge plant, the MINI project was retained by BMW when the latter divested itself of Rover in 2000. The MINI is assembled in Cowley, Oxford, United Kingdom, in what was historically the Pressed Steel Company body plant, now known as Plant Oxford.

The 2001 to 2006 model years included four hatchback models: the basic "MINI One", the diesel-engined "MINI One/D", the sportier "MINI Cooper" and the supercharged "MINI Cooper S". In 2005 a convertible roof option was added. In November 2006 a greatly re-engineered version of the MINI was released which is unofficially known as the "Mk II MINI".. The Mk II is only available as a hard-top in the 2007 model year.

The MINI was designed and engineered to replace the long running Rover 100 and the larger Rover 200, both deemed unsuitable for the modern world automobile market. The MINI was supposed to replace low-end models of the 200 and high-end models of the 100 with a Rover 35 replacing high end 200s and low end 400s. After the divestment of MG Rover, the MINI was instead marketed as a small yet desirable city car rather than a mainstream replacement of the 100 and 200.

2001 to 2007 - The Mk I MINI

In Portugal and Greece, the MINI One is powered by a 1.4 litre version of the Tritec engine but all other petrol powered MINIs use the 1.6 litre 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. The Cooper S also has twin exhausts which exit under the center 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.

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