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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
One of the largest U.S.-based tire manufacturers, Cooper Tires, is set to merge with India-based Apollo Tyres in a $2.5-billion deal.
Cooper Tires has announced the newest addition to its portfolio with an innovative mid-range option called the CS3 Touring.
The name Cooper might not bring up mental pictures of high-speed racing like Formula One or NASCAR, but the company certainly knows what it’s doing when it comes to a high-performance street tire. Continue Reading…
As if right on cue, MINI has released not one, but two special edition packages for its Cooper and Clubman models. Dubbed Hyde Park and Green Park, both packages pay homage to the Royal Parks in the heart of London.
Both special editions are available worldwide, helping bring a little more British style to our favorite MINI models. The Hyde Park package comes with a Pepper White exterior combined with Hot Chocolate contrasting paintwork on the roof and exterior mirror caps. This is the first time that Hot Chocolate has been offered by the British automaker. Highlighting the Hyde Park package is hood and side stripes in Hot Chocolate further accented by transparent white indicator lenses.
On the interior of the Hyde Park MINI models, Pepper White accents find its way inside. Seats will come in cloth/leather or Leather Gravity with the Carbon Black or Polar Beige Colour Line with the MINI Yours dash lined in leather in a Black/Polar Beige combo.
The Green Park model’s upgrades are identical to the Hyde Park except that it trades the Hot Chocolate shade for a sportier British Racing Green color.
GALLERY: MINI Hyde Park and Green Park Special Editions
MINI has announced yet another special edition model, this time paying tribute to 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winner Rauno Aaltonen. Available on both Cooper or Cooper S models, the Rauno Aaltonen model is set off by its Chili Red exterior.
For upgrades, the Rauno Aaltonen edition MINI features a white hood intake, and racing stripes down the hood and trunk of the car. On the side are matching red stripes with a checkered theme, while the unique 17-inch Infinite Stream Spoke wheels are also finished off in white.
Inside the Cooper or Cooper S is a specially-badged leather steering wheel and a speedometer which features a red outer ring with an image of the original Flying Finn’s signature.
The best part of the MINI Rauno Aaltonen is that buyers get a day of rally driving instruction on ice at a school owned by Rauno and his son Tino.
GALLERY: MINI Rauno Aaltonen
Tires can make a huge difference in your car’s handling and safety. Additionally, with the right rubber, you can enjoy a more comfortable driving experience and even save money.
The right tires depends a lot on how you drive, and in what weather conditions. To help you pick, Consumer Reports has released a list of the best tires in several different categories: All Season, Performance All Season, Ultra High Performance All-Season, Ultra High Performance Summer, Winter and Performance Winter.
All-season tires are the standard equipment for most manufacturers. They’re the ideal combination of performance in wet and dry conditions. Additionally, they’re known to be very comfortable and quiet compared to performance tires.
The top 4 All-Season tires for cars are:
Continental ProContact EcoPlus+
Michelin Energy Saver A/S
Hankook Optimo H727
Goodyear Assurance TripleTred
The Continental, Michelin and Hankook tires all scored a rating of 82 in Consumer Reports test, while the Goodyear tires netted a score of 80.
Named after an extremely vibrant area of London, the MINI Bayswater special edition is vibrant in its own right, focusing primarily on “the sporting verge and agile handling for which MINI is renowned.”
The special edition is available as a MINI Cooper or MINI Cooper S sporting a Kite Blue metallic exterior paint job, created exclusively for the Bayswater. On each corner of the MINI is a 17-inch Sandblast wheel with a high-gloss black surface. Those not entirely too keen on the bright blue can also order the Bayswater in Midnight Black metallic or Eclipse Grey metallic paint on the Cooper S model.
Those opting for the Kite Blue metallic, however, will also get a contrasting black roof and sport stripes on the hood and mirror covers. Bayswater lettering can be seen on the side indicator surrounds, door sills and seat tags, while the Punch Leather seats are refinished in an exclusive Rocklite Anthracite color. Two-tone contrast stitching can also be seen throughout the interior of the Bayswater.
That’s not all the interior gets however, as the Bayswater special edition also outfits the MINI with stainless steel pedals and the Chrome Line Interior package and the Pepper Pack. As mentioned before, the Bayswater can be ordered on the standard MINI Cooper with 121-hp or the MINI Cooper S with 181-hp.
In addition to the Bayswater, MINI is also offering a special edition Baker Street model.
GALLERY: MINI Bayswater Special Edition
MINI’s new Goodwood model was unveiled at the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California this week. The MINI Goodwood is an exclusive special edition which has been produced in close collaboration with the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team.
This is a car that drips of automotive luxury and exclusivity in its highest form. The Goodwood has been priced at $52,000, making it the most expensive MINI ever. Only 1000 will be produced with only 140 will be coming to the US. The Goodwood features an interior and exterior design cragfted from the same fine materials and workmanship as the ultra-luxurious Rolls-Royce brand.
Two of the most beautiful features of the exterior design are the body finish in the exclusive Diamond Black metallic Rolls-Royce colour and 17-inch multi-spoke light alloy rims. The interior features seats covered in Lounge leather, Lambswool floor mats, a cashmere headliner and fascia and front door grab handles in burr walnut veneer and a sports steering wheel in Walknappa leather and Piano Black controls.
The MINI will be powered by the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine featured in the 2011 MINI Cooper S. The powerplant will have Twin Scroll turbochargers producing 181-hp. The MINI can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 6.6 seconds.
Deliveries are scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2012.
GALLERY: MINI Goodwood
In continuing their special edition Coopers named after London boroughs, districts, streets and landmarks, MINI has announced the Soho Edition available to the Mini Cooper Hatch and Convertible and the Cooper D Hatch and Convertible.
The Soho Edition follows up the success of last year’s Soho Clubman Edition, and this year’s Soho Edition will be sold from July 2011 until March 2012. Pricing varies for each model, with the MINI Cooper Soho hatch starting at around $27,300, the Cooper D Soho Hatch comes in at $29,370, the Soho Convertible is $31,020 and the Cooper D Soho Convertible is available at $32,770.
Unique to the Soho Edition is an exclusive White Silver metallic paint that is contrasted by the vehicle’s 17-inch Black Star Bullet wheels. Minor accessories include Bi-Xenon headlights, black interior reflectors and white indicators. For the interior, the Soho Edition has an Anthracite headliner, 3-spoke sport leather steering wheel and Piano Black interior surfaces.
GALLERY: MINI Soho Limited Edition
Specially designed for the Chinese market, luxury luggage manufacturer Tumi has teamed up with MINI to make two “MINI Goes Tumi” models. The unique MINI concepts are coated in different paint schemes, Alpha (black) for one and Alpha Brave (Hunter Green) for the other, with contrasting highlights on the exterior. The rest of the cars are also inspired by Tumi colors, from the tires to the grille to the trunk lid.
The majority of the upgrades are, however, on the interior, with custom Tumi fabrics and a matching set of luggage created exclusively for each vehicle. One car features an orange and black combination while the other sports a black and red variant.
Both are set to go on tour this year as MINI looks to team up with new partners on other special edition models.
GALLERY: MINI Goes Tumi
MINI has been know to have fun with their commercials and they definitely pulled it off with their newest ad. In this latest commercial entitled “Another Day. Another Adventure” the coupe tours around through Iceland, Rio De Janiero and Hong Kong in less than a week.
The cars goes through a series of parades, parties and adventures, picking up different passengers along the way. The slogan in the video is; “no matter where you are, no matter where you are going, adventure will find you”. It’s a fun, happy commercial and the coupe looks great from every angle.
Three different trims will be offered with the Coupe including the standard Cooper, Cooper S and the high performance John Cooper works model. The base model will start at $22,000 and have a 121-hp engine. The S model will start at $25,300 and gets a turbocharged 181-hp engine. The steroid infused JCW model will start at $31,900 and produce 208-hp, also through a turbocharged engine.
Check out the commercial after the jump!
Gallery: MINI Coupe
AC Schnitzer is laying claim that they sport the world’s fastest MINI, with their John Cooper Works-based AC Schnitzer Eagle. And while you’re probably thinking AC Schnitzer set some record on the quarter mile or out at Nurburgring, their test bed was actually the famed Grand Prix Circuit at Hockenheim. It was there that their Eagle laid waste to the track, clocking in a 1:13.341 lap time.
According to AC Schnitzer, that lap time is good enough to blow away MINI’s direct competition and only cars such as the X-BOW, M3 and AMG Mercedes were able to beat their Eagle around the track. To compare, BMW’s 1M Coupe recently logged a time of 1:14.1 in its 340-hp body. So AC Schnitzer has been able to fine-tune their Eagle to 260-hp and shaved off about 176-lbs and the result speaks for itself.
Unfortunately those interested in what AC Schnitzer has done to the John Cooper Works MINI in order to achieve this type of performance will have to sit in the dark some more. This was simply done as a concept study and will not be available for sale, as AC Schnitzer wanted to optimize all areas of the vehicle for efficient performance. What we do know is that along with the power upgrades (which includes a full exhaust), AC Schnitzer employed height-adjustable racing suspension and a set of 18-inch AC Schnitzer Mi2 wheels.
They did announce that the AC Schnitzer Eagle has a value of almost $89,000.
Check out a video of the beast after the break.
GALLERY: AC Schnitzer MINI Cooper Eagle
Not to be outdone by the Rolls-Royce influenced MINI Cooper Goodwood, Vilner has put their own spin on a luxury-inspired Cooper S by outfitting it with Bentley-styled interior. The Bulgarian tuner decided to completely revamp the MINI’s interior with double-diamond stitched brown Nappa leather and Alcantara on the seats, headliner, door panels, center console and dash.
Contrasting the brown Nappa leather is sleek black leather throughout while any of the original plastic parts that don’t match have been resprayed a sparkling gray hue. In addition to the Bentley-inspired luxurious interior, Vilner decided to add their own styling touch to the outside. Their MINI Cooper S sports a matte gray wrap that is further accented with a pair of matte black racing stripes. Lastly, they tossed on a set of 18-inch wheels for good measure.
No pricing was announced on the interior conversion, but we’re willing to guess it’s a tad more affordable than the MINI Cooper Goodwood.
GALLERY: Vilner MINI Cooper S
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded their investigation into 60,000 the 2004-2005 MINI Cooper, regarding power steering issues linked to three fires.
519 complaints have been reviewed, alleging an unexpected loss of power steering assist while driving, has led the federal safety agency to upgrade its investigation. No injuries or serious crashes have been reported.
BMW AG has also received 4,508 warranty claims for steering issues. 2,800 claims alone were for the 2004 Copper and Cooper S models. The steering issue stems from a malfunctioning cooling fan or an undervoltage condition in the power steering system, BMW said.
NHTSA’s next step is to decide whether it will ask BMW to recall the vehicles.
[Source: Detroit News]
As part of MINI‘s 2011 Cooper lineup and debuts at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, an announcement has been made that a John Cooper Works Tuning Kit will be available for the MINI Cooper S, MINI Cooper S Clubman and MINI Cooper S Convertible. The tuning kit will raise horsepower to 200-hp and torque to 186 ft-lbs, with an overboost function that increases torque even more to 199 ft-lbs.
The John Cooper Works factory tuning kit includes an optimized engine management (reprogrammed ECU) and a new air filter system. Both these simple modifications are the reasons for the horsepower upgrade. The tuning kit boosts 0-62 mph acceleration to 6.8 seconds while raising top speed to 145-mph.
In addition, enthusiasts will also be able to purchase a new muffler with stainless steel exhaust tips, and 18-inch Cross Spoke Red Stripe wheels.
No pricing for the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit or other accessories has been announced yet.
GALLERY: 2011 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works Tuning Kit
If you still think that matte black paint jobs are just a fad, think again. MINI has decided to release a limited edition factory package that can be added onto any Cooper variant, turning it from a hip, trendy little car to a stealthy and sleek trendy little car. Dubbed the Mat Edition, MINI will be limiting the package to 250 vehicles – except they’ll only be available in France.
For a little over $3,800 extra, the Mat Edition MINI receives the matte black paint job accented with checkered mirror covers. Each unit will also be numbered on the side air intakes and on the lucky owner’s key ring.
Owners will be able to add the Mat Edition package to the standard Cooper, Cooper D or Cooper S John Cooper Works.
All said, it’s not a bad deal, considering what some manufacturers charge for pearl paint (even as a standard color), and we’re digging the move by MINI to offer a matte finish from the factory. Then again, a wrap-job could give you the same result and save you a few grand.
Second gen drop-top comes with top-down timer
With the slogan “Always Open” MINI unveiled the convertible versions of it’s successful second generation Cooper and Cooper S models.
The Cooper will come with a 118hp four-cylinder engine and the Cooper S with a 172hp powerplant.
Impressively MINI claims a 22 percent reduction in emissions and fuel compared to the past convertible model.
The last Convertible version of the MINI Cooper was a sales success with 164,000 units sold. MINI expects equally impressive sales for the second gen ‘vert after the new coupe models posted surprisingly high sales during 2008.
In fact MINI sold roughly 232,000 units last year (with the US accounting for roughly one-quarter of those). This gave the company a sales growth of 29 percent over 2007.
For the 2010 MINI Convertible, MINI is putting its “Always Open” motto into practice with the inclusion of an “Always Open timer.” This fun gimmick will allow drivers to keep track of how long they drive with the top down.
Official release after the jump: