AutoGuide News Blog
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.
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
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
BMW is currently cooperating with NHTSA to recall 88,911 MINI Cooper models that were sold between 2007 to 2011 for fire risk. Affected models include the 2007-2011 MINI Cooper S, 2008-2011 MINI Cooper S Clubman, 2009-2011 MINI Cooper S Convertible and additional variants manufactured between November 2006 to January 2011.
Back in summer of 2010, BMW began investigating reports of engine fires and the NHTSA opened their own independent investigation in October. It’ is only recently that the NHTSA has sought further assistance from BMW on the matter.
In total, NHTSA has received at least 12 separate complaints of MINI Cooper S models catching fire. Five of the fires reported have completely destroyed the vehicles while the rest have caught fire when the engine wasn’t even running. No injuries related to the fires have been reported fortunately.
NHTSA has recently found that the circuit board on the electric auxiliary pumps that cool the turbochargers are malfunctioning, causing them to overheat. At least 81 of these water pumps are known to have failed and four additional fires have been reported worldwide.
BMW will begin notifying affected owners next month, having needed time to get its supply and repair process in place for the number of recalls they’ll need to do.
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]
We love customized MINIs like we love air, so seeing a street art-inspired one from Russia made our hearts go all aflutter. Prepared in a strict limited run of 25 unique cars, the Russian artist Denis Simachëv and Russian tuner TopCar will create each car as a wholly unique vehicle.
The white one, called “Bully,” was a desire to “break the stereotype that MINI is mostly a girl’s car.” Simachëv says:
“This car is created for a real ‘bully’ that is fond of easy money. He likes socializing and is desperate to attend fashionable gatherings and parties. A real ‘party animal’, he is just fooling around and looking for an adventure.”
We love the car, and don’t get what they mean. Maybe Ed Hardy shirts haven’t made it to Russia.
To check out more photos of the “Bully,” plus #2 in the series, “Moscow” (adorned with traditional Russian ‘Khokhloma’ paintings) hop past the jump.
Best known for modifying Land Rover and Jaguar models, German tuner Arden has decided to try its hand at MINI. Arden isn’t exactly unfamiliar with the brand, however, as the new model, the 40th Anniversary MINI Equipe, was built to celebrate 40 years since an Arden-prepped MINI won the British Touring Car Championship.
Outside the car is mostly untouched with just a few updates in the form of stainless steel and chrome grilles. Inside the MINI gets a serious makeover with a two-tone leather package, Alcantara on the dash and stainless steel Arden pedals.
Not to neglect the performance aspect, Arden reprogrammed the ECU, added a larger and more efficient intercooler and threw on an exhaust, bumping output from 172hp and 177 ft-lbs of torque to 212hp and 214 ft-lbs of torque.
To help out int he handling department the modified MINI Cooper S gets a reworked suspension setup that sits 30 mm (roughly 1-inch) lower than stock. Also included are a set of light weight 18×8-inch wheels, which weight just 14.3-lbs each. And inside those front wheels is an impressive braking setup with massive six-piston calipers.
Arden will make just 40 versions of the MINI Equipe.
GALLERY: Arden MINI Equipe
Official release after the jump:
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: