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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.
 |  Aug 05 2013, 5:01 PM


MINI has some big changes scheduled for its lineup, and the current Coupe and Roadster aren’t a part of the picture.

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 |  Apr 02 2013, 7:42 PM


British automaker Mini has announced that it has sold its 500,000th vehicle in America, and is celebrating by taking its cars on a trek across the west coast of America and snapping photographs at noticeable landmarks along the way. 

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 |  Jun 19 2012, 8:01 AM

MINI has announced its changes to its 2013 model year lineup, most noticeably with Bluetooth coming standard on every model, which was originally a $500 option.

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 |  Feb 29 2012, 6:31 PM

Not only does it feel good to recycle, it looks good too, thanks to the launch of MINI‘s Carmina Campus bags.

Part of the capsule collection, the Carmina Campus bags are made from colour samples, material offcuts and other leftovers from the production of the new MINI Roadster. Designed by Ilaria Venturini Fendi (the daughter of Anna Fendi), this bags are the epitome of up-cycling, as the Carmina Campus label only contains re-used or recycled materials.

This line of limited edition travel and city bags for men and women features 50 bags that employee a diverse range of materials that were used to make the MINI Roadster. Styles range from practical business bags and functional laptop cases to trendy totes, using recycled MINI items like interior handles, seatbelts and high-grade leather offcuts. To prove authenticity, each bag in the collection is embroidered with the numbers 1 through 50.

“The MINI Roadster inspired me with many materials, like the canvas from the convertible roofs rejected after tests or the small metal plates obtained from scraps of the car body,” Ilaria Venturini Fendi said.

The bags range in price from €350 to €700 (USD$400 to $933) and can be purchased through 10 Corso Como’s online shop.


 |  Jan 28 2012, 2:00 PM


Pricing for the 2012 MINI Roadster has finally been announced, with the standard Cooper Roadster starting at $24,350 in the US. Those seeking a little more thrill in their droptop can opt for the Cooper S Roadster which starts at $27,350.

And those looking for the ultimate in Cooper Roadster fun, can get their hands on a John Cooper Works Roadster at $34,500 – all prices exclude a $700 destination and handling fee. All models come with a manual transmission as standard, but an automatic can be had for an additional $1,250.

The MINI Roadster features a soft-top roof which can be opened and closed quickly and easily. The standard MINI Cooper Roadster comes with 121-hp and 114 lb-ft of torque with a 1.6L four-cylinder gasoline engine; while the MINI Cooper S Roadster packs 181-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque thanks to the addition of a twin-scroll turbocharger. Lastly, the John Cooper Works Roadster has an impressive 208-hp and 192 lb-ft of torque through a 1.6L four-cylinder turbocharged engine. 0-60 mph in the John Cooper Works Roadster is a respectable 6.3-seconds with a top speed of 147-mph.

Both the Cooper and Cooper S Roadsters come with 16-inch wheels standard, while the John Cooper Works variant will sport 17-inch rollers.

GALLERY: 2012 MINI Roadster


Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 MINI Coupe Review

 |  Jan 18 2012, 9:45 AM


With the launch of its new Roadster model MINI is seeking to rejuvenate the struggling segment says U.S. brand boss Jim McDowell.

The Roadster and its sibling, the new MINI Coupe, were developed in tandem, but to appeal to very different segments of the population. And perhaps more importantly, they were developed to bring in buyers who might not have otherwise bought a MINI.

Speaking with AutoGuide at the Detroit Auto Show, McDowell explained how when research into the cars started several years back a trend became immediately obvious in respect to the open-top two-seat segment. “We were amazed at how much the market had contracted over the last 10 years,” he said. “In fact, it contracted almost as fast as the average price went up.”

A BMW Z3, which started at just $31,200 back in 2000, has now transformed into the Z4, with a sicker price of $48,650. The MINI roadster, however, will start at just above the $25,000 mark. Miata aside, “There has not been such an attractively priced roadster in a long, long time,” says McDowell.

Ignoring, rather obviously, the Mazda MX-5, McDowell does comment that there’s a certain equity to the Roadster being a European model. “I wouldn’t call MINI owners snobs,” he says quite frankly, instead stating that they simply appreciate the attention to detail and quality common to European vehicles. And yet the MINI offers another quality that pricey German machines can’t match.

True the Roadster is an oddity in the segment, as a front-driver rather than a rear-wheel drive machine, though McDowell has commented in the past that he doesn’t believe it matters what wheels power that car, so long as it’s fun to drive.

Along with the attractive $25,000 starting price, a MINI, says McDowell, is the sort of thing you can still drop your kid off at school in without looking like you’re showing off. “A MINI is always socially acceptable.”

Still, McDowell says the Roadster will draw people from many brands, particularly those top-down drivers that once existed and McDowell believes they still do. “With this car we will bring back dormant roadster drivers that have disappeared,” he declares.

The Roadster is the latest model to join the expanding MINI lineup, which now includes the Coupe, Countryman, Clubman, as well as the conventional MINI Cooper and its convertible counterpart.

GALLERY: 2012 MINI Roadster


 |  Jan 10 2012, 4:41 PM


MINI is bringing a race inspired convertible into the market with the unveiling of the Roadster at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. This is the first two seater open topped vehicle in the English brand’s history and makes the MINI lineup six vehicles strong after the recent introduction of the Coupe (read our review here).

The Roadster will be offered with four engine options, although the Diesel variant will not be offered in North America. The John Cooper Works packaged Roadster will be the largest engine offering possible for the MINI with a 1.6-liter twinpower turbo putting out 208 hp and accelerating the roadster from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds. The MINI Cooper S Roadster will be outfiitted with the same 1.6L twinpower turbo, but without some of the race inspired upgrades of the JCW Roadster, and will crank out 181 hp and run from 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds . The MINI Cooper Roadster is the base model and will sport the 1.6L four cylinder as well, but without the turbo unit, and will generate 121 hp and run 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds.

The MINI Roadster borrows quite a few features from MINI’s race teams, including a rear spoiler which lifts at 50 mph, stainless steel roll bars, an Electronic Differential Lock Control, and even the choice of sport stripes for the exterior. These features come standard with JCW edition of the roadster. The MINI Roadster also stands 20mm lower than the MINI convertible which shows the cars push to be sportier and even better handling then any of MINI’s other offerings.

In terms of looks, the Roadster keeps all the same classic MINI styling like the round headlights and half moon grill, but appears a little more race inspired thanks to the lower stance, harder swept back windshield and low to the ground skirts.

All in all the MINI Roadster looks like a fun little car.



See AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Detroit Auto Show Coverage here

 |  Dec 15 2011, 8:00 PM


The 2012 Detroit Auto Show will be home for the world premiere of MINI‘s Roadster, a two-seating, soft-top model looking to innovate the small car segment. The MINI Roadster will become the sixth model in MINI’s line-up and will launch in the North American market with three variants to choose from.

Much like the Coupe, the base model MINI Cooper Roadster will have 121-hp while the MINI Cooper S Roadster will pack 181-hp. The top-of-the-line performer will be MINI’s John Cooper Works Roadster, sporting 208-hp. All MINI Roadsters will be front-wheel-drive and will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard. The base Roadster and the Cooper S Roadster can be ordered with a six-speed automatic as an option.

In its desire of being a typical, fun-driving MINI machine, the Roadster features Electric Power Steering and Dynamic Stability Control. MINI also went on to tune the chassis with a torsionally rigid body while lowering the car’s center of gravity helping it deliver “addictive agility” and unbeatable active and passive safety. The MINI Roadster also features a rear spoiler on the trunk which automatically extends when the vehicle reaches 50-mph.

No pricing was announced on the MINI Roadster models, but AutoGuide will be sure to report anything we hear at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.



See AutoGuide’s complete 2012 NAIAS Preview here and read our review of the 2012 MINI Coupe here

 |  Oct 30 2011, 10:00 AM


Hot on the heels of MINI’s Coupe release is the announcement of the 2012 MINI Roadster and the various versions it’ll be offered in. The new MINI Roadster will be the company’s first manually-opening drop-top two-seater and will be North American showrooms in mid-2012. Compared to the MINI Cooper Cabriolet, the MINI Roadster will be 0.1-inch shorter, 1.9-inches narrower and 1-inch lower.

Standard to the Roadster will be electric power steering and Dynamic Stability Control while Dynamic Traction Control with Electronic Differential Lock Control will be optional. Roll-over bars in polished stainless steel and a rear spoiler that automatically extends at 50-mph further adds to the Roadster’s sportiness.

The 2012 MINI Roadster will be available in four different models: John Cooper Works Roadster, Cooper S Roadster, Cooper Roadster and Mini Cooper SD Roadster (sorry, no diesel roadsters for North America). Both the John Cooper Works and Cooper S variants will be powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder with MINI TwinPower Turbo technology with the JCW model pushing 211-hp and 192 lb-ft of torque while the Cooper S packs 184-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The standard Cooper will feature a 1.6L four-cylinder with 122-hp and 118 lb-ft of torque. Last but not least, the SD will be powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder turbodiesel with Mini TwinPower Turbo technology making 143-hp and 255 lb-ft of torque.

No retail pricing was announced on the 2012 MINI Roadster.

GALLERY: 2012 Mini Roadster

2012_mini_roadster_1.jpg 2012_mini_roadster_10.jpg 2012_mini_roadster_13.jpg 2012_mini_roadster_16.jpg 2012_mini_roadster_19.jpg 2012_mini_roadster_16.jpg

Interested in the MINI Coupe? Read the review or watch AutoGuide’s video review here.

 |  Jun 09 2010, 2:32 PM


Two stripped down models will join the MINI range within two years of the debut of the MINI Countryman crossover, one a Coupe, the other a 2-seat Roadster.

“The Coupe will arrive six months after the Countryman, and the Roadster 12 months after the Countryman,” said Jim McDowell, Vice-President of MINI USA. The Countryman will hit showrooms in February, 2011.

The MINI Coupe concept was essentially a Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works package (with the more powerful 211-horsepower turbo engine, suspension tweaks and big wheel package), with a “coupe” bodystyle. The Roadster used a base Cooper S engine (good for 172 horsepower), and jettisoned the exposed soft top from the standard Cooper Convertible in favor of a clamshell design similar to the Porsche Boxster Spyder.

Gallery: Mini Coupe and Roadster Concepts


[Source: Inside Line]

 |  Jun 09 2010, 9:05 AM


The production MINI Coupe is set to hit dealerships across North America next Summer. According to Mini Vice President Jim McDowell, MINI will use a six-month buffer between models an with the Countryman crossover set to arrive in February of next year, the Coupe should then be available in August of 2011. That would then mean that the Roadster model (essentially a drop-top version of the Coupe), would hit dealers in February of 2012 – just in time for spring.

Both the Coupe and Roadster debuted in concept form at the Frankfurt Auto Show last year and are expected to keep their 211-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder John Cooper Works mills. According to InsideLine, the Coupe is expected to share much of its underpinnings wit the more track-focused Cooper JCW, while the Roadster will use the more related Cooper S parts and will directly target the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

[Source: InsideLine]

 |  Apr 06 2010, 10:28 AM


Several patent drawings obtained by Autoblog show what the news outlet claims are the production designs for the upcoming MINI Coupe and Roadster. Both vehicles look remarkably similar to their concept counterparts, even down to the helmet roof for the Coupe.

The overall design still looks almost identical to the hatches, with the main feature separating the two-doors being a lack of a rear hatch. As for engines, we expect to find a turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder under the hood.

In a recent conversation we had with MINI U.S.A. Boss Jim McDowell, he commented that we should be pleasantly surprised by some of the surprises in store. He also said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the MINI Roadster came to own the entry-level roadster segment that Mazda currently has locked-down with the Miata.

GALLERY: MINI Coupe and Roadster Patent Drawings


[Source: Autoblog]

MINI’s Future ‘Greener and More Efficient’ With Engine Updates in 2011, Dual-Clutch Transmissions Likely

MINI expects Countryman to be most fuel-efficient crossover; new Roadster model to win over Miata buyers

 |  Mar 09 2010, 11:49 AM


With the launch of the all-new MINI Countryman at the Geneva Auto Show last week we had an opportunity to sit down with the VP of MINI USA, Jim McDowell and find out more about the brand’s first crossover and what the future holds for the rest of the product range.

Starting with the Countryman, McDowell believes this is a vehicle that will help bring back brand rejecters – those who simply couldn’t justify owning a MINI for reasons ranging from size, to functionality. He even commented that in the past a father of two who bought a MINI would be seen as selfish, putting his wants ahead of his family’s needs. The Countryman lets those needs and wants come together while avoiding any social stigma.

Added usability will come in the form of fuel efficiency. While no official numbers are yet available (or any unofficial ones for that matter), McDowell says he wouldn’t be surprised if the Countryman became the most fuel efficient crossover offered in the U.S.

MINI also hopes to attract driving enthusiasts to the Countryman by offering it with a manual transmission here. In fact, when it goes on sale, it will be the only all-wheel drive crossover offered with a manual transmission. When asked if MINI’s All4 AWD setup is being planned for any other future MINI models, McDowell commented that while it was most likely possible, it’s not something they are looking at, favoring the two-wheel approach for the ideal sporty driving experience.

As for the future of the rest of the range, McDowell confirmed that the recent engine updates made on European models will arrive for the 2011 model year cars in North America. In Europe, the Cooper and Cooper S models get a slight boost in power and improved fuel economy thanks to direct-injection technology and variable valve control. The Cooper gets a 3-hp jump to 122-hp, while torque is rated at 118 ft-lbs, allowing a 0-62 mph sprint of 9.1 seconds. As for the Cooper S, it gets a new twin-scroll turbocharger that helps bring the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder to 184-hp (up 9-hp), while torque of 177 ft-lbs comes on from 1600 to 5000 rpm. The overboost function delivers 192 ft-lbs (260Nm). The Cooper S is rated at 7 seconds to 62 mph. (These numbers should change slightly for the North American market and we’ll have to wait for official EPA rated fuel economy numbers).

But beyond those updates, McDowell had more to say, specifically in regards to our questions about smaller engines and the use of dual-clutch transmissions – something particularly relevant with Volkswagen and Audi now delivering cars like the A1 and Polo GTI with 1.4-liter Twinchargers and dual-clutch transmissions. “We are continuing to add technology as quickly as it comes, while working to promote the MINI driving experience and be environmentally responsible,” he commented, following up by stating that MINI will “move forwards in minimalism,” with a future that is, “greener and more efficient.” From this it’s safe to surmise that future MINI engines will get smaller while new technology like dual-clutch transmissions (which improve both the driving experience and fuel economy) are pretty much a given.


As for the upcoming Coupe and Roadster models, we pressed McDowell on what exactly makes these cars so different. He spoke at first about the obvious lack of a hatch, more futuristic design and improved cargo room – all of which is rather obvious. When we expressed our feelings that these attributes (including the JCW engine) really didn’t set the two models apart, he admitted as much, commenting: “but you don’t know what else is coming. We have a few pleasant surprises.”

After our conversation took a bit of a detour about MINI buyers and the other sorts of vehicles they consider, McDowell brought it back on point stating that he wouldn’t be surprised if the MINI Roadster came to own the entry-level roadster segment that Mazda currently has locked-down with the Miata.

As a brand, MINI is expanding significantly with new dealerships poping up all over the U.S. Over the next two years the Countrman (and soon the Coupe and Roadster) will double MINI’s lineup of products aimed at delivering performance and fuel economy in packages with the sort of universal appeal that has always made MINI models “global cars,” long before such a concet became popular.

 |  Sep 04 2009, 9:40 AM


MINI has confirmed that a vehicle based on the Coupé Concept, as well as another model will go into production in the near future at the company’s MINI Plant Oxford.

As for what that mystery model will be, it has been widely reported that a Roadster, also based on the Coupé Concept, is in the works and will debut alongside the Coupé Concept on September 15th at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

Both models are expected to be powered by the same John Cooper Works turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder, making 211hp and 192 ft-lbs of torque, with a bump to 206 ft-lbs possible thanks to an overboost function.

GALLERY: MINI Coupé Concept


Official release after the jump:

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Report: Toyota in Talks With BMW to Use New MINI Coupe Platform for Future Sports Car

Deal would see Toyota give BMW iQ platform for future mini-car models

 |  Aug 31 2009, 9:54 AM


Last week we reported on a story that BMW was in talks with Toyota to use its iQ city car platform as the basis of a future mini-MINI. Now it appears that deal may be two-sized as AutoCar is reporting that in exchange Toyota may get use of the MINI Coupe and Roadster platform to use as the basis of a new sporty vehicle.

Neither automaker has made any official comments on the exchange and while unlikely, both companies would benefit in certain ways. Currently BMW is in need of a mini-car platform to underpin a new line of cars including a small electric city car and a possible replacement for the Isetta. There have already been numerous rumors that BMW was working with Fiat to develop such a platform although Toyota’s reputation for quality is certainly more in line with BMW’s way of doing business.

At the same time, Toyota is desperate for a small sporty car that can capture the attention of younger buyers and enthusiasts.

Toyota is already in talks with Aston Martin, which wants to use the iQ base for its Cygnet city car.

[Source: AutoCar]

 |  May 18 2009, 8:58 AM


Last week French auto pub L’Automobile reported what it said was a leaked photo of an upcoming MINI vehicle and now they have more news to share. Unconnected to that vehicle, the magazine says MINI will bring a Roadster concept to the Frankfurt Auto Show this Fall.

The new model would use a soft-top but do without the rear seats (in true roadster fashion). Without those rear seats the Roadster would weigh considerably less. Apparently offering a light-weight model is one of the reasons for the Roadster and so there may be other measures taken to help reduce the vehicle’s mass.

Little else is known about the supposed Roadster concept other than it will make use of a shorter and less angles windscreen.