MINI is a British automotive brand owned by the BMW Group that has produced the successor of the original Mini in Oxford, England since April 2001. There are three body variants available: Hatchback, Convertible and Clubman (estate). The development of the first generation had been done between 1995 and 2001 by Rover Group in Gaydon, United Kingdom and BMW AG in Munich, Germany and was accompanied by continual contention between Rover and BMW. The car, whose first generation was designed by Frank Stephenson, is drawing inspiration from the original Mini, which was manufactured by the British Motor Corporation. 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 November 2006 BMW released a re-engineered version of the Mini which is unofficially known as the "Mk II Mini". The Mk II is currently available as a hatchback and a wagon, (Clubman).
Mk I Mini Hatchback
In Portugal and Greece, the Mini One was powered by a 1.4 litre I4 version of the Tritec engine but all other petrol powered Minis used the 1.6 litre I4 version. 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 "Mk I" Mini One, Cooper and Cooper S used a Brazilian-built Chrysler-designed Tritec engine, while the Mini One D used 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, with final assembly at Cowley and the body pressings being made in nearby Swindon at BMW's Swindon Pressings Ltd subsidiary.
Mk I Mini Convertible
In 2005, Mini introduced a convertible model and available in One, Cooper and Cooper S versions. The convertible roof is fully automatic 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 hatchback 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.
Mk II Mini Hatchback
Mini introduced a new, second generation of the car for the 2007 model year, Mk II Mini (or R56), with many stylistic and engineering changes. The engine architecture is shared with PSA Peugeot Citro and is intended to be more cost effective and fuel efficient. The engineering was done in the United Kingdom by BMW Group UK Engineering, in Munich, Germany at BMW Group HQ and with external third parties. The so-called "Mk II Mini" was introduced in November 2006 in the Cooper and Cooper S trim and the range was completed in 2007 with the Mk II Mini One. The Cooper and Cooper S models 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. In conjunction with automatic transmission, the Sport Button also allows the engine to rev almost to the red line before changing gear. The interior of the Mk II echoes the style of the earlier model but is in fact a complete redesign. Other changes in design - both visible and otherwise - have contributed to the Mini's recently awarded 5 stars in the Euro NCAP tests. One example is the higher front bonnet, which now complies with the European pedestrian collision regulations. The Mk II Mini is built by Mini's Production Triangle: Plant Swindon (body panels), Plant Hams Hall (engine) and finally Plant Oxford, where final assembly work is completed.
The Mini Clubman is an estate car available in Cooper, Cooper S, and Cooper D variations. The Clubman models are identical to the hatchback models including the engines used and, although the car is longer, the suspension set-up at the back shares many of the same designs features. The use of the name "Clubman" for the Mini estate van is a break with classic Mini tradition.
Mini John Cooper Works (R56)
Based on the John Cooper Works Challenge car, it is a version with higher output engine, and BMW's Dynamic Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control. Engine is rated 208 bhpand 192 ftlbf (260 Nm), achieved by reducing compression ratio to 10.0:1, and increasing boost from the Cooper S' 0.9 bar to 1.3 bar. The Mini Cooper body model is called John Cooper Works Hatchback, while the Mini Clubman body model is called John Cooper Works Clubman. Both cars achieve the same EPA fuel economy ratings as their Cooper S counterparts.
BMW announced the production of a Mini powered by an electric motor. The BMW group is the World's first manufacturer of premium cars to deploy a fleet of more than 500 all-electric vehicles for private use. BMW is using its Mini brand to test the waters with its electric powertrain technology but the vehicle was also developed in order to meet new California regulations that require carmakers to offer zero emission vehicles. The Mini factory located in Oxford, England, supply vehicle gliders (cars without powertrains) to a team located in Munich, Germany, which then adds the electric running gear.