Road Trip: 2007 MINI Cooper S - GREAT VIDEOS
Take a Road Trip with The Auto Channel in the all new 2007 MINI Cooper S.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This page contains three embeded videos. In the first, The Auto Channel's Marc Rauch rides along with Jim McDowell, MINI USA's Vice President. In the 2nd (mid-way down the page) Marc rides with Jeff Stracco, MINI USA's Product Manager, on the road course at Firebird Raceway. In the 3rd video (near the bottom of the page), Contributing Editor Marty Bernstein gives his driving impressions. To ride along just click the PLAY buttons.
See Also: MINI Buyers Guide™
The new MINI - Evolution of an Original.
For 2007 the next generation MINI hardtop makes its appearance on the road as the best-selling small car in the premium segment boasting evolutionary developed body design, a revolutionary change in the interior, as well as brand-new four-cylinder power units. And at the same time new features enhance both motoring comfort and driving pleasure.
Despite their much higher level of dynamic performance and sporting character, both new MINIs ensure superior fuel economy at all times, with the MINI Cooper S rating at 29City/36 Highway mpg for a combined EPA fuel economy rating of 32 mpg. The MINI Cooper is even more efficient with an EPA fuel economy rating of 32/40 City/Highway for a combined rating of 35 mpg.
Clear look and a friendly face. “From the original to the original” – this was the philosophy in creating the body design of the new MINI. So it was with this in mind that the entire car has been completely re-designed from the ground up, with many details and features being modified and enhanced in the process. But in its outer look the MINI remains truly unmistakable, the radiator grille and large circular headlights characterising the front end of the car and giving it a truly friendly appearance.
Contrary to the grille on the former model, the new hexagon radiator grille is now one complete, single-piece unit. The direction indicator lights on the new MINI, in turn, are fully integrated in the headlights, giving the front end of the car even greater clarity and an even more straightforward appearance, with just two “beauty spots” instead of four in the past serving as an additional eye-catcher. These are the positioning lights beneath the headlights also taking up the optional fog lamps where fitted.
Although the new MINI is longer than its predecessor, this increase in length is hardly noticeable, with the car’s overall proportions being smooth, uncluttered and particularly harmonious. The larger exterior dimensions provide not only more space within the engine compartment, but also the foundation for even the strictest safety regulations scheduled for the future. Even today, therefore, the MINI fulfils the requirements for maintaining the pedestrian safety standards soon to be introduced, with the new MINI being approximately 2.36´´ longer than its predecessor.
The front end and front design of the car also serves to distinguish the individual model variants. One significant difference in looks setting the MINI Cooper S apart from the MINI Cooper is the car’s more powerful and muscular 0.8´´ higher on the MINI Cooper S, while another feature is the air intake scoop in the engine compartment lid.
Taut side-line, powerful rear end. Seen from the side, the new MINI is firm, taut and striking, resting powerfully on its wheels in a look well-known to friends and aficionados of the brand as that typical “stance on the wheels”. A characteristic feature is the seemingly uninterrupted “flow” of windows around the car, adorning the new MINI like a complete, 360° band of glass.
The window line rises up slightly towards the rear end of the car, reaching a level 0.7´´ higher up at the B-pillar than on the former model. This also allows the “greenhouse”, the glazed part of the passenger cell, to taper out more distinctly towards the rear end of the car than before. All together, these modifications accentuate the wedge design of the new MINI and underline its particularly powerful and dynamic look.
At the rear the new MINI stands out in particular through its much more distinct shoulders in sporting and powerful design forming a distinct counter-element to the longer front end of the car. But since the well-known proportions are maintained in every respect, the larger body dimensions are hardly noticeable.
The premium insignia of the new MINI, in turn, stand out all the more clearly, with chrome glistening on the door handles, headlights, rear lights and the radiator grille, on the tank filler cap and around the car’s window line. So it is fair to say that in its elegant look and well-balanced, compact structure, the new MINI resembles a sculpture on wheels.
Combined with the firm horizontal geometry of the interior and, in particular, the dashboard, the displays in their purist, round design characterise the overall design language of the cockpit. The central element also in the new MINI is the center speedometermeter now even larger in size and with an enhanced range of functions serving far more purposes and requirements than on the former model. Now, for example, the displays and controls for the entertainment system as well as the display for the optional navigation system are all integrated in the center speedometermeter, while the rev counter remains a separate unit in its own right positioned, as befits a particularly sporting car, right behind the steering wheel in the driver’s direct line of vision.
The particularly slender design and shape of the center console ensures
extra space in the foot wells on both the driver’s and
passenger’s side. Not only are the structures making up the cockpit
as such horizontally aligned, but also the control elements accommodated in
one group in the center console right beneath the center speedometer.
The vertically arranged rotary knobs for the ventilation, the two cupholders integrated in the bottom section of the centre console, and the toggle switches carried over from motorsport, are also typical of MINI in every respect. Indeed, these characteristic metal toggles serving, inter alia, to operate the window lifts and central locking, are now even larger than before on the new MINI. And for the first time there are also toggles in the roof lining.
A round signal transmitter finished in typical MINI style now takes over the functions of the conventional door and ignition key, with the driver starting and stopping the engine by means of a start/stop button. All instruments and controls are naturally very smooth and easy to operate and are positioned at exactly the right point for optimum ergonomics.
Background illumination in five colors. New ambient illumination sets unique highlights in the new MINI. And once again reflecting that typical MINI style and class, the ambient lights can be varied in five stages all the way from warm orange to sporting blue. Serving as discreet “waterfall illumination” from above and as indirect illumination of the roof lining, the door storage bins and the door handle recesses, this very special illumination scheme creates a truly unique atmosphere inside the new MINI.
Natural wood, hand-sewn leather, and classy chrome as special interior options. Available with a wide range of attractive options and special equipment, the new MINI meets all the demands of even the most discerning individualist. Featuring appealing materials such as natural wood and hand-sewn leather with their wonderful, unique fragrance, the interior arouses the emotions of even the most demanding MINI customer. And with the help of various trim features as well as the Color Line Package available in different colors, the interior can be adjusted perfectly to the personal taste and preference of the individual driver.
This configuration enables the turbocharger to build up its extra power and boost with virtually no delay even from low engine speeds. And the effect achieved in this way is most significant, the 1.6-litre four-cylinder power unit of the MINI Cooper S developing its power and performance in a style quite exceptional for an engine of this size: Maximum torque of 177 lb-ft is maintained consistently between 1, 600 and 5, 000 rpm, and when accelerating all-out torque is raised to an even higher peak of 192 lb-ft by a brief increase in charge pressure (overboost)
Variable valve management in the power unit of the MINI Cooper. The MINI Cooper likewise boasts a 1.6-litre four-cylinder, in this case with normal aspiration, maximum output of 118 hp, and peak torque of 114 lb-ft. Intake valve timing incorporates advanced control and management based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology, and is naturally fully variable, with valve lift and opening times being adjusted infinitely and with electronic precision to the driver’s current requirements in terms of power and performance.
This innovative valve management ensures not only a very smooth and dynamic response as well as supreme motoring culture, but also low fuel consumption and optimised emission control at all times.
Engines with innovative features, standard six-speed gearbox. Both engine variants on the new MINI are fitted crosswise at the front and convey their power to the front wheels. Composite – instead of conventional cast – camshafts and a weight-optimised crankshaft are part of the lightweight concept of the all-aluminium power units. Fuel consumption, in turn, is optimised by a volume flow-controlled oil pump and an electronically controlled water pump for the coolant circuit – two technical features so far only to be found in larger and more expensive model segments.
The new MINI Cooper and the new MINI Cooper S both come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. As an option, both models are available with automatic transmission again boasting six speeds. And incorporating the latest state of the art in every respect, all transmission variants help to minimise gearshift forces and ensure a particularly smooth and efficient gear change at all times.
Electromechanical power steering for enhanced driving pleasure. Like its predecessor, the new MINI naturally offers that go-kart feeling so typical of the brand and responsible first and foremost for the unique driving experience. Indeed, with its excellent handling and enhanced agility, the MINI is able to bring out its unique character even more than before.
Compared with the MINI Cooper, the MINI Cooper S has an even more sporting suspension set-up, and as an option both models are available with sports suspension for an even higher standard of driving pleasure.
New EPAS Electrical Power Assisted Steering helps to make the new MINI even more nimble and agile on the road, speed-related assistance ensuring low steering forces when parking and precise control at high speeds on the Autobahn. In conjunction with the optional sports switch, EPAS power steering even offers a special sports mode specifically increasing steering forces for an even more direct driving experience.
Complete range of safety equipment. Benefiting from its strong and stable body structure, the new MINI offers a standard of crash safety quite unique in its segment. In the event of a collision, optimised load paths within the body structure serve to effectively divert forces acting on the car, despite the short overhangs front and rear.
Reflecting the premium standard of the MINI, both model variants naturally come with a wide range of safety equipment, no less than six airbags fitted as standard serving to ensure all-round occupant safety on all seats.
Enhanced active safety is ensured in critical driving situations by ABS anti-lock brakes, EBFD Electronic Brake Force Distribution, CBC Cornering Brake Control, ASC+T Automatic Stability Control + Traction standard on the MINI Cooper S with individual on/off control, as well as DSC Dynamic Stability Control optional on both models.
The Brake Assistant on the new MINI detects emergency operation of the brakes and builds up maximum brake pressure as quickly as possible. A new feature is Hill Assist start-off assistance featured in conjunction with DSC and activating the brakes when setting off on an uphill gradient to prevent the car from rolling back.
The new MINI proudly takes up the concept of success already featured by its predecessor now looking back at a production run of more than 800,000 units and a growing group of fans and aficionados the world over. So proceeding from the high standards of quality, technology, and safety characteristic of the BMW Group, the new MINI maintains its claim to leadership in its segment.
Making its premiere on the 100th birthday of Sir Alec Issigonis. The new MINI is built in the British production triangle formed by the BMW Group Plants in Oxford, Swindon, and Hams Hall. In recent years the BMW Group has invested GBP 200 million (approximately Euro 290 million) in the expansion and modernization of this full integrated production network, where the various tasks and functions handled by the Plants in Oxford (final assembly), Swindon (press shop) and Hams Hall (body shop) are focused clearly and consistently on the requirements of the market. All together, the three plants currently employ some 6,350 associates, with the workforce scheduled to grow to 6,800 in the medium term. When that happens, production capacity will increase from currently 200,000 to 240, 000 MINIs a year.
The market launch of the new MINI in Europe was on November 18, 2006, precisely marking the 100th birthday of Sir Alec Issigonis, the creator of the legendary classic MINI whose concept, philosophy, character and flair all live on in the new MINI. The US market launch is on February 17, 2007.
This revolutionary compact car was presented to the public for the first time in August 1959, front-wheel drive, the engine fitted crosswise at the front, short body overhangs, the long wheelbase and wide track making the MINI the role model for generations of cars to follow in its segment. And indeed, the special style of big city life, universal appeal beyond all classes and segments, and outstanding success in motorsport quickly made the MINI a genuine milestone in the history of the automobile, with production of the classic MINI amounting to almost 5.4 million units by the year 2000.
The creator of the MINI was knighted in 1969 by the Queen and died in 1988 – at a time when production of the classic MINI had already exceeded four million units – at an age of almost 82.