MINI COOPER: A Modern
Interpretation Of An Automotive Legend
The MINI COOPER, debuted worldwide at the Paris International auto
show on September 28th, represents the car's first total design
evolution since Mini's introduction in 1959. "The MINI is a
piece of automotive history. Our mission was to combine the
emotional power of the original model with the technology of the
future", says Frank Stephenson, the Chief Designer of this
exciting new car.
The MINI is a 21st century development of
a genuine classic. While it reflects the styling cues of the old
Mini it also offers the very latest technology available, easily
making it the most advanced car of its size in the market. At the
same time its performance and handling on the road make it a car
that real enthusiasts will love driving.
The MINI is set to rekindle the same enthusiasm the buying public
felt for the original car, amongst 21st century customers. It is
designed to appeal across boundaries of age, class and
When Sir Alec Issigonis, the father of the original Mini,
presented his car to the world in 1959, it set entirely new
standards in design and was destined to become a motoring icon,
lasting decades in virtually its original form.
The concept was simple but ingenious, combining compact external
dimensions with maximum space inside. It was a car for everybody
and during its life crossed all cultural and social boundaries.
Two years after the first Mini, in 1961, the Mini Cooper was
launched, developed by racing and rally car expert John Cooper.
The Cooper name has been closely associated with performance Minis
ever since and remains a vital element of the new MINI. It is the
MINI COOPER which is the first car in the MINI range to be
"The MINI COOPER is not a retro design car, but an evolution
of the original. It has the genes and many of the key
characteristics of its predecessor, but is larger, more powerful,
more muscular and more exciting than its predecessor ever
was", says Frank Stephenson, the Chief Designer of the MINI.
A concept version of the new car was first seen in 1997 at the
Frankfurt Motor Show and after going through the development
process the final production car will be shown at the Paris Motor
Show in September 2000.
The MINI COOPER's styling immediately grabs the attention with its
clean, muscular lines. It is a shape which crouches low to the
ground, hugging the road and is instantly recognizable as a Mini.
It was vital to follow the wheel-at-each-corner principles of the
original car to recreate the classic Mini look. But this is more
than just a design feature. It gives the car real dynamic
advantages on the road with excellent handling and road-holding,
making it both inherently safe and also great fun to drive.
At the front, the bonnet, lights and grille give the car its
unique, friendly face, while at the back, the wide, steeply raked
body with its flared wheel arches gives the car a compact,
dynamic, glued-to-the-road look which is 100 per cent MINI.
The roofline is angled down slightly at the rear, giving the MINI
COOPER a powerful profile. This characteristic stance is
emphasized by the lateral and vertical design details, from the
"shoulders" (the lateral line directly below the side
windows) to the vertical sides and down to the sills.
The A, B and C-pillars are 'hidden' behind glass, giving the
impression of a continuous window extending all round the car - a
design with its roots in architecture, where glass walls disguise
load-bearing structures. There is also an optional panoramic
MINI COOPER will be launched with 14 exterior colors available,
with either black or white roof and exterior mirrors. Standard
fifteen inch or optional sixteen and seventeen inch aluminum
wheels are available, finished in either white or silver. A wide
range of chrome trim will also be available.
Inside the car, the design is a modern interpretation of the
simple and straightforward look of the original Mini with its
characteristic center speedometer in the middle of the dashboard.
All the switches, levers, buttons and dials have been designed
with their look, feel and weight very much in mind. The emphasis
was on making them stylish, forming an important part of the
MINI's personality, but easy to use and easy to understand.
Wide-opening doors, remote control central locking, an adjustable
steering column and driver's seat height adjustment ensure that
the MINI COOPER is extremely practical and adaptable for driver
and passengers. The boot can be opened remotely and 50:50 split
folding rear seats increase luggage space dramatically. Seating
will be available with either leather or leatherette upholstery
A hi-fi CD sound system will be standard with a Harman Kardon
speaker system offered as an option. The car will be available
with other optional features such as multifunction steering wheel,
and a rain sensor controlling the windscreen wipers.
Body, suspension and engine
The body of the MINI COOPER is exceptionally rigid offering two to
three times the torsional stiffness of other cars the same size.
This helps to give the car its exceptional, go-cart-like handling
and makes it incredibly safe in a collision. It also minimizes
The suspension is highly advanced and features a multi-link design
at the rear. Disc brakes all around are ventilated at the front
and solid at the rear. The engine is a 16 valve, 1.6-liter
unit and will be available with an optional automatic
Setting new small car safety standards
The combination of an extremely strong passenger safety cell,
crumple zones front and rear and side impact door beams means
occupants are extremely well protected in an accident. Passive
safety is further enhanced with a full array of airbags, including
front and side airbags for the front passengers including head
protection airbags too - unheard of in a car of this size!
Anti-lock brakes (ABS) come standard. Optional traction control
and xenon headlights are also available. No other car in its class
can come close to competing with the MINI's safety systems.
Our research has shown that MINI will appeal to a wide
cross-section of customers - of different ages and from different
backgrounds. What they share is an enthusiasm for driving and the
look of the car. However, there are two particular groups to
whom we think the MINI will appeal.
The first group is young and affluent, aged between 20-34. They
are experimental in outlook, enjoy trying new things and tend to
be spontaneous and active. They like standing out in a crowd and
driving a car that people notice. They have a keen sense of style
and believe a car says a lot about them. MINI fits their image and
their attitude to life. They look for what's cutting edge, and
what's fun and exciting.
The second group is slightly older - likely to be 35-50 and
represent a more affluent, yet progressive-thinking household. The
MINI COOPER will be their third, or possibly fourth car for those
who wish to add the sporty, yet affordable MINI to their garage -
perhaps even to "share" with their children.
The third group would include classic car aficionados and Mini
enthusiasts. These people have a keen interest in cars and have
fond memories of the classic cars from their youth. They like the
overall design and styling of the new car, and the strength and
character of the MINI heritage appeals to them. Some of these
enthusiasts would find the MINI COOPER a perfect platform to
further individualize the appearance and performance of their car.
MINI in the BMW Group
MINI is a unique, independent brand within the BMW Group, which
will be sold globally. It will be built at the BMW Group's Oxford
plant in the UK to the company's exceptional quality standards.
Full production will start in 2001 and the first cars will go on
sale in the US during the first quarter of 2002.
The MINI will be sold in the US via a select group of BMW's
existing retail outlets. Each MINI dealer will have a sales
environment and staffing exclusively dedicated to the franchise.
Sales of 100,000 units a year are expected worldwide when full
production has been reached.
So, what do you think? Would you want to buy a car like this? Let us know of your
opinion! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org