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What Have BMW Done For Mini?

Aug 11, 2008
BMW are one of the biggest car makers in the world and are one of the 'big three' car makers in Germany, the others being Mercedes and Audi.

In 2001, BMW took over one of the most iconic car makers from the 60 and 70's -Mini. Once they had bought the company they went back to the drawing board and decided to create their own car based on the original Mini.

The original mini was famed for its really small size and driving pleasure, but BMW had to recreate the Mini to be bigger due to all the new safety equipment that would need to be in place. This meant that some hardcore enthusiasts of the original Mini criticized the new car from BMW saying it was far too heavy and large and it had not captured or shown the original car from the 60's. But BMW hit back saying it was a lot safer and features a lot more equipment in the new car with ABS and air conditioning being some of that new equipment.

Since 2001, BMW have created a new Mini range with a selection of 3 models with a lot of different configurations in place. The three current models are the hatchback, convertible and the clubman estate. The convertible is based on the hatchback chassis while the clubman features a lengthened chassis to create that small estate look.

The hatchback has under gone two changes over its lifetime - the mark 1 and the mark 2. The mark 2 featured a new body shape that was softer and more smooth than the original and new engines, dropping the old tritec engines for the new Prince engines and a Peugeot diesel engine for the diesel variants of the car.

The Mini has boosted in popularity since being used in the remake of the old Italian Job movie as they tried to recreate the flair from the old car and try and recreate the old movie with the new car. The film went down a hit all round the world and it was especially popular in the United States where the car was nominated for car of the year in 2003. The diesel version of the hatchback was also nominated for car of the year and judges placed it on the shortlists for the green car awards against cars such as the Ford Focus Econetic. Other things that appeared through the BMW Mini is the BMW Mini challenge series where young racing drivers can race the latest Mini Cooper S in a feeder series for other types of motor sport.

This coincides with the variant of the hatchback that you can buy for the road. The John Cooper works Mini was tuned by John Coopers racing company after receiving it from BMW, they place a bigger and more powerful engine and stiffen up the chassis and suspension offering a much more aggressive driving style.

There was only a limited amount of these cars built however as they assigned as a special edition series. Over its life only 2000 cars were built and were sold in a relatively short time. To add to the sportier ride the car was also lightened to allow for better agility and reactions meaning you could chuck the car into a corner a lot more aggressively.

Future Mini's may become 4 wheel drive and many different concepts have appeared at the Geneva Motor show in Switzerland.
About the Author
Classic car expert Catherine Harvey looks at what changes BMW have made to the classic Mini since their take over in 2001.
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