MINI (2001–2006) Mini Hatch & Convertible.
How do you replace a motoring icon? It took 42 years and a change of ownership, but in the 7th July 2001, the first UK MINI dealers opened for business and lucky owners took delivery of their Coopers.
The Mini Hatch was designed by Frank Stephenson, and drew inspiration from the original two-door Mini. Development of the car was conducted between 1995 and 2001 by Rover Group in Gaydon, United Kingdom and BMW in Munich Germany. During this development phase, there was continual contention between the two design groups, especially concerning the positioning of the car; Rover wanted a straight economy car, whilst BMW supported a small, sporting car. Ultimately, BMW prevailed, and in 1999, they assumed control over the entire project following the departure of BMW’s CEO, Bernd Pischetsrieder. When BMW divested itself of Rover in 2000, it elected to retain the Mini project, and to move the planned production site of the car from Rover’s Longbridge plant, to BMW’s Oxford plant in Cowley, Oxford. The team of designers working on the 2001 Mini had finished the full-sized clay mock-up of the Mini in plenty of time for a presentation to the board of directors. The overall design for the mock-up was so good that the board members told him not to change a thing.
For a car with the historic name, even with the John Cooper Works conversion, the Cooper lacked puff. This was solved a year later in July 2002, with the addition of a Roots supercharger for the Cooper S. Considered to be one of the most complete hot hatches ever.
The ‘S’ was transformed into a giant-killer, with the addition of a John Cooper Works Conversion kit, that included an uprated supercharger, cylinder head, exhaust and air filter. Originally a dealer fit option, the result was up to 210bhp and a 143mph top speed. The kit was eventually offered as a factory fit option in 2005.
Convertible versions of the Cooper and Cooper S were launched in 2004, with notable Cooper and Cooper S limited editions including the Cooper Park Lane, Cooper S Checkmate and possibly the ultimate R53 Cooper S the two-seater GP.
All BMW era Mini models have R-series model numbers assigned to them. The following designations are known for Mk I cars:
- R50: “Mk I” Mini One & Cooper (2001–2006)
- R52: “Mk I” Mini Convertible (2004–2008)
- R53: “Mk I” Mini Cooper S (2001–2006)
Mini John Cooper Works GP (2006)
The last Mk I variant to be produced using the supercharged Tritec engine was the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit a light-weight, quasi-race-prepped John Cooper Works model. Hand-finished by Bertone in Italy, it was offered as a limited-production run of 2000 cars during the 2006 model year, with 444 of those originally intended for the UK market (although ultimately, 459 were sold). The GP features more bolstered front seats but had no rear seats, which along with reduced sound-deadening, removal of the rear wash-wipe system, optional air-conditioning, and other weight-reduction steps, resulted in a weight saving of around 40 kg (88 lb) compared to a Cooper S.
Additionally, the car had enhanced braking, suspension, a smooth under-body and 218 hp from the John Cooper Works engine modification package. In place of the rear seats there is a metal bar to stop luggage moving forwards, plus below-floor storage areas. The car also offered many unique styling points, such as the red door mirrors, a carbon fibre rear spoiler, unique body kit, bespoke (2 kg lighter) four-spoke alloy wheels, and specialised badging. Available in just one colour scheme (Thunder Blue with a Pure Silver roof), each car was individually numbered and featured a decal on the roof along with a plaque on the dashboard.
MINI (2006–present) Mini Hatch, Coupé, Countryman, Clubman, Paceman and Convertible.
Second-generation R56 MINI Cooper and Cooper S arrived at the end of 2006. Although they look very similar to the outgoing car, underneath they are a very different car. Power now comes from a Peugeot/Citroen – supplied 1.6 engine with six-speed manual transmission. The Cooper S is now turbocharged rather supercharged.
The quirky Clubman estate, with its club door was the next model revealed. A performance kit was available for the Cooper S, but John Cooper Works, now owned by BMW, equalled a 208bhp performance range-topping hatch. These were followed by second-generation MINI Convertibles which arrived in 2009.
Face-lifted in 2010, there have been many London-themed limited editions and even a Clubman-based van called the Clubvan. However, another GP, this time a John Cooper Works seems a fitting end to R56 production. With an all-new car due to be shown at the Paris Motor Show in September.
BMW R-series model numbers assigned to models. The following designations are known for MkII cars:
- R55: “Mk II” Mini Clubman (2007–present)
- R56: “Mk II” Mini Hatch/Hardtop range (2006–present)
- R57: “Mk II” Mini Convertible (2009–present)
- R58: Coupé (2012–present)
- R59: Roadster (2012–present)
- R60: Countryman (2011–present)
- R61: Paceman (2013-Present)
Mini Hatch (2006 on)
Though the Mk II has a familiar look, every panel on the new car was changed from the previous model. New safety requirements resulted in the overall length increasing by 60 millimetres, the front end raised and the indicators being repositioned inside the headlight housings. The headlights themselves are now fixed to the front quarter panels rather than being integrated with the bonnet, so that they are not raised up with it when the bonnet opens. The car features a restyled grille and larger rear light clusters. The Cooper S retains the bonnet scoop in order to keep an association with the outgoing model. Much criticised for the lack of rear legroom, Mini added more space for rear passengers by creating sculpted cut-outs in the rear of the front seats.
Mini Convertible (2009)
The second generation Mini Convertible was unveiled at the 2009 Geneva International Motor Show. Available variants and corresponding powertrain selections are the same as in the Mini Hatch range, including the diesel engine.
Mini Clubman and Clubvan (2008)
The Mini Clubman is an estate Mini, introduced for the 2008 model year and available in One, Cooper, Cooper S, and Cooper D variations. The Clubman is 240 mm longer overall, this provides more rear-seat leg room and increased cargo space when compared to the Hardtop. It has twin Split doors, enclosing the boot instead of a pull-up hatch, and also features a “Clubdoor” on the right-hand side. BMW also introduced in 2012-13 a van version of the Clubman named the Clubvan.
Mini Countryman (2011)
The first Mini crossover SUV, and the first five-door model to be launched in the BMW-era. It is offered with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive (known as ALL4. The Countryman has a longer wheelbase, more interior room, and higher ground clearance than the Clubman. It uses the same engines as the Hatch/Clubman range, but with an optional all-wheel-drive powertrain (dubbed “ALL4”) to allow minimal off-road and rugged terrain driving. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all models.
Mini Coupé & Roadster (2012)
The Mini Coupé is the first two-seat Mini and the first to have a three-box design; the engine compartment, the passenger compartment and the luggage compartments are all separated. It will also be the fastest production Mini ever – in John Cooper Works trim it does 0 to 62 mph in 6.4 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 149 mph thanks to a turbocharged 208 hp engine. The Mini Roadster is the convertible version of the Mini Coupe.
Mini Paceman (2013)
The Mini Paceman was launched 2013. The Mini Paceman saw its international launch in Puerto Rico on 5 February 2013. It is roughly based on a 2 door version of the Countyman, with an amended rear end.
Registrar: David Young
To find out more please contact our MCR Registrar Help Desk, firstname.lastname@example.org They will then deal with your enquiry either by responding directly or forwarding your enquiry to the appropriate registrar. Alternatively, details can always be found in the monthly club magazine, CooperWorld.