Posts Tagged ‘MINI’

The Geneva Motor Show originally kicked off in 1905 and somehow it is hard to imagine what the event must have looked like back then considering that Ford, Mercedes, Renault and a handful of others were only just pioneering the car as a means of transport for all and sundry.

Somewhere the records might show exactly how many exhibitors were in attendance back then but we can only assume it would be a tiny number compared to the 200-odd that were showing their wares this year which marked the 84th time the event had been held.

Yes we know there are 109 years since 1905 but presumably the odd World War or two got in the way and much of the other political shenanigans that seemed to occupy most of the 20th century contributed to a few of the missing years.

Palexpo, where the event is held, is looking a bit tired and dog-eared these days but the convenience of almost falling off the plane steps into the exhibition centre is very appealing. And for those travelling the one-hour-plus flight from London Gatwick a visit to this particular motor show is a very palatable one indeed.

The smell of continental coffee and croissants is forever present as you walk through the arcade to get to the main entrance for Palexpo and the whiff of Emmental is a gentle reminder that you have arrived in pleasant Switzerland.

All of the accessory and parts suppliers are stuffed into Hall 7 which seems to go on forever until you reach the escalators for the main event on the upper levels. Not sure why the centre has three levels (not floors) because it didn’t appear to be built into the side of a mountain from the outside. Maybe they just like climbing steep things in Swiss land.

On to the cars and most of the main European players attend this event plus the big names from Korea and Japan. Surprisingly though only Qoros appeared to be representing China but gut-feel suggests that is merely the calm before the storm.

Many manufacturers pick Geneva for their first model launches but even this tradition seems to be a declining one. With the growth of new markets around the globe some manufacturers were referring to a ‘European Premiere’ rather than a ‘World Premiere’ for various models.

Wandering around the show and taking in all of the new models on display there was an underlying picture emerging. Cars, for the mass-market at least, are getting ugly. Almost all of the big guns had at least one model that had been subjected to a ‘make-over’ that quite frankly made us squirm. OK the look of a car is a very subjective one but when there are so many Frankensteins on show it prompts a few questions.

Is it the ever-pervasive EU with their daft regulations related to car-design that are having a detrimental affect? Has it become fashionable to be unattractive in the car world? Are the car designers on hallucinatory drugs? Sorry but we are not talking about the odd car here and there which suggests that a very broad-brush is being painted with for some reason or another.

It’s not even worth listing the culprits but you as the reader will decide in due course whether this might be true or not and besides there were enough stunners on show to distract us from the monsters.

Highlights of the show for The Car Spy? Well actually quite a lot but rather than bore you with the finer details we will summarise them for you as follows and follow that up with an album of over 200 images for you to digest. In fact so many shots were taken with the main camera that the battery died (that’s right – no spare with us) but the iPhone 5 made a great substitute that kept us going until the bitter end. So on with the show:-

KAHN – well-established UK make-over artists for premium brands but this year their stand focused on British prime beef from Land Rover in the form of Range Rovers and Defenders. The seriously sumptuous interiors in the Rangies are a sight to behold and the mean, wide-bodied Defenders look like they could scare off gargoyles.


Mercedes Benz – The new S-Class looks sharp and svelte particularly in Coupe form and the C-Class also earned an extra look – much nicer with bigger wheels though. The model choice is becoming mind-bending with umpteen A’s and B’s too so good luck to anyone looking to buy into that category.


BMW – the company has now pretty much used up the allocation of numbers from 1 to 8 with the addition of the 2-series and the expansion of the 4-series and again the model choice is dizzying to the head. Prettiest car in the range has to be the 6-series for us especially in Gran Coupe form but sadly the 4-series Gran Coupe looked a bit sterile by comparison. Maybe it was the colour choice for the stand but it just didn’t leave an impression.


MINI – a car that is fast becoming a contradiction. It is no longer small or mini-like. It is huge. The new nose stretches the car and the Countryman looks as big as an Audi A3. It just doesn’t look cute anymore but the Clubman Concept looked pretty good. Again, not at all small but the proportions look right and if the final version looks similar it should be a winner.


Morgan – a real antidote to all ‘modern cars’. The stand had a cutaway of one of the models showing the solid ash frame which has been used on Morgans since the beginning of time. Surely the EU will declare it as a fire hazard before long to finally remove from the world one of the few companies to still build a car by human hand using proper craftsmen skills.


Mansory – Not always a bastion of good taste when it comes to gilding a lily but the metallic turquoise and satin silver Wraith on the stand would have made Rolls Royce proud. It sounds a bit blingy but somehow the colour combination worked very well with the ivory interior and the car deserved a few re-visits from us.


Rolls Royce – seeing the ‘new’ Ghost up-close gave a chance to see that RR don’t believe in making radical changes to their cars which is a mighty relief amongst a sea of unnecessary nose-jobs. Previous Ghost owners can rest easy – you need (very) sharp eyes to spot the differences.


Maserati – always a joy to see their cars and not a bad apple amongst them. Star of their stand was the Alfieri concept which proved that cars can still be beautiful. Please make that car Maserati and save us from mediocrity.


Alfa Romeo – The 4c was much in evidence especially since the Spider is on its way and a white example took centre stage on their stand. Even prettier than the Coupe (without that slightly awkward kink around the B-pillar) it would be unfair to call it a mini-Ferrari but we will anyhow.


RUF – how do you make a 911 go faster? Take it to the guys in Pfaffenhausen and they will work their magic to produce a Porsche that will embarrass most other Porsches. No real surprises on their stand this year apart from a canary yellow RCT which is basically a two-wheel-drive Turbo and in terms of power neatly parks itself between Porsche’s ‘basic’ Turbo and the Turbo S model. Alois Ruf also had his own personal Connaught Green 964-based RCT which sadly is not (and maybe never will be) for sale.


Lexus – The RCF GT3. Seriously mental. Enough said. The LF-NX concept. Looks great. They won’t make it.


Honda – Type R Concept. Just do it Honda and where is the NSX? We are getting very impatient.


Renault  – A Twizy in Formula 1 guise. So mad-looking they would sell them by the bucket-load if the company accountants were put into solitary confinement.


Skoda – Vision C concept. There was little bit of Audi A7 going on from certain angles but the Skoda version would be a hell of a lot cheaper to buy and probably one of the best-looking cars to come out of the Czech factory ever.


Gumpert – a brave company that made a comeback from collapse a while back and while their outlandishness should be applauded it is hard to see how the cars will fit in with a new landscape of P1’s, 918’s and LaFerraris. Outdated is probably the word now. The ‘Explosion’ concept is pointless too quite frankly and totally at-odds with the image of Gumpert.


Koenigsegg – same comments as Gumpert. In order to survive they need to attract customers away from the new-technology kids on the block but seemingly some people must be buying them.


Audi – The new TT is definitely better-looking than the out-going model. There are shades of the original model in the design which is hard to pin-down in any particular aspect but the new car looks good from every angle. The more powerful versions will also increase desirability. An original RS2 Avant was also featured on the stand which looked a tad old-fashioned next to the current generation RS4 but has nonetheless confirmed its classic status in the history books.


Porsche – where was the 918? Not invited to Geneva apparently but the 919 on the stand attracted a big enough crowd anyway. The 911 Targa looks great in the flesh and should be far more popular than Targa models of old.


Lamborghini – The Huracan was the car hogging the spotlight on the stand and rightly so too. Not as dramatic-looking as the Aventador but a car that will be purchased surely by looks alone. This car will make buying a 458 a much harder decision from now on. Nice choice of colours on the stand too.


Zonda – the maddest, baddest car-maker of them all. Carry on as usual guys.


Touring – the Disco Volante (or Flying Saucer) just makes you want to stare at it all of the time. A strange but intriguing shape that draws the eye around the car and although on this outing the car was painted in a metallic green with gold detailing it was as stunning as ever. It is certainly a design that will be talked about for years to come.


McLaren – the 650S was having its first public showing and in spite of the presence of an ice-blue P1 on the stand it was pulling its fair share of attention. A curious mix of (almost) P1 front-end and (slightly updated) 12c rear-end the car is tipped to be a big seller for the company. Can’t help feeling that the Spider version pulls it off better than the Coupe – the 12c stays in production by the way.


Subaru – the VIZIV2 concept showed that the designers in the back-office haven’t completely lost their way with some pretty dull shapes that have come out of the factory over the past couple of years. Hopefully this concept will point them back in the right direction.


Aston Martin – just like Maserati the company still manages to pull a crowd with some of the prettiest sports cars and GT’s available. No big announcements from the company apart from a range of bespoke options for all of the models using the moniker ‘Q’. Might as well milk the Bond connection for all it is worth.


Jaguar – probably the loudest stand at the show with a huge screen presenting a short film full of expensive actors, Union Jacks and loud, growly V8’s. One thing Jaguar no longer is and that is understated. The F-Type Coupe of course featured star-billing and deservedly so – it is a very handsome car indeed and could easily hold a candle to the Astons only a spitting distance away. The new XFR-S Sportwagon made an appearance in very un-Jaguar bright blue but if that is where the company thinks its market is then who are we to argue? After all they are still the profitable car-maker in the world.


There were dozens of other smaller exhibits worth a mention too but it’s time for a glass of wine and some Swiss cheese now. Ah yes, they also make very nice chocolate too so we’ll have some of that for desserts. In the meantime enjoy our album of images from the show.

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Finished in Thunder Grey with Dinamica/Leather Trim this December 2012 registered Limited Edition JCW GP has recorded delivery miles only and comes with the following specification:-

Limited to 2000 units worldwide, Adjustable coil-over suspension, 17” Light-alloy wheels, Carbon fibre roof spoiler, Rear cross-brace, Twin-scroll turbocharged engine, Electronic limited slip differential, Automatic air conditioning, Aerodynamic pack, Bluetooth telephone prep, USB audio interface, Bi-xenon headlights, DAB Radio, Rear privacy glass, Floor mats, Front fog lights, Interior lights pack, On-board computer, Optimised front sport brakes, CD Player, Recaro sports seats with seat heating, Sport button.

This MINI JCW GP is available to purchase today  – £POA

Please note this car is VAT qualifying.

For further details call The Car Spy on ++44(0)1732 760699 or email

MINI John Cooper Works GP

N.B. This is a library image. It is not an image of the actual car for sale.

The New MINI Cooper Paceman

Posted: September 14, 2012 by The Car Spy in MINI, New Cars, New Models
Tags: , , , , ,

Is there room for yet another MINI variant in the market? Well the marketing gurus at BMW obviously think so and they have done a good job convincing the bean counters at HQ that there is a case to produce such a car.

So in addition to the existing Cooper Hatch, Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Coupé and Roadster we now have the Paceman to add to the line-up. Will it end there? Well we might yet see the appearance of the Rocketman but probably not for a couple of years yet.

If you think the new car looks like a coupe version of the Countryman then your impression would be pretty close to the reality because the three-door Paceman is built on the same platform as the Countryman and is almost identical in size. So it can accurately be described as a Countryman Coupé.

Looking at the car from the side the designers have gone for a ‘floating’ roof concept which traditionally you would find on Range Rovers, Evoques and more recently on the MINI Coupé. Basically it helps to accentuate the sloping roof line and adds some length visually to the body of the car. The Paceman will be unique amongst its MINI cousins because it will be the only model to have its name emblazoned in large letters across its rear-end.

BMW say the interior of the Paceman is a bespoke design for this model and much attention has been paid to the comfort of rear passengers by way of a ‘lounge seat’ configuration. The seats have been designed they say to give good levels of head, shoulder and knee room but you can’t help feeling that some kind of compromise must have been made in order to accommodate the sloping roof design. Only a road test will tell of course. The rear seats fold down to give extra carrying capacity in the boot of the car which is very handy.

Engine choices will include two petrol options – the standard 1.6 122 bhp four-cylinder or the 184 bhp ‘S’ version found as an option in most of the other models in the MINI line-up. There are also two diesel option the 112 bhp 1.6 litre turbocharged D or the SD with a 2.0 litre and 143 bhp on tap.

Standard equipment will include air conditioning, powered door mirrors, front sports seats, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Auto Start/Stop (still hate that), Shift Point Display (pointless and distracting) and Brake Energy Regeneration to make sure that the car has its ‘green’ credentials in place.

As usual and like with most other MINI’s you will be able to customise the car to your heart’s content because a myriad of options including bonnet stripes, bigger wheels, special colours etc will be available on offer to prospective purchasers.

The good news is that there is a John Cooper Works version under development too.

The new Paceman is due to go on sale in the UK the 16th march 2013 and prices will start at £18970 on the road.

For further information on the new MINI Paceman or any other MINI model give The Car Spy a call on 01732 760699 or email

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Just as the print is drying on the last press release for the latest addition to the MINI range along comes another announcement from parent BMW for yet another MINI marvel.

This one however is a Limited Edition run of 2000 known as the John Cooper Works GP and was shown in public for the first time at Le Castellet in France during the MINI United Festival.

The JCW GP claims to be the most overtly sporting MINI ever produced to be sold to the general public – there have been of course some seriously mental MINI’s over the decades none of which would ever have been allowed on public roads. Today you can buy a particularly insane MINI from ZCars that will get you from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds but you really need a track for that little monster!

The new GP is no slouch though and it managed to scamper round the Nordschleife in a highly respectable 8 minutes 23 seconds. No specific power outputs have been revealed by the company yet but an exclusive powertrain and chassis are a major part of the design changes that make this MINI GP so special. Oh and it comes with the rear seat removed futher authenticating the seriousness of its race-track development programme.

Official pricing details have not been announced yet but it is quite likely that the GP will command a serious premium over the ‘standard’ JCW. Looking forward to driving one anyway!

For further information regarding the MINI JCW GPor any other MINI variant contact The Car Spy on 01732 760699 or email

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BMW today issued the following Press Release detailing the new MINI Countryman John Cooper Works:-

“MINI’s exciting new model launch programme continues apace – literally – with the arrival of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman. The performance-oriented flagship four-door Countryman is now the sixth member of the JCW family. But it’s the first to combine the brand’s motorsport pedigree with the critically acclaimed ALL4 all-wheel drive system. The debut of MINI’s six-speed automatic transmission as an optional extra is another unique feature on this car.

Standard features include an advanced aerodynamic kit, lowered sport suspension, 18-inch light alloy wheels, sports stripes and exclusive design features.

It will take centre stage for its world debut at March’s Geneva Motor Show and go on sale in the autumn priced at £27,800 in the UK. It takes the current MINI range beyond 40 variants for the first time, with still more to come.

The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is powered by a newly developed 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. It boasts a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and variable valve control based on BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology.

The power plant reaches its maximum output of 218 hp at 6,100 rpm and generates peak torque of 280 Nm between 2,000 and 5,600 rpm. The Overboost function briefly pushes this up to 300 Nm.

Performance will not disappoint JCW fans. The Countryman accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds with either the manual or automatic transmission. Top speed is 140mph, or 139mph on the auto. The MINI JCW Countryman is the most powerful MINI production model of all time.

The ALL4 all-wheel-drive system uses an electromagnetic centre differential to distribute drive seamlessly between the front and rear axles. In normal conditions ALL4 allows 50 per cent of power to the rear wheels, rising to anything up to 100 per cent when the going gets tough.

The chassis has been developed on the back of MINI and JCW’s motorsport expertise.

It includes a front axle with MacPherson struts, central-arm rear axle, electric power steering and a model-specific, high-performance braking system. John Cooper Works sports suspension is standard, with stiffened spring and damper settings, strengthened anti-roll bars and a 10-millimetre drop in ride height over the standard Countryman. DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) with DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) is also on every car. It means the Countryman provides outstanding agility and driving fun on any terrain.

A Sport Button is also fitted, sharpening the engine’s responses, retuning the exhaust note and adjusting the steering’s power assistance.

MINIMALISM technology – including Brake Energy Regeneration, Shift Point Display and Auto Start/Stop for models with a manual gearbox – means maximum efficiency. The result is fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures of 39.2mpg and 167g/km respectively (35.3mpg and 187g/km on the auto).

In keeping with the John Cooper Works heritage, the Countryman has enhanced visual impact over its siblings. The muscular aprons and bespoke side skirts are new and have been optimised for aerodynamic performance. Customers can choose from seven exterior colours and a contrasting finish can be specified for the roof and door mirror caps. That’s available in the Chili Red shade that’s exclusive to JCW models, or Light White or Jet Black. The iconic ‘John Cooper Works’ logo appears on the radiator grille, tailgate, door sills and near the side repeaters.

The car’s interior – available as a four or five-seater – also gets unique styling details. Sports seats in Diagonal Track Carbon Black cloth trim with contrasting red stitching have been designed specially for the new model. Piano Black trim strips around the cockpit, door panels and centre console are standard. Chili Red trim on the cockpit, door and centre console are exclusive to this model.

As with all MINIs, a wide range of comfort, convenience, design and technology options is available for the John Cooper Works Countryman.

To see the John Cooper Works Countryman in the metal, visit MINI’s stand at March’s Geneva Motor Show.”

For further information on the JCW Countryman please give us a call on 01732 760699 or email

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