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Mini gets more digitally advanced


From March 2018, all new MINI models will be available with the option of a built-in 4G SIM card that will usher in a new era of connectivity.

This means the existing features in the portfolio, such as Intelligent Emergency Call and Tele-services, will be joined by new services including the Concierge Service, Real Time Traffic Information with navigation map updates and MINI Online.

The 4G SIM card and an update for the MINI Connected app will allow customers to access a variety of new digital services from March 2018.

These include:

  • Send to Car (for importing destinations from a smartphone to the car),
  • Remote Services (e.g. for locking the car’s doors from a smartphone) and,
  • In electrified MINI models – a charging timer, charging station search facility and personal efficiency status display.

The new MINI Connected services will be offered in a choice of three packages: Connected Media, Connected Navigation and Connected Navigation Plus. When used together with the MINI Connected app on a smartphone, they will open up access to a host of digital services both inside the car and beyond.

The first models to be made available with this new and extensive connectivity capability are the new 3-door MINI, new 5-door MINI and new MINI Convertible.

 

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MINI’s new EV concept

Nearly 10 years since the debut of MINI’s first electric concept, the car maker announced plans to present the new MINI Electric Concept at the IAA cars 2017 show in Frankfurt, Germany.

MINI says that the EV will retain the nippy feeling that is so integral to the brand’s heritage, and bring a car to market that is designed for urban mobility and city life.

“With its characteristic go-kart feeling and powerful electric motor, the MINI Electric Concept is great fun to drive while also being completely suitable for everyday use – and producing zero emissions to boot,” says Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad. Schwarzenbauer says that this is how MINI sees itself in the future.

The brand’s first series-production model with a plug-in hybrid drive system was presented in spring 2017 in the shape of the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4. The new model variant enables electric and therefore locally emission-free mobility for the first time.

In the future, all electrified products from the MINI brand will be grouped together under the “MINI Electric” banner, the company says.

The concept will make use of 3D printing technologies in its inlays and air intakes. MINI says this will improve both the aerodynamics of the model and the overall aesthetic.

For now, there is no information available on the cars power and performance specs.

MINI says it hopes to bring an all-electric production model to market in 2019. The announcement of MINI’s Electric Concept follows BMW group’s (which MINI belongs to) announcement of their i3 model, that will be available globally late this year.

 

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BMW reveals plans for electric future

Wireless charging is one of the new electric technologies BMW is developing.

BMW has revealed their strategy to electrify their fleet in the coming years, beginning with a fully-electric MINI in 2019.

All existing brands and models can be electrified, the car maker has announced, and additional electrified models will be brought to the market.

From 2020, BMW’s next-generation vehicle structure will enable more fully-electric vehicles.

The new battery-electric MINI will be a three-door variant, and will go into production in 2019. The electric motor will be assembled at BMW’s factories in Dingolfing and Landshut in Bavaria and then installed inside the fully-built car at the main Oxford plant.

“Our adaptable production system is innovative and able to react rapidly to changing customer demand,” said BMW executive Oliver Zipse.

“If required, we can increase production of electric drivetrain motor components quickly and efficiently, in line with market developments.”

BMW expects EVs and plug-in hybrids to account for 15-25 per cent of sales by 2025, but accepts this may change according to market factors, such as regulation and charging infrastructure.

Future BMW vehicles will be built to enable a traditional combustion engine, plug-in hybrid or fully electric drive train with no other modification to speed up production and lower costs.

The car maker has committed to selling 100,000 electrified vehicles in 2017, and will have a total 200,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids on the road by the end of the year.

Last year, global BMW sales topped 2 million for the first time, with a total 2,376,603 vehicles delivered worldwide.

Sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids need to quadruple to meet BMW’s 2025 targets, according to the most recent sales data; if sales grew 5.3 per cent this year, as they did in 2016, then projected electrified vehicle sales will count for four per cent of BMW’s total 2017 deliveries.

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NZ launch for hybrid MINI

The first-ever plug-in hybrid MINI is due to launch in New Zealand in August. The Cooper S E Countryman has borrowed technology from BMW’s iPerformance electric vehicles to develop the battery and electrified all-wheel drive.

The 3-cylinder petrol engine is matched to an electric motor powered by a 7.6kWh battery, developed at BMW’s Dingolfing plant.

The hybrid engine delivers a maximum system output of 165kW of power and 385Nm of torque, and contains a modified 6-speed Streptronic transmission.

A full battery charge takes just over three hours from a conventional wall socket. The hybrid delivers a top all-electric speed of 125km/hr with a range of up to 41 kilometers. Fuel consumption has been rated at 2.3l/100km.

“With the new MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, for the first time we have the hallmark ‘go-kart feel’ driving experience of a MINI with the benefit of electric, zero-emission motoring”, said BMW Group New Zealand managing director Florian Renndorfer.  

The hybrid motor is controlled by an energy management system, which optimises on-road driving efficiency and performance, allowing for emissions-free driving in day-to-day traffic and a combination of fuel and electric power when intense acceleration is needed.

Pricing for the Cooper S E Countryman starts at $59,000 plus on-road costs.

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5-star ANCAP rating for Euro cars

Skoda Kodiaq frontal offset test

A range of European vehicles have been awarded 5-star ANCAP safety ratings – the Skoda Kodiaq, Audi Q5, MINI Countryman and the Audi Q2.

All four cars come with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard, and drivers and passenger safety scored highly in the tests, although there was some variance in results when it came to child protection.

“Depending on what the main use of your car is, sometimes it’s worth drilling down into the detail behind the rating to ensure it ticks the boxes you want it to, and for the best price, ” said AA general manager Stella Stocks.

“The Kodiaq has been assessed against the latest criteria offering a range of important safety technologies as standard including autonomous emergency braking, multi-collision braking and speed limiter,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin.

The top rating, applicable to all 4×4 variants, comes as the SUV is due to reach the New Zealand market.

The Audi Q5 5-star rating applies to all Q5 and SQ5 model variants.

“It has an advanced autonomous emergency braking system which operates at city and highway speeds, with the added ability to detect and assist in avoiding pedestrians up to a speed of 85km/h,” Goodwin said.

The Audi Q2, launched in February, was also tested, and received a 5-star rating, which applies to all variants.

“It’s worth noting that Audi has released a higher standard safety specification version of the Q2 in New Zealand than in Australia, which may make it slightly more expensive, but better value for buyers in the long run,” said Stocks.

The New Zealand release of the Q2 contains features that are optional in Australia but standard herem including blind spot monitoring, hill launch assist, speed assistance – speed sign recognition and warning, following distance warning, reverse collision avoidance, and trailer stability control.

Finally, the new MINI Countryman, which launched in New Zealand in March, has beaten the previous model’s 4-star rating with a top grade.

“Not only has Mini improved on the structural performance of the Countryman – they’re offering the highest level of safety assist features seen from the brand with autonomous emergency braking including pedestrian detection, and a speed sign recognition and warning system,” said Goodwin.

“Consumers should be buoyed by these ratings which show brands are keeping pace with increasing safety standards.”

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New MINI Countryman in NZ

The new MINI Cooper Countryman, the largest model in the brand’s history, will be launched in New Zealand this month with two model options.

The Countryman contains a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine producing 100kW of power and 220Nm of torque. The S Countryman contains a beefier four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine, which generates 141kW of power and 280Nm of torque. Both engines are fitted to a streptonic automatic transmission as standard.

“The new model brings a noticeable increase in size and space,” said BMW New Zealand managing director Florian Renndorfer. The wheelbase has been extended 7.5 centimetres, and boot storage is now 450 litres. Total storage can be extended to 1390 litres, which is a 220-litre increase on the previous model.

Collision warning with light city braking function, park distance control and rear-view camera all come as standard. Various optional safety features include a driving assistant system with camera-based active cruise control, pedestrian warning with initial brake function, high beam assistant, speed limit information traffic sign recognition system, parking assistant, and head-up display.

Pricing for the MINI Countryman begins at $44,900 plus on-road costs for the Cooper, and $52,900 for the Cooper S.

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MINI plans changes

Mini is set to reduce its line-up of models by dropping the Roadster, Coupe and Paceman as part of a major overhaul of the marque’s strategy. (more…)

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