An all-new Mini Cooper -- the much-loved small car that is a sellout all around the world -- is beginning to arrive in showrooms as you read this.
But don't worry. The qualities that you've come to know and love are still a big part of this car.
But there are some important -- and positive -- differences. The new Mini will be a little longer but with the same classic styling as the original. There also will be even more opportunities for personalizing each Mini.
When the new Mini Cooper hits the road later this year, it will have a 1.6 liter, 118 horsepower four-cylinder engine. And a new Mini Cooper S will be unveiled with an even lustier 172 horsepower turbocharged engine.The 2007 Mini Cooper.
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In the first half of this year, you'll also see a basic Mini Cooper, reportedly called the Mini One, which gets a 1.4 liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 95 horsepower. There also will be a new diesel-powered Mini.
Mileage figures and prices are thus far unavailable for these cars.
Another plus: Minis will come with standard hill assist, which prevents the car from rolling backward when the driver accelerates from a standstill on a hill -- a boon for Pittsburgh Mini drivers who have to contend with lots of hills.
The Mini convertible, an even rarer sight than the sedan, will carry over for now. But there's a new version out, the Mini Convertible Sidewalk, which looks delectable, delicious, and thoroughly British.
Done up in a choice of two shades of silver, or green, black or white, the Convertible Sidewalk has beautiful Leather English Malt Brown interior with silver piping around the edges along with intricate looking stitching, and it looks both classy and classic at the same time.
This model gets special door sills, logos, steering wheel, gearshift knob and light alloy wheels, along with other equipment. Although prices aren't known yet, I'm guessing it will run about $4,000 over the cost of a Mini Cooper Convertible or Mini Cooper S convertible.
Also, don't forget the hot Mini Cooper S with a John Cooper "Works" GP Kit. The limited production model weighs about 88 pounds less than a standard Mini Cooper S model, but has a 214 horsepower engine that can reach 146 mph and hit 62 in 6.5 seconds.
You'll get special seats with exclusive cloth and leather combinations, and a three-spoke leather steering wheel. It also comes with a sports suspension and brakes.
The car is painted in Thunder Blue, an exclusive color to this model, with a silver roof. Scoops along the engine compartment lid and the front and rear air dam area also are finished in silver.
Prices for Minis typically fall in the $18,000 to $25,000 range.