editors blog

julyaugcoverlgJuly/August 2012 Modern Mini

As I write this, it’s just 48 hours after MINI United 2012 – and wow, what an epic event – we even delayed the printing of this issue to bring you our show report! The atmosphere at this year’s show was spot-on and it was an eclectic mix of people that turned out but they all had one thing in common: MINI. It was fascinating to see how each European MINI club personalised its cars and trends that are still going strong include stickerbombing and vinyl wrapping.

The biggest news of all from MINI United 2012 wasn’t the headline acts on the main stage – nope – it was the chance to get up close and personal with the new JCW GP. It was interesting to listen to people’s first reactions to this GP reinterpretation; some made comments that the decals were too gaudy, others praised MINI for taking a bold step. My personal reaction? I loved it and even more so once I had spoken to MINI’s head of chassis and suspension development for the new GP, Jörg Weidinger. His enthusiasm was infectious; he was like a little boy in a sweet shop and the grin never left his face as he talked openly about the new GP. The comment that stuck in my mind from our conversation was his emphasis that this MINI was not only better but faster than a standard John Cooper Works, helped by its unique aerodynamics and rear diffuser. Not only that, Jörg announced that he had never driven a car that was as much fun around the Nürburgring as the new GP. Now that’s quite a statement to make.

julyaugblogAll that this has done is reignite my desire to own an original R53 JCW GP. I have always held this model in high regard and just wonder now what will happen to secondhand prices. On the same topic, we plan to bring you a bumper GP buying guide in our next issue, so look out for that.

But back to what we have in store for you this time round... we get our hands on both petrol and diesel versions of the new Roadster for an epic blast around the Cotswolds. But not only that; we bring you features that include a ludicrous HEMI V


8-powered Cooper (only in America) and teenager Xigg Taylor who’s made his first car into a bit of a fluorescent fancy.

So, why not make yourself a brew, sit back and enjoy.

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MayJuneCoverLgMay/June 2012 Modern Mini

It’s the feel good factor issue. What with longer days and spring flowers in full bloom under perfect blue skies, we’re happy to bring you the roundup of good news from MINI. And it’s official: MINI’s on the up! The brand made a strong start to 2012 with a total of 15,768 vehicles delivered to customers – an increase of 11.6 per cent; the Countryman was among the models to post significant growth with sales rising 59 per cent to 5,575. What’s more, the BMW Group announced recently that it is increasing the number of UK apprenticeships to around 200. MINI Plant Oxford has 35 places available, with 11 at the Plant Swindon pressings plant and a further 24 at the Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham. In addition, BMW and MINI dealerships in the UK will be recruiting around 130 apprentices in various disciplines ranging from service technician, parts advisor and body refinish/paint, in a two-year training scheme that will lead to a Level 3 qualification.

And while MINI further widens its global sales network with its first showroom in Jordan, the Middle East, back in Blighty it opens its first ‘pop-up’ MINI store in the centre of the popular shopping destination, Stratford. Clever thinking.

MayJuneBlogOf course, we also had the traditional European opener for the automotive industry mid-March with the Geneva Motor Show, where MINI launched its 218bhp JCW Countryman, interesting Clubvan Concept and three latest London-themed special editions – all in time for the 2012 Olympics!

So what do we have in store for you this issue? A real cross-section of MINI-related stuff from our informative, everything-you-need-to-know R50-R53 buying guide, to Chris Lewis’s awesome R53 turbo conversion, through to all the drama from the frontline at the 2012 Dakar Rally – which MINI won, of course.


By the time the Jul-Aug 2012 issue lands on your doormat, we would have only just recovered from the biggest MINI event of the year: MINI United in the South of France. Now that I can’t wait for...

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MarchCoverLgMarch/April 2012 Modern Mini

Who says January is a quiet month? As I write this, just three weeks into 2012, there’s been plenty going on in the world of MINI! Of course the biggest news that spread like wildfire throughout MINI forums is that MINI United is back (see The Vibe). This epic open-air festival has left a huge chasm in the MINI scene since the last event at Silverstone in 2009. It’s early days for MINI United 2012 on 11-13 May, but what with its Paul Ricard Circuit venue in Le Castellet, France, organisers promise a unique themed programme of racing, test drives, motorsport events and music. Tickets are on sale now. Sticking to the theme of MINI events, we were pleased to hear that the world-famous Brands Hatch circuit in Kent will be hosting a brand new Mini Festival of its own on 16-17 June. This will coincide with the MINI Challenge and classic Mini racing, but there will also be plenty of other activities to commemorate the marque. Exciting stuff!

As we were going to press we heard the fantastic news that the X-Raid team’s Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret piloted their green Countryman ALL4 to victory in the legendary Dakar Rally. We’ll reveal the full story in the next issue of Modern MINI. And talking of breaking news, if you own a turbocharged Cooper S or JCW you need to read the recall issued by MINI UK on p9.

JanFebBlogSo what else can we bring you? A real bumper packed issue that’s what! We have Laura Rose’s awesome pink Cooper Convertible show car that drew many an admiring glance at Mini in the Park. In contrast we have Ollie Boulton’s personalised One where insulation tape and rattle cans have been put to good use! Also in this issue we have introduced a topic theme to the Tech Q&A section, so if you have any suggestions on what we should be covering here, drop us a line at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

If your local newsagent doesn’t stock Modern MINI, why not ask them to order it in? Alternatively try WHSmiths or, better still, take up the latest subscription offer on p65 and receive your copy before it’s even available in the shops!

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JanFebCoverLgJanuary/February 2012 Modern Mini

Welcome to the Jan-Feb 2012 issue of Modern MINI from the Editor’s chair.

Yes it’s the ‘reveal all’ issue – the 2011 Oscars results time – and this year we’ve had a record number of votes! What’s more, in many of the categories there was just a single vote between first and second places. To see exactly who won what, take a look at p18.

So what other exciting things do we have to share with you in this issue? Well, as you can see from our front cover, an exclusive look at what’s taking the cross-country rallies by storm – and it’s probably a racing Countryman ALL4 you’ve never seen or heard of before. While Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio and Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle are collecting silverware for the WRC MINI, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel – a legend in the Dakar Rally world – has been making great strides with the X-RAID team’s ALL4. Indeed turn to p50 to read the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of how this monster MINI evolved; we will continue to follow its progress in 2012, beginning with the infamous Dakar Rally in January.

JanFebBlogMeanwhile, we bring you the latest news from Germany with AC Schnitzer’s radically-tuned R56 Cooper S ‘Eagle’ – a testbed prototype for the specialist’s latest engine and suspension mods – costing somewhere in the region of 62,000 Euros. Wowee. And on track it has no problems eating BMW M3s for breakfast. Now I can’t say that I did just that around Bedford Autodrome while trying out Motorsport Vision’s latest track craze, ‘How Fast’, but to be fair I was behind the wheel of a completely standard and brand new Cooper S. You can read more about this adventure on p24.

While most MINI club members have already hung their keys up for the 2011 show season, we bring you coverage of Liverpool’s National New MINI Show and many other local MINI runs. It seems that despite the recent autumnal weather, it hasn’t put many of you off a good ol’ MINI knees-up. And by all means let us know what MINI adventures you’ve got planned over the winter months – we’d love to feature your post-event write ups in The Vibe.

you know how to get in touch – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . In the meantime, enjoy the Christmas festivities!

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NovDecMiniCOverLgNovember/December 2011 Modern Mini

Hello from the hotseat and welcome to my first issue as Editor! Regular readers will be familiar with the articles I’ve penned for Modern MINI over the past three-and-a-half years and others may well have found the time to have a chinwag with me at one of the many vibrant Mini shows during the show season. In essence I would like to bring you what you’d like to see more of in Modern MINI; reports from around the world on what MINI is up to, exciting industry developments and all the news and gossip from the MINI scene. In fact this issue sees a bumper amount of show reports; we bring you all the drama from Mini in the Park, Mini Fest at Uttoxeter, National Mini Show at Stanford Hall and MINIs Unleashed tour of Belgium. What’s more, we’ve introduced a new section in The Vibe tailored especially for clubs – a ‘warts ‘n’ all’ Q&A section to really find out what goes on behind the scenes. If your club would like to be the next to feature here, take a look at p89 to find out how.

NovDecBlogMeanwhile, we held back the printing of this issue to bring you – hot off the press – Phil Weeden’s first drive report on the new MINI Coupe in Austria. If that wasn’t enough, he also brings news straight from the Frankfurt Motor Show where the Coupe was officially launched, that despite the doom and gloom worldwide, MINI sales are up a whopping 27 per cent. Over in Blighty, Prime Minister David Cameron showed his support to the MINI brand by visiting Plant Oxford and driving off the production line the two millionth MINI. All positive news to brighten up our lives whilst the nights are drawing in and the temperatures dropping!

As for me, well I’ve travelled up and down the country this issue to bring you some top MINI features. Turn to p29 to read all about how Cooper S JCW GP duo Graham and Steve have turned their limited editions into proper pocket rockets. But because they’ve modified them it’ll still divide the MINI community, no doubt. Then there’s James Melbourne who’s opted for the hard way to squeeze more power out of his Cooper by converting the engine to S-spec. That’s no mean feat!

All in all I hope you enjoy this issue – and don’t forget if there’s anything specifically that you’d like to see more of in Modern MINI you can always get in touch via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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