- Introduced in 2002 as a completely new design, the BMW MINI Cooper is a throwback to its ancestor of the same name, mimicking its appearance and performance. Whilst the car has been criticized for its poor space-efficiency compared with the original Mini (despite its significantly larger size), its faithfulness to the original's razor sharp handling characteristics and its unique styling has seen the BMW MINI become a sales success in Europe and (since its introduction in 2002) in the U.S.
- BMW has received a significant backlog of orders throughout the life of the car and the Cowley factory is working at its full capacity of around 100,000 cars per year; all of this with little conventional advertising.
- The BMW MINI One, Cooper and Cooper S use a Brazilian-built Tritec engine while the MINI One/D uses a Toyota-built diesel engine. While the modern BMW MINI uses none of the engineering of the BMC original Mini, it does capture some of the spirit of the classic car. Like the original, it uses a transversely-mounted four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels. All four wheels are pushed to the corners of the body which is a 'two-box' or 'hot hatch' design. The styling of the car, like that of the Volkswagen New Beetle, is a retro design that is deliberately reminiscent of the original BMC Mini with contrasting roof colours, optional bonnet stripes, optional rally lights and with black trim around the wheel arches and rocker panels that mimic the wide wheel flares found on many BMC Classic Minis.
- The BMW MINI One and BMW MINI Cooper are available with a continuously variable transmission or with a conventional Getrag five-speed manual transmission. The BMW Cooper S comes with a six-speed Getrag manual or (from the 2005 model year onwards) a fully automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
- Technical innovations include an electrically driven power steering system that avoids taking power from the engine when accelerating out of corners, and equal length driveshafts to eliminate torque steer. The BMW MINI has a 'drive by wire' electronic throttle, electronic brakeforce distribution, and electronic stability control to improve control and handling in adverse conditions. These innovations give the BMW MINI vastly better handling than any of its competitors.
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