All-new MINI Cooper goes into production in the UK

Gareth Herincx

21 hours ago
Auto News

First fifth-generation MINI Cooper rolls off the production line at Plant Oxford

The first fifth generation MINI Cooper has been manufactured at Plant Oxford, the home of MINI.

The first three-door model was driven off the production line by Charlie Cooper, grandson of the legendary John Cooper, whose heritage inspired the Cooper moniker.

The new MINI Cooper is the latest generation to be built in the UK, with all three BMW Group UK manufacturing sites contributing to production: 

BMW Group Plant Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies, while the latest highly-efficient three and four-cylinder petrol engines are built at BMW Group Plant Hams Hall in North Warwickshire. 

Finally, these parts come together at MINI Plant Oxford where body shell production, paint and final assembly take place.

Since the launch of the first modern MINI in 2001, more than 4.4 million MINIs have been produced in the UK – including 150,000 MINI Electric models (built between 2019 and 2023).

The new MINI Cooper is the third member of the new MINI family, joining the MINI Cooper Electric and the new MINI Countryman. Available in two model variants: the MINI Cooper C and performance-enhanced MINI Cooper S, the latest three-door merges traditional brand values with innovative technology.

“This milestone underscores the commitment to our roots while propelling us into a dynamic future of driving,” said Stefanie Wurst, Head of MINI.

“Plant Oxford is the heart of the MINI brand, and today, as we witness the birth of this new chapter, we renew our pledge to craftsmanship and the thrill of motoring.”

Dr. Markus Grüneisl, Head of Plants Oxford and Swindon added, “We are delighted to welcome the new MINI Cooper to our lines in both Oxford and Swindon. 

“The new MINI Cooper is an incredibly important car for our team and UK manufacturing. We are proud to produce this iconic car, loved all over the world.”

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BMW to build new electric MINI in Britain

Gareth Herincx

4 days ago
Auto News

New MINI Cooper Electric

BMW Group has announced a new investment of more than £600 million in the MINI factories at Oxford and Swindon.

The Oxford plant is gearing-up to build two new all-electric MINI models from 2026, the 3-door MINI Cooper and the compact crossover MINI Aceman.

This development has been supported by the UK Government and will help to secure jobs at the Oxford manufacturing plant and at the body-pressing facility in Swindon.

“With this new investment we will develop the Oxford plant for production of the new generation of electric MINIs and set the path for purely electric car manufacturing in the future,” said Milan Nedeljković, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for production.

MINI Plant Oxford

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “BMW Group’s investment is another shining example of how the UK is the best place to build cars of the future. By backing our car manufacturing industry, we are securing thousands of jobs and growing our economy right across the country.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said, “This decision is a big vote of confidence in the UK economy and the work of this Government to ensure the continued strength of our world-leading automotive sector. We are proud to be able to support BMW Group’s investment, which will secure high-quality jobs, strengthen our supply chains, and boost Britain’s economic growth”.

The MINI Plant Oxford currently produces the MINI 3-door, the MINI 5-door as well as the MINI Clubman and the MINI Electric.

From 2024 the plant will start producing the next generation MINI 3-door and MINI 5-door with combustion engines, as well as the new MINI Convertible, before they are joined by the new all-electric vehicles in 2026 – the MINI Cooper 3-door and the MINI Aceman.

The factory will reach a production capacity of around 200,000 cars per year in the medium term, with ICE and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) initially being built on the same production line. From 2030, the Oxford Plant will produce all-electric MINI models exclusively.

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New BMW M1000 XR Prototype Revealed

A third bike in the M series of motorcycles has been announced, with the BMW M1000 XR prototype revealed by the German firm after being spotted in the Isle of Man ridden by Peter Hickman.

It’s based on the current BMW S1000 XR, but uses the in-line four-cylinder engine from the BMW S1000 RR sports bike with ShiftCam technology to put out more than 200hp, with a top speed around 280km/h, or 173mph.

The new BMW M1000 XR Prototype revealed for 2023
New BMW M1000 XR Prototype Revealed
New BMW M1000 XR Prototype Revealed

As a modern motorcycle, you’ll obviously get a range of Race Pro riding modes, traction control, and BMW’s Brake Slide control, and potentially DDC active suspension similar to the M1000 R. The bike was spotted in the paddock at the Isle of Man during TT week, with FHO Racing rider and TT star Peter Hickman taking advantage of the closed roads.

The BMW M1000 XR prototype being ridden around the Isle of Man Mountain course by Peter Hickman

Official information from BMW promises further information in the second half of 2023, suggesting that the bike may be launched during the Autumn motorcycle show season for sales in 2024. But it looks pretty complete at this stage, so maybe it’ll pop up sooner. The existing BMW M1000 R is the top spec super naked, alongside the BMW M1000 RR superbike from 2021 onwards.

The BMW M1000 XR on the Isle of Man
The BMW M1000 XR on the Isle of Man

The current BMW S1000 XR and XR TE have stayed in the range since originally launching in 2015 as a sports touring bike which bridges the gap between the S1000 R and the GS range of adventure bikes. Starting from £15,740, the weight is similiar to the M model at 224kg, but you only get 121kw (161hp), from the 999 cc four-cylinder four-stroke engine.

Keep up with all the latest BMW motorcycle news, including bikes, events and more, here. If you can’t wait for the new BMW M1000 XR, then there are lots of S1000 XR examples currently for sale on eBay.


2023 Audi RS 3, BMW M2 Battle It Out for Small Performance Car Glory

2023 Audi RS 3 vs BMW M2

The brand new BMW M2 may be significantly more powerful, but it’s also less satisfying than the 2023 Audi RS 3.

These days, we live in what one could call the golden age of automotive performance, a time when one can buy all sorts of fast machines. This list covers the entire spectrum of vehicle types, whether we’re talking about traditional high-performance muscle cars and exotics all the way up to pickup trucks and large SUVs, and pretty much everything in between. Those seeking a small performance car with a bit of luxury also have some fantastic vehicles to choose from, with the 2023 Audi RS 3 and BMW M2 being among the best of the best, which is precisely why Throttle House pitted them against each other in a number of ways recently.

The BMW M2 has the benefit of being completely new, following a full redesign for the 2-Series on which it’s based. It’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six developing 453 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, which flows to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Right off the bat, Throttle House notes that the manual “feels cumbersome” and the automatic “is dim-witted half the time,” which isn’t a good start.

2023 Audi RS 3 vs BMW M2

In the other lane, we have the 2023 Audi RS 3, which takes a different approach with its turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five that sends 401 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It tips the scales at around 3,600 pounds, however, which is notably less than the M2’s curb weight of just over 3,800 – quite interesting given the fact that the latter model doesn’t have to deal with the extra weight that AWD components add.

2023 Audi RS 3 vs BMW M2

TH notes that the 2023 Audi RS 3 is a “much more rewarding drive,” but aside from simple driving pleasure, what matters here is how the two stack up in terms of performance. To answer that question, we start out with a series of drag races, which the Audi kicks off with a win thanks to its massive traction advantage. In a roll race, the M2 uses its power advantage to motor ahead and take the win in that style of straight line test, though the car is clearly a bit more difficult to drive in that manner, too.

Out on the track, the RS3 managed a best lap time of 1:11.93, making it the 12th quickest car TH has tested to date, while the M2 wasn’t terribly far ahead at 1:11.19 – quite impressive given the fact that the Audi is down significantly in terms of output. At the end of the day, our hosts reveal that they would still buy the RS3 over the current-gen M2, which has seemingly taken a step back from generation-to-generation – bad news for BMW fans, indeed.

Click HERE to join the AudiWorld forums!

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Beastly 900 HP Audi RS6 Makes Mincemeat of Modded BMW M3

Audi RS6 vs BMW M3

With relatively equal power to weight ratios, this Audi RS6 uses sheer muscle to drive past a BMW M3 in every single race.

One could successfully argue that any Audi RS car is wicked quick, and they’d be absolutely right. Straight out of the box, these high-performance machines are quite powerful and capable, but as is usually the case, the right tune can make then even more so. We’ve seen this time and time again over they years, and now, we’re seeing it again with what might be the fastest Audi RS6 on the planet, which recently took on an equally modified BMW M3 in a drag race hosted by the folks behind the Officially Gassed YouTube channel.

This particular Audi RS6 has been modified in many ways, starting under the hood, where its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 was warmed over by the folks at QS Tuning. It features a stage 3 ECU and TCU upgrade, a pair of TTE1020 turbos, CSF intercoolers, QST downpipes, exhaust, an Eventuri intake, and a QST MAP sensor. The results are a cool 916 horsepower, which flows to all four wheels via Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires.

Audi RS6 vs BMW M3

With a perfect 3-0 record on this particular channel, the Audi RS6 seems to have its hands full on this particular day running against an 800 horsepower BMW M3 with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six, as it’s a bit lighter – around 3,924 pounds versus the wagon’s 4,574 pound curb weight. However, in the very first roll race, the Audi RS6 walks away from the BMW like it’s standing still, making easy work of the less powerful yet also lighter performance sedan.

Audi RS6 vs BMW M3

The second roll race produced essentially the same result, albeit with a slightly closer margin of victory of roughly two cars. However, the two move on to the series of dig races, which can oftentimes go far different than those that take place from a roll. This time, the M3 gets the jump and an early lead, but the Audi quickly chases it down, a feat that it repeats for the second and final dig race.

Given the power to weight ratios of these two cars – which are essentially even – it’s somewhat surprising to see one dominate the other in such fashion, but it’s clear that the Audi makes up for its weight disadvantage with pure power – just like the good old days of hot rodding, albeit in a large, family-friendly wagon.

Click HERE to join the AudiWorld forums!

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