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Mini's Pricing Makes Car a Bargain BMW

January 16, 2002

When the new Mini Cooper hits showrooms in the U.S. later this year, it will be the least expensive car from BMW Group in decades.

Except for the pedal cars and radio-controlled models turned out by the company's lifestyles unit, vehicles from Bayerische Moteren Werke start in the high $20,000s and move up rapidly from there.

Mini pricing released last week starts at $16,850 for the basic four-passenger, 115-horsepower model--the equivalent of a modest down payment on a stripped BMW 7-Series luxury sedan.

The turbocharged, high-performance Mini Cooper S, with almost 42% more horsepower than the basic Mini, a sportier interior, bigger tires and wheels and a more sophisticated suspension, will start at $19,850.

The prices might sound a little steep for a boxy subcompact, but consider that it seats four with plenty of room (it is a tall little box), goes like a bat out of you-know-where and scoots around corners like a go-kart on steroids, and you start to get the idea.

You could ditch plans to buy the smallest of the BMW 3-Series coupes, get a Mini Cooper instead and still have $11,000 left for options, a couple of house payments and a trip to Europe to see where they are made. Even a Mini Cooper S would leave you plenty of change--almost $8,000.

If you simply must spend more in order to hold up your head at the country club, there are about 30 options that can be ordered separately, as well as a trio of option packages that bundle a number of related goodies at a discount.

The self-explanatory sport package and a luxury-oriented premium package are priced at $1,250 each. A cold-weather kit (heated mirrors and similar stuff) is $500.

Mini is a separate brand of BMW Group, and the cars will be sold through a separate dealership network in the U.S. So far, 70 dealers have been appointed, eight of them in Southern California.

The company says it expects to sell 20,000 Minis in the U.S. in the first full year of sales.

The U.S. version is a revival of the British commuter car that has been popular in Europe since it was introduced in 1959 but not sold here since 1967.

John O'Dell

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