One of the most popular cars in recent years is the new MINI, launched by BMW's MINI subsidiary in 2001. This small, nimble car is a modern interpretation of the Morris Mini Minor, an even smaller car launched by British Motor Corporation in 1959 and produced until 2000. The original Mini was a revolutionary transverse-engine, front-wheel drive design that devoted 80 percent of its petite frame to passengers. It sipped gasoline, and handled surprisingly well, riding on tiny ten-inch wheels. Race car builder John Cooper designed higher-performance models called the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S. During its 40-year production, more than five million Minis were sold, and the original remains a cult classic and tuner favorite. In 1994, BMW bought the Rover Group, whose assets included the Mini, from British Aerospace. The new MINI is available in three models: the basic MINI One, powered by a 90 horsepower4-cylinder engine, the 115 horsepower MINI Cooper, and the supercharged 170 horsepower MINI Cooper-S. An optional John Cooper Works tuning kit increases horsepower to 210. In 2004, a soft-top MINI Cabriolet was added to the line. In 2007, Mini introduced the Clubman, a stretched version of the MINI that boasts three passenger doors and split rear barn doors in the rear. The new MINI may be a lot bigger than the original version, but it is its spiritual successor, offering a lot of fun in what is for today a very small package.

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