2008 MINI Cooper Hardtop S
At the worldwide launch of the 2009 BMW 7 Series, company officials said that the new version of the hip, hot hatch will show up at the Los Angeles Show in advance of a plan to ship 500 to 550 copies over here, for testing purposes in California and New York.
The U.K.'s CAR Magazine, according to AutoBlogGreen, claims that BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer will be doing the official unveil of the electric MINI, and that 490 of the 500 vehicles will be leased to the public beginning mid-2009. The other 10, they say, will be used by company employees and execs.
Additional BMW highlights for the L.A. Auto Show include the new 7 Series sedan, the 7 Series ActiveHybrid Concept recently displayed at the Paris Auto Show, and the ballyhooed 335d and X5 xDrive 35d diesels.
We just drove many of these machines (with the exception of the MINI EV) in Germany, and even before we were plied with sugar-laden stollen bread from BMW PR, we came away impressed with BMW's new smooth, torquey, and efficient new livery. Stay tuned for the first driving impressions.--Colin Mathews