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Mini adds two appearance packages for 2006

Slight price increase include more equipment Automotive columnist: , Updated:

Checkmate and Quicksilver packages for the hatchback model highlight Mini lineup news for 2006, followed closely by a new factory-installed John Cooper Works package.

The company also thinks it's newsworthy that it's only going to raise the prices for all models (except for the Classic which stays the same) by $100 and throw in a multi-function steering wheel.

By bringing the John Cooper Works kit in-house for the Cooper S model, BMW Canada hopes to stabilize quality and get more people interested in spending $5,900 for the package.

In addition to the engine performance upgrade which increases output to 208 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, BMW Canada notes, the factory installation adds the John Cooper Works sport brake kit with 16-inch brake discs and a limited-slip differential.

On top of that specific performance package, BMW Canada's Mini dealership will also offer an expanded line of John Cooper Works tuner accessories.

The two new packages are supposed to help Cooper owners "individualize" their cars for 2006, though I've never understood how a pre-set collection of items for a car or a house or a boat or anything that is available for anyone to buy can help individualize it.

But it seems to work with buyers of all kinds of vehicles, so why shouldn't BMW try to get some of that lucrative action?

The Checkmate Package starts with the Cooper S hatchback model and features an "exclusive exterior appearance with special Checkmate side decals, Silver Roof, Mirror Caps and Bonnet stripes combined with two exclusive new colors -- Space Blue and Royal Grey."

The Checkmate interior offers unique cloth/leather sport seats, a leather wrapped wheel and a high-gloss, specially patterned dash panel. An exclusive 17-inch Flame Spoke performance wheel and tire package, Dynamic Stability Control, and front and rear fog lamps round out the package's sporty orientation.

On all Cooper hatchback models with the Sport Package option, the $200 Quicksilver Package is supposed to provide "an exterior motif similar to the Checkmate package, with the stunning combination of Silver Roof, Silver Mirror caps and Bonnet Stripes combined with three new exclusive colors -- Space Blue, Royal Grey and Solar Red."

Other feature changes of note for the Cooper line this year include new English Leather upholstery for the S and a new 16-inch Bridge Spoke alloy wheel in the Cooper Sport Package.

For 2006, the price range is as follows: Cooper Classic at $23,500, Cooper at $25,900, Cooper S at $30,600, Cooper Convertible at $31,600, and Cooper S Convertible at $36,600.

Some package and option prices have gone up for 2006, but include additional features.

For example, the Premium Package has increased by $40 on Cooper and Cooper S variants and $100 on Convertible models (which brings it to $1,790 and $1,850, respectively), but now includes an auto-dimming interior mirror and rain sensor with automatic headlights.

Similarly, the Sport Package has increased by $190 (that makes it $1,990) on Cooper and Cooper S hatchback, but now includes an Anthracite Roofliner. The Sport Package price remains unchanged for Convertible models.

The 2006 models will be in Canada's 21 Mini showrooms by October, BMW Canada says.
photo:BMW Canada
2006 MINI Cooper
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2006 MINI Cooper
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