New Model News

Updated 2021 MINI Countryman John Cooper Works retains spirited drive, gets new features

The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works has been updated for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of MINI

For the new model year, the 2021 MINI Countryman John Cooper Works delivers an engaging drive but adds convenience features to make modern life behind the wheel easier.

The JCW model has a new grille with hexagonal contours ad a slim, one-piece chrome surround. The car's tailpipes have been enlarged to 95 mm in diameter.

Photo courtesy of MINI

It now has standard LED headlights and foglight, and the car's taillights have gotten a new design. Buyers can upgrade to adaptive LED headlights with variable light distribution. The lights provide a bendable adaptive effects that can vary depending on traffic or weather conditions. For example, in urban traffic and when visibility is limited due to the weather conditions, the side area of the road is illuminated more intensely by adding the dimmed turning light. When driving on roadway, MINI says that it is possible to selectively increase the range of the high beam.

MINI will offer the model in two new body colors - White Silver metallic and Sage Green metallic. Piano Black Exterior features include the headlamp surrounds, rear lights, radiator grille, door handles, and model lettering on the luggage compartment lid. This replaces the chrome finished elements that were standard on the 2020 model.

The MINI continues to get its power from a 306-horsepower twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine that's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard. The power plant achieves 332 pound-feet of torque and can get from zero to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds.

The Countryman JCW has a sport exhaust system, a suspension and dampening features that are have been honed by the company's racing experts. Dynamic Stability Control, electromechanical steering, a sports brake system, four-piston fixed caliper disc brakes on the front wheels, and single-piston floating-caliper disc brakes in the rear are standard. Buyers can add an adaptive chassis.

It rides on 18-inch JCW light-alloy wheels with Chili Red-painted brake calipers.

The Countryman is the most spacious MINI. It has four doors and can seat five. A new 5.0-inch digital dash sits behind the steering wheel. The car's infotainment system can stream via Bluetooth, has a hands-free telephone system, and USB port. Navigation is standard while wireless charging and a second USB port are available.

MIIN has made the vehicle able to be configured with access to MINI Connected services.

Pricing and U.S. on-sale dates are not yet available.

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is on sale now.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The all-electric range of the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has been confirmed. The model is the first modern electric Volkswagen to be sold in the U.S. and a model that the German automaker is resting a lot of hopes on for the future of sales in the country.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro with all-wheel drive will achieve an EPA-estimated 260 miles of all-electric range on a full charge. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition, which have more features and equipment and therefore weigh more, achieve an estimated 250 miles of range.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for ID.4 Pro RWD is 107 MPGe in the city; 91 MPGe on the highway, and 99 MPGe combined. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition does slightly worse achieving 104 MPGe in the city, 89 MPGe on the highway, and 97 MPGe combined.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Exterior The "1st" badging denotes the vehicle as a first edition model. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

These new numbers come as part of a second round of EPA testing. Original testing found that the model did not quite hit its target.

How does that compare to other EVs? The Nissan Leaf Plus offers 226 miles of all-electric power. The Hyundai Kona Electric delivers 258 miles. Volvo's XC40 Recharge has just 208 miles of all-electric range but the Tesla Model Y can go up to 326 miles on one full charge.

First out of the Volkswagen gate will be ID.4 models with an 82-kilowatt-hour battery and rear-mounted AC permanent-magnet synchronous motor. That system delivers 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque.

At a public DC fast-charging station with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. With purchase, ID.4 owners receive three years of unlimited charging at Electrify America DC Fast Chargers at no additional cost.

The 2021 ID.4 is on sale now, with pricing for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro starting at $39,995 MSRP, before a potential Federal tax credit of up to $7,500. The Pro S carries an MSRP of $44,495. The limited-run ID.4 1st Edition, which sold out the day the vehicle was launched, carried an MSRP of $43,995.

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