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2011 Mini family – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mini vs. Porsche – Click above to view the videos after the jump

Last we checked, Road Atlanta was a famed professional 2.54-mile racetrack, not an oversized autocross layout on a training skidpad. Somebody may need to remind Mini USA, as the maker of famously small cars has just announced the "track" (their word, not ours) for its overly-publicized "Rumble on the Racetrack" (their title, not ours) challenge pitting the Mini Cooper S against the race-bred Porsche 911 Carrera S.

After Mini's many attempts to coax Porsche into a race, including videos, posting an online petition and even flying a banner plane over the automaker's North American headquarters, the lights have all gone dark in Atlanta, and it looks like Mini is out of luck.

Mini boss Jim McDowell responds to Porsche – Click above to watch the video after the jump

2011 Mini Cooper – Click above for image gallery

Mini takes on Porsche – Click above for high-res image gallery

2010 Mini Cooper - Click for high-res gallery

Those folks concerned with All Things Mini over at Motoringfile have some more salacious gossip regarding the rumored coupe and speedster variants. A conceptual version of the fixed-head sportster is expected at the Frankfurt Motor Show this autumn, and according to the website, the model will carry the moniker 'Broadspeed Coupe.' (Quick history lesson: A team by the name of Broadspeed raced Mini Coopers back in the 1960's, and they even went so far as to produce a racier coupe version of the of

2009 Mini Cooper S Convertible – Click above for high-res image gallery

Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 MINI Cooper S Convertible

Click above for a high-res image gallery of the new MINI Cooper Convertible

Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2008 MINI Cooper S

One of the apparent keys to creating a viral video is mimicking reality by showing young people attempting stunts. The main difference is that in Virals, the injuries aren't real, and the camera work is better. Oh, and the payoff is usually CG that's been fussed over, versus pimply little Johnny trying to figure out chromakey in his bedroom. MINI wants to put across the point that the Cooper S with the John Cooper Works package is more extreme than extreme. The very definition of extreme, perhap

The MINI franchise is finally facing some stiff competition in the compact performance segment, particularly abroad where buyers can now get their retrotastic kicks in the 180-hp Fiat Punto Abarth SS or the Clio Renaultsport 197. It's been simply a matter of time before MINI let loose the John Cooper Works team again on the new R56 Cooper S, and the fruits of their underground labors have been caught on the Nurburgring in the form of a Stage II version of the R56 Cooper S JCW package.

Click the image above for more high-res images.

If Automotive News' sources are to be believed, BMW and Mercedes-Benz might be joining forces to develop a new front-wheel drive architecture that would underpin both automakers' compact offerings. BMW is likely in the process of developing a new platform for its MINI and Mercedes has already announced plans to ditch its A-class ultra-compact. The idea that the two rivals would come together to co-develop a product might seem preposterous, but at the end of the day, it's all about saving as many

Saab is trying desperately to remake itself as a premium player in a market rife with competitors offering sharp styling and competent handling. The Swedish automaker has been in a marketing and design rut, which it intends to rectify by offering a new compact model that takes aim at the MINI and other small-sized competitors like the Volvo C30.

If you're a U.S. citizen hankering for a factory-tuned R56 MINI Cooper S, you're officially in luck. MotoringFile has received the press release on the new JCW tuning package, and according to our friend Gabe, some dealers already have demo vehicles and you might be able to score a ride in one later this week.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety wrapped up yet another round of merciless destruction analyzed crash test data provided by BMW and came away with an overall 'Good' rating for the 2007 MINI Cooper.

Time for total honesty: if we were to pick up a MINI tomorrow, this is the one we'd have. The combination of dark silver and a black roof is understated enough to be overlooked, but menacing in a way that makes us itch for the twisties. It tells anyone in The Know that you've got taste, and the blacked-out rims with a polished lip don't hurt either.

Click the image above for a gallery of high-res pics.

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