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Mini Cooper redesign unveiled

Also, Audi sports car and Chevy diesel racer concept introduced.



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NEW YORK ( -- A new Mini Cooper was unveiled this week at the Paris Motor Show. You might not notice the difference right away, but, in reality, everything about the little car has been changed.

First, the new Mini is slightly bigger than the outgoing model. The standard Mini Cooper will be almost three inches longer, while the performance-oriented Cooper S will be a little less than 2.5 inches longer. This is partly to fulfill future European safety requirements, according to BMW, Mini's parent company.

Photos: More cars from the Paris Motor Showexternal link

Inside, the speedometer will remain centrally located rather than being directly in front of the driver, and it will be even larger than in the current model. In the new Mini, the speedometer will incorporate entertainment system and optional navigation controls.

The new version will also get a new engine and transmission. The standard Cooper will get a 1.6-liter, 120-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine. The Cooper S will get a turbocharged version of the same engine capable of producing 175 horsepower.

Audi supercar

Audi unveiled a new all-wheel-drive 420-horsepower, V-8 powered sports car, the R8. The name is taken from the company's LeMans-series race car, which was replaced this year with the diesel-powered R10.

The engine, which can rev up to 8,250 RPM, according to Audi, is visible, under a large rear window, from both inside and outside the car.

GM flexes some Euro-muscle

General Motors rolled out a Chevrolet concept car called the WTCC Ultra. (WTCC stands for World Touring Car Championship, a European race series twice won by Chevrolet.) The car's front grille is split by a thick central bar, and, in back, an exaggerated wing rises from the rear deck lid.

It's powered by a 190-horsepower, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. To keep weight down, the car's body panels are made from a laminate of fiberglass and carbon fiber.

The WTCC's design was the result of a collaboration among GM designers in South Korea, Australia, Europe and the United States, GM said.

Photos: More cars from the Paris Motor Showexternal link

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