The redesigned Mini Cooper and Cooper S go on sale at 154 dealerships across the UK this weekend.

All dealerships are holding widely advertised special launch events to unveil the new car, but many customers will have to wait until the New Year to own one as, according to BMW GB, order books are "almost full" for 2006.

BMW said it had already taken approximately 4,000 UK orders have been taken for the new car, equalling the number achieved in the build-up to the launch of the first generation new Mini in July 2001.

Although it looks similar inside and out at first glance, the 2007 is fully redesigned. A new range of 1.6-litre petrol engines were designed in a joint venture with the PSA group and units for the Mini are being made 'in-house' at a BMW engine plant at Hams Hall, in central England.

Previous-generation Mini petrol engines came from a JV with DaimlerChrysler in Brazil.

Early next year, Mini is expected to announce a 1.4-litre One entry level model using a smaller capacity engine also made at Hams Hall. A new diesel engine - essential for European sales is also on the way but its source has not been confirmed.

A PSA-designed unit seems most likely as PSA and Ford have received considerable praise for their jointly developed and made 1.6-litre turbodiesel unit used in a variety of Ford, Volvo and Mazda models.

Toyota supplied the 1.4-litre turbodiesel engines used in the previous generation Mini. The unit was a variant of the unit the Japanese automaker fits to the European-built Yaris.

Mini UK dealers are continuing to offer a five-year/50,000-mile fixed-price servicing package with the redesigned model line, priced at GBP150.