The new Mini model line-up starts with the Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S and Mini Cooper D at launch, with a full line-up expected to trickle through after the March 2014 expected showroom arrival.
So what’s new?
The new stiffer, more rigid platform makes this the biggest Mini ever: the Cooper, which sits on 15in alloys, is 98mm longer, 44mm wider, sites 7mm higher and has wider tracks front and rear, too. The longer wheelbase means more stability and less of that Mini go-kart like skittishness around corners, as well as more passenger room and a larger, 211-litre boot. It’s also pretty much the same weight, despite the increase in size: the manual Cooper is 10kg heavier than before, with the auto’s official weight unchanged.
Mechanically, there are some major new showpieces: adaptive dampers (called Dynamic Damper Control), extending the capability of the Sport buttons in the previous car, as well as some important mechanical upgrades as well.
>> Click here for CAR's full story on the design of the new Mini
You bet – all-new 1.5-litre three-cylinder units will kick off the range, with a turbocharged 136bhp version powering the Cooper. That’s 15bhp more than the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder it replaces. The three-cylinder engines are all aluminium, with direct fuel injection and are hooked up to a new six-speed manual gearbox, which has automatic throttle blipping between downchanges. If you’re after an auto, there’s no double-clutcher yet, but a new conventional six-speed auto or a six-speed ‘sport auto’, which comes with paddleshifters.
If you choose the auto for your Cooper, it’s actually faster: 7.8sec from 0-62mph for the self-shifter, and 7.9sec for the manual. That’s a substantial improvement over the previous Cooper’s 9.1sec claim. You’ll also get start/stop with the both transmissions, whereas the previous Mini only offered it with the manual ’box.
The new Cooper is not as greedy, either, with its 62.7mpg and 105g/km of CO2 eclipsing the current car’s 52.3mpg and 127g/km.
The four-cylinder’s not dead yet though: it’s reserved for the Cooper S and yet to be revealed John Cooper Works models, with the Cooper S’s turbocharged 2.0-litre (up from 1.6) producing 192bhp and 207lb ft – that’s 11bhp and 15lb ft more than before. It’s also more efficient, with 54.3mpg and 122g/km of CO2, while it’s a tad faster, with a 6.8sec 0-62mph time for the auto, again, a tenth up on the manual, both faster than the previous best of 7.0sec.
What about diesel?
The Mini D gets a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbodiesel, making 114bhp and 270Nm of torque. It has common rail injection and is all aluminum as well – impressive for a diesel engine, which requires higher compression. The loss of a cylinder has helped it achieve a numbers of 80.7mpg and 92g/km of CO2 against previous numbers of 74.3mpg and 99g/km. It too uses the new six-speed auto or manual transmissions.
How different is the cabin?
The more it changes, the more it remains the same. The longer wheelbase means there’s plenty of room up front for a six-footer, and while there’s an improvement in rear space, it’s still a cramped space that’s not exactly inviting. The design, though, is: the overall look, with a flat, horizontal dash and round vents (which are bigger) at each end continue, as does the centre display that harks back to Sir Alec Issigonis’s original.
While there’s a trick new nav set-up that reads the road to select the best gear for the automatic transmission, the best points of the previous Mini interior remain: wider, well-bolstered seats, solid fit and finish with the café-culture of chrome lashings adding to the premium feel.
You can buy the new generation Mini from early 2014 with prices starting from £15,300 on the road for the Mini Cooper, up from £14,900, with the Cooper S at £18,650 and Cooper D starting from £16,540.
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