Still seen as a true British icon, the unmistakeable design might have been plumped up a bit, but the Mini never lost any of its driving fun. First seen in 1959 and later revived in 2001, the new Mini emerged from the BMW Group stable to lead the premium compact class into the new millennium. And now Mini is poised to set new standards once again.
From a styling perspective, it’s retained its hallmark design, proportions and body structure. Characteristic design features such as the hexagonal radiator grille, headlamps and rear light clusters with wide chrome surround, turn-indicator element and peripheral body surround in black are reinterpreted and given additional emphasis due to the surface design in each specific area. High-end details underscore the sophisticated nature of the new model.
The new Mini has grown in size all-round: length has been increased by 98mm, width by 44mm, height by 7mm, wheelbase by 28mm, front track by 42mm and rear track by 34mm (differential figures relate to Mini Cooper). Other space enhancement include optimised spatial comfort on all four seats, new seat design with larger adjustment range at the front and longer seat surface at the rear (extra 23mm). Rear passengers benefit from more shoulder room and foot space, as well as increased comfort. The luggage-compartment volume increased by 51 litres to 211 litres, the rear backrest is foldable in a 60/40 split and an optional storage package including luggage compartment floor which can be locked into place at varying points is also available.
The new Mini will usher in a new generation of engines with Mini TwinPower Turbo Technology. Three model variants will be available as of market launch: Mini Cooper with a 100kW three-cylinder engine, Mini Cooper S with a 141kW four-cylinder petrol and the Mini Cooper D with an 85kW three-cylinder diesel. Six-speed manual transmissions will be standard across the range, with an optional six-speed automatic gearbox or a newly developed sports automatic transmission.
Other extensive technology includes automatic engine start/stop function in conjunction with the automatic transmission and optional Green mode, improved driving performance figures and reduced fuel consumption. The biggest efficiency advancement is in the Mini Cooper with automatic transmission - acceleration from zero to 100 km/h is 2.6 seconds quicker and average fuel consumption is 27% lower.
Intensification of the typical Mini go-kart feeling is achieved by extensively revised suspension technology, reduced weight and increased rigidity, new single-joint spring strut axle with aluminium swivel bearing and axle supports and wishbones made of high-strength steel, new multilink rear axle also in optimised lightweight construction and space-saving geometry, refined electromechanical power steering (now with Servotronic as standard), Dynamic Stability Control including Dynamic Traction Control and Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC).
The Mini Cooper S gets further enhancements, including Performance Control, a new spring and damper setup with triple-path support bearings, Dynamic Damper Control (optionally available for the first time on a Mini), refined brake system adapted to increased driving performance and light alloy wheels in 15-inch or 16-inch (Mini Cooper S) format as standard. Light alloy wheels up to 18 inches are optionally available.
The new Mini will go on sale in South Africa in March 2014. Only the Cooper and Cooper S variants will be available.