As expected, the new model doesn’t look very different to its predecessor, and only a trained eye will spot the differences. However, it features some details that give it a fresh appearance, like the enlarged hexagonal radiator grille with wide chrome surround (the headlights and taillights have it too), a reinterpreted turn indicator element and significantly bigger tail lamps.
The new Mini is offered with five paint finishes, with the contrasting roof being available as an option at no extra charge. The new model also gains optional LED headlamps including DRLs with integrated direction indicatior, adaptive light distribution and LED fog lamps, as well as LED rear lights, optional lighting package with LED interior lights and orange-coloured ambient lighting.
Probably the most important change compared to the outgoing model is its size, with the new hatch riding on the BMW Group’s newly developed UKL1 platform, to be shared with an array of Mini and BMW models, including the BMW 1-Series GT MPV and even the next X1 crossover.
In particular, the new Mini is 98mm longer (3.85in), 44mm (1.73in) wider and 7mm (0.27in) taller. The wheelbase is also 28mm (1.10in) longer, with larger track width as well (front +42mm/1.65in, rear +34mm/1.34in). As you can imagine, all these changes translate into more space for all four occupants and their luggage, with the boot volume up 51 liters (1.80 cubic feet) to 211 liters (7.45 cubic feet). The rear backrest is foldable with 60:40 split, with Mini also offering an optional storage package including luggage compartment floor.
As announced before, the new Mini is available with a new generation of 1.5-liter 3-cylinder and 2.0-liter 4-cylinder twin-turbocharged gasoline engines. At launch, customers will have three options: the Mini Cooper with 134HP (136PS) from the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine, the Mini Cooper S with 189HP (192PS) from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and Mini Cooper D with 114HP (116PS) from a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder diesel engine.
All three models are offered as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox (a six-speed auto is optional) and include the so-called ‘MINIMALISM’ technology featuring engine start/stop function, improved driving performance figures and reduced fuel consumption. The fastest model is the Cooper S (0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds), while the most economical is the Cooper D, with 3.5 – 3.6 liters/100 km (67.2 – 65.3 mpg US) and 92 – 95 g of CO2/km (dependent on tire format selected).
Mini has also improved the suspension that promises an enhanced “go-kart” feeling, with systems like Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) being fitted as standard.
On the inside, Mini tweaked the instrument panel layout on the new hatch. Features include a new central display, improved standard equipment and available features including Mini Head-Up-Display, Driving Assistant with camera-based active cruise control, collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function, high beam assistant and road sign detection, parking assistant and rear view camera, among others.
Sales of the new model begin in spring 2014, with prices to be announced closer to its market debut.