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New Mini line unveiled in Oxford

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November 21, 2013

The premiere of the new Mini Cooper in Oxford

The premiere of the new Mini Cooper in Oxford

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In some ways, the Mini Cooper is a bit like a dog. Most people who remember it as a puppy are rather surprised at how big it has grown. On Monday, at its Oxford plant, BMW presented the world premiere of new Mini line to show off the model’s latest growth spurt and the new technology hidden inside.

If you’re smart, you don’t mess with a classic design. When the Austin Mini hit the roads in 1959, it seemed the perfect little biscuit tin of a car that attracted a cult following as much from its "snappy" styling and short overhangs as from its rock-bottom selling price. When BMW revived the car as the Mini Cooper premium compact, some people thought that it would never fly with the heavier design, and equally heavier price.

Being a car, the Mini Cooper didn't fly, but it did sell ... and sell well. Now for 2014, BMW has decided to roll the dice again with a re-engineered and restyled Mini Cooper that’s the center of a major new investment by the German car maker in its UK manufacturing facilities.

1.5 liter Mini TwinPower Turbo in-line petrol engine

According to BMW, the three new vehicles that make the new Mini line were created using an "evolutionary" design aimed at taking the basic Mini engineering and style elements and tweaking them to create a new Mini that is longer, wider, with more interior space, new safety technology, and networking capability.

The new Mini comes in three variants based on a choice of new engines. There’s the basic Mini Cooper, the more sport-focused Mini Cooper S and the diesel-powered Mini Cooper D. All of these share the same 9.8 cm (3.8 in) increase in length, except the Mini Cooper S, which is 2.9 cm (just over an inch) longer. The width, height, and wheelbase have all been given similar increases in size to preserve the proportions of the original style. Meanwhile, the chassis has been reduced in weight and increased in rigidity.

The new Mini styling keeps the short overhangs, but adds a slightly downward-sloping roofline, flared wheel arches, and some aggressive creasing to accentuate the lines. The hexagonal radiator grille has been moved back toward the front wheels and highlighted with a new one-piece chrome frame.

The Mini Cooper has undergone an 'evolutionary' design

The headlamps are also new with a wrap-around design that makes the front and rear lamps crawl around the cars flanks, wide chrome surrounds, and larger rear lamps. There’s also an optional LED package.

The engines of all three Mini variants use BMW’s new generation MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology, which the company says is cleaner and more efficient than the previous power plant.

The Mini Cooper uses a turbocharged, direct injection 1.5 liter, 3-cylinder petrol engine with fully variable valve control, and variable camshaft control that puts out 136 bhp (100 kW) and 220 Nm (162 ft-lb) of torque. This being a Mini, the 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration clocks in at 7.9 seconds and the top speed is 130 mph (210 km/h). Fuel consumption is rated at 4.5 - 4.6 l/100 km, and carbon dioxide emissions are 105 - 107 g/km.

Mini Connected

For the Mini Cooper S, there’s a turbocharged, direct injection 2 liter, 4-cylinder petrol engine that also has fully variable valve control, and variable camshaft control. It cranks 192 bhp (141 kW) and 280 Nm (206 ft-lb) of torque. It does a bit better in acceleration at 6.8 seconds and its top speed is 146 mph (235 km/h). Fuel consumption comes in at 5.7 - 5.8 l/100 km and carbon dioxide emissions come out to 133 - 136 g/km.

Under the bonnet of the Mini Cooper D you’ll find a turbocharged, 1.5 liter, 3-cylinder diesel engine with variable turbine geometry, and common rail direct injection for 116 bhp (85 kW) and 270 Nm (199 ft-lb) of torque. It does 0 to 62 mph in 9.2 seconds and has a top speed of 127 mph (205 km/h). Fuel economy is 3.5 - 3.6 l/100 km and it emits 92 - 95 g/ km of carbon dioxide.

Behind each of these engine variants is a 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional 6-speed automatic. Both have automatic engine start/stop and there’s an optional Green mode.

Mini Cooper interior

The new Mini’s suspension consists of a single-joint spring strut axle with an aluminum swivel bearing, and steel axle supports and wishbones. The multilink rear axle is designed for lightweight construction and space-saving geometry. According to BMW, the brakes are designed to enhance driving performance.

Steering on the new Mini is electromechanical with standard Servotronic. Also standard is Dynamic Stability Control with Dynamic Traction Control and Electronic Differential Lock Control. The Mini Cooper S also has Performance Control. Driving modes include MID, SPORT, and GREEN.

In the interior, BMW has completely redesigned the rear seats and come up with something suitable for people who actually have legs by providing a longer seat surface, more shoulder room, and more foot space.

Detail of switches of the Mini Cooper

The Mini’s switches have been redesigned with the sort of safety features you usually find on spacecraft and nuclear bombers. BMW says that the window switches and handbrake are now easier to reach, with the latter in a more "driver-focused position" to the left of the redesigned center console, which has gone all digital on us.

Where the old central speedometer sat there like a Soviet submarine clock that got lost, there’s now a graphics-based information readout that forms the centerpiece of a dash with a newly-arranged instrument cluster that includes road speed, engine speed, vehicle status, and fuel level. The readout displays the navigation and other infotainment systems and the whole thing includes an LED ring that changes color to provide visual feedback.

Not surprisingly, starting the new Mini doesn't need key insertion and there’s a great big Start toggle on the console. In addition, there’s an optional Head Up Display that provides the driver with essential information and navigation directions without having to look away from the road. There’s also a Driving Assistant, which uses a camera-based active cruise control, as well as a collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function, high beam assistant and road sign detection, parking assistant, and rear view camera.

The new Mini Cooper S produces 192 bhp (141 kW)

On the subject of safety, the Mini has a crash-optimized body, side curtain airbags, a run-flat indicator, and a partially active bonnet for pedestrian protection. The new Mini’s Emergency Call and MINI Teleservices system are part of the car’s new networking system that integrates the Mini with a smartphone to provide traffic data, news feeds, and connection to social networks.

The new Mini line is the result of a £750 million (US$1.1 billion) investment by the BMW Group in its three UK manufacturing facilities. According to the company, the Oxford plant, where the Hatch, Convertible, Clubman, Club Van, Roadster and Coupé models are produced, is the third largest car manufacturer and exporter in Britain, accounting for 14 percent of domestic passenger cars and an equal percentage of exports.

BMW says it will deploy 1,000 new robots at Oxford with similar improvements at its other plants in Swindon and Birmingham. This investment also includes upgraded training for employees, involving more than 190 apprentices at BMW’s Group Four production plants.

The premiere of the new Mini Cooper in Oxford before the press

"In our Oxford plant’s centenary year, we are continuing the Mini brand success story and today starting production of the third model generation," says Harald Krueger, BMW Group’s board member for production. "Our total investment of £750 million in our British production locations of Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall [Birmingham] between 2012 and 2015 underscores the importance of the Mini production triangle within our global production network. The UK is the heart of Mini production – thanks to the experience, competence and strong commitment of all our employees."

The new Mini line goes on sale next spring.

Source: BMW [1], [2]

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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20 Comments

Every year they make them larger and less appealing to the people that want a small car. I'll bet you could almost park the original mini inside of this one if you took out the seats.

Michaelc
21st November, 2013 @ 07:40 am PST

@Michaelc

I totally agree.

Mini should go back to its "mini" roots and be competing with Fiat 500, Scion IQ, Chevy Spark, and Smart.

Milton
21st November, 2013 @ 11:51 am PST

At the risk of repeating previous posts..y go bigger? The entire ethos is a small car to throw into corners.... so again...y?

Simon Sammut
21st November, 2013 @ 03:14 pm PST

Yes Michael, I mostly agree. I do find it annoying how car manufacturers try to take car owners on an upgrade journey for every model of car that usually involves it getting bigger and more expensive.

That said, I would love one of these!

Kiwi Jono
21st November, 2013 @ 04:25 pm PST

POS. The germans need to look at the Fiat 500 and realise that actually, small cute little cars do still sell.

Did they EVER bother to see what the English word "mini" actually means?

Chris Winter
21st November, 2013 @ 09:02 pm PST

This is not a "mini".

This is a "MINI".

This is a like a giant saying his name is MINI.

Yes I think too that the original one would fit inside this one.

It is ridiculous how carmakers tend to make cars bigger and bigger every year.

bogdan
22nd November, 2013 @ 01:34 am PST

The Mini Cooper sold for £600 (£7800 in todays money) in 1970 if production had continued would have cost less than £3000 simply due to the fall in production costs due to mass production, the best example was the model T ford $850 in 1909 dropped to $440 in 1919 the reason this changed was accountants and managers decided to market cars with fashon options to enhance short term profitability and compete against similar competing models with branding leading to multitudes of incompatble components on many different models all adding to costs long term. The unions were only partly to blame, in any sane economic system having to retool your production line every 5 years for a new model and to relocate your plant to the cheapest labour/tax country would be considered a symptom of failed management, the costs of which still rack up on the company balance sheet. Contrary to urban legend the Mini was always sold at a profit. The mini instead of being re-modelled was franchised to Morris who sold new variants.

L1ma
22nd November, 2013 @ 02:45 am PST

The original mini was designed to fit in a box 3m * 1.4m * 1.4m and weighed circa 650kg.

The modern rubbish above weighs circa 1,100 kg and is 3.7m * 1.9m * 1.4m.

Clearly there is very little 'mini' in this current car, its simply a BRAND now.

JPAR
22nd November, 2013 @ 03:21 am PST

I just think it’s such a pity that the Brits have so willingly relinquished their great brands, the list of them is too long to mention here...

In most cases, the foreign purchasers have breathed new life into these brands.

They have successfully captured their essence in a modern context - something their original owners weren't willing to do. So in the case of the Mini - "Good for you BMW the sales speak for themselves" and to the Brits - "You willingly parted from your great brands – so don’t moan – rather appreciate the great job the Germans, Indians, Malaysians, Chinese and others are doing with your brands" Oh - and they deserve the money too...

Louis Erasmus
22nd November, 2013 @ 03:39 am PST

The only positive improvement visually is that the front end has become a little less fussy and a little better resolved.

Otherwise it continues to be an overdesigned (in a very contrived way) fashion accessory- particularly if Sir or Madam chooses to fit the tacky 'go faster' stripes or other nasty off-the-shelf 'me too' personalisations.

bergamot69
22nd November, 2013 @ 04:33 am PST

@ Louis Erasmus,

Brits, the majority of whom worked and bought these cars did not willingly give up one job or plant, it may even be possible to buy up the morris licenses and build the orginal car again with a re-rated chassais.

L1ma
22nd November, 2013 @ 05:25 am PST

Great job mini you are finally listening and making these cars more comfortable I can't wait to see them I just wish you would make a suv and raise your cars off the ground more with the aging population you will increase sales. The old minis were so hard to get in reminds me of an old sardine can. Great job

Nash
22nd November, 2013 @ 06:55 am PST

I'd rather own a BMW 1 Coupe. Pretty much the same size and cost i would imagine.

Bradford Innes Graham
22nd November, 2013 @ 08:25 am PST

Will the diesel version sell in the US?

Eric Kratzer
22nd November, 2013 @ 09:59 am PST

We live in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When were shopping for a car 6 years ago we looked seriously at the MINI because a compact car that is easy to park (we have alternate side parking) and gets great mileage would work well for us. Sure, its mileage was OK for a small car, but there was absolutely no mention of plans for a hybrid or pure EV version or a general sense that the company was driving hard for more efficiency (this was when gas prices spiked to $4/gallon). When we asked about it, in fact, we were dismissed as haughtily as though we were talking to Jeremy Clarkson himself. Now, 6 years later, Mini Cooper *still* has no plans to get with the program and offer a plug-in hybrid or pure EV version. Fail, fail, and fail.

dakong27
22nd November, 2013 @ 10:12 am PST

I agree with those who are disturbed by the trend of carmaker a to believe we like the present product but please next year make it a tad bigger. I remember Austin Minis in a Toronto showroom selling for 1600$ and giving over 50 miles to the gallon!! I have no interest in the "new" mini, rather I might kill two birds with one stone-holiday in England, buy an actual mini and bring it back to Canada.

Theo Megalopolis III
22nd November, 2013 @ 10:58 am PST

Is the transmission still an unrepairable $9000 disposable part? Didn't mention that in the review.

Max Kennedy
22nd November, 2013 @ 02:40 pm PST

Mini's should stay the same size. There are plenty of larger cars for those geriatric buyers. If anything they should try out a hybrid style like the new Accord Hybrid, but with a plug in for those quick around town trips.

Shishkabugs
22nd November, 2013 @ 04:12 pm PST

@ L1ma - I guess you are quite right. No British citizen would willingly give up their loved brands but obviously something has gone wrong - deep down – somewhere; and that despite so-called democracy.

I love the idea of bringing the original Mini back - including the original go-cart rubber cone suspension but maybe with modern mechanics!

Besides safety , there are a few challenges though…. We have gotten a lot fatter, more lazy; and don’t like bending and squeezing into little cars anymore - and that includes the youth (i think) . Maybe we can blame the Smart car…

Louis Erasmus
2nd December, 2013 @ 11:54 pm PST

So BMW is using Google maps has their navigation system? Because I just purchased a 2013 335 and doesn't have Google maps in it. i type in BMW service nothing came up

Facebook User
9th December, 2013 @ 06:23 am PST
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