Welcome everyone to the new, new, New Mini. Hey no, stop, what are you doing? Keep reading I have not gone completely mad, the car in the pictures really is the New Mini revealed to the world this week and due for release in spring 2014.
Ok perhaps I started on a slightly sceptical note; BMW know what they are doing when it comes to the Mini. They have quite evidently been on to something good ever since the first new Mini was launched in 2001 so why change the formula? BMW know it would have been silly of them to radicalise the design, stating quite clearly in the press release that although it may be a new car it is very much an evolution of the classic Mini design language. And you don’t need to be a genius to work that one out, I can barely tell the difference even if I squint.
Exterior design then, I think this would be an appropriate place to start. All that makes a Mini is present and correct, from the cheeky, big round eyed face, through the high midline, floating roofed middle to the neat little back end are all there. The cars tapering glass is new though, creating a wedge shape the further back that the body meets the glass, it’s a nice touch and gives the car a little more forward leaning stance. But other than that though things are fairly unchanged, just a little fattened up, as the new car is bigger in every dimension compared to the old. Length, height, width, wheelbase and track have all been enlarged by a number of millimetres over its predecessor. This might mean that calling the car Mini doesn’t really ring too true anymore but who cares; it’s merely a brand now, not a statement of intent. Those extra millimetres might actually mean for the first time, that rear passengers don’t have to be missing a couple of lower limbs to fit comfortably and boot space might equate to more than that of a medium sized pencil case.
Inside the Mini faithful will not be disappointed either, as once again not very much has changed apart from the aforementioned size. Big central speedo/TFT screen depending on what you spec is still there as are the lovely aero inspired switches. Some additions have been made; most noteworthy is the addition of LED’s in the cabin and displays, used as visual aids for the driver. As with previous generations the Mini is all about individualisation so expect a plethora of trim and material options to make your new Mini exactly how you want it, no matter how vulgar cream leather with pink accents might look.
Engines are the big change for this new generation Mini, there are 3 of them available from launch and they’re all new. The Cooper and Cooper D get three cylinder TwinPower units 134bhp and 114bhp respectively while the Cooper S gets a 4 cylinder with 189bhp. The TwinPower, much like the rest of the BMW range means two turbo’s for better performance and better economy, which given the Mini’s still relatively small footprint should account for some pretty phenomenal numbers. BMW haven’t released any performance figures yet though, but we do know the Cooper D’s combined mpg is a not too shabby 80.7, which for something with sporting intentions is impressive.
Choices, choices, given the options for personalisation that mini’s of old have had expect an options list longer than a roll of double quilted Andrex after it’s been playfully knocked off a cistern by a Labrador puppy. New things to choose from include all LED headlights, 5 new paint choices, the 8.8 inch TFT screen mentioned earlier and a hole heap of new driver aids can be optioned as well as the usual climate control, Harman Kardon sound system and panoramic glass sunroof.
BMW are keen to point out though that despite the added luxuries and quality feels the mini is still very much a driver’s car. Suspension both front and rear have been fully reworked and reengineered to give that now expected “go-kart” feel from the driver’s seat. And now for the first time Variable Damper Control can be optioned allowing the driver to choose between comfort or sport modes, depending on how sir/madam wishes to drive.
Spring 2014, make note, as within seconds of this car going on sale they will be everywhere. BMW have been onto a winner for over a decade now with the new Mini and when it came to replacing the outgoing car it would have been mad to think BMW would rock the boat with something entirely new. However remember that despite appearances this is indeed a whole new car and on paper at least sounds like a rather good one. If you want one register your interest now, as I suspect a waiting list might be starting to form already, the Cooper starts at £15,300, the Cooper D at £16,450 and the Cooper S at £18,650.