The new MINI has made its worldwide debut today at MINI’s UK production plant in Oxford and features all-new vehicle architecture.
A £750 million investment across three of BMW Group’s UK manufacturing facilities marks the launch of the new car with a new 1,000-robot body shop at Plant Oxford, the debut of new technologies at the steel body pressings operation in Swindon, and new machining and assembly facilities to produce a new generation of three and four-cylinder engines at the Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham.
Except for a nip and tuck here and there, the exterior styling remains largely unchanged from the outgoing model. The MINI’s characteristic design features such as hexagonal radiator grille, headlamps and rear light clusters with wide chrome surround, turn indicator element and peripheral body surround in black have been mildly reinterpreted.
However, the inclusion of functional aerodynamic elements such as active cooling air flaps, underbody trim panel and air ducting elements in the upper section of the C columns, has resulted in improved aerodynamic figures, with the Cd value reduced to 0.28 (MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper D).
The new vehicle has also grown in size, with length increased by 98 millimetres, width by 44 millimetres, and height by 7 millimetres. As compared to the predecessor model, the new MINI also has a longer wheelbase (+ 28 millimetres) and larger track width (front + 42 millimetres, rear + 34 millimetres).
Three model variants are set to be made available at market launch, each incorporating an all-new turbocharged engine: MINI Cooper with a 136 bhp (100 kW) 3-cylinder engine; MINI Cooper S with a 192 bhp (141 kW) 4-cylinder petrol engine; and MINI Cooper D with a 3-cylinder diesel engine 116 bhp (85 kW).
Each engine also gets an automatic engine start/stop function, while 6-speed manual transmission will come as standard, with optional 6-speed automatic transmission or sports automatic transmission, also being newly developed.
Performance figures have also improved, as has fuel consumption which is now up to 27 per cent lower, claims MINI. The MINI Cooper with automatic transmission sees the biggest performance leap, accelerating from zero to 62 mph 2.6 seconds faster than before.
The new car’s performance dynamics have been further helped by the introduction of certain weight-saving measure such as the use of aluminium and high-strength steel in the revised suspension set-up, which has additionally increased rigidity.
On the inside, as well as a steering column-located instrument cluster, the new MINI gets an extended range of driver assistance systems that includes a Head-Up-Display and Driving Assistant with camera-based active cruise control.