Manufacturers face something of a dilemma when it comes to producing a new version of a popular model. Do they come out with a radical new look to underline the newness? Or, does that risk scaring off the buyers who clearly like the look of the existing car?
If your car depends for its success on continuing the style of a historic model, then the first option, creating something radical, is probably not an option.
So it is with Mini
, who have just launched the third generation new Mini today. They are certainly keen to get the message across that this is a new car. The words “all-new” and “new from the ground up” are prominent in the description.
Mini’s claims for the new car are that it offers improvements in technology (indeed, they say it is the most ‘connected’ car in its class), engine efficiency, power delivery, driving dynamics and quality. It is also said to be quieter and more spacious.
To make it more spacious, the Mini has grown 98 mm in length, 44 mm in width and 7 mm in height. The wheelbase has been extended by 28 mm. But, despite the increased dimensions, the design team have been careful to keep the proportions faithful to the Mini style.
There are three new engines for this latest Mini, each with twin turbo technology to provide good performance along with efficiency. Performance is increased on all three engines with power coming in lower in the rev range, while fuel consumption and emission levels have been reduced by as much as 27%.
The Mini Cooper Hatch has a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 134 bhp. The Mini Cooper S Hatch has a two-litre four-cylinder engine with 189 bhp. The Mini Cooper D Hatch has a diesel three-cylinder of 1.5 litres, producing 114 bhp. The new Mini Cooper D Hatch, scrapes under the 100 g/km barrier at 98 g/km, thereby qualifying for its free UK tax disc.
The new Mini is right up there with the incoming LED headlight technology that offers much lower power consumption and a lighting colour very close to daylight, providing a more natural environment for better vision. Mini say the new car is the first in this segment to offer LED headlights for both dip and main beam. The headlights are surrounded with daylight LED running lights.
There are the usual customising options, with contrast colour mirrors, bonnet stripes and, for the first time, roof rails appearing on the options list.
Inside there is greater adjustment for the driver’s seat. A new dashboard mounted on the steering column puts the speedometer (along with the rev counter) in front of the driver with the dials arranged vertically. The Mini icon of the large central speedometer has been maintained, but now as a display, depending on the equipment options. This is where you will find vehicle functions, information, in-car entertainment, navigation, and the connected services. There is an optional head-up display.
Other options include a “driving assistant” with a cruise control that maintains a pre-determined distance from the car in front, collision and pedestrian warning system, road sign detection and high-beam assist. Rear view camera and parking assistance are options for the first time.
The new mini will go on sale in the spring with prices in the UK starting at £15,300 for the Mini Cooper Hatch, rising to £18,650 for the Cooper S.