2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Debuts At 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show

2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop

The third generation of the modern-day Mini is making its debut at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show and will reach showrooms in March. Using a new front-wheel-drive platform that will be shared with a new family of small, front-wheel-drive BMWs, the Mini will appear first as the hardtop (as the standard model is known). The rollout of the new version will follow the roughly one-per-year cadence of the current cars, with the convertible, the Clubman, the Countryman, and so on following in sequence. Until they are replaced, the current versions of those older models will sell alongside the new cars, as Mini’s factory in Oxford, U.K., has the flexibility to produce both simultaneously.

Still Mini, just slightly less so

The new model creeps up a bit in size. It’s 3.8 inches longer overall, with 2 of those inches added to the front overhang. Wheelbase is up by one inch, and the car is also an inch wider. Weight increases slightly, by 60 to 80 pounds.

Pedestrian protection standards have led to a reshaped nose, with a more rounded hood, a less upright front fascia, and a bumper that protrudes further. The large round headlights are surrounded by round LEDs, à la the Rocketman concept, and the taillights bulge out from the surrounding bodywork rather than lying flush.

Powered by BMW

The current Mini uses four-cylinder engines shared with Peugeot, but the new version switches to BMW-based powerplants. The turbocharged and direct-injected three- and four-cylinder units both have an iron block and an aluminum head and feature BMW’s dual VANOS variable camshaft timing. Auto stop/start is standard.

The base Cooper sees the biggest change under the hood,dropping its normally aspirated four-cylinder in favor of a turbocharged three-cylinder. At 1.5liters, the three-pot engine is only slightly smaller than the current 1.6-liter four, but output is up significantly. Horsepower climbs from 121 hp to 134 hp, while torque jumps from 114 lb-ft to 162 lb-ft. Working with the same six-speed automatic or manual transmissions, the base Cooper cuts its 0-to-60 time by a minimum of 1 second and as much as 2 seconds. The formerly sluggish automatic sees its time drop from 9.6 seconds to 7.6; the manual, previously at 8.4 seconds, drops to 7.4.Mini is not yet releasing fuel economy estimates, except to say that the top highway rating should be 44 mpg, which is 7 mpg better than today’s car.

Meanwhile, the 2.0-liter turbo four in the new Cooper S makes 189 hp and 207 lb-ft, versus 181 hp and 177 lb-ft for the 1.6-liter turbo. The S model’s 0-to-60 times decrease slightly, to 6.4 seconds for the automatic and 6.5 for the manual. (Output ratings for the more highly tuned John Cooper Works version are not yet available, as that model will arrive later.)

The chassis again uses a damper strut front suspension and a multi-link rear setup. For the first time, however, Mini will offer adjustable dampers; the optional system will have normal and sport modes. Electric power steering returns and adds torque-steer compensation.

More changes inside

At first glance, the Mini’s interior seems largely the same, but a closer look reveals many changes in execution and technology. The large, round center gauge returns, but instead of housing the speedometer, it is a multifunction cluster—the speedometer moves in front of the driver (hurrah!) in a separate instrument perched on the steering column, with the tachometer alongside. The central display now features either a 6.5-inch or an 8-inch screen and is surrounded by an illuminated ring that changes color depending on inputs. For instance, turning up the temperature makes it glow red. The engine stop/start button features a similar glowing surround.

The invisible hand of the IQS

Minis have always been fun cars (the company claims that one-third of owners name their cars), but they’ve also had design quirks that can be maddening. Some of the latter items have dragged down the brand’s score in J.D.Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS), so the new model makes some welcome changes. The power window controls, for instance, are no longer toggle switches on the center of the dash, moving to the door armrests (a change made already on the current Countryman and Paceman). The outside door handles have been redesigned so that the whole handle pulls out, rather than using a button on the backside of the handle. Those new handles also are illuminated and cast a bit of light onto the pavement below. The manual climate controls switch from fussy roller wheels to three round knobs.

Technology 3.0

Naturally, the third-generation car also receives a technology update. New features include a backup camera, available automated parking, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, automatic high beams, and a head-up display. The iDrive-style multifunction controller is redesigned to be more like the BMW unit, and it includes a touchpad with finger-drawn figure recognition. Mini promises that its Mini Connected feature will work with Android phones as well as iPhones.

It’s hard to stay small.

Even the Mini cannot resist seemingly inexorable increases in size, power, and feature content that the market and regulations demand. The brand’s designers have worked to preserve the car’s signature look. We’ll see whether the engineers were able to maintain the Mini’s unique fun-to-drive personality.

Wolf47
I had a 2003 Cooper S, nice car but needed many repairs.  This is not a bad evolution of the original.  But larger and heavier?  I thought premium cars were getting lighter, guess Mini isn't premium.  More power will be appreciated, but I'll bet the price has also increased.  
Klandestin
Chevyyyy :3 http://fitsyourneeds.blogspot.com/2013/11/first-edition-of-best-electric-car-for.html
Kwok Carl
PErFECT!!!!!!
Vishwanath SA
In India mini will not look big success becoz there is Maruti Swift and nobody cud beat this car.
KJ Newman
It looks like a pug and a puffer fish
John Kurtz
Somehow better.
Arya Anshu Shrivastavs
Mere pas ''Car'' nhi hai pr Mere pas ''Licence''Uska Kya Karu.....!
Ryan Davies
It looks bloated and puffy, like so many new cars. I'd still take the 2nd gen car.
Robert May
I really like it
Andrew J. Garcia
Gross
W.T. Warmoth
Lexi Wood
Jaipreet Raj
seems taxi:-P:-P
Jacob Jones
They lost me when I started to see others on the road and it had to be in the shop once a month. Oh BMW and their stupid run flats..
Craig Stishenko
Striped puffer fish?
Aajid Khalyani
Hmm not bad
Sathizz Kumarr
Its mouth get larged
Ross Mazin
I dont hate it
Dammy Onafowokan
And it also retains its reludicrous price tag I'm sure.
Benjamin Leighton Jr
Looks scared.
Dennis San Vicente
Less hunkered down and more upright...what change?
Jim Bur
Not liking that the front end looks taller than previous gens...looks less sporty now. Still a Mini overall in looks but just not as aggressive or sporty
Arsalan Soleymanian
Suuuuper Car! (y)
Doug Maxwell
looks about the same.

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