All-new Mini Cooper gets more power, more tech and starts at £22,000
Five months after the latest Mini Cooper EV was unveiled at the Munich Motor Show, the company has lifted the wraps from its all-new petrol-powered Cooper hatchback. Built on a different platform to that of the EV, but with similar styling and dimensions, prices for the new petrol version of the supermini start at £22,300. The new model, built in Oxford, is also only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. First deliveries are due in the Spring.
Styling, it won’t surprise you, is very similar to that of the all-electric version. The front is dominated by the new octagonal grille design, plus the iconic circular headlights. At the rear there’s a set of customisable tail-lights connected by a black strip with ‘Cooper’ lettering across it. The hawk-eyed amongst you will also note there’s no chrome on the new car, a move which I feel adds to its new, clean look.
There are subtle external styling difference to that of the EV. The petrol version has a clamshell bonnet line, similar to the outgoing version, and there’s more use of black-plastic cladding along the sides and rear. And of course, unlike in the electric version, the grille hasn’t been blanked off.
Slide yourself into the interior though, and the cabin is essential identical to that of the EV. The focal point is the ultra-slim 9.4-inch OLED circular touchscreen which serves as both instrument panel and infotainment display. As previously, below the dominant circular screen is a bank of physical toggle switches which operate the start/stop key, gear selector and volume control.
The switch panel now also houses the drive-mode selector. Now branded ‘Mini Experience Modes’, the driver can select from seven modes. Core, Green and Go-Kart replace the normal, eco and sport settings. But for those seeking a more personal mode, there’s now also Personal, Vibrant, Timeless and Balance options. Not only do these four, as you would expect, change the steering weight or throttle response, but they change the theme of the central display and which graphics are projected onto the dashboard.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both available, plus there’s the ever-more-common virtual assistant, which is activated by saying “Hey Mini”. Rather bizarrely, once activated the system is represented on-screen by either an avatar, or Mini’s ‘digital companion’ Spike the dog. I know: I haven’t a clue why either.
As for bootspace, the Cooper will take 210-litres of luggage with the rear seats in place, rising to 725 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded down. Both figures are essentially similar to those of the outgoing car. But if you do need more pace, you’ll need to wait for the 5-door Cooper which is scheduled to arrive later in the year.
Buyers will be able to choose from at least two petrol engines for the new hatchback. There’s a 154bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit in the entry-level Cooper C producing 230Nm of torque. The Cooper S, which starts at £26,700, gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine delivering 201bhp and 300Nm. Its 0-62mph is 6.6secs, 1.1s quicker than the 1.5-litre version.
Trim levels? Like the Cooper Electric, buyers can choose from the same three options: Classic, Exclusive and Sport. Even the Classic is well-specced, with the circular OLED screen and Mini Modes, safety features like lane-departure, rear-view camera, sat-nav, cruise control and 16in alloys.
As you would expect, the Cooper S benefits from slightly more kit, including heated front seats, a head-up display, a wireless charging pad, adaptable front and rear light signatures, and 17in alloys.
Buyers will, in typical Mini fashion, be able to customise their cars in a plethora of ways. First there’s five exterior colours — including new Ocean Wave Green and Sunny Side Yellow — as well as a choice of two contrasting roof colours, plus various alloy wheel designs to choose from.
There are also three option packs — level one, two and three — which include a number of extra goodies such as a panoramic two-part sunroof, an augmented-reality navigation system, a 360-degree parking camera, and a Harman Kardon sound system.
The range will be completed with the addition of a souped-up John Cooper Works version. And while Mini is keeping the technical details under wraps, we should see it before the end of the year.
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