2014 MINI unveiled
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Today, November 18, the 2014 MINI hatchback was revealed officially for the first time. Though it's unmistakably from the same school of design as the original BMW-produced model, it is new from the ground up.
In spite of the instantly familiar design themes and proportions, the new MINI has grown. It is 96mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm taller than before, while the wheelbase is 28mm longer and the front and rear tracks are 42- and 34mm wider respectively. This was all in a bid to adhere to crash legislation while enhancing interior space.
The most obvious visual changes are to the style of the front and rear lights, where LED technology is used extensively. The back lights are an all-LED design, while buyers can opt for LED headlights too for the first time - complemented by a distinctive LED ring acting as the daytime running lamps.
Customisation is still the name of the game and there are five new exterior colours to choose from. As before, the roof and mirror caps can be finished in black or white and the Hatch can be specified with roof rails for the first time. Black or white bonnet stripes are also available of course.
MINI uses the same visual tweaks as before to differentiate the different models, so the Cooper S gets a bonnet scoop, its own grille design, side gills, a roof spoiler and centrally-exiting exhausts. The Cooper and Cooper D ride on 15-inch alloys as standard, with the Cooper S on 16-inch wheels. Of course, buyers can shell out for rims up to 19-inches in diameter.
The interior feels more changed than the exterior, though it retains the circular and elliptical design theme. One of the biggest updates is the permanent positioning of the speedometer and rev counter behind the steering wheel - and the instruments move with the wheel to ensure they're visible at all times. The large central area is retained as a nod to the original Mini, but it's used for other items such as satnav or infotainment, depending on what's fitted, and the system's controller is more similar to the BMW iDrive unit.
Although it may not be appreciated at first, the cabin and boot of the new MINI are larger than before and having sat in the car I can confirm that the dashboard feels much more solid too. There's a suitably MINI-like take on BMW's driving mode selector that surrounds the gear lever (called MINI Driving Modes) and keyless start is done by a prominent red rocker switch.
There are three all-new engines (turbocharged) and three all-new gearboxes at launch. The MINI Cooper's three-cylinder petrol engine produces 134hp; the Cooper S's four-cylinder unit puts out 189hp; and the three-cylinder turbodiesel under the bonnet of the new Cooper D has up to 114hp at its disposal. Torque figures are 220-, 280- and 270Nm respectively, though the petrol models have an overboost function too, while the Cooper D returns 80.7mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 98g/km in automatic format.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the range, featuring rev-matching on down-shifting for the first time. It's complemented by two six-speed automatic options, standard and 'sports'.
The chassis is all-new too and MINI promises to retain the car's 'go-kart' feeling while enhancing refinement and comfort. Variable Damper Control is a new option.
The new MINI is better equipped as standard than before, featuring air conditioning, front fog lights, aux-in and USB connectivity, Bluetooth and more. The options list is, however, even longer than ever. Connectivity is a big deal in the new car and there are loads of smartphone integration options, while MINI will also offer more driver assistance technology.
Prices start at €22,530 for the new MINI Cooper Hatch, the Cooper D is €23,830 and the high-performance Cooper S is €28,030.
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