The next-generation MINI Cooper continues with its familiar and successful modus operandi, bouncing happily along with updated-but-still-retro styling and the wish-quick handling that has always made it a star.
The biggest news is under the hood, where the MINI’s got new TwinPower turbocharged engines courtesy of parent BMW. The base MINI powerplant is now a turbocharged 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine that bumps horsepower by 13 over the previous four, to 134. The new engine has much more torque too: 162 pound-feet, with an overboost capability bumping that to 170. The MINI Cooper S now has a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 189 horsew and 207 pound-feet of torque. MINI reports a 6.5-second 0-60 sprint and a top speed of 145mph. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are offered.
Should you feel a bit nervous about going that fast in a compact car, have no fear: the MINI’s sophisticated single-joint spring strut front and multilink rear suspension are top-shelf, and a new MINI Driving Mode switch on the console alters the throttle, automatic transmission shift points, dynamic-shock control and steering response for Standard, Sport and Green driving dynamics. Just for a bit of drama, the driving modes are also indicated by changes in the ambient lighting.
There is some convenient trickle-down from BMW in the form of the MINI Connected option, which allows a high level of smartphone integration and external app usage. It’s available for both iPhone and Android.
As for the styling, it looks more or less the same, but the MINI is now 4.5 inches longer and 1.7 inches wider, allowing for bumps in interior space and a wider track. Cargo capacity is now up to 8.7 cubic feet. The wheels-at-the-corners look and “floating” roof are retained, as is the MINI’s distinctive happy face. LED headlamps are now optional.