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New MINI: economy improved by up to 27 per cent

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MINI 2014

The all-new MINI , featuring three-cylinder engines, will cost from £15,300 and will launch in spring 2014.

The main improvements are in the areas of technology, engine efficiency and power delivery, driving dynamics, quality, refinement, space and personalisation.

The new MINI Hatch features a range of three entirely new engines, each featuring MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology to increase driving fun and improve environmental efficiency. All offer improved performance figures, with maximum power across all three variants produced lower down the rev range, while fuel consumption and emission levels have been reduced by as much as 27 per cent when compared to their predecessor models. All meet the stringent EU6 exhaust emissions criteria.

The new MINI Cooper Hatch has a three-cylinder petrol engine with a peak output of 134bhp. The new MINI Cooper S Hatch is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine which develops 189bhp. The new MINI Cooper D Hatch comes with a three-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 114bhp – and combined economy of 80.7mpg on the EU test cycle.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard, featuring rev matching on downward shifts, and a six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option on each engine. The automatic transmission sees efficiency improvements against the outgoing model, making a significant contribution towards reducing CO2 levels. For example, the outgoing MINI Cooper D Automatic Hatch produces 135g/km CO2, with the new MINI Cooper D Hatch producing 98g/km CO2.

Both transmission systems are newly developed. The auto features an engine start/stop function for the first time, preventing unnecessary fuel consumption. When used in conjunction with the MINI Navigation System, it’s able to take account of the selected route profile and control gear shifts. Based on navigation data, the appropriate drive position is selected to match the road ahead, preventing unnecessary upshifts.

Now on the options list is a third transmission, a six-speed sports automatic transmission which enables even shorter shift times, features rev matching on downward shifts, and can be operated in manual mode using shift paddles behind the steering wheel.

MINIMALISM environmental technologies continue to feature on all MINI vehicles, and the new Hatch is no exception. Designed to reduce fuel consumption, the suite of standard features includes a shift-point display function on manual cars and optimised preheating process on the diesel. Brake energy recuperation and need-oriented control of the fuel pump, coolant pump and other ancillary units feature on all models.

The suspension in the new MINI has been extensively revised, with a new single-joint spring strut axle at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear.

In order to reduce weight and increase component rigidity, the new front axle is fitted with aluminium swivel bearings as well as axle supports and wishbones made of high-strength steel.

All improvements are aimed at intensifying the MINI’s ‘go-kart’ handling. Engineers have worked hard on the suspension to improve the acoustic refinement in the MINI’s cabin and eliminate vibrations from the road surface after chassis testing on UK roads.

Also new to the car is Variable Damper Control. Available as an option, it presents drivers with the choice of two distinct set-ups, a more comfort-oriented response or a more sporty and firm one.

The new MINI Cooper Hatch and MINI Cooper D Hatch have 15-inch forged light alloy wheels, which have low weight and excellent aerodynamics. The MINI Cooper S Hatch is fitted with 16-inch light alloy wheels as standard. Rims up to 18 inches in diameter are available as optional extras.

The new MINI is 98mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase has been extended by 28mm, while the track width has been enlarged at the front by 42mm and at the rear by 34mm. Boot volume has been increased by more than 30 per cent to 211 litres.

The new MINI is the first car in its segment to offer the option of LED headlamps for both dipped and main beam.

Inside, the speedometer moves to behind the steering wheel, and the central instrumentation features an optional colour screen up to 8.8-inches showing vehicle functions, infotainment, navigation and MINI Connected services. Selection of the functions is performed via a choice of two new controllers, the MINI Controller or MINI Touch Controller, fitted in the centre console.

A number of switches have been relocated for improved usability, including those for the electric windows, which are now integrated into the door trim (hooray).

MINI Connected or MINI Connected XL is also available in conjunction with the MINI Visual Boost Radio and the MINI Navigation System. It offers extensive integration of smartphones inside the car, enabling the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driver experience. This functionality is provided via a diverse and continually expanding number of apps which are downloaded to a connected smartphone.

The new MINI Hatch signals the introduction of a range of technologies which are making their brand debut. They include the MINI Head-Up-Display which shows information relevant to the driver on an extendable monitor in the upper section of the dashboard. Also new is the Driving Assistant option, a camera-based cruise control and distance control function which automatically maintains a predetermined distance from the vehicle ahead. It includes a collision and pedestrian warning system with initial brake function, road sign detection and high-beam assistant. A rear view camera and parking assistant are also available for the new MINI for the first time.

In addition to ABS anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), cornering brake control (CBC) with brake assistant, the driving stability control system (DSC) in the new MINI includes a drive-off assistant, brake dry function, fading brake support and dynamic traction control (DTC). This latter system permits controlled slip at the drive wheels so as to facilitate driving off on loose sand or deep snow.

The new MINI Cooper S features a performance control system, which counteracts any tendency to understeer prior to reaching the threshold level, supporting an agile yet neutral driving response in corners.

Another new innovation and brand debut is MINI Driving Modes, an optional extra on the new MINI Hatch. Using a rotary switch at the base of the gearstick or selector lever, drivers can swap from the default MID mode to either SPORT or GREEN. The three choices offer a set-up which is either performance-oriented, comfortable and well-balanced or geared towards fuel efficiency. The latter includes decoupling of the drivetrain – better known as ‘coasting’ – when the driver removes their foot from the accelerator pedal. MINI Driving Modes also influences the ambient lighting, shift characteristics of the automatic transmission and the Variable Damper Control if the option is selected.

The new MINI Cooper Hatch now starts at £15,300. This represents only a 2.61 per cent increase compared against the outgoing model and customers benefit from a host of additional equipment including adjustable exterior mirrors, air-conditioning, front fog lamps, onboard computer, MINI Radio including aux-in, USB interface and Bluetooth all as standard. The MINI Cooper D Hatch’s price of £16,450 represents only a 1.64 per cent increase verses the outgoing model. Completing the range is the MINI Cooper S Hatch starting from £18,650.

The new MINI Hatch will be built in Britain at Plant Oxford, a state-of-the-art facility which celebrated 100 years of car production in Oxford during 2013. The car will launch in the UK and globally in Spring 2014.

Read our MINI reviews