The MINI has been a runaway sales success since its re launch in 2001 so there should be little surprise that the latest version has a strong family resemblance to its predecessor. However look closely and it becomes apparent that there are a number of detailed changes mostly aimed at enhancing efficiency and usability.
The least successful element of the redesign is the increased front overhang which means that the ‘wheel at each corner’ claim no longer holds true. This has contributed to the inevitable creep in length that afflicts new cars with nearly 100 mm added, but the MINI remains a compact package at just over 3.8 metres in length.
Disappointingly just 28 mm of the gain is between the wheels but interior space is increased a smidge and boot space has increased from a laughable 160 litres to a tight 211 litres. In a far more positive move MINI has finally given up on the central speedometer so the primary dials are now in front of the driver with the central unit freed up to provide a slick looking display unit.
On the technical front the big news is a brand new 3-cylinder turbodiesel engine which is part of the new BMW modular engine family. The new unit produces 95 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 162 lb ft of torque from 1,750 rpm. So far, so normal, however the ace card is refinement which is excellent thanks to a big increase in sound deadening and the inherently quiet nature of the new engine. The results are so impressive that it is hard to tell the diesel engine from a petrol engine at most speeds.
The latest MINI retains the looks and crucially the sharp handling but adds a bit more practicality, enhanced refinement and brand new ultra-efficient Euro 6 compliant engines. The MINI has historically achieved outstanding residual values making it a safe buy and there is no reason to doubt that will continue, so expect to see plenty of the new long nose MINIs on UK roads.