BMW has given a sneak preview of the next generation Mini which will be unveiled next month.
The revised Mini has brand-new, British-built engines, a thoroughly revised interior, and subtly refined exterior.
The new Cooper and Cooper S engines both have dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder driven by a chain. The engine block and cylinder head are cast from a special aluminium alloy.
The Cooper engine develops 88kW at 6000rpm and 160Nm of torque at 4250rpm. It delivers 140Nm from 2000rpm.
Fully variable inlet valves are controlled by the BMW Valvetronic system which allows the engine to breathe freely, without the traditional restrictions imposed by a throttle butterfly.
Valve lift and opening times are infinitely controlled electronically, combining superior fuel economy (reduced by more than 12 percent over the EU test cycle), good responsiveness and strict emission control.
The Cooper has a six-speed manual gearbox as standard for the first time, with a six-speed automatic as an option. The Cooper S’ turbocharged engine also has direct petrol injection.
The turbocharger is an elaborately designed twin-scroll unit fed with a separate flow of exhaust gas from two cylinders each. This helps the turbocharger to respond from very low revs, almost completely eliminating turbo lag.
The turbo blows at a relatively low 0.8 bar, with pressure building from 1400rpm to deliver almost instantaneous acceleration.
Spooling quickly to its maximum 220,000rpm, the compressor blows air fed from intercoolers into the intake manifold. An auxiliary electric pump sends coolant to the turbocharger even after the engine has been switched off, to prevent excessive heat-soak.
The Cooper S engine delivers 128kW at 5500rpm and 240Nm of torque between 1600 and 5000rpm. The Overboost increases that for a short time to 260Nm.
The Cooper S has a six-speed manual transmission as standard and the option of a six-speed auto.
The new Mini has a newly-developed EPAS Electric Power Assisted Steering which BMW says delivers natural feedback, direct response at high speed and low steering effort when parking. It has two modes, one for regular and one for sporty driving.
Front suspension is by MacPherson struts and equal length driveshafts, and at the rear the central arm axle has weight reducing aluminium longitudinal arms which save 9kg.
Safety gear includes ABS anti-lock brakes, EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution, and CBC Cornering Brake Control.
Switchable ASC+T automatic stability and traction control is now standard on both Cooper and Cooper S, and DSC Dynamic Stability Control will continue to be available as an option.
The new Mini is only 60mm longer than its predecessor, and retains the instantly recognisable grille, large ovoid headlights, and upright taillight clusters.
The interior gets a sportier dashboard with an enlarged centre console which houses the speedometer.
The conventional ignition key has been replaced by an electronic signal transmitter which allows the driver to start the engine simply by pressing the Start/Stop button, after inserting the round chip sensor into the slot next to the steering wheel.