After more than 800,000 units sold worldwide, BMW decided that it was time to change its hugely successful Mini. Although the 2007 model is scheduled to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September (with sales starting in Europe in October), the Bavarian company gave a handful of journalists the chance to get a taste of their new Mini by organizing a mini presentation in Europe which included driving the car. Luckily for us, Mini gave out a dozen or so, slightly camouflaged pictures.
According to BMW-Mini press release, the seemingly unchanged Mini has gone through quite a bit of changes including all brand new power units and transmissions, suspension and steering, brakes and safety systems. As for the design, the second model generation of today's modern Mini gets a carefully but thoroughly upgraded interior, and evolutionary body design. Most important though is the fact that the 2007 has grown by approximately 60 millimetres or 2.76 inches in length.
The 2007 Mini is entering the market in the guise of the Mini Cooper (1.6 with 88 kW/120 hp) and MINI Cooper S (1.6 Turbo with 128 kW/175 hp), with the Mini One "basic" version following somewhat later. Finaly, the new MINI will also be available with a turbodiesel.
Evolution in exterior design: The revised body design of the new MINI not only considers the even stricter safety standards to be observed in future, but also – with the car’s dimensions increasing only slightly, for example with exterior length up by approximately 60 millimetres or 2.76 inches – accentuates the proportions and design features .
As a result, the new MINI not only retains the proportions so typical of the car, but naturally also boasts characteristic features such as the hexagon grille, large headlights, the diagonal joint between the engine compartment lid and side direction indicators as a clear reminiscence to the welding seam on the classic Mini stretching out over exactly the same connection line in the past, and the upright rear light clusters.
From the side, the car is naturally still dominated by glazing all round the passenger cell, the extremely short body overhangs both front and rear, and the extra-large wheels, all of these features once again accentuating the masculine "stance-on-the-wheels" character.
Revolution in the cockpit Reflecting the formula of offering maximum car on minimum space, the interior of the new MINI looks even lighter than before, but is even more generous in its features. Moved far to the outside, the air vents accentuate the horizontal orientation of the dashboard and create a harmonious transition from the cockpit to the door lining. And last but not least, the decal elements may be supplemented by up to 16 chrome-plated trim surrounds on the instruments and air vents themselves.
Now even larger than before, the Center Speedo, a genuine MINI icon in the cockpit, comprises all entertainment and, as an option, navigation functions over and above the analogue-face speedometer. Through its high, central position, the Center Speedo allows optimum ergonomic control by both the driver and front passenger, while the slender centre console ensures even more space and roominess within the footwells.
Metallic toggle switches again typical of MINI are featured not only in the centre console, but also as function switches to be found for the first time in the roof lining. The conventional ignition key, in turn, has been replaced by an electronic signal transmitter enabling the driver to start the engine simply by pressing the Start-Stop button after having inserted the round chip sensor in the opening next to the steering wheel.
Mini Coope1.6 120 Hp: The MINI Cooper features a normal-aspiration power unit developing maximum output of 88 kW/120 hp at 6,000 rpm and peak torque of 160 Nm/118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm. The intake valves are controlled in a fully variable process by the BMW Group’s absolutely unique VALVETRONIC technology, allowing the engine to breathe freely, without the usual restrictions imposed by a throttle butterfly.
Mini Cooper S 1.6 Twin Scroll Turbo 175 Hp: The turbocharged version of the new 1.6-litre four-cylinder featured in the MINI Cooper S offers even more impressive performance data: Maximum output is 128 kW/175 hp, a figure which certainly sets the standard for an engine of this size reaching its maximum power at 5,500 rpm.
The engine's peak torque of 240 Nm or 177 lb-ft is maintained consistently between 1,600 and 5,000 rpm. When accelerating, torque is even boosted briefly to 260 Nm or 192 lb-ft by a short increase in turbocharger pressure. Referred to as "Overboost", this function gives the MINI Cooper S even more dynamic acceleration, acting exclusively on the engine’s torque, not on maximum output.
Standard 6speed gearbox: Both engine versions of the MINI come as standard with a 6speed manual gearbox. The optional automatic transmission available in each case also features 6 speeds controlled by 5 clutches to provide an absolutely smooth and consistent gearshift virtually without the slightest interruption of traction and pulling power.
Free choice of two different suspension set-ups: The new generation of the MINI is available with a choice of 2 different suspension set-ups offering the customer either a truly sporting experience or a more comfort-oriented style of motoring. In its basic set-up, the new MINI Cooper is more comfort-oriented than its predecessor, while the suspension of the MINI Cooper S is far more sporting and dynamic, reflecting the car’s superior performance.
Both models are available as an option with sports suspension comprising even firmer springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars.
Limited-slip differential: As an option the MINI Cooper S is also available with a mechanical limited-slip differential referred to as the Super Differential preventing the drive wheels from spinning by feeding engine power to the wheel with better traction.