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New Mini to be cheaper and faster

By Barry Park, 04 Apr 2014 News

MINI Cooper

Driver-honed Mini Cooper range to kick off from less than $27,000

Mini’s biggest, fastest and boldest Cooper hatchback will also be its cheapest yet, carving $5000 off the price of the model it will replace, along with a cylinder from the engine.

The all-new – though difficult to distinguish from the old – Mini is due on sale later this month, with three variants initially being offered: an entry-level petrol-engined Cooper, a mid-pack diesel-engined version, and the range-topping (for now) turbocharged petrol Cooper S.

But it is the entry-level pricing of just $26,650 that headlines the new Mini’s arrival later this month, well down on the $31,650 that the current model commands.

The standard Mini saves money by shedding a cylinder, moving away from its traditional 1.6-litre atmo four-pot to a 1.5-litre turbocharged triple.

In terms of performance, the new Mini produces 10kW more power than before at 100kW, with 220Nm of torque, up by a hefty 60Nm (or 70Nm when calling on the overboost function).

The three-pot engine cuts more than a second off the Cooper’s 0-100km/h sprint time to 7.9sec.

Fuel use, meanwhile, improves to 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres, down from 5.8L/100km.

The $31,800 Cooper D ($3000 cheaper than the old model) also uses a turbo three-cylinder engine, with the 1.5-litre unit producing 85kW – almost the same as the old Cooper’s petrol engine – and 270Nm, accelerating from 0-100km/h in 9.2sec, only 0.1sec outside the old petrol-engined car’s figure.

Its 3.7L/100km official fuel figure shames even Toyota’s environmental poster car, the Prius, but because it burns diesel fuel it is not as clean as the petrol-electric hybrid.

The $36,950 Cooper S (down $3750) remains as the only Cooper, for now, to feature a four-cylinder engine under the bonnet.

Its turbocharged 2.0-litre powerplant – up from the old engine’s 1.6-litre capacity – produces 141kW/280Nm (up from 135kW/240Nm), with an overboost function delivering bursts of up to 300Nm of torque.

Using only 5.9L/100km, the new Cooper S lopes from 0-100km/h in 6.8sec, knocking only 0.2sec off the time despite the bigger displacement.

Mini’s latest Cooper also promises to turn the three-door hatchback into even more of a driver’s car. According to the brand, this generation of the car adds features such as variable driving modes and electronically adjustable dampers for the first time.