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MINI

(2001 - ) 

MINI

Performance is what you'd expect of the MINI bearing the Cooper name



Engine Engine power Fuel consumption Fuel type 0-100 (0-60) Top speed
1.4 16V D (One) 75 hp 4.8 l/100km Diesel 13.5 s 165 km/h
1.6 16V (One) 90 hp 6.8 l/100km Petrol 10.9 s 181 km/h
1.6 16V (Cooper) 116 hp 6.9 l/100km Petrol 9.2 s 200 km/h
1.6 16V (Cooper S) 163 hp 9.5 l/100km Petrol 7.4 s 218 km/h
1.6 16V (Cooper S) 170 hp 8.6 l/100km Petrol 5.8 s 222 km/h

Body type Hatchback
Number of doors 3
Number of seats 4
Engine position Front
Driven wheels Front
Length 3 655 mm
Width 1 618 mm
Height 1 416 mm
Wheelbase 2 467 mm
Ground clearance 120 mm
Weight (normal) 1 140 kg
Weight (max) 1 570 kg
Boot space (min) 150 l
Boot space (max) 150 l
Fuel capacity 50 l

 

   The new MINI is produced since 2001 by the BMW. It is a successor of the original Mini but uses non engineering of it, designed and developed by British Motor Corporation. The new MINI is available as a hatchback or convertible and comes in three basic versions - the MINI One, Cooper and Cooper S.

   The 1.4-liter diesel MINI one is powered by the Toyota diesel unit. The 1.6-liter petrol unit on the MINI One and Cooper is the same, but electronically tuned for performance in the Cooper model. The supercharged Cooper S engine delivers 170 hp (the 163 hp unit is out of production). In such a lightweight car, performance is on a par with the Honda Civic Type-R's.

   The Cooper's low-profile tyres covering fat alloys serve up masses of grip, allowing drivers of even modest ability to navigate twisty roads with incredible competence and minimum drama. It comes close to apeing the kart-like responses of the original Mini Cooper, although it does not inflict a harsh ride on passengers, even at lower speeds: it is firm but does not crash on bumps and ruts. The precise steering has decent feel.

   The Cooper engine needs working hard when you're out to have some fun, and it gets thrashy and boomy when revved. It's hushed when cruising, however. The S doles out its power without so much effort and is reasonably refined, despite the wail of the supercharger. There's some road roar on coarse surfaces but little wind noise despite the upright screen.

   These cars are so desirable, BMW struggles to keep waiting lists short - so expect to hold on to around 70% of the original value after three years. The Cooper S with the recent 170 hp engine consumes only 8.6l/100km on the combined cycle.

   There were some early reliability issues, but these MINIs show every sign of being built to the usual BMW quality standards, with no suggestion of any watering down due to price. A multiplex wiring system boosts electrical reliability as well as allowing more optional features to be interlinked.

   Four smart airbags, which react according to the severity of a shunt, are standard and side curtains are optional. Buyers also get non-skid brakes plus traction control. There are ISOFIX child-that mountings, too. The MINI contains most of the security features that make BMWs so hard to steal.

   The bus-like driving position and unsupportive seats of the classic Mini are gone. The new chairs hold you in place and, like the steering column, have height adjustment. Old Mini throwbacks abound: the round central speedo, rev counter atop the steering column, full-width oddments shelf and toggle switches for minor controls.

   The new MINI is nominally a four-seater. However, with a tall driver aboard, there's sufficient legroom in the rear for small children only, so really it's a 2+1. Headroom is ample, though. The boot is only big enough for shopping bags, but the two equally sized rear seats fold down to give extended space, though not a flat floor.

   Standard items include electric front windows, a radio/cassette player, height-adjustable front seats and steering column, plus alloy wheels and a rev counter. However, you'll have to delve into the options catalogue to get beyond the routine spec elsewhere - a CD player and air-con will cost you extra.

   The MINI convertible is available in One Cooper and Cooper S versions. The BMW will introduce a new version of the car for the 2007 with the reenginered platform.

 

   Advantages: Looks like an old Mini, handles like one, rides much better and has a great cabin. Performance is what you'd expect of a car bearing the Cooper name.

   Disadvantages: Engine gets thrashy when revved. Lacks the full four-seater versatility it's claimed to have.

   Verdict: It's fun all the way.

   Also consider: Audi A2, VW Polo.

 

Video of the MINI
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