2014 Mini Cooper
2014 Mini Cooper
2014 Mini Cooper. Click image to enlarge

Preview and photos by Lesley Wimbush

Oxford, England – In a private, advanced unveiling just prior to the LA Auto Show, the new Mini rolled out on stage on the birthday of its inventor, Sir Alex Issigonis.

The third-generation modern Mini was revealed at Mini’s production plant in Cowley, Oxford accompanied by a couple of iconic original models.

It’s part of the company’s strategy to remain a top seller in the premium compact car segment by widening their customer base with an expanding lineup. Although loyalists may feel that the new models could water down their beloved brand – it’s a plan that appears to be working. Sales have increased by 21 percent since BMW revived Mini in 2001, with over 285,000 cars sold last year.

Mini has invested some 750 million British pounds sterling (1 GBP = $1.5 CDN) in its three UK Mini plants, including 500 million at the Oxford site. This includes more than 1,000 robots, which the company insists doesn’t replace the human workforce, since they require some 1,000 highly trained maintenance workers to keep them functioning properly.

Slightly longer, taller and wider than the previous generation, the newest Mini gains not only inches but some new technology – and most importantly – three new powertrains.

Although outwardly it appears little changed, the Mini’s grille has been reworked and is flanked by LED lights. The Cooper is 114 mm longer, and cargo space grows by 50 L to a total of 1,076 L with rear seats folded flat.

2014 Mini Cooper2014 Mini Cooper2014 Mini Cooper
2014 Mini Cooper. Click image to enlarge

Emphasizing that Mini is a premium brand, there’s a suite of available driver assistance technology, including head-up display, camera-based active cruise control, collision and pedestrian warnings, parking assist and back-up camera.

The speedometer has been moved from its signature location in the centre stack, to the more traditional instrument cluster – with an optional colour display of 8.8 inches. Connectivity now includes smartphone apps, and unfortunately, the inevitable access to social media.

For the first time, a three-cylinder gas engine is included in the powertrain lineup, with an output of 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Rumour has it this powerplant will find its way under the hoods of future BMW offerings, too.

It’s joined by a 2.0L four cylinder with 189 hp and 207 lb-ft, with a brief overboost that kicks up the torque to 221 lb-ft for a 0-100 km/h sprint of 6.8 seconds (6.7 with auto).

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Manufacturer’s Website:
Mini Canada

Photo Gallery:
2014 Mini Cooper and Cooper S

Only European markets will get the Mini Cooper D, powered by a 1.5L turbocharged three-cylinder diesel with 116 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque.

There are two transmission choices – a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic. Both come with auto start/stop and Green mode.

Making its debut is a new adjustable adaptive suspension setup with “dynamic damper control” that allows drivers to choose between comfortable or sporty settings.

Production started immediately after the reveal with cars arriving in the UK next spring. No Canadian pricing or release dates are yet available.

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