The new 2014 Cooper is bigger, more fuel efficient and more refined than the model it replaces but MINI fans will be glad to know that the qualities that have made the previous cars so good have all been retained. Though the exterior may look similar—the iconic design is one of the car’s strongest selling points—the platform residing underneath is completely new. That platform is BMW Group’s UKL, which will eventually feature in the full MINI lineup as well as some BMW models.
The UKL comes with front-wheel drive in its most basic form (but has the option of all-wheel drive) and been designed to accommodate a new generation of engines, including three-cylinder units. Two engines will be available at launch: a 1.5-liter three-cylinder and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. To ensure performance is adequate, the engines come with BMW Group’s TwinPower Turbo technology, which means a twin-scroll turbocharging system, direct fuel injection and solenoid injectors, the latter being the latest innovation for BMW’s VALVETRONIC variable valve control system.
2014 MINI Cooper SEnlarge Photo
The base 2014 Cooper will sprint to 60 mph from rest in 7.4 seconds (7.3 with the automatic) and reach a top speed of 130 mph. The Cooper S sees the 0-60 improve to 6.4 seconds (6.3 with the auto) and top speed rise to 146 mph.
Helping to boost gas mileage, meanwhile, will be a handful of technologies such as an engine stop-start system, optimal gear shift indicator, a mild hybrid system to power auxiliary features, and electric power steering. When fitted, an available navigation system will be able to send data to the auto, causing it to select the best gear for upcoming corners and junctions. This would prevent unnecessary upshifts between two bends in quick succession, for example. EPA-rated fuel economy should be revealed closer to launch.
MINI Cooper generationsEnlarge Photo
The interior design sticks with MINI’s signature round clusters but there are some changes. Vital information such as road speed is shown in an instrument cluster positioned behind the steering wheel instead of in the center console. A “MINI Controller” dial is also mounted next to the gear stick, providing drivers with the ability to control much of the infotainment system.
The infotainment system is called “MINI Connected” and it lets you stay connected to the outside world. It offers extensive integration of smartphones in the car, allowing the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driver experience via apps for both Android and Apple operating systems.
On top of this, the range of available driver assistance systems has been significantly expanded. Just some of the items offered are a head-up display, backup camera, collision and pedestrian warning systems, parking assistant and a speed limit information system.