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New Mini in its second generation
Better, faster, cleaner and as chic as ever

2007 Mini Cooper: front view 1.

2007 Mini Cooper follows 800,000 units sold of the previous generation.

9 November 2006.

When the 1st generation "New Mini" was launched five years ago, few expected it to sell over 800,000 units around the world, a quarter of them in the UK market alone.

For even if the British brand remained in the prestigious BMW group - with BMW and Rolls Royce - after the sale of Rover Cars and Land Rover, success could not be guaranteed for the returning Mini, not as a simple and inexpensive means of transportation like the original one that debuted in 1959, but as a premium small car this time.

On top of that, the new Mini arrived in July 2001, at a time when Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz were already represented at the gates of the luxury segments with the A3, the 1 Series and the A Class.

Sure, in size terms, the A3, the 1 Series and the A Class belong to the lower medium category (C segment, compact), like the VW Golf (A3 sister), Renault Megane or Toyota Corolla.

But in premium brands line-up, the A3, the 1 Series and the A Class represent the entry level of the three German marques, with prices starting at the levels of upper medium / D segment (midsize) "generalist" brands offers such as the VW Passat, the Renault Laguna or the Toyota Avensis.

Likewise, the Mini cannot be merely compared to the small cars category, in simple size terms, as its aura and pricing put it well above comparably sized small cars such as a Renault Modus, a Toyota Yaris or a VW Polo. Mini prices start right above the lower medium / C-segment starting prices (Golf, Megane or Corolla), extending up to the starting prices of the A3, 1 Series and A Class.

In more precise terms, the Mini fits perfectly as a premium entry small car directly under - in size and price terms - the premium compact 1 Series entry model at BMW, a position that neither the A2 model nor the Smart brand managed to defend under, respectively, the A3 at Audi and the A Class at Mercedes-Benz.

That's probably one of reasons why in summer 2004, only three years after its launch, half-a-million new Mini were already sold. One interesting detail: although it is BMW owned, British Mini is the only non-German premium brand name in the BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz league, at least from the entry side of the luxury segments.

With that success in mind, it is not too surprising to see the second generation new Mini arrive this month with an evolutionary design. On one hand, the success of the first generation (2001-2006) showed how much the design was appreciated - especially by ladies - and on the other hand, the various premium cars buyers tend to prefer evolutionary changes in design terms, leaving the radical ones for technology content and equipment.

2007 Mini Cooper: front view 2.

Every exterior panel is new, as is the whole of the interior.

Exterior Design - With this background, the second generation new Mini had to move forward while remaining classically Mini. Iconic design details such as the headlights, contrasting roof, wheel hub to A-pillar seam, rear light units, and central speedo-metre remain core to Miniís design.

Every exterior panel is new, as is the whole of the interior. The engines are new (cooperation between BMW and the French PSA group of the Peugeot and CitroŽn brands), built in the UK, and offer major reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. 

2007 Mini Cooper: back view.

The new Mini Cooper is 60 mm longer than its predecessor.

The key was to combine a fine-tuning and re-designing of virtually every part of the car, with the retention of the iconic design cues and personalisation opportunities.

The new Mini Cooper is 60 mm longer than its predecessor and the new Mini Cooper S, 61 mm longer. But to maintain the carís proportions, the designers matched the increase in size at the front by giving the car more rounded contours at the rear.

The round, clear-glass headlights are now fixed to the body and have been turned slightly to the outside to maintain the geometry of the car from the front. The indicators, formerly isolated in the front valance, are now housed within the main headlight units.

The radiator grille is now made up of a closed, self-contained element without the former dividing line made by the upper edge of the bumper. This design is reminiscent of the air intake scoop on the classic Mini.

2007 Mini Cooper S: front view.

Mini Cooper S: bonnet curving up over the turbocharged engine.

The Mini Cooper S has a stronger front end due to the bonnet curving up approximately 20mm more to provide extra space for the turbocharged engine underneath and to meet pedestrian impact regulations.

Rising gently to the rear, the shoulder line is now 18mm higher than on the former model. The rear lights are now slightly larger and feature separate external surrounds.

On both models, vertical air flow edges on the C-pillars and individual spoilers at the rear end of the roof enhance the level of aerodynamics. The Mini Cooper now has a drag coefficient of 0.33. (0.35 on the previous model).

2007 Mini Cooper S: back view

Rising gently to the rear, the shoulder line is 18mm higher than before.

The second generation New Mini is launched first with the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S versions, followed by the Mini One ( 1.4-litre engine developing maximum output of 95 hp, expected on-the-road price: £11,595) and the new Mini Diesel, both in the first half of 2007.

Interior Design - The changes of the interior design are more immediately visible than on the exterior. The centre speedo now comprises not only the analogue speedo-metre, but also all entertainment and, as an option, navigation functions.

The centre console below the speedo is slimmer to create more space in the footwells for driver and front passenger. The door lock blipper and ignition key is now a round signal sensor. When inserted into a slot beside the steering wheel it allows the driver to press a start/stop button to switch the engine on and off.

2007 Mini Cooper S dashboard.

2002 Mini Cooper S dashboard.

Mini Cooper S dashboard: 2007(top) and 2002 (above).

The toggle switches in the dash that operate the electric windows, seat heating and central locking have been made larger on the new Mini.

A Colour Line option allows individual design of the Mini cockpit. Colour highlights in the lower sections of the dashboard flow on into the door linings, where they are combined with the materials on the trim surfaces. Colour Line is available in five colour shades, with the trim surfaces coming in four exclusive variants over and above the versions already standard on the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S: glossy black piano paint, dark brown grained oak, brushed aluminium, and an extra fine gloss surface.

A set of 16 chrome-plated trim rings for the air vents, cupholders and instruments gives the interior an even more sophisticated look.

In the rear, passengers are offered more comfort with recessed knee cut-outs in the front seats lined with material rather than the traditional plastics.

2007 Mini Cooper: headlight view.

The round, clear-glass headlights are now fixed to the body and have been turned slightly to the outside to maintain the geometry of the car from the front. The indicators, formerly isolated in the front valance, are now housed within the main headlight units.

The new Mini key comes with memory function and on/off starter button, redesigned interior accommodation to offer more space, head airbags, brake assist on Cooper S, reach and rake adjustable steering wheel.

Suspension - Combined with the EPAS, low centre of gravity, wide track, long wheelbase and wheel-at-each-corner design, bespoke spring and damper suspension set ups for the Mini Cooper and Cooper S ensure the carís kart-like drive is retained. MacPherson spring struts on the front axle are renowned for being virtually free of drive forces through fast bends or under hard acceleration or deceleration.

2007 Mini Cooper: backlight view.

The rear lights are now slightly larger with separate external surrounds.

A brand new and unique central-arm rear axle takes the new Miniís agility to a new level. The systemís aluminium longitudinal arms also contribute a weight reduction of six kilos, whilst anti-roll bars, front and back, on both models help define the dynamic drive.

Brakes - The front wheels feature inner-vented disc brakes measuring 280 millimetres in diameter on the Cooper and 294 mm on the Cooper S.

The disc brakes on the rear are 259mm on both models. Anti-lock braking (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) are standard on the new Mini. ASC+T is optional and now includes the new Mini Brake Assist, which builds up braking pressure as the system detects an emergency stopping scenario.

ASC+T is standard on Cooper S. DSC is an option on Mini Cooper and Cooper S, and now includes Hill Assist that maintains braking for a brief moment as a manual Mini moves up hill from standstill once the hand break is released.

More: New Mini, the second generation, 2007 Mini Cooper, 2007 Mini Cooper S, 2007 Mini specifications, 2007 Mini options, New Mini brief history.

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