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
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
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.
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
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
new Mini Cooper is 60 mm longer than
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.
Cooper S: bonnet curving up over the
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
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).
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
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.
Cooper S dashboard: 2007(top) and 2002
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
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
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.
Mini, the second generation, 2007
Mini Cooper, 2007
Mini Cooper S, 2007
Mini specifications, 2007
Mini options, New
Mini brief history.