Scoop: New MINI Cooper to Get 8-Speed Auto and LED Headlights
Nobody was allowed to photograph the car and people had their phones checked as they left, but we've managed to get an impression from a US dealer. He told us that the car was shown both as a three-door and as the newer five-door.
People are concerned the MINI will once again grow in proportion to become a regular family car, but our info suggests MINI will promote the new three-door as being exactly the same size as the old one. As for the five-door, that will have a slightly longer wheelbase to make more room in the back of the car. The first ever MINI Cooper (hatch) with rear doors will be slightly smaller than a Countryman in length.
For the record, a Countryman is 4,097mm long (161.3 inches), while the current hatch is 3,700 mm (145.7 inches) long. Even if the the 5-door is going to look like a bigger car, it and the upcoming 1 Series GT will still be smaller than the regular F20 1 Series.
Both cars will preserve some of the iconic MINI look, but will be modern in every way. As you may have noticed, the sheetmetal has become visibly old, while BMW technology has evolved, something that can be seen in the way the headlights are made, or the interior.
The cars shown in Helsinki reportedly had optionally available full-LED headlights. The speedo in the center of the car is also being removed. Its place will be taken up by the latest BMW radio technology. There will be a ring around this stylish new unit which will pulsate with light whenever the phone rings. Cool!
As for the powertrains for the new MINI Cooper hatch, they will all be turbocharged 1.5-liter units with BMW TwinPower tech. Both diesel and petrol engines will be used, offering outputs that will probably range from just 100 hp to over 200.
Since some superminis on sale today offer modern automatic gearboxes, like VW's DSG and Renault's new EDC twin-clutch, we had a sneaking suspicion MINI will change things. Our source confirmed this, saying the cars will have either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, but a better 8-speed will also be offered for about €1,000 extra.
Our insider believed the new MINI will be available with a reversing camera and self-parking features similar to BMW's Park Assist. We agree with this assessment, especially since the prototype in the picture above could have a cuttout made for active city safety systems. When we tested the MINI Coupe last year, we found it could be quite tricky to park, so these features should be quite popular.
❐ Check out the New MINI Cooper Spyshots photo gallery