Mini has released official photographs of the second-gen Mini Cooper, priming the pump for a planned public unveiling at next month's Paris motor show.
Although appearing largely unchanged, the 2007 model is heavily re-engineered, most notably at the front where it receives a longer front overhang and a new hood with round cut outs for the headlamps, which are now fixed in place both in the interest of pedestrian safety and ease of manufacture.
The changes add 2.3 inches to the Mini's length, taking it up to 145 inches overall. Width and height remain the same. The dashboard and door trims have been redesigned and now use higher quality materials.
As reported in our prototype drive ("More to love," Aug. 7), the new Mini ditches the Brazilian-source engine used by its predecessor for a more advanced 1.6-liter four-cylinder unit developed in partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen. In the Mini Cooper it kicks out 120 hp at 6000 rpm and 118-lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm. The Mini Cooper S adds direct injection and a twin scroll turbocharger to the mix, boosting output to 175 hp at 5500 rpm and 177-lb-ft at 1600 to 5000 rpm. BMW says both engines provide improved fuel economy while improving performance. Gearbox choices include a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic.
The front end modifications have necessitated changes to the suspension, with altered geometry and increased travel for the front MacPherson strut set-up. The rear multi-link arrangement is retained in principle but uses a higher percentage of aluminum. The steering adopts electro-hydraulic assistance in place of the fully-hydraulic rack of old. In keeping with BMW's policy, the new Mini rolls on run-flat tires.
Safety has played a big role in the development of the new car, a fact reflected in its standard equipment which includes six airbags, ABS brakes, electric brake differential, and cornering brake control. The Cooper S adds traction control and dynamic stability control, the latter with a new hill-holding function which activates the brakes on steep inclines to prevent the car from rolling backwards.