The third-generation Mini Cooper and Cooper S might appear similar to the outgoing models, but in fact both receive an all-new chassis, suspension components and turbocharged powerplants.
Base Mini Coopers run with a turbocharged 134-horsepower 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine; Cooper S gets a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder worth 189 horses; all-new six-speed manual and automatic transmissions for both versions.
The iconic Mini has been in good hands ever since BMW assumed ownership of the brand and introduced a modern version to the North American market for the 2003 model year. The Mini was updated for the 2007, but for 2014 the basic Mini hardtop and convertible (presumably arriving later in the model year) receive significant changes beneath the mildly tweaked sheetmetal. There are no official pictures as of this writing (2013 model shown), but you can expect a similar look with similar proportions. Not tweaked but completely new are the Cooper and Cooper S engines that are built off of a modular block, where each cylinder is a half-liter in displacement. Thus the turbocharged three-cylinder Cooper engine displaces 1.5 liters and produces 134 horsepower up to 169 pound-feet of torque (up from 121/114). Similarly the turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the Cooper S is 2.0 liters and makes 189 horsepower and up to 221 pound-feet of torque (previously 181/192). Each of these so-called “TwinPower Turbo” engines use an all-new six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching capabilities to make for smoother gear changes. Meanwhile, Minis fitted with the optional six-speed automatic will include fuel-saving stop/start technology and, on models equipped with the navigation system, will adapt to your specific route (e.g. will automatically downshift when negotiating a sharp turn or when approaching an intersection). The Mini’s suspension receives only minor adjustments, but will offer adjustable shocks with “comfort” and “sport” settings. The Mini’s interior gets a redesigned dashboard that does away with the oversized center-positioned speedometer. Instead, it will be positioned in a pod directly in front of the driver’s line of sight. Although the Cooper is the only Mini to receive the new powertrains and other adjustments, they will eventually trickle down to the entire Mini lineup.
Base price (incl. destination): $21,500 (est. hatchback); $27,500 (est. convertible);
Type: Two-door hatchback/convertible
Base engine (hp): 1.5-liter DOHC I3, turbocharged (134)
Optional engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (189)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 32/40 (1.5, MT, est.)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags (hardtop); anti-lock brakes; stability control; traction control
Weight (lb.): 2,550 (est.)