New Mini: what we know so far
* New Mini to be revealed on November 18 * Chassis allows for a five-door model * Goes on sale in early 2014...
The new Mini will be revealed at the company’s Oxford factory on November 18, 2013. Here’s what we know about the car so far.
Mini reacted to leaked spy footage of the new model last month by issuing an official teaser photo, with a yellow example shown under covers (below). Elements of the new design, including the profile and, most notably, the longer front overhangs were clearly visible.
The Mini Vision concept shown last month (pictured in the thumbnail) has also given us clues to some of the final exterior details, including the daytime running light 'rings' around the headlights and the sculpted doors – a design feature already present in the Countryman and Paceman models. Larger rear lights are expected, too.
Chassis and steering
The new Mini will share its chassis with the next-generation BMW 1 Series, and will be available in two lengths of wheelbase. The shorter version will yield the replacement for the current three-door car, while the longer version will spawn a five-door Mini hatchback for the first time.
The new car will have a wider track than the current car to further improve handling. Diffusers fitted to the underbody will help to manage air flow and reduce lift.
The electronic power steering will be upgraded with new speed-dependent settings to improve the weighting. Adjustable dampers – available on a Mini for the first time – will allow the driver to choose between a more comfortable ride or a firmer, sportier setup.
The new car will also be lighter than the current Mini, thanks to weight saving in the body, chassis and suspension.
Engines and gearboxes
The company has also confirmed details of three engines available at launch. Two three-cylinder units - petrol or diesel, both displacing 1.5 litres - join a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol.
The 1.5 petrol produces 134bhp and 162lb ft of torque, while the larger 2.0-litre develops 189bhp and a maximum 221lb ft. The 1.5 diesel has 114bhp and 199lb ft of torque. Mini claims the diesel’s fuel consumption will be at least 7% lower than the current equivalent.
The next-generation engines will deliver drive through new manual and automatic gearboxes, available with stop-start technology. The automatic ‘box in Minis equipped with sat-nav will also be able to select the most suitable gear by analysing the geography of the road ahead.
Safety technology and driver aids
New safety technology, including a pop-up bonnet that improves pedestrian protection in a collision, will feature on the 2014 Mini as standard.
Interior and equipment
Mini claims the 2014 model will have more space for passengers in the rear, as well as a larger boot.
The new car is also set to have a slightly more conventional dashboard than the outgoing car. Test mules have already been seen that suggest a more familiar layout, with speedometer and rev-counter set behind the steering wheel and the infotainment system screen located in the middle, high above the centre console, incorporated into the area occupied by the huge analogue speedometer in current models. The dashboard in the Mini Vision concept (above) hints at the final design with these changes.
Heating and ventilation controls mounted lower down the console are expected to feature, along with toggle switches that are likely to include the ignition start/stop control. We’d also expect to see a more user-friendly infotainment controller on the pricier models, derived from the iDrive system for the next 1 Series.
Manufacturing and variants
Rumours of a smaller Mini city car appear to be unfounded – official sources say the new model's chassis can't be shortened enough to accommodate that design, so the project has been scrapped.
However, replacements for current variants such as the Cabriolet, Clubman, Countryman and Paceman are all expected to appear in due course.
Like the current hatchback, the new Mini will be built at the Oxford factory, although additional production will also start in the Netherlands in 2014 given the likely demand for the new model.
The new Mini will use components manufactured at the company’s Swindon pressing plant as well as the new line of turbocharged three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines made at its Hams Hall factory in Warwickshire.
The official reveal at Mini’s Oxford factory on November 18 will be followed by unveilings at the Los Angeles motor show and Tokyo motor show on November 20. The car goes on sale in the UK in the first quarter of 2014.