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New MINI Arrives at 2006 Paris Auto Show

At the 2006 Mondial de l’Automobile, MINI officially introduced the second-generation of the adorable and terrific-driving three-door hatchback and your VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondent was on-hand for the unveiling. North American buyers are set to get their first up-close look at Detroit’s 2007 North American International Auto Show in January, but we didnt’ want to wait that long to bring you what we know. Though four concepts in wagon form have been shown over the past year, the three-door is the launch product.



Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken: Evolution of MINI
With the runaway success of the first BMW-produced MINI, it is not much of a surprise tha t the newest version looks a lot like thefirst. In the case of MINI, this is no bad thing. The exterior keeps the short overhangs and large wheels of the first, though its nose grew a bit to meet pedestrian-impact safety standards. The hexagonal radiator grille and large round headlights remain, as well as the glass band around the passenger compartment. The Cooper S gets the familiar more muscular hood with a powerdome.


Inside, the steering wheel is about the same, and the even larger center speedo is in the same place. But the HVAC and radio controls have been moved around, though the flip switches for controlling the windows, DSC, and various other features remain. The vents are still large circles, but are even larger and have been relocated a bit. Moving audio (and optional navigation) controls into the area of the center speedometer have allowed for a narrower center stack overall, which in turn means larger footwells.

In the engine department, the MINI loses the BMW-Chrysler four-cylinder in favor of an in-house-developed 1.6L, this time mounted with the exhaust in front and gaining BMW technology, including Valvetronic. The European Mini One gets a 1.4L 95HP I4, while the standard variation for the States is likely to be a direct-injection turbo 1.6L delivering about 140HP. The European Cooper gets the normally aspirated 1.6L with 125HP. Instead of supercharging, the new 1.6L Cooper S gets a twin-scroll turbocharger , delivering 175HP. Though not a dramatic leap in horsepower, fuel economy is expected to increase about 15 percent and torque on the S is up substantially. The next-generation Works version may deliver as much as 230HP. The CVT is dropped, with only six-speed manual and conventional automatic transmissions offered.
The MINI Cooper is a favorite at AutoPacific, with one staffer owning one and other family members claiming MINIs as well. And having recently driven a current Cooper S with the Works package myself, I’ve refreshed my memory on what sweet, wonderful package this is. can’twait to drive the latest version, though I’m not sure exactly what would make it better than the current car. The current is very, very difficult to beat.

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