NEW MINI Cooper – Mechanically New Old Friend
Disclaimer, the author drives a 2004 MINI Cooper S. All commentary from this article should be viewed as suspect, coming from a mindless MINI disciple. Treat all materials henceforth as suspect, and possibly void of objectivity.
Whew! I dodged a bullet! Driving a car with a tendency towards trendiness is hard enough. Driving a vehicle that was trendy would be unbearable! Fortunately, no one will know the difference.
Penny pinchers who worry that their current MINI may start to depreciate with the launch of the 2008 model have little to worry about. The 2008 MINI looks remarkably similar to the one now on the road. The overall length of the MINI Cooper has been extended by 2.36 inches, while the new MINI Cooper S is 2.4 inches longer. The modest increase in size is due to the MINI’s new, larger engines and new European pedestrian safety rules.
While thematically unchanged, the interior has a new design, which is unmistakably MINI. The highlight of the dashboard remains the larger center speedometer, which now features audio controls as well. New MINIness includes optional ambient interior illumination which may be varied between warm orange and a cool blue, according to the individual preferences of the driver and passengers.
Chrysler Engines from Brazil Are Gone
Also gone are the Chrysler-derived, Brazilian-built engines, replaced by new engines developed in cooperation with PSA-Citroen. Power remains modest at an estimated 118 hp (Cooper) and 172 (Cooper S). 0-60 times are 8.5 and 6.7 seconds respectively. The Cooper S changes from supercharged to turbocharged. Unpopular in the past at BMW, turbocharging seems to be the new mantra in Munich.
Gimme My Clubman
B-segmenters (Is there such a group?) are anxiously awaiting the MINI Traveller (or Clubman), which will be about eight inches longer than the MINI Cooper. The Traveller will sport a split rear door hinged at the sides, as well as a pair of rear side suicide doors.
Watch for the Detroit Auto Show interview of Gert Hildebrand, chief designer for Mini. It will post during the week of January 15th.
For more info to go to http://www.miniusa.com/