Bigger Mk3 Mini has sharper looks and a raft of new tech, including three-cylinder engines
Mark Tisshaw
20 November 2013

BMW has taken the wraps off the third generation of Mini developed under its ownership. It has made its first public appearance at the Tokyo motor show today, before appearing at the LA motor show.

The new F56-generation three-door hatchback has evolutionary styling, increased dimensions, a host of new technology and, most important, a new platform and a range of new three-cylinder engines that will also be used in BMW models.

The new Mini was unveiled on Monday at the firm’s Oxford factory today before its motor show appearances. It will go on sale in the UK next spring, with the initial range of Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S models priced from £15,300.

Mini calls the new model “completely new from the ground up”, the result of which is “a Mini that is distinctly familiar but enhanced in every single way”.

The new Mini is 3821mm long, 1727mm wide and 1414mm high. That’s 98mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase is up by 42mm to 2495mm and track widths increase by 42mm at the front and 34mm at the rear. The result of these increased dimensions is improved cabin space. Boot space is also up 30 per cent to 211 litres.

The all-new engine line-up at launch features a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit in the Cooper, a 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel in the Cooper D and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol in the Cooper S. 

Each engine is turbocharged, has a stop-start system, complies with Euro 6 emissions regulations, offers peak power and torque lower in the rev range than its predecessor and is up to 27 per cent more fuel efficient than the engine that it replaces.

The £15,300 Cooper has outputs of 134bhp and 162lb ft. Its combined economy is 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions are 105g/km. The £16,450 Cooper D’s figures are 114bhp, 199lb ft, 80.7mpg and 92g/km. For the range-topping, £18,650 Cooper S, they are 189bhp, 206lb ft, 49.6mpg and 133g/km.

Three all-new transmissions in the front-wheel-drive model are offered. A six-speed manual is standard, and it comes with a rev-matching system on downshifts. A six-speed automatic is optional on all models. This increases CO2 emissions, but it still dips below 100g/km in the Cooper D auto, with a figure of 98g/km. A sports version of the auto is also optional, with shorter shift times, paddle shifters and rev matching on downshifts.

Mini has yet to confirm other engines, but lower-powered triples in the One and One D are likely to follow later in 2014, as well as a higher-powered diesel for the Cooper SD and a more potent version of the Cooper S’s engine in the JCW. 

Underpinning the third-gen Mini is a new BMW-engineered platform called UKL1. It will be used to underpin the entire new Mini range, as well as a suite of new front-wheel-drive BMWs, starting with the 2-series Active Tourer mini-MPV, which is due on sale in the UK next summer after being unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March.

The platform will be available in various different wheelbase lengths and track widths. It will support all-wheel drive and various hybrid and electric drivetrains. MacPherson strut suspension features at the front, with a new version of BMW’s Z-axle multi-link set-up at the rear.

The use of aluminium and high-strength steel in the suspension reduces weight and improves rigidity, according to Mini, and results in “intensified” handling, improved acoustic refinement and fewer road vibrations. Extensive testing of the new car, which weighs 1085kg in base Cooper form, has taken place on UK roads.

Variable Damper Control is optional, the first time that adaptive dampers have been offered on a Mini. These offer two set-ups: Comfort and Sport. The Cooper and Cooper D ride on 15-inch alloy wheels as standard. The Cooper S sits on 16s. Alloys of up to 18 inches are on the options list.

The design is instantly recognisable as a ‘new’ Mini, with more distinctive front and rear ends and sharper creases in the bodywork. The proportions have altered slightly due to the increased dimensions and front overhang caused by the adoption of the UKL1 platform.

The split front grille is much larger at the top and a more sculpted front bumper is adopted. The larger circular headlights feature a ring of LED lights, something inspired by the Rocketman concept from 2011. Full LED headlights feature for the first time in the segment.

In profile, the roofline tapers down slightly towards the rear and the waistline slightly up for a wedge-shaped look, akin to the Mini Paceman. At the rear, the evolved look includes new LED rear light clusters.

Mini claims that the increased size allows space for four adults and their luggage. The footwells are larger and there is more shoulder room for passengers, as well as bigger front seats with greater adjustability. The rear bench can be split 60/40. It also features tilt adjustment when an optional storage pack is specified.

The design of interior is also recognisable as a Mini, albeit one with a more mature look and higher-quality materials. The circular theme remains, not least on the centre console, which features a screen of up to 8.8 inches in size to display all the infotainment. This is controlled via a choice of two BMW iDrive-style controllers.

Most of the key driver information, including the analogue speedometer, has shifted from the large central display and directly into the driver’s eyeline. 

Another notable feature is the rehousing of the electric front window switches in the door trims from the toggles at the base of the centre console.

The extensive options list includes a host of personalisation, comfort, connectivity, convenience and driver-assistance features. 

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Mini Hatch 2006-2014

The Mini Hatchback is desirable and fun, and it has great re-sale values

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Comments
29

18 November 2013
The front bumper on the Cooper S is a mess, the Cooper looks much better. Unconvinced by the rear end, but the interior looks very nice and the engines seem impressive. Looking forward to trying the 1.5 petrol Cooper.

18 November 2013
Don't like the interior,to many shapes on the dash,just too busy,Mini-ists will just love it.

Peter Cavellini.

18 November 2013
...that the front end didn't look like a cross-eyed Morgan Aero 8 after all! The interior looks well cool and I have to say I like the oversize looking lights on the rear though agree with Will86 about the messy looking Cooper S front bumper. My g.f. has an R53 Cooper S which we both love. I drove an R56 (we were thinking of upgrading) which is a better quality car but had defo lost some of the fun factor and instant connection of hers. We also both agreed it looked a bit more generic too than the R53 and couldn't live with that ott centre speedo. Could be tempted by this one though, esp it's now packing a 2 litre turbo which should be pretty rapid in JCW-Works spec,,,,

18 November 2013
I thought that it had been announced a while ago that it would be an 8 speed box not 6 speed?

18 November 2013
It looks the same as it did in the leaked pictures a few weeks ago that they said weren't a true representation of how it really looked.

18 November 2013
Rocket or go-cart what is that all about? I also agree, there is a lot to like for those who like minis, but its all just a bit too fussy on the outside, and trying a little bit too hard to be trendy on the inside.

18 November 2013
Very low power outputs for petrol turbo engines. 1.5 petrol turbo with only 134bhp? And a 2.0 turbo petrol with only 189bhp? Seems very conservative. Ford are close to doing 134bhp with a 1.0 turbo.

18 November 2013
[quote=Turismo]Very low power outputs for petrol turbo engines. 1.5 petrol turbo with only 134bhp? And a 2.0 turbo petrol with only 189bhp? Seems very conservative. Ford are close to doing 134bhp with a 1.0 turbo.[/quote] It's not all about maximum output. Driveability and real world economy are far more important - Ford's 1.0 ecoboost doesn't do the later particularly well.

18 November 2013
I just don’t think the proportions work, that front over-hang is too long; in fact the whole bonnet is too long. It looks like an ill-proportioned Chinese knock off of a mini to my eyes. It either needed a shorter wheelbase or the cabin pushing forward slightly. When looking at the profile view, the front grill area also has an odd chopped off look to it (another trait shared with the 407), I also agree with the earlier comments about the front bumper of the Cooper S being a mess. Having said all of that, I think the rear is fine (if dull) and the interior looks nice. Hopefully some good engines will save it. Also, I’m glad to see they have stuck with a proper multi-link rear end unlike so many cars from the class above.

18 November 2013
Still a toy. Buy a Fiesta ST or 208 GTI if you want to drive, 500 Abarth if you want a toy.

ofir

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