Mini has today released pictures official details of two new cars that will slot directly below the new Cooper and Cooper S in the second-generation model line-up and, contrary to expectations, the brand is striking out in interesting directions with both of them.
Mini's first sporty diesel
First there's an all-new and unprecedented Mini Cooper D (pictured above), which promises to be a multi-talented Mini hatchback that's both frugal and fun to drive.
The last-generation Mini used Toyota's unsuitable 1.4-litre four-pot diesel engine; the new Mini uses a cleaner and more powerful 1.6-litre turbodiesel related to the one you'll find in the Peugeot 207 and Ford Fiesta. It produces 109bhp and 192lb ft of torque on overboost, both significant improvements over the last Mini diesel, yet it's also cleaner (118g/km v 129g/km) and more frugal (64.2 combined mpg v 58.9).
The new Cooper D will hit 62mph in 9.9sec and go on to 121mph. It can be identified by its pronounced bonnet power dome and an enlarged bumper air intake, and will be priced from £14,190 when it goes on sale in April, a £1195 premium over a petrol-powered Cooper.
Entry-level Mini switches to 1.4-litre power
The biggest change coming with the second-generation Mini One (see gallery) is the dismissal of the old Chrysler-sourced 1.6-litre engine for a new lighter, more economical, more powerful aluminium 1.4.
Created as part of the deal with PSA that brought us the turbocharged 1.6-litre engines in the Cooper and Cooper S, this new 1.4-litre unit should average 49.6 mpg on the combined cycle (compared to 41.5mpg for the outgoing 1.6). What's more, with CO2 emissions of just 138g/km, it'll be £25 a year cheaper to tax for private buyers, and almost £70 cheaper annually for 22 per cent company car tax payers.
The new One's 1.4-litre engine is also more powerful than the outgoing motor, producing 95bhp and 103lb ft of torque. Channelled through a six-speed manual gearbox - now standard across the Mini range - the One will hit 62mph in 10.9sec (a tenth of a second quicker than the car it replaces), and go on to 115mph (a 6mph improvement).
Like the Cooper D, the new One will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, and goes on sale in April from £11,595. That's £840 more than the first Mini One was back in April 2001 - but don't bank on that making the queue at the showroom any shorter.