GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Mini - Hatch - range

Launch Story

Mini logo23 Feb 2007

By CHRIS HARRIS

WHAT is new about the Mini? Virtually everything bar the front suspension, claims the BMW-owned company, which unveiled the new Australian line-up in Tasmania this week.

If you think the new R56 version is a tidy-up of the original R50 model introduced here in March 2002, you need to take a closer look.

The car is 59mm longer – to meet global crash-test requirements and provide a little more utility in terms of passenger and luggage space – and sits fractionally lower, with a slight reduction in girth. Wheelbase and track measurements are the same as the original.

But it shares not one panel with the outgoing model. In fact, the whole proportions have changed, subtly but completely, from the bonnet line to the higher, more wedge-shaped side profile. And the rear-hinged bonnet that swung away along with the front mudguards and headlights to reveal the Mini’s complete front innards when opened has been changed. The headlights are now fixed.

Inside, there is an even more radical instrument layout incorporating a central speedo of massive, cartoon-like proportions, and a tachometer now mounted directly ahead of the driver, just as the maker had originally intended with the R50 but was overruled by Australian design regulations.

The engines are new, too, sourced from PSA Peugeot Citroen which will use versions in its own products, rather than the original that came from Chrysler.

So out goes the Cooper S version’s appealingly vocal supercharged engine and in its place a new direct-injection turbo (with variable valve timing) of exactly the same capacity but offering greater power, lower fuel consumption and more climate-friendly exhaust emissions.

The normally aspirated Cooper engine is minus the turbo and the direct injection, but also produces better all-round figures.

The all-aluminium engines produce 88kW at 6000rpm and 160Nm at 4250rpm in the base Mini and 128kW at 5500rpm and 240Nm between 1600rpm and 5000rpm in the Cooper S, rising to 260Nm from 1700rpm in overboost mode.

Fuel economy is 16 per cent better for the base Cooper, at 5.8L/100km and 20 per cent improved in the S with a combined figure of 6.9L/100km.

The new engines connect to new transmissions: a six-speed Getrag manual or a six-speed Aisin auto with steering wheel paddle shifters.

As the new car has moved closer to BMW than the Rover-influenced original, you will notice more acronyms creeping into the specifications. For example, the new model picks up ASC+T Automatic Stability Control and Traction as standard across the range, as well as options including bi-Xenon headlights and "Comfort Access" (keyless entry and engine starting).

The latter is available because all new Minis come with a push-button start, along with first-time options such as satellite navigation (with TV, screening on the centre display, as a further option) an in-dash CD changer and a bigger, double-tilt sunroof.

Particular to the Cooper S, in terms of standard equipment, is a "Sport" button to sharpen the new electric steering as well as accelerator response – and, on auto models, the transmission shift pattern.

And if ASC+T is not enough for you, it is also possible to specify the more feature-laden DSC Dynamic Stability Control, which adds things like hill assist and brake assist.

As before, there is plenty of distinction between the Cooper and Cooper S, with the latter getting dual central exhausts where the Cooper has just one on the right side, and wider 16-inch alloy wheels on Cooper S compared with the Cooper’s standard 15-inch alloys.

Inside the new Mini, there is a totally new look, courtesy of BMW, that is cheaper to build yet higher in quality, less complex but every bit as distinctive as the original.

Apart from an all-new dash with those gargantuan round dials, there are new seats and a quite remarkable range of trim options above the standard "Cosmos" cloth in the Cooper and "Chequered" cloth in the Cooper S. The Chilli has its own leather/cloth combination, while full leather is optional on all models.

The Chilli Cooper version adds a bit more exterior chrome, cloth/leather "Ray" upholstery, a more upmarket 10-speaker sound system and "Blaster" 16-inch alloys. On top of that, the Cooper S Chilli adds bi-Xenon headlights, the option of tighter sport suspension, "Crown Spoke" 17-inch alloys and automatic climate control.

Because the Mini is better specced than before, the price increases – from $1000 for the Cooper S to $1200 for the Cooper – are justifiable.

The manual-transmission Cooper now opens at $31,100, the Cooper S at $39,900, and auto transmission adds $2000. The new R56 range embraces the Chilli variant, which adds $3600 to both Cooper and Cooper S, from the start.

The new Mini Cooper range will go on sale from March 9.

Share with your friends

Enquire on or Test Drive a New Hatch

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

Hatch pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.