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Fresh Minis aim to crash Audi’s A1 party

More for Mini: New Cabrio D is the first diesel Mini convertible.

BMW reveals facelifted, more efficient MkII Mini as all-new Audi A1 hits Europe

30 Jun 2010

MINI’S facelifted model range will come with a new BMW-sourced 1.6-litre diesel capable of returning hybrid-beating fuel consumption of just 3.8 litres per 100km when it arrives in Australia in October.

Revealed this week as Audi stages the European launch of its all-new A1, the Volkswagen Group’s first direct rival for BMW’s successfully reincarnated retro, the midlife makeover for the second-generation Mini will beat the A1 on sale here by at least three months.

Lifted from BMW’s 116d, which is not available in Australia, the more efficient diesel engine will also power the Mini Cabrio in Europe, but the first diesel Mini convertible is not yet confirmed for Australia.

The Euro 5 emissions-compliant engine, which heads a mostly mechanical MkII Mini upgrade that also includes a range of interior and exterior cosmetic and equipment additions, pips the fuel economy of the Mini's current PSA-derived 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel.

The latter already makes the Cooper D hatch one of the most economical models available in Australia, by achieving an official combined fuel consumption reading of 3.9L/100km – the same as Toyota’s petrol-electric Prius.

Along with reducing consumption by one point compared with the Prius and outgoing Mini D, however, the new engine also cuts average CO2 emissions from a current 104 grams per kilometre, to 99g/km.

While the new Mini’s fuel and CO2 figures match Volvo’s C30 DRIVe 1.6-litre diesel, they lag just behind the current diesel clubhouse leader in Australia, Ford’s Fiesta Econetic (3.7L/100km and 98g/km) - and the Prius still produces 10g/km less CO2 (89g/km).

For the record, the new Mini Cooper D Cabrio returns 4.0L/100km and 105g/km, leading BMW to claim the rag-top Mini has the lowest fuel consumption and CO2 figures of any convertible currently on the UK market.



39 center imageThe new diesel driveline - said to represent the BMW Group’s lowest ever mass-production fuel and CO2 figures - is aided by a brake energy regeneration and automatic idle-stop systems, plus demand-controlled ancillaries, while drivers are also provided with a shift light to encourage them to stay in the engine’s efficiency sweet spot.

Like the current unit, the Mini’s new oil-burner, which will also be fitted to the five-door Clubman wagon in Europe, will be available in two states of tune – 83kW/270Nm for the Mini Cooper D (up from 80kW/240Nm) and 67kW/215Nm for the Mini One D (not sold here).

Both diesel engines deliver maximum torque from just 1750rpm, accelerating the Cooper D hatch to 100km/h two-tenths quicker than before in 9.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 197km/h, while the One D Clubman is no slouch with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 11.8 seconds and a 183km/h top speed.

Significantly, Audi’s A1 diesel will not be exempt from London’s congestion charge because it produces (5g/km) more than 100g/km of CO2, and also falls short of the Cooper D in terms of fuel consumption – by 1ml of diesel per km – while producing 5kW less peak power and 20Nm less torque.

Along with five new exterior paint colour and alloy wheel choices, frontal changes include mildly restyled headlights with the new option of adaptive lights that angle the beam into corners, redesigned side indicators and a new front bumper that features a lower air intake, restyled foglights and larger deformation zones to improve pedestrian safety, with the Cooper S gaining two functional brake ducts.

Around the back, another restyled bumper incorporates new reversing and foglights, while distinctive new LED tail-light clusters feature brake lights that vary in intensity according to pedal pressure and pulsate under heavy braking as a warning to following drivers.

Ergonomic interior enhancements across the range include a redesigned steering wheel plus updated air-conditioning and audio controls. Styling updates include six new types of upholstery, three new fascia choices and two new colour choices for the door inserts. For the hot John Cooper Works (JCW) models, a special red-trimmed key opens up an interior with instruments in anthracite, a Chili red fascia and black leather upholstery with red piping and stitching. JCW customers will also be offered optional Black Challenge alloys and an “inverse colour” scheme featuring Chili red exterior paintwork with a contrasting colour for the roof and mirrors.

Standard equipment levels will be enhanced, with heated mirrors and washer jets added across the range, while the optional satellite-navigation system has been improved.

Customers can also upgrade to a ‘Visual Boost’ entertainment system comprising a 6.5-inch central colour display with Bluetooth and a USB interface, allowing owners of compatible devices to stream music and view videos on the in-dash screen.

The optional Mini Connected system connects to the internet through the customer’s iPhone, offering internet radio stations, news feeds, video and a text-to-speech function that reads out text messages.

The MkII Mini hatch was launched here in February 2007 and was joined in February 2008 by the Clubman and the MkII Cabrio in March 2009, with the Cooper D hatch arriving May last year. Despite reaching middle age, sales of MkII Mini range are up a massive 40 per cent so far in 2010 with more than 1000 examples sold, aided by a whopping 93.5 per cent lift in Cabrio sales to May this year.

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