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Future models - Mini - Hatch

Mini unveils update for 2018

Light up: The Mini might still have round headlights, but company designers have taken them into the 21st century with LED indicator lights around the rim of the unit and optional anti-dazzle matrix LED headlights within.

New auto transmissions head multiple changes for four-year-old Mini

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Mini logo10 Jan 2018

By RON HAMMERTON

NEW automatic transmissions, anti-dazzle matrix headlights, tweaked engines, new-look light-weight alloy wheels, improved connectivity and a more advanced infotainment system are the highlights of a 2018 facelift for Mini’s mainstream three-door, five-door and convertible variants.

Due to arrive in Australia around mid-year, the fresh Mini range also gets new-look Mini badges and – reflecting Mini’s British heritage – Union Jack-design LED tail-lights that were trialled with success on the John Cooper Works GP concept at the Frankfurt motor show last year.

The Union Jack theme is carried through to interior where a backlit motif is now embedded in an optional piano black dashboard fascia on the passenger side.

The updates are expected to be extended to other Mini variants, including the Clubman and Countryman, although the latter might take a while, as it was launched only a year or so ago.

So far, only the refreshed international range has been announced under what Mini parent company BMW calls a “life-cycle impulse”, with Australian specifications and pricing expected closer to launch.

At the lower end of the Mini range, the entry level 75kW 1.2-litre version of the three-cylinder petrol engine has been quietly axed, leaving the 100kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder as the starting petrol powertrain for the range.

Tweaks to this engine are said to deliver more torque, fuel economy improvements of about five per cent and cleaner emissions.

Four-cylinder petrol engines also benefit from similar changes, including higher direct-injection fuel pressures, improved turbo technology and revisions to the electronics, oil supply, intake ducting, cooling and exhaust systems.

The three- and four-cylinder diesel engines also get a lift in fuel-injection pressure.

While the six-speed manual gearbox continues as the base transmission, the optional six-speed automatic transmission has been replaced by a seven speeder on the Mini Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper D.

A dual-clutch seven-speed auto with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is also available on Cooper S, while the most powerful four-cylinder diesel – supplying 125kW of power in the Cooper SD – gets an eight-speed transmission.

The Mini retains traditional round headlights, but changes lurking inside them include indicator lights that are now a complete LED ring around the outer edge of the headlamp.

The big lighting news that is optional LED matrix headlights are now available, increasing brightness for both low and high beam while automatically adjusting to the road conditions and blocking out glare to oncoming traffic to prevent dazzling.

Inside, wireless phone charging in a console tray becomes an option, while another optional package includes a Mini logo puddle lamp on the driver’s side.

A 6.5-inch colour infotainment screen is now standard, linked with an upgraded steering wheel with more controls. Optional upgrades include sat-nav, now with real-time traffic information and, under the Mini Connected system, automatic map updates via mobile phone connection.

Customisation options have been expanded under the Mini Yours Customised banner, and now include items such as decorative strips for the passenger side interior, LED door sill finishers and LED door projectors. These can be ordered via an online shop.

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