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Driven: Fresh Mini Hatch and Convertible ditch diesel

Orange ya glad: Mini’s Cooper S three-door Hatch is motived by a peppy 141kW/280Nm that sends power to the front wheels for a zero to 100km/h sprint in as little as 6.7 seconds.

Updated looks and boosted connectivity headline Mini’s new Hatch and Convertible

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Mini logo13 Jul 2018

MINI Australia has launched its updated Hatch – both three- and five-door varieties – and Convertible range with minor styling changes, big technology updates and a discontinuation of the slow-selling diesel engine.

Speaking to GoAuto, Mini Australia product planning manager Daniel Silverwood explained that interest in the 85kW/270Nm 1.5-litre oil burner had slowed significantly, accounting for only a “low single digit” percentage mix with petrol.

“Previous generation was around the 10 per cent mark, but since we’ve seen the third-generation four years ago, demand for the diesel engines has dropped off,” he said.

“We’ve also seen the performance and efficiency of the three-cylinder petrol engine (increase).

“It got to a point that it was inevitable based on the low take-up rate of the diesel that we wouldn’t carry that engine for the Hatch range, on the Countryman different story, it’s better suited to an SUV range where we’ve got the Cooper diesel and SD All4.”

Mr Silverwood said incoming World-harmonised Light-vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP) changes did not play a part in the decision to axe diesel, but the small changes to the petrol line-up including lighter engines and a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission will improve efficiencies.

The 1.0-litre three cylinder in Cooper grade has shed 5kg, while the 2.0-litre turbo four in the Cooper S is now 8kg lighter, resulting in what Mini claims is improved fuel consumption figures, but with the old car tested on the New European Driving Cycle and the new on the WLTP, it remains unclear how much the update has affected economy.

For reference, the new Cooper returns as little as 5.3 litres per 100km depending on body style and transmission, while the Cooper S sips at least 5.5L/100km.

The flagship John Cooper Works (JCW) variant also gains an eight-speed torque converter automatic option that can cut fuel consumption down to 6.0L/100km.

Aside from the slight mechanical changes to the Hatch and Convertible range, Cooper grades also gain a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard, while all versions are bundled with satellite navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay functionality, digital radio and hands-free Bluetooth.

The new infotainment system also includes a 4G sim card for features such as weather information, real-time traffic data, Mini Connected smartphone app functionality and an automatic emergency call out button in the event of a crash.

Mr Silverwood said in-cabin technology updates will make the new Mini Hatch and Convertible more appealing to “not just millennials”, but to the brand’s entire customer base.

“From the information that we know, they (our buyers) are more engaged with something like Internet-based TV, Internet-based music, and they’ve got quite an interest (in the technology),” he said.

“We haven’t been able to offer a full suite of Mini Connected before, but this is really exciting for us to offer the combination of features in-car, for example, real-time traffic information – I think we all agree that’s really important particularly for an urban-based brand like Mini.”

From the outside, the facelifted Mini range can be differentiated by new LED front lighting for Cooper S and JCW grades, with the option for the new headlights available to the base Cooper.

All versions however, gain LED tail-lights, which are also finished in the brand’s distinct Union Jack design in Cooper S and JCW variants.

The Hatch and Convertible also wear a new-look Mini badge on the front bumper, key fob and steering wheel.

As GoAuto previously reported, pricing for the three-door Hatch now kicks off at $29,900 before on-roads for the Cooper, while the more-powerful Cooper S sits another $10,000 upstream at $39,900.

5-door versions incur a $1250 price premium over their less practical siblings – $31,150 for the Cooper and $41,150 for the Cooper S.

Hatchback Cooper and Cooper S grades come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, while the new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available for $2500 in the former and $2800 for the latter due to a sportier tune, gearshift paddles, launch control and a chunky John Cooper Works (JCW) leather steering wheel.

The Convertible Cooper and Cooper S meanwhile, are priced at $40,900 and $47,900 respectively, but buyers can option the automatic transmission at no cost.

The range-topping John Cooper Works (JCW) hot hatch is priced at $49,900 and is available exclusively in three-door and convertible guise, the latter costing $57,900.

Self-shifting JCWs can also be had for an additional $2950 in hatchback form (automatic is a no-cost option to Convertible JCW buyers), which use an eight-speed torque convertor with steering wheel-mounted shifters and launch control.

Cooper grades employ a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, producing 100kW of power at 6500rpm and 220Nm of torque from 1480-4200rpm.

Standard equipment includes push-button start, 16-inch alloy wheels, six-speaker sound system, reversing camera, automatic headlights and wipers, cloth interior and rear parking sensors.

Cooper S grades up the ante to 141kW (available at 6000rpm) and 280Nm (on tap from 1350-4600rpm) thanks to a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

Equipment in the Cooper S is bolstered by 17-inch alloy wheels, selectable driving modes, wireless phone charging, front armrest with USB port, sports seats, cloth and leather upholstery, and dual-zone climate control.

The flagship JCW remains the spiciest with 170kW/320Nm delivered from a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, while standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension, larger 8.8-inch infotainment screen, 12-speaker sound system, bespoke head-up display, darkened headliner and front parking sensors.

While Convertible Cooper and Cooper S grades largely mirror their fixed-roof siblings, the base grade gains dual-zone climate control.

Like before, a bevy of optional styling equipment is available to the Hatch and Convertible range including 12 different wheels, 14 exterior colours, contrasting side mirrors, body stripes and nine in-cabin finishes.

Five new exterior hues include Solaris Orange, Emerald Grey, Starlight Blue, Melting Silver and Chilli Red.

Optional packages are also available such as the $2500 Active, $2200-2700 Multimedia Pro, $2300 Climate and $2000 JCW Style bundle.

2018 Mini Hatch pricing*

 
3-door  
Cooper $29,900
Cooper S $39,900
JCW $49,900
5-door  
Cooper $31,150
Cooper S $41,150
Convertible  
Cooper $37,900
Cooper S $45,900
JCW $56,900

*Excludes on-road costs


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