Mini Cooper Preview
A freshened icon that drops supercharged whine for optional turbo boost
What it is
Just a few short years ago, BMW-owned Mini made a splash on these shores with the reintroduction of the 1960’s iconic two-door Cooper, a thoroughly modern interpretation of the original. Ever since its launch, this contemporary iteration has been a sales success because of its cute factor, unique design, unrivaled character, and kart-like handling.
That being said, even the Mini Cooper can grow a bit long in the tooth if not updated every now and then. And so it is that a slightly larger, more powerful, and slightly massaged 2007 Cooper arrives in February. Exterior changes are so subtle that it’ll require actually stopping at the dealer for a close look rather than glancing over at the Mini lot during a 50-mph drive-by on the way home from work. Even then, it might be hard to notice the front end that’s been extended by 1.5 inches and the belt line that sits 0.71 inches higher than on the 2006 model. Mini suggests that these increased dimensions, coupled with larger wheels, add “muscularity” and “maturity” to the list of Cooper attributes (or maybe someone has tired of being the cute, girly, effeminate ride?)
There may be something that looks askew about the lights, a point which will bother you until comparing the 2006 and 2007 Mini side by side. You’ll notice that the 2007 headlight assemblies incorporate the signal lights, as well as mildly tweaked taillights, above which are thin vertical panels mounted to the pillars for aerodynamic purposes. The grille has also been worked over, but again, position and vertical bar placement are hard to notice unless you’re making a point to hunt down the changes.
In the end, the overall appearance remains unmistakably Mini Cooper with just enough stretching here and bulking up there to make a second look and brief investigation worthwhile.
Pricing has not been announced, though Mini will say that buyers of the 2007 Cooper may choose from a variety of additional exterior colors – Mellow Yellow, Oxygen Blue, Sparking Silver metallic, Lightning Blue metallic, and Nightfire Red metallic. A Chromeline Package adds – surprise, surprise – chrome exterior accents, while an interior lighting package allows the driver to adjust backlighting anywhere from orange to blue.