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LA Auto Show: MINI Cooper Enters Act Three

Available At Dealers Starting Next March

William Maley
by William Maley
November 20, 2013
2 min. Reading Time
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Since its introduction back in 2002, the MINI Cooper has enjoyed a resurgence of love and fandom that hasn't been seen since the original was introduced back in the fifties. MINI knows that with each generation of Cooper, it's a make-or-break issue. Well yesterday, MINI introduced the third-generation Cooper at the brand's factory in Oxford, England. Let's dive into the changes for this model.

A Bigger Cooper

Since the introduction of the Cooper back in 2002, the model has been growing in size. You could say the MINI is now a MAXI (sorry about the bad joke). But looking at the measurements of the new model, you can see what we're on about. Compared to the second-generation Cooper, the third-generation model is 4.5 inches longer, 1.3 inches wider, and rides on a wheelbase that's 1.1 inches longer .

Even with this size increase, it's still a MINI in design. The new Cooper is very similar in profile to the previous Coopers with the iconic shape. There are small changes here and there on the Cooper. Up front sits a revised grille, swept-back headlights, and LED accent lighting. Around back is a revised tailgate and taillights. The Cooper S model gets a hood scoop, rear spoiler, and a center-mounted exhaust.

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The Evolution of the Interior

MINI's approach to the interior was one of minor improvements, not a massive change. To start, the new Cooper is much more spacious for passengers and cargo thanks to the larger body. The center-mounted speedometer has been eliminated. In its place is a configurable screen that displays infotainment and navigation. The speedometer has been moved to the steering wheel, next to the tachometer.

Other noteworthy features for the interior include new window switches on the doors, optional heads-up display unit, and push-button start.

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What Powers The Cooper

There are two new turbocharged engines available for the Cooper. The Cooper receives a 1.5L turbocharged three-cylinder with 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque (overboost function increases that to 170 pound-feet for a few seconds). The Cooper S gets a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque (overboost function increases that to 221 pound-feet for a few seconds).

Transmissions include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic with a clever trick. If your MINI comes with the automatic transmission and navigation, the transmission can select gears to adapt to your current route by using GPS data.

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Mechanical Bits

The new Cooper is the first model in the MINI and even BMW lineup to utilize the company's new UKL1 front-wheel drive platform. This new platform is much lighter thanks to the use of high-strength steel throughout. Expect this platform to be a part of future MINIs and BMWs in the coming years.

As for the suspension, the new Cooper sticks with the tried and true setup carried over from the 2002 model: damper strut setup for the front and a multi-link setup in the rear. New for this model is the introduction of adjustable dampers that offer two settings, normal and sport. As for steering, the new Cooper comes with a revised electric system.

The new Cooper will also come with the MINI Driving Modes (MID) system that adjusts the throttle, steering response, engine sound, and shift points for the automatic transmission.

The new MINI Cooper arrives at dealers next March.

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