The new MINI has twice the ‘newness’ of the 2006 generation car thanks to an all-new platform, engines, gearboxes and technology, says MINI product manager Dave Tuckett.
On sale in the UK from this weekend, the third generation MINI is the first to adopt an in-house BMW platform, called UKL. This has allowed the brand to take “a double jump” in terms of interior technology, with standout new features including a head-up display and an 8.8-inch colour infotainment screen.
The BMW-derived sat nav system is “the biggest in its class” says Tuckett.
Other features new to MINI include hands-free Park Assist for the first time, and a new high-level ‘MINI Connected XL’ system that includes a smartphone app wired to the car. This has a ‘journey mate’ function that allows routing via smartphone before sending to the car.
Drivers can also check fuel level and whether the doors are unlocked remotely.
BMW platform but still a MINI
The UKL architecture that the MINI is based on will also be used in other new front-wheel drive BMWs, starting with the 2 Series Active Tourer.
This platform, plus the need to cater for front-end pedestrian impact crash safety legislation, means the new MINI is longer overall. The front overhang is particularly apparent; it’s up 58mm, compared to a rear overhang increase of 12mm and a wheelbase boost of 28mm.
Despite this increase though, Tuckett says the MINI still has the shortest overhangs in the small car sector – and it’s still the smallest car in its segment. “It is 13cm shorter than an Audi A1, 15cm shorter than the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo.
“All cars get bigger but we have got ‘less bigger’ than some. The latest VW Golf is 60cm longer than the original; the MINI is 21cm longer.”
Prices up, value up
MINI prices now start at £13,750 for the base One model and, on average, prices are up by around 2%. However, this is offset by more standard equipment alone, says Tuckett.
All new MINIs now come with front fog lights, OBC fuel computer, Bluetooth and ISOFIX attachments in the front passenger seat (with passenger airbag deactivation switch) to complement the standard fixings in the rear.
All this is worth £600 reckons Tuckett, despite the price cap being increased to around £300-£400. “The new car is also more fuel efficient and so cheaper to run, too…”