The current line of MINIs has been a huge success for BMW in terms of sales. It’s also evolved the design language of the brand in a natural way that both gave the cars more aggressive appearance while keeping them classically British. However as is customary with all BMW and MINI products, a thorough refresh is coming. For the 2011 model year MINI will be nipping and tucking both the interior and exterior of the entire line-up. Along with the engine changes going into effect for March production (detailed previously and recapped below), the 2011 line-up will feature some noticeable improvements and a few new features.
MINI design has amped up the attitude on the Cooper S while further refining the look of the Cooper and the One models. Let’s start up front. the Xenon and the standard Halogen headlights look similar to the current models but there are some changes that enthusiasts will spot (these changes are not seen in the images). The Cooper S retains its faux air intake but the Cooper will take the more pronounced bonnet from the MINI Cooper D to give it a meatier more menacing look.
All models feature front and rear bumpers that are more aggressive. The front bumper on the Cooper S will sport very pronounced air intakes similar to the Countryman that sources tell us will lead to real brake ducts. The lower grille on the MCS will also look more like the Countryman featuring the same shape and general design.
Moving around to the side the Cooper side repeaters are more pronounced and the current
grooves in them have now become cut outs. It’s unclear how and if the MCS side repeaters will change at this point.
However there we do now how the rear of the cars will look. First and foremost MINI is moving to a mixture of LED and regular bulbs in the rear taillights for the R56 and R57 (We’re still getting information on the R55 rear taillights). The indicator (turn signal) is in a ring in the centre, with 2 lines of LEDs for stopping and the running lights both above and below. Multiple sources have told us that look amazing.
The rear fogs change slightly becoming longer and more angular.
MINI will feature several new wheel designs but we’ve only confirmed one. A source inside MINI has told us to expect something retro looking with four separate circles that join to make spokes. Size unknown. Model unknown. But we can promise you’ll get the latest as soon as we get it.
The biggest noticeable change to the interior will be improved plastic trim for the center console and slightly revised radio controls for cars without NAV. The Navigation itself will not change however the interface will change to match what we see in the R60 Countryman.
The interior will also feature a mixture of new fabrics and one new leather color along with a few new colorline and plastic trim options.
One addition that will also mirror the Countryman is the addition of MINI Connect to the options sheet. As with the Countryman it will be available with and without the navigation. However we highly recommend springing for the nav if you’re interested in it as it really makes the option come to life.
Starting with March production, MINI will be upping the power on all models with revised engines. We reported the details earlier this week but we thought we’d go into the insane detail (Via a few internal PDFs) that you have come to know and expect from MF. So let’s get started. For starters outputs are up across the board.
– MINI One: 96 hp (Up 2 hp)
– MINI Cooper: 120 hp (up 2 hp)
– MINI Cooper S: 179 hp (up 7 hp)
– MINI JCW: 208 hp (unchanged so far)
MINI has decided to delay the uprated engine on the JCW. Because of this we’re not going to focus on this model for the time being. However look for new later this year.
So with that said, let’s get into the details on our two favorite updated models.
The 2010 Cooper
BMW already had VALVETRONIC in the naturally aspirated Cooper so the extra power would have to be made up with other techniques. Specifically BMW has optimized the ECU and in turn the engine’s output has gone up 2 hp in total. You can read the entire specifications list below in the official PDFs.
The 2010 Cooper S
The 2010 MCS has added a fully variable valve control known in BMW speak as VALVETRONIC. What this does is optimize the engineâ€™s responses and enables a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. It does so by adjusting the lift and opening period of the intake valves to the driverâ€™s power requirements within fractions of a second.
All this adds up to more power but also noticeably more efficiency. Technically the 1.6L turbo is now the world’s most efficient unit in this displacement class. You can see the entire list of specifications in the official PDFs below.
We’ve confirmed three new colors for the 2011 refresh. After years on the options list sources are telling us that Dark Silver is going away. In it’s place will be a color called Eclipse Grey that is richer and almost less metallic looking (while of course being metallic). We’re told it’s almost pearlescent. Look for Eclipse Grey to be available on all models of MCS.
Next up MINI is finally killing British Racing Green. But the replacement isn’t’ the Connaught Green we had hoped for. Instead MINI will be replacing BRG withâ€¦ BRG. Yes MINI is very slightly refining BRG and calling with British Racing Green II. BRG II has a deeper base color and almost a gold tinge to it. It is much richer and our sources think nicer than current BRG.
Finally MINI is introducing a new color called Spice Orange (we’re not clear which it’s replacing but our guess is technically Oxygen Blue). We’re told that it will answer some critics who think the palette is a both too grey and too blue. It’s a very deep color that our sources claim is decidedly better than Hot Orange from the R52.
According to multiple sources these changes are more noticeable than the previous refresh or LCI (lifecycle impulse) in BMW speak. And more than one of these sources have told us that the 2011 models will make the first R55s, R56s and R57s look a bit outdated very quickly. Whether that’s true or not look for the refresh to start rolling off the line at Oxford in September later this year. Look for an Internet debut payer this spring with a public debut potentially/ at the New York Auto Show.
Photos courtesy of KPG Photography via bigblogg