Exclusive: MINI 2018 LCI Revealed

Today we can finally reveal the full details of MINI 2018 LCI (aka the mid-cycle model refresh). Lots of surprises with this news, some welcome, some not so much.

MINI 2018 LCI

MINI 2018 LCI: Design

Highlights:

  • Redesigned Union Jack taillights with LED headlights
  • Redesigned Front headlights with 360 degrees DRL (similar to the MINI JCW GP Concept)
  • Chester Malt brown available on 3 and 5-doors
  • New MINI logo on the hood and backside
  • New interior stitching etc.
  • Few other minor pieces

For many the refresh will be surprisingly light on design with MINI focusing on redesigned headlights and taillights as the key identifiers for the new models. There will be new LED headlights that are the same overall shape of the lights seen on the recent JCW GP Concept (sans the red and black). The overall affect is a simpler and more clean design with the DRL ring extending the entire way around the light.

The rear is a little more interesting. MINI will be offering the LED Union Jack taillight design seen on both the MINI Electric Concept and the JCW GP Concept. The LED lights will be optional on some models and standard on others (the Convertible being one of them). While the final design will be identical to both concepts, the final coloring will be a little different.

Elsewhere on the exterior MINI will be finally updating the cars to the new logos and a few other minor trim pieces. We will not see a full redesign of the bumpers which is typically the case for an LCI.

Inside MINI will be offering the Convertible’s Chester Malt Brown on the 3 and 5 door along with a few new trim patterns.

As broke wrote earlier this week MINI will also be offering a new shifter design on its automatics that will function identically to BMW’s electronic shifter.

In terms of technology MINI will be offering wireless CarPlay across the range to coincide with the smaller navigation system becoming both touchscreen based and standard across the range.

MINI 2018 LCI: Engines

Highlights:

  • Lower CO2 emissions
  • Smoother operations
  • No power increases

We’ve been talking about the new engine range for almost a year now. BMW has evolved the 3 and 4 cylinders to be more smooth, efficient and potentially more powerful. It turns out most of those things will be true in this updated MINI range. Except what most of you want – more power. According to sources MINI will be updating the range with the tweaked engine range with no power increases.

That last bit is likely disappointing for many of you and frankly surprising to us. Our assumption is that MINI believes the political climate of Europe (where CO2 emissions and dieselgate are a daily headlines) is one in which lower CO2 figures are more important than a 4-5% increase in power.

Regardless the engines will include a number of advancements.

The turbocharging system, consisting of a turbocharger integrated into the exhaust manifold that enables the flow dynamics of the recirculated exhaust gases to be utilised to particularly positive effect, has undergone further development as part of the engine family’s overhaul. The exhaust manifold and turbocharger are now housed together in the cylinder head. The turbocharger casing for the three- cylinder engines is made from either aluminium or steel depending on the output variant, while the four-cylinder units all feature steel casings.

The more advanced cooling system fitted in the new generation of engines likewise serves to optimise the combustion process with the aim of reducing both CO2 output and other pollutant emissions. The new coolant pump now has separate outlets for the flow of coolant to the cylinder head and engine block, which results in far more effective thermal management.

Revised balancer shafts iron out the vibrations that occur when power is transmitted to the crankshaft. Three-cylinder engines feature a new balancer shaft complete with a modified drive mechanism that results in a weight saving, improved excitation and further enhanced acoustic properties.

One of the ways that MINI has optimized acoustics is to fit the cars with a single-piece timing chain drive and a new L-shaped belt arrangement driving the alternator, water pump, torsional vibration damper and air conditioning compressor.

MINI DCT

Left: The standard transmission in DCT and 8AT favors. Right: the 8AT Sport transmission

MINI 2018 LCI: Transmissions

The 7-Speed MINI DCT

Earlier this week we reported many of the details around the 7-spee DCT rollout. In reality that’s just one part of MINI’s transmission overhaul. The 7-speed double clutch transmission (DCT) will be split into two models:

  • 2TF Steptronic
  • 2TC Steptronic Sport (different shifter and paddle design)

The DCT will replace the current automatic on the the F55, F56 and F57 on the following models:

  • MINI One – 11/17 Production
  • MINI Cooper – 03/18 Production
  • MINI Cooper S – 03/18 Production
  • MINI Cooper D – 11/17 Production

The 8-Speed MINI Automatic

Instead of using the new 7-speed DCT MINI across the entire range of small models, MINI has chosen to leverage it’s existing 8-speed automatic transmission (previously only available in the Clubman and Countryman) for JCW and Cooper SD models. The likely reasoning is two-fold. Given that the JCW and Cooper SD represent the highest torque output of the range, there’s a good chance that MINI didn’t feel comfortable with their DCT handling high torque loads for the life of the car. The other thought is that MINI is trying ti simplify it’s offerings and keep the 8AT for higher performance models allowing them to refine it further.

MINI is planning two models of the 8AT:

  • 2O5 Steptronic
  • 2TB Steptronic Sport (different shifter and paddle design)

The 8AT will replace the current automatic on the the F55, F56 and F57 on the following models:

  • MINI F56 JCW – 11/17 Production (2TB standard)
  • MINI F57 JCW – 03/18 Production (2TB standard)
  • MINI Cooper SD (all models) – 11/17 Production

MINI 2018 LCI: Production Timeline

The production timeline for the transmission changes will span four month with the second phase coinciding with MINI’s 2018 LCI. We believe that the engine updates will coincide with the transmissions updates listed above. All other LCI related updates will go into production 03/18.

  • Eddie Cosme

    I’m shocked there is now power increase and I really think they should have done something about the bumpers. But I like the changes to the lights, especially the Union Jack rear.

  • Zé Costa

    I don’t know why the surprise on the lack of power increase. Did you really thought F56 JCW would have more power than the clubman or countryman? On past generations there was never a power increase on LCI… Expect 250hp for the GP.

    • There was a power increase on both previous LCIs.

      • Zé Costa

        I am referring to JCW…

        • The R53 got one. The R56 generation did not. This one will not as well.

  • Ryan Cooley

    But won’t the transmission possibly help with 0-60 along with efficiency? Fine by me

  • fishbert

    Does anyone else think it’s a bit awkward that the union jack tail lights are basically arrows pointing the wrong direction when used as turn signals?

    • Chris Lynch

      I think when you use the turn signals, only the middle horizontal lines will be eluminated to blink. For sure, because as you said, it would be funny if the blinker was pointing at the opposite direction.

  • The Mann

    its Funny about the power, the BMW I8 is born with the B38 1.5Turbo engine, and it have 231HP.. but MINI reject to have more then 136HP in the same engine.. ofcause it has something to do with clouch or axcels.. But still i wander why. ford today has 140Hp in 1.0T engine. so Come on Mini.

  • The Mann

    But then does BMW/Mini combine engine and electical motor in the transmission, istate of that crap automatic gear.. that is for fat men. not driver, not people how love driving. Automatic is like saling a boat.

  • Vladimir Rusinov

    Hmm, union jack taillights?

    I wonder if they will have a special version for Ireland.

  • Kevin Bartlett

    More power is probably not a big deal to me either. I got to drive a Cooper as a loaner and found it to be a great little car. The 6 speed auto was responsive and it moved the car with a pretty immediate response. Why tailor the cat to a market in the US that frankly isn’t primed for growth in small cars? Europe is their growth market and more power makes the cars more expensive to insure and operate there. The US may just have to be happy they continue to be for sale here as other cars disappear from our market. The Ford Fiesta, by most accounts a good car and great in ST form, will go away in the coming model year and companies like Cadillac will phase out several cars to sell more popular CUV/SUV models. It seems likely small car choices are going to be less plentiful in the coming years.

  • Sal

    Hi Gabe, Any indication when these changes will appear in the configurator? How far in advance of March do you estimate they will be able to be ordered?

    • I would expect February or March for the MINIUSA configurator. You should be able to order in February for a March build.

  • R.O.

    Not a fan of DCT’s, Also from the picture of the DCT shifter – it has a “P” button. Assuming that means no more hand break. That’s a definite “No Go” for me.

  • ulrichd

    I have really noticed how with each generation, the fender flares are becoming less pronounced. Compared to the first two generations the F56 flares are almost flat against the body, basically just a trim strip. I know it’s likely because of drag but it really takes away one of the MINI’s unique design features. Also makes the car look less aggressive, more tall than wide.