Everything’s new — and once again typical of MINI all the way: After more than 800,000 units sold, the MINI will soon be entering the market in thoroughly enhanced design and with fundamentally new features.

The second model generation of today’s modern MINI is making its debut with brand-new power units, a carefully but thoroughly upgraded interior, and evolutionary body design with appropriate modifications wherever required. Indeed, all these innovations underline the individual character and premium standard of the MINI. And while each and every detail has been changed or modified, the new model naturally retains all the proven and unmistakable features of the MINI clearly recognisable at very first sight. This applies both to the silhouette of this compact two-door immediately recognisable from every angle and to the car’s equally unique and agile driving characteristics.

The power units and transmissions, suspension and steering, brakes and safety systems are all brand-new developments from the ground up. And all these features serve to give the new MINI that legendary go-kart feeling right from the start — but now with an even higher standard of agility than before. This, quite literally, is MINI at its best — both in design and handling.

The new MINI is entering the market in the guise of the MINI Cooper (88 kW/120 hp) and MINI Cooper S (128 kW/175 hp), with the MINI One “basic” version following somewhat later. And once again, the new MINI will also be available with a turbodiesel offering a particularly high standard of all-round economy in the drivetrain.

Two new petrol engines with innovative highlights in technology.

The new MINI Cooper and the new MINI Cooper S come with two four-cylinder petrol engines each displacing 1.6 litres. Both of these power units are the first representatives of a new range of engines boasting innovative features from the ground up. They each come with two overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder driven by a chain. The engine block and cylinder head, in turn, are cast out of a special aluminium alloy.

In terms of both power, performance and efficiency, these innovative drive units set new standards in the MINI segment, boasting many design features and technical details so far only to be found in higher segments of the market. A volume flow-controlled oil pump, for example, as well as a water pump switching off automatically when not required, serve to reduce fuel consumption to an even lower level than usual. And at the same time it almost goes without saying that the new power units comply in full with the strict Euro 4 emission standard.

The MINI Cooper features a normal-aspiration power unit developing maximum output of 88 kW/120 hp at 6,000 rpm and peak torque of 160 Nm/118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm. The intake valves are controlled in a fully variable process by the BMW Group’s absolutely unique VALVETRONIC technology, allowing the engine to breathe freely, without the usual restrictions imposed by a throttle butterfly.

Valve lift and opening times are masterminded by infinite electronic control adjusting to the driver’s needs for power and performance. This highly efficient valve management combines superior fuel economy, a high standard of motoring culture, spontaneous response and optimised emission management, thus offering a new combination of qualities never seen before.

The even more powerful engine featured in the new MINI Cooper S is a turbocharged power unit with direct gasoline injection. Turbocharging is provided by an elaborately designed twin-scroll turbocharger fed with a separate flow of exhaust gas from two cylinders each. Benefiting from this configuration, the turbocharger cuts in right from the start at low engine speeds, almost completely eliminating the so-called “turbo gap” when accelerating.

Maximum torque of 240 Nm or 177 lb-ft comes at just 1,600 rpm, maximum output of this turbocharged four-cylinder is 128 kW/175 hp at 5,500 rpm.

Apart from extremely high output per litre of approximately 110 hp, the combination of a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection also ensures superior fuel economy, a high standard of motoring culture, and very efficient emission control.

Evolution in exterior design, revolution in the cockpit.

The revised body design of the new MINI not only considers the even stricter safety standards to be observed in future, but also — with the car’s dimensions increasing only slightly, for example with exterior length up by approximately 60 millimetres or 2.76´´ — accentuates the proportions and design features so typical of the MINI. As a result, the new MINI not only retains the proportions so typical of the car, but naturally also boasts characteristic features such as the hexagon grille, large headlights, the diagonal joint between the engine compartment lid and side direction indicators as a clear reminiscence to the welding seam on the classic Mini stretching out over exactly the same connection line in the past, and the upright rear light clusters.

From the side, the car is naturally still dominated by glazing all round the passenger cell, the extremely short body overhangs both front and rear, and the extra-large wheels, all of these features once again accentuating the masculine “stance-on-the-wheels” character so typical of the MINI.

“Evolution on the exterior of the car is supplemented by revolution in the interior”, states MINI’s Chief Designer Gert Hildebrand. So reflecting the formula of offering “maximum car on minimum space”, the interior of the new MINI looks even lighter than before, but is even more generous in its features. Moved far to the outside, the air vents accentuate the horizontal orientation of the dashboard and create a harmonious transition from the cockpit to the door lining. Through its separate elements and dividing lines, the dash­board allows superior customisation with inserts more sporting, technical or elegant, depending on the colour and material chosen. And last but not least, the decal elements may be supplemented by up to 16 chrome-plated trim surrounds on the instruments and air vents themselves.

Now even larger than before, the Center Speedo, a genuine MINI icon in the cockpit, comprises all entertainment and, as an option, navigation functions over and above the analogue-face speedometer. Through its high, central position, the Center Speedo allows optimum ergonomic control by both the driver and front passenger, while the slender centre console ensures even more space and roominess within the footwells.

Metallic toggle switches again typical of MINI are featured not only in the centre console, but also as function switches to be found for the first time in the roof lining. The conventional ignition key, in turn, has been replaced by an electronic signal transmitter enabling the driver to start the engine simply by pressing the Start/Stop button after having inserted the round chip sensor in the opening next to the steering wheel. Again, features of this calibre enhance the character of the interior cockpit to an even higher standard. The new MINI is the consistent evolution of its highly successful predecessor.

Both in design and in its driving characteristics, the new model takes up all the strengths and elements already boasted on the former MINI, using well-conceived modifications and demanding technology to give these features an even higher level of quality. And it virtually goes without saying that the new MINI fulfils all the high quality, technology and safety standards of the BMW Group as a whole, thus ranking supreme in its segment in every respect.

Innovative Drive Technology for Enhanced Driving Pleasure and Efficiency.

More power, greater economy, more driving pleasure, less emissions — the introduction of innovative petrol engines brand-new from the ground up is not only the key to enhanced driving dynamics in the MINI, but also an important step in the process of implementing the pledge made by the European automotive industry to cut CO2 emissions to a fleet average of 140 g/km by the year 2008. “Introducing the new range of engines, we have succeeded in carrying over the most demanding and technically sophisticated engine technology to the segment of small and compact cars”, states Erich Sonntag, the Drivetrain Project Manager in the development of the new MINI. “Our fundamental philosophy is that of Efficient Dynamics. In other words: enhanced performance on less fuel.”

The first representatives of the new engine family are a normal-aspiration and a turbocharged power unit each with four cylinders and built at the BMW Group Engine Plant in Hams Hall, Great Britain. Compared with the previous power units, both of the new engines have been turned around by 180°, with the exhaust side now facing to the front.

The engine block as such is highly similar on both the normal-aspiration and turbocharged petrol engines: Both power units share the same distance between cylinders of 84 millimetres or 3.31´´, the same bore of 77 millimetres or 3.03´´, stroke of 85.5 millimetres or 3.37´´, and, accordingly, engine displacement of 1,598 cubic centimetres.

The two-piece bedplate structure of the crankcase is a technology carried over from motorsport, with the cylinder block and bearing cast out of an aluminium alloy. Integration of the chainbox into the crankcase helps to save weight, improve engine acoustics, and reduce the number of components and design features required.

Yet a further innovation in the MINI segment is the introduction of a volume flow-controlled oil pump on the engines. Driven by a chain, the pump delivers only as much oil at any time as is actually required by the engine, thus reducing the drive power required by the ancillary units by approximately 160 Watt, saving approximately 1.25 kW at 6,000 rpm, and reducing fuel consumption by roughly 1 per cent.
The on-demand water pump featured in the coolant circuit offers a similar effect, only being switched on when the engine has reached its regular operating temperature. This helps to save fuel in the warming-up phase, with the catalyst reaching the temperature required for optimum efficiency more quickly and efficiently than before.

Both engines come with composite-structure camshafts. And contrary to conventional castings, the cam rings are made of high-strength stainless steel and are shrunk-fit on to the camshaft as such, after which the cams are fine-polished down to an accuracy of 1’1,000 th millimetre. The eccentric shaft for phase adjustment is also made in this process, helping once again to save weight.

The lightweight concept consistently applied in developing the new MINI’s power units also serves to reduce frictional losses. The crankshafts on both drive units, for example, are weight-optimised in their construction and come with special bearing shells as well as relatively small bearing journals measuring just 45 millimetres or 1.77´´ in diameter.

The alternator and air conditioning compressor, in turn, are each driven by one single poly-V-belt, while the water pump is driven by a friction wheel. Both of these features help to make the power units featured in the new MINI particularly compact, the new engines thus ranking among the shortest four-cylinders in their class.

Normal-aspiration power unit with fully variable valve control.

Notwithstanding all their similarities and, indeed, common features in their overall design and configuration, the two power units in the new MINI differ significantly in terms of their cylinder heads: The 1.6-litre normal-aspiration engine featured in the MINI Cooper comes with fully variable valve control developed on the basis of the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology.

The particular forte of this valve management concept is that valve lift and the intake valve opening periods are modified within fractions of a second to current power and performance requirements. To provide this effect the camshaft does not act directly on the valves via a rocker arm, but rather incorporates a further lever in between, where the pivot point is adjusted by an eccentric shaft driven by an electric motor.
So depending on the position of the pivot lever, intake valve lift is varied infinitely between 0.2 and 9.5 millimetres (0.008 — 0.374.´´). And the entire process of switching over from minimum to maximum valve lift takes just about 300 milliseconds.

This technology provides the same effect that otherwise requires adjustment of a throttle butterfly within the intake manifold of a conventional engine. Variable valve management thus renders throttle butterfly control superfluous and avoids the disadvantages of undesired air swirl in the intake manifold particularly when running under half-load. And while the new normal-aspiration power unit of the MINI Cooper still incorporates a throttle butterfly, the throttle butterfly in this case serves only emergency and diagnostic functions and otherwise remains fully open under normal operating conditions for a smooth and dynamic flow of the fuel/air mixture. The underpressure required by the brake servo, finally, is generated by a vacuum pump driven by the outlet camshaft.

In addition to variable management of valve lift on the intake side, valve timing on the intake and outlet side are spread apart individually as a function of engine speed. Valve timing is therefore also infinitely controlled, with a spread range of 70° on the intake and 60° on the exhaust camshaft.

Again, this entire adjustment process requires a mere 300 milliseconds when needed, such an extremely high reaction speed being ensured by way of a high-performance 32-bit computer networked with the engine management system as a whole. Interacting with one another, variable valve lift and engine speed-related camshaft management serve to optimise the torque and power curves.

Even at low engine speeds, therefore, the power unit of the new MINI Cooper develops high torque, while at high engine speeds it delivers a lot more power than conventional engines.

A further advantage is that both technologies help to significantly reduce fuel consumption: Depending on the route, fuel consumption is down by up to 20 per cent and in the EU test cycle the car’s fuel consumption has been reduced by approximately 12.5 per cent.

Yet a further advantage is the ability of the engines to run smoothly and reliably on any grade of fuel quality. This is indeed an essential criterion for a global player like MINI. This versatility is also ensured by the single ignition coils masterminded by the engine’s electronic control unit for optimum ignition voltage on the spark plugs in each cylinder. Anti-knock control, finally, enables the engine to run on various fuel grades between 91 and 98 octane.

The 1.6-litre normal-aspiration engine develops maximum output of 88 kW/120 hp at 6,000 rpm and has a top engine speed of 6,500 rpm. Torque is a significant 140 Nm or 103 lb-ft at just 2,000 rpm, with the engine reaching its peak torque of 160 Nm or 118 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm. With its wide useful range of engine speed, the compact power unit therefore combines optimum driving pleasure with superior fuel economy at all times.

Turbocharged power unit with twin-scroll turbocharger and direct petrol injection.

The turbocharged version of the new 1.6-litre four-cylinder featured in the MINI Cooper S offers even more impressive performance data: Maximum output is 128 kW/175 hp, a figure which certainly sets the standard for an engine of this size reaching its maximum power at 5,500 rpm.

The engine’s peak torque of 240 Nm or 177 lb-ft is maintained consistently between 1,600 and 5,000 rpm. When accelerating, torque is even boosted briefly to 260 Nm or 192 lb-ft by a short increase in turbocharger pressure. Referred to as “Overboost”, this function gives the MINI Cooper S even more dynamic acceleration, acting exclusively on the engine’s torque, not on maximum output.

The four valves per cylinder are controlled by two overhead camshafts, friction-optimised roller arms, and hydraulic valve clearance compensation units. The exhaust valves are filled with sodium in order to meet the greater cooling requirements of a turbocharged power unit. The intake camshaft comes with infinite phase adjustment setting the valve timing to the driver’s current power and performance requirements. On the road, this means optimum power and torque combined with superior fuel economy and emission management.

Fuel is injected into the turbocharged four-cylinder by means of common-rail direct gasoline injection: The stainless-steel common rail delivering fuel to all cylinders is filled with fuel under high pressure by a high-pressure pump at the rear end of the intake camshaft. Injection valves positioned at the side on the cylinder head deliver fuel from the common rail directly to the combustion chambers with exact dosage within fractions of a second. Four valve pockets and the combustion chamber trough in the middle of each piston ensure optimum stratification of the homogeneous fuel/air mixture, consistently maintaining a lambda factor of 1.0. Running in cast-iron bushes and subjected to high thermal loads also on account of the compression ratio of 10.5 : 1 relatively high for a turbocharged power unit, the pistons themselves are cooled by splash oil lubrication.

Featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger, the new MINI Cooper S is introducing a new technology in its segment in the interest of particularly dynamic and spontaneous power and performance: “Twin-scroll” means that the ducts in the exhaust manifold and the turbocharger are separated from one another in each case for two cylinders. Reducing exhaust gas counterpressure at low speeds, this enables the engine to capitalise on the dynamic action of the gas columns pulsating within the manifold. The result is even better response by the turbocharger, with its blades building up optimum momentum right from the start at lower engine speeds.
Charge pressure limited by a wastegate to 0.8 bar starts to build up from an engine speed of just 1,400 rpm, virtually eliminating the “turbo gap” so typical of a conventional turbocharged engine but hardly to be felt at all when accelerating in the new MINI Cooper S. Indeed, the 1.6-litre turbocharged power unit shows the kind of response you would normally only expect in a much larger normally aspirated engine: “The principle to get the same kind of power and performance out of a smaller and more efficient engine, enjoying all the advantages of a large engine, is referred to as ‘downsizing’”, states Drivetrain Project Manager Erich Sonntag. “And developing output per litre of approximately 110 horsepower, the turbocharged power unit of the new MINI is a particularly good example of this principle.”

The flow of exhaust gas rushing by accelerates the turbine wheel to a speed of up to 220,000 rpm. The compressor wheel running on the same shaft, in turn, compresses intake air at the same time. To increase the supply of fresh air to the cylinders — cold air contains a larger share of oxygen — the intake air compressed by the turbocharger flows through intercoolers before reaching the combustion chamber.

The technology for cooling the turbocharger is equally sophisticated in technical terms, with the twin scroll turbocharger in the new MINI being maintained within the optimum temperature range by a combination of oil and water cooling. An electrical auxiliary pump maintains the coolant circulation process for some time after the engine itself has been switched off in order to avoid the risk of excessive heat building up in the turbocharger subject to extremely high thermal loads.

Both engine versions of the new MINI come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The optional automatic transmission available in each case also features six speeds controlled by five clutches to provide an absolutely smooth and consistent gearshift virtually without the slightest interruption of traction and pulling power.

A further feature of the automatic transmission required for setting off smoothly and easily is the torque converter, with the converter clutch being engaged immediately after the car has started to move in order to combine superior comfort with a sporting, fast and dynamic gearshift.

Activating the sports switch, the driver is able to enhance the highly dynamic qualities of the car to an even higher standard by shifting gears even faster in this special Sports Mode. A further benefit is that the driver is now able to shift gears manually by means of paddles on the steering wheel, like in Formula 1. In other words, the driver is not required to take his hands off the steering wheel when shifting gears and is able to fully concentrate on the process of controlling his car especially in an extreme situation.
Limited-slip differential for maximum traction.

The six-speed manual gearbox comes in two different configurations: In the MINI Cooper S the two first gears are synchronised by means of a double-cone, while the MINI Cooper features carbon friction plates.
As an option the MINI Cooper S is also available with a mechanical limited-slip differential referred to as the Super Differential preventing the drive wheels from spinning by feeding engine power to the wheel with better traction.

The gear wheels themselves have helical gearing on both versions, and it almost goes without saying that all gears — including reverse — feature full synchromesh.

This configuration with six transmission options significantly enhances the agile and sporting character of the new MINI, with the individual gear increments perfectly matched to the power and performance of the engines. The reduction of gearshift forces, finally, ensures even greater efficiency in changing gears.

Go-Kart Feeling in a new Dimension.

The Chassis and Suspension of the new MINI.

From the start, the new MINI naturally offers that very special go-kart feeling which has characterised the brand for more than 40 years. Front-wheel drive, a low centre of gravity, long wheelbase, wide track, short overhangs front and rear, a stiff bodyshell, and firm suspension — these are the ingredients that give the new MINI its superior driving behaviour. “We have given the new MINI a particularly agile set-up on the suspension”, states Uwe Gaedicke, the Driving Dynamics Project Manager for MINI. “And the result is an experience in driving pleasure quite unique in this class.”

Electromechanical power steering with sports switch.

The outstanding agility and nimbleness of the MINI is largely attributable to the new EPAS Electric Power Assisted Steering offering the driver a very natural feeling at the wheel and ensuring direct contact with the road.

Power assistance related to road speed ensures low steering forces for example when parking and a direct response at high speeds on the Autobahn or other fast roads. This serves to further enhance the car’s high standard of active safety, particularly at medium and high speeds.

The new EPAS power steering not only reduces fuel consumption by approximately 0.1 litres/100 kilometres, but also offers the driver two different set-up control maps. The normal map maintains a smooth balance of steering characteristics throughout the car’s entire speed range, while the power steering becomes even more sporting and “go-kart-like” as soon as the driver presses the sports button, in the process also modifying the electronic gas pedal control map for a more spontaneous response also from the accelerator.

The foundation for the MINI’s famous go-kart feeling and, in particular, for the agility of the new MINI is set by the kinematic and elastokinematic configuration of the front and rear axles.

The front axle is based on the McPherson spring strut principle, interaction of axle geometry and the output drive shafts of equal-length both left and right ensuring optimum traction without any adverse effects from the drivetrain.

The central-arm rear axle featured on the new MINI is quite unique in the segment of front-wheel-drive compact cars. Through their sophisticated kinematics alone, the wheels maintain optimum grip on the ground and guarantee agile handling and driving pleasure in all situations, regardless of road conditions and driving manoeuvres. Appropriate weight reduction including longitudinal arms made of aluminium serves furthermore to reduce weight on the rear axle by approximately 9 kg or 20 lb.

Free choice of two different suspension set-ups.

The new generation of the MINI is available with a choice of two different suspension set-ups offering the customer either a truly sporting experience in the MINI or a more comfort-oriented style of motoring. In its basic set-up, the new MINI Cooper is more comfort-oriented than its predecessor, while the suspension of the MINI Cooper S is far more sporting and dynamic, reflecting the car’s superior performance.

Both models are available as an option with sports suspension comprising even firmer springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars.

The front axle comes with inner-vented disc brakes measuring 280 milli­metres/11.02´´ in diameter (294 millimetres/11.57´´ on the MINI Cooper S). On the rear axle discs measuring 259 millimetres or 10.20´´ apply brake power smoothly and efficiently.

On both models the brake system is supported by ABS anti-lock brakes, EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution, and CBC Cornering Brake Control. Emergency situations when applying the brakes are detected, in turn, by the Brake Assistant in the new MINI building up maximum brake pressure as quickly as possible. A new feature, finally, is Hill Assist operating in conjunction with DSC and preventing the car from rolling back on an uphill gradient by closing the brakes briefly when the driver is about to set off.
The MINI Cooper comes as standard on 15-inch light-alloy wheels running on 175/65 R 15 low-profile tyres. The MINI Cooper S, in turn, features 16-inch light-alloy wheels and runs on 195/65 R 16 tyres. Seventeen-inch wheels running on 205/45 R 17 tyres are available as an option.Benefiting from runflat technology, all 16- and 17-inch tyres offer superior safety in an emergency, allowing the driver to continue even after a complete flat for a distance of up to 150 kilometres or 90 miles at a speed of not more than 80 km/h or 50 mph, and thus reaching the nearest workshop safe and sound.

As yet a further feature, the new MINI is equipped with TDC tyre defect control recognising a gradual loss of air in good time and warning the driver appropriately by way of a visual signal in the cockpit display. The driver is therefore able to take action before the tyre itself is damaged or before things might become hazardous.

Electronic systems optimising the car’s driving behaviour.

ASC+T Automatic Stability Control + Traction (which may be deactivated if required) and DSC Dynamic Stability Control ensure extra safety in critical situations in the new MINI. DSC counteracts any lack of stability possibly arising on slippery surfaces or with the car oversteering or understeering in a bend. Intervening in the brakes as required and acting on the engine control unit, DSC is able to stabilise the car in such a situation, the new MINI therefore offering maximum driving safety under all conditions on the road.

The new MINI offers not only particularly safe driving behaviour, but also a wide range of special features for optimum protection of the car’s occupants. Indeed, this combination of numerous safety features is based largely on the results of practical accident research by the BMW Group and goes beyond the obvious fulfilment of all safety standards required by law the world over.

As a result, the safety package featured by the new MINI offers everything needed for optimum fulfilment of all relevant crash tests. And yet a further point is that the engineers developing the new MINI considered not only current, but also future standards and legislation, for example in the interest of pedestrians and their protection.

Curtain airbags also protecting the passengers at the rear.

Both the new MINI Cooper and the new MINI Cooper S come as standard with no less than six airbags — frontal, side and curtain/head airbags for both the driver and front passenger. The airbags inflate as a function of the type and severity of an accident determined by means of sensors and calculated by the central computer.

The two side airbags are integrated in the outer side supports on the front seat backrests, effectively protecting the driver and front passenger from thorax injury. The curtain/head airbags, in turn, are integrated in the roof lining and inflate when required as extra-large curtains offering not only the passengers at the front, but also the rear-seat passengers optimum protection from head injury.
Three-point safety belts are naturally fitted on all four seats, the front belts being equipped additionally with belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters.

Fitted crosswise at the front, the engine also helps to give the new MINI optimum crash behaviour. Indeed, the entire structure of the body and the choice of materials serve to keep the passenger compartment free of impact energy, wide energy-absorbing zones preventing objects from entering the footwells. Highly stable crossbars, in turn, also help to give the car’s occupants effective safety and protection at all times.

The electrical fuel pump is automatically cut off in a severe collision, the central locking is opened and both the interior lights as well as the hazard warning flashers are activated. So in terms of both the overall concept and all the individual features and details, the safety system featured in the new MINI meets all the demands made of a premium car.

Source: BMW Press