While the all-new MINI Hatch looks like a MINI, everything about it is brand new and fresh from the drawing board – except the name and reputation.
Having had its function, performance and style driven to within an inch of its life in an attempt to optimise its performance, ‘The New Original’ MINI also has significant improvements in technology, engine efficiency, power delivery, driving dynamics, quality, acoustics and personalisation.
And, as you may have guessed from the photos here, the new MINI Hatch has more space inside that classic design; more space inside an interior that has been finished to an even higher standard than previous MINIs, giving the driver with a more dynamic and performance-oriented experience behind the wheel.
But let’s take a look in even more depth at a car that “reflects a maturity and confidence in the brand’s design and engineering” and also “pays tribute to its unique British heritage yet stands ready to lead MINI into the second half of this decade and beyond.”
The new MINI Hatch is 98mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm taller than its predecessor, with the wheelbase having been extended by 28mm, and the track width has been enlarged at the front by 42mm and the rear by 34mm.
But being bigger doesn’t stop it being a MINI, because the proportions are most MINI as are traditional design elements like the hexagonal contour of the radiator grille, circular headlights, ‘side scuttle’ indicator surrounds, upright rear light clusters and black lower body edging – although maybe not as you knew them before!
The new MINI is the first car in its segment that has the option of LED headlamps (in this case surrounded by an LED daylight driving ring) for both dipped and main beam, with the rear light clusters also benefitting from an all-LED design; and it also has 5 new exterior colours available in addition to the MINI’s already extensive palette, while the roof and exterior mirror caps can be finished in a contrasting colour, black or white, as a no-cost option.
Interior: hallmark MINI style, new display and operating concept
As previously stated, the new MINI Hatch has more space inside, not just for luggage but for up to four occupants with the front seats more adjustable and with a longer base for additional comfort and support – especially for the back seat passengers whom will find it easier to get in.
Keeping on a space tip, the back seats split 60:40; and for even greater practicality, the luggage compartment floor which can be locked into place at various points, helping boot space increase by 30%.
The dashboard of the new MINI Hatch is instantly recognisable as a MINI feature, keeping the MINI feel there but adding in a new display and operating concept that is nowhere illustrated better than by the instrument cluster on the steering column where speed, revs and fuel level are displayed on vertically arranged circular dials.
The iconic central instrument now finds itself the place for even more than before, depending on which optional equipment the driver has chosen from the very start. It can be a four-line TFT display (as standard) or can be an optional colour screen of up to 8.8” that shows vehicle functions, infotainment, navigation and MINI Connected services controlled either by the MINI Controller or the MINI Touch Controller, fitted in the centre console.
Standard right across the MINI Hatch range is Keyless-go with the start/stop toggle switch located in the middle of the centre console; and many other switches have been relocated too for improved usability, including those for the electric windows, which are now integrated into the door trim.
With the new MINI Hatch you get a choice of three entirely new engines, each featuring MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology “to increase driving fun and improve environmental efficiency.” Needless to say, all three have been created to give improved performance figures with maximum power, and also reduced fuel consumption and emission levels that meet the stringent EU6 exhaust emissions criteria (and are reduced by up to 27%.)
The new MINI Cooper Hatch finds itself with a three-cylinder petrol engine with a peak output of 136hp as the very basic model, before moving up to the new MINI Cooper S Hatch which is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine developing 192hp. And then there is the new MINI Cooper D Hatch comes with a three-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 116hp (and a gold star for fuel efficiency with an average combined economy of 80.7mpg using the EU test cycle.)
There is a six-speed manual transmission as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission available as an option on each engine. With both transmission systems having been newly developed, MINI are showing that improvements are continually ongoing with a third six-speed sports automatic transmission planned for the near future.
High-end features for comfort, functionality and individual style
On the new MINI Hatch, the standard specification is nothing short of phenomenal - electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, air-conditioning, door sill cover strips with a model-specific inscription, front fog lamps, onboard computer, MINI Radio including aux-in, USB interface and Bluetooth – all of which can be added to by a range of options that itself is pretty close to phenomenal. These include: two-zone automatic air-conditioning, heated front seats, panoramic glass roof, visibility package including windscreen heating, rain sensor and automatic light control, a Harman Kardon hi-fi speaker system, a sports leather steering wheel, Park Distance Control, electrically heated and folding exterior mirrors, and both interior and exterior mirrors with automatic anti-dazzle function.
Technology gives more connection than ever
MINI Connected or MINI Connected XL is available working with the MINI Visual Boost Radio and the MINI Navigation System. It “offers extensive integration of smartphones inside the car, enabling the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driver experience.”
And besides this the technology associated with the MINI Hatch includes Intelligent Emergency Calling, an optional MINI Head-Up-Display which shows information relevant to the driver , the Driving Assistant option which helps the driver keep a predetermined distance from the vehicle ahead and includes a collision and pedestrian warning system with initial brake function, road sign detection and high-beam assistant, Rear View Camera, Parking Assistant, ABS anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), cornering brake control (CBC) with brake assistant, and the driving stability control system (DSC.)
Personalisation: more of what people love
The MINI is a driver’s pride and joy, and many MINI driver’s like to put their own touch on the car, which is precisely why MINI pioneered the concept of automotive personalisation. The new MINI Hatch has a long list of interior and exterior customisable components, with the most popular expected to be a John Cooper Works rear spoiler, various decorative trims for roof, exterior mirrors, bonnet, seat upholstery, interior surfaces and new Colour Lines.
The New MINI Hatch launched across the UK on last Saturday (15th March 2014.)