Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila
IT’S not yet quite an all-new generation, but the new iterations of Mini’s hatches and convertible might as well be. Boasting sweeping changes in and out, the Mini 3 Door, 5 Door, and Cabrio have benefited in “visual appearance and extensive technological advancements,” according to a statement by the Oxford-headquartered car maker. In summary, the changes are reflected in “new engine-transmission combinations, an extended range of standard features, newly designed headlights and rear lights, additional body finishes and cutting-edge connectivity technology for convenience and infotainment.”
Through its Asian office and local importer British United Automobiles, the new automobiles were unveiled locally on Aug. 3 at the Mini Philippines flagship showroom at Bonifacio Global City. In an exclusive interview, national sales manager Jefferson Lizardo explained that aside from new innovations, the new units highlight features that used to be options but which now are standard.
One of these are the Minis’ LED headlamps with anti-dazzle features, which are now also brighter in both high- and low-beam settings. “The LED daytime driving light and the turn indicator light are generated by a ring which surrounds the entire contour of the headlight,” according to the statement.
Mr. Lizardo also pointed out the new interpretation of the Mini logo, which appears as a decal on the hood, tailgate, steering wheel, central instrument display and remote control in all models. Compared to the old logo, the new one “assumes a two-dimensional ‘flat design.’”
The new Minis also sport a Union Jack pattern on their taillights (appearing in conjunction with LED adaptive headlights). The flag motif is recreated in the structure of the light functions. The turn indicators are horizontally arranged and the brake lights are vertically aligned, with the taillight additionally representing the diagonal lines of the British flag. “I think the move is in keeping with or paying homage to its iconic heritage,” added Mr. Lizardo.
The Union Jack theme also appears in the optional, so-called Mini Yours Interior Style in Piano Black. “Surfaces in the area of the doors and center console finished in Piano Black… this also includes a rear-lit decorative strip for the instrument panel on the passenger side. The latter is likewise finished in Piano Black, as well as bearing a stylized Union Jack motif. The color of the background lighting for the decorative strip is the same as the mood of the ambient lighting selected by the driver as part of the Mini Excitement Package.”
The company also introduces three new exterior colors: Emerald Gray Metallic, Starlight Blue Metallic and Solaris Orange. Exclusive to the Mini Cabrio is Carribean Aqua. New 17-inch alloy wheels have also been unveiled: Propeller Spoke Two-Tone for the Cooper and Rail Spoke Two-Tone for the Cooper S.
A wide customization option of seat surfaces, interior surfaces and color lines “add a touch of individual style to the interior of the new Mini 3 Door, Mini 5 Door and Mini Cabrio.” The 3 Door receives a Chester leather trim in Malt Brown and a color line in the same hue.
While the cars’ engines remain basically unchanged, they have been tweaked — leading to reduced fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions by “as much as 5%.” In addition, all gasoline engines feature direct injection (maximum pressure increased from 200 bar to 350 bar) and turbocharger blades made of highly heat-resilient material. Torque values have also received a bump.
The engines find expression through a seven-speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch — optionally available for the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S. “The new transmission offers very fast gearshifts for sporty acceleration maneuvers without torque interrupt,” said Mr. Lizardo. It is operated using a newly designed electronic gear selector lever. A seven-speed Steptronic sports transmission with double clutch is also available for the Mini Cooper S, which includes shift paddles behind the steering wheel.
Speaking of which, the steering wheel of the Mini 3 Door, 5 Door and the Cabrio has been recast with multi-function buttons. A sports leather steering wheel, a Mini Yours sports leather steering wheel and a John Cooper Works leather steering wheel are optionally available. “The standard trim also includes an audio system with a 6.5-inch color screen in the central instrument and mobile phone integration via Bluetooth. The control display offers a touch screen function in conjunction with the optional Radio Mini Visual Boost and a navigation system.”
An available Mini Excitement Package now also includes the Mini logo projection on the driver‘s side. When the vehicle is opened and closed, the new logo is projected onto the ground in front of the door from a light source in the exterior mirror and can be seen there for 20 seconds, or permanently if the door is left ajar.
Prices of the new Minis are as follows: Cooper 3 Door, P2.55 million; Cooper S 3 Door, P3 million; John Cooper Works 3 Door, P3.85 million; Cooper 5 Door, P2.65 million; Cooper S 5 Door, P3.1 million; Cooper SD Convertible, P3.35 million.
Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila