What's So New About The New, New Mini?

From the outside, the 2007 Mini (UK version) looks to be a mere nup-and-tick away from the last model. But the company says every single body panel is different. That's owed to what chaos theorists call the butterfly effect — you can't change one segment without it rippling throughout the rest of the design. Of course, everything is new to such an evolutionary degree — the most noticable differences being in the front and rear overhangs — a casual onlooker may be none the wiser. But under that familiar shell is some even more radical newness, including a new, variable-valve (BMW's Valvetronic) 1.6-liter direct-injection engine jointly produced with France's PSA, and a new suspension setup. Performance is similar to its predecessor, with the 120 hp (at 6,000 rpm) base model's zero-to-62 time a stated 9.1 seconds (126mph top speed) and the Cooper S — now with a twin-scroll turbocharged and intercooled version of the same engine producing 175hp — at 7.1 seconds (top speed of 140 mph). The S version also gets runflats now (sorry, Farago). Click through for more changes.

According to the company, substantial changes include the following:

"The fuel consumption of both models has improved dramatically. The combined cycle for the MINI Cooper is now 48.7mpg (formerly 40.9) and MINI Cooper S 40.9mpg (formerly 32.8). CO2 emissions have also been reduced meaning that both models will move two places in the VED car tax ratings."

"The new MINI Cooper is 60 mm longer than its predecessor and the new MINI Cooper S, 61 mm longer. But to maintain the car's unmistakable proportions, the designers matched the increase in size at the front by giving the car more rounded contours at the rear."

"The round, clear-glass headlights are now fixed to the body and have been turned slightly to the outside to maintain the geometry of the car from the front. The indicators, formerly isolated in the front valance, are now housed within the main headlight units."

"The radiator grille is now made up of a closed, self-contained element without the former dividing line made by the upper edge of the bumper. This design is reminiscent of the air intake scoop on the classic Mini."

"The MINI Cooper S has a 'stronger' front end due to the bonnet curving up approximately 20mm more to provide extra space for the turbocharged engine underneath and to meet pedestrian impact regulations."

"Rising gently to the rear, the shoulder line is now 18mm higher than on the former model and visually accentuates the powerful stance of the car's body."

"The rear lights are now slightly larger and feature separate external surrounds."

"On both models, vertical air flow edges on the C-pillars and individual spoilers at the rear end of the roof enhance the level of aerodynamics to an even higher standard than before. The MINI Cooper now has a drag coefficient of 0.33. (0.35 on the previous model)."

"Customisation of the new MINI starts with a wide range of paintwork colours. 12 body colours will be available, seven of which are brand new."

"The centre console below the Speedo is slimmer to create more space in the footwells for driver and front passenger. The door lock blipper and ignition key is now a round signal sensor. When inserted into a slot beside the steering wheel it allows the driver to press a start/stop button to switch the engine on and off."

"New ambient illumination included in the optional lights package is unique in the automotive industry. The colour of the interior lights in the roof lining, the door storage compartments and grab handle recesses may be changed at any time in five stages from warm orange to sporting blue, depending on the occupants' personal preference. This is controlled from a new panel of toggle switches in the roof lining. The toggle switches in the dash that operate the electric windows, seat heating and central locking were a real hit with current MINI owners and have been made larger on the new MINI."

"A Colour Line option allows individual design of the MINI cockpit. Colour highlights in the lower sections of the dashboard flow on into the door linings, where they are combined with the materials on the trim surfaces. Colour Line is available in five colour shades, with the trim surfaces coming in four exclusive variants over and above the versions already standard on the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S: glossy black piano paint, dark brown grained oak, brushed aluminium, and an extra-fine gloss surface."

"A set of 16 chrome-plated trim rings for the air vents, cupholders and instruments gives the interior an even more sophisticated look."

"In the rear, passengers are offered more comfort with recessed knee cut-outs in the front seats lined with material rather than the traditional plastics."

Related:
Thoroughly Modern Mini: Details on the 2007 Cooper [internal]