Mini claims that the new 2015 Mini Cooper is lighter than the car it replaces. If you live in the US, that's not actually true.
If you read Mini's press release (it's right here if you're curious) they state the 2015 Mini has an "intensification of the typical MINI go-kart feeling with extensively revised suspension technology, reduced weight and increased rigidity" and that "vehicle weight [is] lower than in predecessor models and competitors in the segment in virtually all variants of the new MINI despite extended range of fittings."
I spoke to two representatives at Mini at the car's live launch and they admitted that depending on the specification, US Minis are between 60 and 90 pounds heavier than their predecessors.
Where does the weight come from? One US representative blamed the two additional airbags (specifically knee airbags) that are apparently required in the US. I got a different answer from a higher up in the Mini management chain.
Dr. Oliver Friedmann is Leiter Produktmanagement MINI, or Head of Product Management MINI for those of us outside of Mini's home country of Germany. He explained that the added weight also comes from a higher base spec in the US. That is, Minis in the US come with more equipment as standard, whereas in Germany for instance most options are ordered à la carte.
Therefore, in Europe, the 2015 Mini is between 5-45 kilos lighter than the last generation. The biggest weight drop is in the diesel automatic, which loses those 45 kilos (99 pounds) and the smallest is in the Cooper manual, which loses those 5 kilos (11 pounds).
So if you live in America, no, the new Mini is not lighter than the old one. If you live outside of the land of the free, however, your Mini indeed will be lighter than its predecessor.
Photo Credits: Raphael Orlove