Im­proved tech; bet­ter ’boxes

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents - BARRY PARK

THE FIRST ma­jor revamp of the gen-f56 Mini de­liv­ers the brand’s most con­nected small car yet, adopt­ing BMW’S ID5 gen­er­a­tion of its Con­nected Ser­vices tech­nol­ogy to al­low own­ers to mon­i­tor and con­trol their car via a smart­phone app.

The range is sim­pli­fied – the en­try-level Ray is gone – while the Cooper-badged three-door and five-door hatches, and the Mini Cooper Cabrio gain a host of cos­metic tweaks in­side and out, and a small im­prove­ment in fuel ef­fi­ciency thanks to en­gine re­vi­sions and trans­mis­sion changes. There’s a new split cool­ing sys­tem for the head that helps with warm-up and cuts weight by up to 8kg, and a new crank­shaft that cuts another 1kg.

The old six-speed au­to­mat­ics are out, with the Cooper and Cooper S in­tro­duc­ing a sev­en­speed Ge­trag dual-clutch auto, and the range-top­ping JCW ad­ding the same eight-speed torque con­verter as used in the Club­man and Coun­try­man.

These pow­er­train changes trim fuel con­sump­tion to meet tighter Euro emis­sions reg­u­la­tions, but the new gear­boxes also change the way the cars drive. The jump to a seven-speed dual-clutch makes the base Cooper more live­able, while it adds an el­e­ment of ex­cite­ment to the more hi-po Cooper S.

The other bits and pieces – adap­tive LED head­lights and Union Jack tail-lamps for ev­ery model from the Cooper S up, a touch­screen in­ter­face for the first time – are just fid­dling at the fringes.

Model Mini Cooper S three-door En­gine 1998cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo Power/torque 141kw/280nm Trans­mis­sion 7-speed dual-clutch 0-100km/h 6.7sec (claimed) Econ­omy 5.5L/100km Price/on sale $39,990/now

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