2014 Mini Cooper
By Laura Burstein
On Sale: March 2014
Expected Pricing: Starting around $20,000
An all-new Mini Cooper hardtop sporting larger dimensions and a significantly revised interior made its debut at the November 2013 LA Auto Show.
Still instantly recognizable, the original Mini hardtop body style retains its familiar shape and proportions, but is now 4.5 inches longer and 1.7 inches wider, riding on a wheelbase that's been stretched by more than an inch. We think a bigger Mini is a contradiction in terms. The substantially increased exterior dimensions bring more interior room and increased cargo space.
The hardtop's exterior design retains its three part shape, consisting of the body, roof and greenhouse (the daylight opening created by the windows), usually in contrasting colors. The wide-mouth, hexagonal grille remains, as do the circular headlights, though the latter are now available as LEDs. The newest Mini can also be fitted with roof rails.
Inside is where you'll find the most dramatic differences. Circular shapes are echoed everywhere, from the air vents, speakers and door pulls to the gearshift surround. Significantly, the speedometer, previously located in the center stack, has been moved in front of the driver. The circular area vacated by the former speedo now houses a display screen, controlled by a large iDrive-style knob and surrounding buttons located on the center console. The optional MINI connected interface lets users pair both Apple and Android smartphones for access to apps like Facebook, Pandora, Twitter and Rhapsody.
Keyless start is standard, and is operated by a toggle on/off switch (as opposed to a traditional button). The up-level Cooper S gets extra goodies like dual-zone air conditioning system, heated heats, a panoramic glass roof, and an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system.
Powering the 2014 Mini Cooper hardtop is a more powerful 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that makes 134 horsepower (up 13 hp) and 162 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an all-new, lighter 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic transmission. Mini says the upcoming hardtop can go from 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds with the manual, and only 7.3 with the auto.
The more powerful Mini Cooper S uses a larger, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, or as much as 221 lb.-ft with an overboost function. In this variant, the Mini Cooper S can dash from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds with the manual and 6.4 seconds with the automatic.
Adjustable driving modes include Mid, Sport and Green, which adjust throttle mapping, steering response and engine acoustics. Mini says Green mode maximizes fuel efficiency by reducing the energy used by air conditioning and heated outside mirrors. On cars with the automatic transmission, the driver can coast by lifting off the throttle at speeds greater than 31 mph, thanks to an engine decoupling function.
Suspension and steering have been revised, and new safety features include driver-assistance systems like a head-up display, camera-based cruise control, distance control (which automatically retails a set distance from the vehicle ahead), and automatic collision mitigation, which will automatically engage the brakes if the system detects another car or a pedestrian.
Pricing had not been announced when this was written. We are guessing the 2014 Mini Cooper hardtop will start around $20,000. The 2014 Mini Cooper S should start somewhere around the $23,000 mark. The 2014 Mini Cooper hardtop is due to go on sale in Spring 2014.