MINI Asia and British United Automobiles, Inc. recently launched the new-generation MINI, and we are proud to tell you that we were the first few who actually tested the feel and comfort of the new generation MINI. Autohub Group President Willy Tee Ten invited Philippine Bloggers Newtork (PBNet) to one of their exclusive dinner at Bonifacio High Street before gathering us to the MINI Cooper Showroom at MINI Global City in Taguig. Many first things happened that night and two of the most unforgettable would be riding the all-new MINI Cooper Countryman and visiting the MINI Cooper Showroom, which we normally just passed by whenever we were in that area. Most of the PBNet core members were present except for Azrael Coladilla, Arabelle Jimenez, Irene Enriquez, Barbie Barbieto, and Marlon Magtira.
Autohub Group is the importer and distributor of MINI Cooper in the Philippines.
The new MINI, as they say, are designed to be bigger, drives better and packed with more technological innovation than before, the new MINI continues to be the leading original of the premium small car segment. Well, when we jumped into the Countryman, we thought we would never have enough space at the back but to our surprise, it has a fantastic amount of leg-room!
The evolution of the new MINI’s design signals the more mature character of this new model, reflecting significant optimization in aspects such as space, safety, materials and finish quality as well as driving dynamics and ride comfort. The changes as we have told so, was in accordance to BMW‘s international design and model units standards. Oh by the way, MINI Cooper is owned by BMW since 2000.
New engines: MINI Twin Power Turbo Technology
For the first time both 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder engines are introduced, all featuring MINI Twin Power Turbo Technology. The petrol engines include turbocharging, direct fuel injection and variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust side (double VANOS). In the engines of the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper models there is also fully variable valve control in the form of VALVETRONIC, as patented by the BMW Group.
All model variants of the new MINI have improved engine and driving performance figures while their fuel consumption and emission levels have been reduced as compared to the predecessor models by as much as 27%.
For highly spirited power delivery, the new MINI Cooper S is powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine with a peak output of 192 hp which goes on stream between 4,700 and 6,000 rpm, delivering its maximum torque of 280 Nm from 1,250 to 4,750 rpm. Torque can even briefly be increased to 300 Nm by means of an overboost function. As a result, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes just 6.7 seconds, while the top speed is 233 km/h. The average fuel consumption of the new MINI Cooper S is 5.5 litres per 100 km, while its level of CO2 emissions 127 g/100km (per average EU test cycle).
With output increased by 14 hp to 136 hp between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 220 Nm (230 Nm with overboost), now available from 1,250 to 4,000rpm, the 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine in the new MINI Cooper also enables much sportier driving performance than the predecessor power unit. The new MINI Cooper sprints in 7.8 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, with a top speed of 210 km/h. Its average fuel consumption has been reduced to 4.9litres per 100km and a CO2 emissions level of 115 g/100km (per average EU test cycle).
Six-speed automatic transmission with optimized efficiency.
The six-speed automatic transmission which comes standard for both the Cooper and Cooper S offer improved efficiency, enhanced shift comfort and increased shift dynamics. These advancements have been achieved by means of such elements as a more efficient transmission control system, a more direct connection and optimised hydraulics. The new MINI also combines automatic transmission with the automatic engine start/stop function for the first time, preventing unnecessary fuel consumption caused by idling at junctions or in congested traffic.
The MINIMALISM technology which is a standard includes not only the automatic engine start/stop function but also extensive measures to optimize weight and aerodynamic drag in the new MINI. Other measures include brake energy recuperation and needs-oriented control of the fuel pump, coolant pump and other ancillary units. The electromechanical power steering is equally as energy-efficiency as the map-controlled oil pumps in all engines.
Depending on the model variant, a significant optimisation of aerodynamic properties is achieved by such measures as active cooling air flaps, extensive underbody trim and air ducting elements in the upper section of the C columns. With a drag coefficient (Cd value) of 0.28 (MINI Cooper) or 0.31 (MINI Cooper S), the new MINI is the segment leader in terms of aerodynamics, too.
Optimized suspension technology: Less weight, more go-kart feeling.
The refinement of suspension technology in the new MINI keeps to the well-established design principle of the single-joint spring strut axle at front along with a multilink rear axle that is unique within the competitive environment, as well as featuring extensive optimization of all components in terms of material selection and geometry. All improvements are aimed at intensifying the experience of the agile MINI handling properties, commonly known as the go-kart feeling. The set-up of the wheel suspension, body mounting, vehicle suspension, damping, steering and brakes takes account of the increased level of engine power and the typical MINI concept consisting of front-wheel drive, transversely mounted engine at the front, low centre of gravity, short overhangs, wide track and a rigid, weight-optimized body structure.
In order to reduce weight and increase component rigidity, the new front axle is fitted with aluminum swivel bearings as well as axle supports and wishbones made of high-strength steel. The modified front axle kinematics supports the agile turn-in response and precise steering sensation of the new MINI. The share of high-strength steel used in the rear axle has also been increased. Tube-shaped stabilizers at the front and rear axle likewise contribute to weight reduction.
Intelligent lightweight construction means that weight reduction in the new MINI is combined with an increase in rigidity, thereby promoting both agility and occupant protection. In spite of its extended range of fittings, virtually all variants of the new MINI are lighter than their respective predecessor models. They also weigh less than their competitors in the segment.
MINI Driving Modes.
The new MINI Driving Modes provide an excellent basis for fuel efficient or sporty motoring. A rotary switch at the base of the gear or selector lever is used to activate the standard MID mode, the SPORT or the GREEN mode. In addition to the characteristic curve of the accelerator and steering and engine acoustics, the MINI Driving Modes also influence the ambient lighting, the displays in the LED centre instrument, the shift characteristics of the automatic transmission and the Dynamic Damper Control configuration (exclusive for MINI Cooper S). The choice is between a setup of very sporty, comfortable and well-balanced, or geared towards fuel efficiency.
In GREEN mode – supporting a relaxed and more fuel-efficient driving style – the energy used by electrically powered comfort functions such as air conditioning is reduced. In cars fitted with automatic transmission it is also possible to use the coasting function. The drivetrain is decoupled at speeds of between 50 and 160km/h as soon as the driver removes their foot from the accelerator pedal. The new MINI then rolls at idling engine speed at a minimum rate of fuel consumption.
Debut of Dynamic Damper Control.
The newly configured suspension and damping systems have been significantly reduced in weight. The dampers are decoupled at the front and rear axle by means of triple-path support bearings. Another new addition to the MINI equipment program is Dynamic Damper Control (standard in MINI Cooper S). Two characteristic lines are available for damper set-up, allowing activation of either a more comfort-oriented response or a direct, sporty response. The compression and rebound stage are adjusted by means of electrical control of the EDC valves.
The electromechanical power steering has also been subjected to extensive improvements. So-called torque steer compensation prevents self-steering tendencies caused by differing degrees of torque at the drive wheels. Steering precision has also been optimized for sudden avoidance swerves and when taking bends in very sporty style. Standard features also include the speed-related steering assistance system Servotronic.
Exterior: Bigger proportions, better agility and ride comfort.
The body of the new MINI Cooper is 3,821mm long (+98mm vs predecessor), 1,727mm wide (+44mm vs predecessor) and 1,414 mm high (+7mm vs predecessor). The wheelbase is 2,495 mm (+28mm vs predecessor), while the track width has been enlarged to 1,501mm (+34mm vs predecessor). The length of the MINI Cooper S, meanwhile, is at 3,850mm (+121mm vs predecessor) and has a track width of 1,485mm (front +32mm and rear +24mm vs predecessor).
Cornering agility and ride comfort benefit from these new dimensions as do the amount of space available to occupants and the luggage compartment volume. The extended adjustment range of the front seats, a seat surface lengthened by 23mm and a perceptible increase in shoulder room provide more foot space and freedom of movement as well as optimised entry comfort for rear passengers. Luggage compartment volume has been increased by 51 litres to 211 litres.
Innovative driver assistance systems: Increased convenience and safety.
Further evidence of the technological progress ushered in with the new edition of the MINI is to be found in the program of optional driver assistance systems – available for the first time in a model of the British brand.
Currently, there are available of 12 two-tone colors of the MINI to choose from.
New Optional features include the MINI Head-Up-Display which shows information relevant to the driver on an extendable monitor in the upper section of the dashboard between the windscreen and steering wheel. The MINI Head-Up Display promotes concentration on the road by displaying information directly in the driver’s line of sight. It can then be read quickly and conveniently without averting one’s eyes from the road. The information that can be shown in the MINI Head-Up Display includes speed in figures, navigation directions in the form of arrow graphics and junction sketches, visual signals for collision warning, display symbols generated by Speed Limit Info and No Passing Info, Check Control messages and entertainment program details such as radio channels and track titles. The graphics on the high-resolution screen are clearly visible in all light conditions.
Other innovations in the area of driver assistance systems for the new MINI include the Driving Assistant option. This comprises a camera-based cruise control and distance control function which automatically maintains a distance from the vehicle ahead, and the collision and pedestrian warning system with initial brake function. In critical situations, the driver is first provided with a visual signal in the form of a graphic symbol that appears in the instrument cluster; this is supplemented at the second warning level by an acoustic signal prompting the driver to react.
In addition to this, an automatic brake manoeuvre is triggered in the case of an imminent collision with a pedestrian or if there is a risk of a rear-end collision in urban traffic. Here the new MINI is decelerated at medium brake force. Depending on the situation, this can either prevent an impact occurring altogether or else significantly reduce the severity of the accident. As the automatic deceleration is activated, the driver is also given an unmistakable prompt to intervene.
A rear view camera and parking assistant are also available for the new MINI. The video images supplied by the rear view camera underneath the tailgate handle are shown on the on-board computer in the central instrument as an aid when manoeuvring and reverse parking.
The new MINI is available for viewing at the MINI Global City and MINI Cebu. The new MINI will be open to the public for first buyers by June 21.
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