The next generation MINI Cooper will be launched later than scheduled but with recent reports of how awesome it is, the anticipation just builds up. The BMW model shares a platform with the next-generation 1 Series and will be arriving first. Meanwhile, the MINI (with the codename F56) will debut in late 2013. Insiders say that these two vehicles have the same underpinnings but they’re very different in other aspects.
The MINI’s new design is “modern”, and is considered to be its most striking evolution while still staying true to the identity of the brand. It’s reported to have a more aggressive appearance, a trend that MINI seems to be following ever since the Coupe was launched.
The new cars are powered by a new 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, which delivers 120 hp in the base Cooper and produces 180 hp in the Cooper S.
This small but robust engine will display huge gains in fuel economy with up to 40 mpg highway for the Cooper S and 45 mpg highway for the base Cooper. As this engine seems tapped-out for power, this new platform will supposedly be able to accommodate a bigger 4-cylinder engine as well, likely for John Cooper Works models.
Furthermore, a 2-cylinder may be available in Europe and in growing markets. A new Clubman and Convertible are expected to follow shortly after its launch. A few years later, the second-gen Countryman will appear.
That the new MINI Convertible puts safety at the forefront would be to understate it. For instance the outer sides of the backrest of its front seats have been integrated with the torso/side head airbags and when combined with the frontal airbags, ensure the protection not just of the occupant’s head but also the hips and upper body in case a side-on collision occurs.
In addition, the four seats come with the inertia-reel three-point seat belts. Not only that, the front seats also had an extra belt force limiter while the belt tensioners have been optimized. All of the restraint systems equipped are managed by the central safety electronics which are triggered depending on the type of collision and how severe the collision is. Another safety system is the rollover sensor which triggers the rollover protection bar.
It also activates the head-torso airbags and the belt latch tensioners. Working in conjunction with the windscreen frame, which has been strengthened for this model, the rollover protection bar is able to move upwards within 150 milliseconds electromechanically in order to make sure that the passenger cell can provide maximum protection and safety to the occupants.
This is not all as the use of the highly sophisticated driving stability systems with the advanced suspension technology ensures that the risk of an accident is lowered significantly.
There are other precautions activated in case that the driver may find it hard to act immediately. A good example is how the stiffness of the passenger cell has been increased by 10% when compared to the previous model. Then there are the high load-resistant carrier structures as well as the deformation zones that are precisely defined.
If there’s a collision, whether a rear-end collision, side, or even a head-on one, the impact energy in properly absorbed and diverted. Since the MINI Convertible is to be an open-air car, it needed to meet some specific requirements. Thus the side-sills, A-pillars, and the new floorpan, have all been strengthened at a level that is higher than that of the hardtop MINI. Thus, this ensures that needed additional stability and strength.