Nothing seems to spark more MINI disagreements than when they mess with the design. So love it or hate it, here we go…
The MINI lineup is entering the 2011 model year with an array of visual and equipment upgrades that include a redesigned front bumper, which is really the only practical upgrade because it helps the Mini meet new pedestrian-safety regulations in Europe. Evidently, our European brothers are knocking into one another with their cars with such frequency that they had to create a new law – not to alter driving habits, mind you, but to redesign the front bumpers so that when this happens the pedestrian won’t be quite as sore as before. Genius!
The lower grille and new fog-light surrounds are more pronounced, which fits the current definition of “sexy” as put forth by Volvo – of all vehicles – and several of your garden-variety Rice Rockets. You can trim out brake ducts in chrome, if you like, and you can choose from five new wheel designs in 15-, 16-, and 17-inch sizes.
The brake lights now use LEDs, and the optional xenon headlights now swivel around turns, which is very cool. Reverse lights migrate to the lower bumper – where beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Inside, the audio controls have been consolidated under the large center speedometer, and all secondary controls are now finished in matte black rather than silver, as are the steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Again, the eye of the beholder. And customers can choose from three new “design worlds” called Rally, Classic or Scene, each with its own suggestions for body and roof colors, wheel designs, and interior elements hand-selected by designers. A new range of interior trimmings includes a cloth/leather upholstery combination, the addition of the Polar Beige interior color, and several new accent designs.
And here’s something: Mini claims that extra insulation around the firewall and hood will keep more heat in the engine bay, resulting in an engine that warms up more quickly. That can’t be bad!
Best to go see them when they hit showrooms soon. These things are best chosen in person.
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