MotoringFile reports that the launch of the next generation MINI Cooper has recently been delayed to the fourth quarter of 2013. Word from insiders suggests that the new MINI will be drastically altered, in favor of “modern” and “aggressive” styling.
The new MINI Cooper (the F56) will share the same platform as BMW’s next-gen Series 1, creating profitable economies of scale for the German luxury automaker. While prudent from a business standpoint, the shared platform raises questions about MINI’s ability to sustain its brand integrity with the F56 Cooper. MotoringFile sites conversations conducted with sources at BMW and MINI to dispel these legitimate concerns:
“Is the new MINI just a badge change? No! We’ve spoken with sources inside MINI and BMW who’ve seen both new designs — the MINI and the BMW. They’ve been in the room with both of the prototypes. The takeaway? You’d never guess the same chassis platform was underpinning both cars. The MINI is still a MINI — definitely a descendant of the cars that came before it, but make no mistake, it’s a significant evolution.”
Headlining the MINI’s evolution is a new, 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine rated at 120 hp for base model Coopers and 180 hp for the premium Cooper S. Not much change in overall power output, though the new platform does have space for a 4-cylinder engine – think John Cooper Works. Where the 1.5-liter turbo really shines in the fuel-efficiency department: 40 and 45 mpg projected for the Cooper S and Cooper, respectively. This new 3-cylinder has mighty big shoes to fill; the 1.6 liter turbo engine it will replace (Cooper S) is a five-time winner of the International Engine of the Year Award.
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