New-year updates a tad embarrassing.
Mini. It’s hard to think of a brand more quintessentially British and universally-appreciated in this day and age. In a world where everything is part of a conglomerate and parts-sharing and economies-of-scale are top priorities in every business meeting in every automotive company in the world, Mini sort of just sits there, left of centre, looking cool and snazzy and funky, like a Mini should.
Except, Mini too is part of an enormous conglomerate, and a German one at that. While there’s no doubt that the brand has flourished under German ownership, we suspect that the BMW Group is a bit embarrassed by their involvement in the marque, which is why with every iteration of the Mini they try more and more fervently to hide its true identity and origin of its present-day underpinnings. Which is why we’re going to talk about the new, revised, refreshed 2018 Mini with some of its new exterior features.
If you’re attentive, you’d have noticed that the Mini now sports new headlights with LED daytime running light rings that go all the way around the headlight itself, as opposed to about 2/3rds of the way round. It’s also an indicator, so you can guarantee that people will see you turning from a mile off. The headlights now feature adaptive LED technology (optional) that will arrange the beam and dip it where needed.
There are now three new exterior hues to choose from, namely Emerald Grey metallic, Starlight Blue metallic, and Solaris Orange which is, you guessed it, also metallic. You can get a Piano Black pack that replaces the chrome on the headlights, taillights, and radiator grille, while a whole host of optional alloy wheels can allow you to get new two-tone roulette-spoke items and two-tone propeller-spoke items, available across the entire Mini range.
At the back, is where we get a little frustrated. The new taillights now incorporate “Union Jack design,” which basically means that the LED light guides are now lit up in such a way that they resemble two halves of the UK flag. While we’ve tolerated the Union Jack graphics on the roof and the mirror caps (both optional items, mind) for the longest time, this standard-inclusion of Anglophilia feels unnecessary, as if it’s trying desperately to make up for the fact that it’s being helmed and by a distinctively non-British leadership.
“The rear lights also feature a new design, as a clear reference to the brand’s British origins. The upright lights now appear in a Union Jack design. The striking flag motif is recreated in the structure of the light functions. The turn indicators are horizontally arranged and the brake lights are vertically aligned, with the tail light additionally representing the diagonal lines of the British flag. In order to ensure a particularly harmonious lighting effect, all light sources forming the Union Jack graphic use LED technology.” — MINI
Moving on swiftly, the Mini now packs some mechanical changes, like an enlarged engine in the base Mini One. It’s grown from 1.2-litres to 1.5-litres, with peak output rated at a meek 55kW in the Mini One First. Top-flight Mini Cooper S models will get a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-pot with a more considerable 143kW. All models will be available with an optional 7-speed double-clutch automatic, new to the brand, replete with shift paddles on the steering wheel. A six-speed manual is available as standard.
There will also be a range of diesels, with three variants available with outputs ranging between 70kW and 127kW, though these engines will be paired up to an automatic gearbox with 8 cogs. All in all, there are four petrol and three diesel motors for the Mini hatch range, whereas the convertible Mini range will only get three petrols and three diesels, with the base 55kW petrol motor omitted for the drop-top.
A myriad of revisions to the turbochargers, electronics, and all sorts of other gubbins, all housed in lightened engine bays thanks to the use of carbon-fibre engine covers.
More revisions have taken place in the cabin, with both the fixed-roof and drop-top variants gaining a new three-spoke multifunction steering wheel as standard, with three further variations of steering wheel available as options. There’s a 6.5-inch touchscreen replete with Bluetooth connectivity, while navigation is available, as an option.
Further options include wireless phone charging, and a second USB socket in the centre console (seriously, they’ll charge you for that).