Tinkering with icons is as risky a job as the painters responsible for restorations of historic art – a trace out of place and you’ve ruined a legacy. The designers behind cars like Porsche 911 and Mini Cooper have a pleasurable and dangerous task in the same proportion: bring something new, but keeping the tradition.
That’s why, perhaps, at a first glance you think the new Mini Cooper is a facelift of the current generation (2006-2013). Which is nothing: it’s an entirely new generation, with another platform, new engines, redone cabin, more equipment and, somehow, the same essence of the Mini ever. This generation, called F56, was introduced by the BMW Group in November 2013 and arrived in Europe earlier this year. Now, the F56 have just landed in Brazil – and we’ve already accelerated the Mini Cooper S on the Capuava racetrack. He is eyeing fans of the Beetle and the Golf GTi. So, what did the little guy say on the dance floor?
More than a new body, the new Mini features the structure that is underneath the skin of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (the first front-drive bimmer) – the UKL1 modular platform, which will serve no less than 11 models of the Mini And 12 of BMW, among hatches, sedans, coupes, convertibles, vans and minivans. Remember the MQB of VW Golf and Audi A3? It’s the same concept.
Looking at the car outside, it is difficult to see a skeleton so different. Yes, it looks more gritty, thanks to 7 mm less in height and 44 mm in width. In addition, it is 98 mm longer (of these, 58 mm went to the front swing) and has 28-mm axles longer. The trunk has won an impressive 50 liters, but at 211 liters, it follows compact.
The good news is that, despite the larger dimensions, it has lost 5 kg compared to the previous generation (obs: in the most complete versions, it is a few kg heavier by the addition of equipment). This is because UKL1 brings the latest technological advances in its manufacturing process, such as structural components made of high strength steels by the tailor rolled blank process (which allows varying thicknesses in the same sheet) and aluminum use, especially in distant areas Of the center of gravity.
The impression is that the Mini has become more corpulent, especially because of the wide gain in the body, the greater optical elements and the remodeling of the silhouette of the front grille, transformed into a nib. The new face gained in aggression, but lost in elegance and minimalism – became more global and somewhat less British.
The Cooper S differentiated even more from the normal Cooper, with a touch of John Cooper Works: in addition to the rim wheels 17 with Pirelli Pzero 205/45 R17 tires and LED signature lights (Cooper uses conventional halogens), the sports version Comes with hose-type grille (instead of chrome trim), front bumper with integrated dampers for integrated brakes, air-cooled hood, racing style fuel cap, rear bumper with integrated skirt and dual exhaust outlet in the middle.
But under the hood, the distance of the Cooper S gets even bigger than in the visual: if the Cooper uses a three-cylinder 1.5-cranked 136-hp, Cooper S’s safe is no less than a 4l 2.0-turbo from 192 hp at 6,000 rpm – Because it is, it is one of the rare cases of upsizing in the automotive industry!
Known as B48, the supercharged two-liter has aluminum block and head, direct injection, Double Vane and Valvetronic systems (the controls are variable in duration and lift and the valves directly control the intake of air, dispensing the butterfly bodies), And double-flow turbo, which accelerates the filling of the cylinders. With 82 mm diameter and 94.6 mm stroke per cylinder, the engine has a high torque characteristic at low revs: it is 28.5 mkgf from 1,250 rpm to 4,700 rpm.
The B48 is one of the leading stars of BMW’s new modular engine architecture, which will follow the philosophy of 500 cm³ displacement per cylinder; Which will reduce the cost of production by sharing components. The B48 will be in the BMW 225i Active Tourer and is expected to be adopted in the Series 3 at some point in the future in a longitudinal position.
Both the Mini Cooper and Cooper S will have a six-speed automatic Steptronic as the only option in Brazil. Both feature a number of dynamic features, such as the ABS-operated differential lock, traction and stability controls, and ramp-out assistant. But two novelties deserve attention. First, the Driving Modes, which you operate by a selector at the base of the shift lever. With it, you choose between the Sport, Mid and Green mappings; Which dramatically change the steering and suspension stiffness (see below), the throttle pedal response curve, gearbox programming (which features the Coasting disengagement system) and the operation of peripherals such as the air compressor And Start-Stop.
In conjunction with the Driving Modes, the new Mini Cooper brings the adaptive suspension, which changes the load of the shock absorbers (especially in compression) according to the dynamic programming chosen; Making it much more friendly to the floor of Brazilian streets than the previous generation. However, as we test the car at a racetrack, it is hard to say how much it handles the borehole without giving out dry beats – but it is undeniable that the difference in load on the suspension is significant.
Prices, colors and versions
As you can see below, there are no more aspirated engines in the new generation of the Mini. The torque gain combined with the new look is expected to boost sales of the entry version One (which will arrive in November), but it is likely that the flagship of the brand in the country will continue to be the sportive Cooper S – which currently accounts for 70.2 % Of sales in the Mini family.
This month, Mini Cooper Auto (R $ 89,950), Mini Cooper S Exclusive Navi automatic (version of R $ 113,950) and Mini Cooper S Top automatic (R $ 124,950) are already available in the stores, Which features the Wired Package (6.5 “to 8.8” larger screen and Harman Kardon sound), panoramic sunroof and heads up display (HUD), which emerges from the dashboard.
At the end of August the Cooper S Exclusive automatic version will arrive (R $ 107,950, without navigator and butterflies behind the wheel) and in November, the basic Mini One, with manual gearbox Getrag of six gears, whose price is still being defined.
Colors: Volcanic Orange, White Pepper, Light Silver, Deep Blue, Midnight Black, Thunder Gray, Iced Chocolate Brown, Red Blazing, Green British Racing Green and Gray Moonwalk. All with the option of black roof, white or the same color of the body.
As is already a tradition in Mini, the catalog of parts and stickers for customization is huge: wheels, mirror covers, side and ceiling stickers, bench covers, carpets, auxiliary headlights – even the key cover can match The finish of your car. Mini Brasil will bring this catalog under four basic themes: the traditional Union Jack (with the flag of England), the sporty John Cooper Works Pro (photo above) and the futuristic Vivid Green and the Scots Speedwell Blue (both in the photo below).
Like the body, the interior is all new – but the essential shapes have been preserved, leaving everything quite familiar. Yes, there was a rearrangement in the position of the instruments (we’ll talk about it), but the great qualitative change is in the plastics: now all of them are well rubberized, different from the hard plastics of the previous generation. The window commands came out of the center console and went to the doors. Buyers will be able to choose from three colors of leather lining: dark brown, light gray and black – only in the latter the face of the panel is coated with carbon fiber texture. In others, the face is covered with leather.
You do not need lynx eyes to realize that the speedometer has left the center console, which now houses the multimedia system exclusively. Minimalist and with a touch of old racing car, the cluster houses the speedometer and the spiral-count in a semicircle. The fuel and temperature gauges stay on illuminated bars, something that we’re not exactly fans – pointers are more accurate.
The ring that surrounds the multimedia system is illuminated by colored LEDs, which interact with the driver in different ways: when you choose Dynamic Green mode, for example, it turns green. When you change the sound volume and power of the fan, your lights change proportionally, simulating a dial – and the colors will vary depending on the temperature. Like the previous generation, you can change the tone of the ambience lights, a subtle touch of customization.
Fortunately, BMW gave up that strange paddle shifter system with two moves (forward increases, back down) and adopted the traditional “right increases, left reduces”. However, the fins could be more generous and aluminum instead of plastic. The front seats are very comfortable, offer great lateral support for exciting curves and have gained more height adjustment (28 mm), to please both enthusiasts (who prefer the seat glued to the floor) and the class that prefers a higher position .
With 28 mm more of wheelbase, the rear space has improved a little: the seat is a bit taller and the knee and shoulder area is wider – but make no mistake: the Mini Cooper follows a tight car behind.
Dancing in the Pishta
Larger, lower, nearly half a liter more than the displacement in the engine, 0 to 100 km / h in 6.7 and maximum of 233 km / h … the recipe was very appetizing for the new Cooper S. Our impressions were a bit Limited by the fact that we were forced to ride on the train during the test drive (which explains why we do not have video on board this time), but sometimes I ended up acting like a lost sheep and let the group walk away to pick it up . In this way, I was able to explore some of its dynamics.
Right from the start, I felt some extra docility in the new Cooper S compared to the old model, famous for its harshness of suspension. As I hit the zebras in the center of the circuit, I felt that the suspension was firm and contained the bodywork well, but it became more complacent with irregularities in the floor – which should greatly improve the daily traffic coexistence. The resultant load resembles that of the GTi Golf.
This came at the cost of some of the more hardcore traits of his personality, such as extremely aggressive curve inputs (much helped by the previous generation’s hard suspension, which also had shorter wheel hubs) and the steer torque in extreme accelerations. The new Mini Cooper has a more elegant touch, with slightly less sharp reactions – but, as I could verify in the “these” of Capuava, the animal’s DNA is still there! And do not doubt that aftermarket buffers and adjustable stabilizer bars will soon emerge – a little more load on the rear combined with a casing cap and front shift would bring in the good old sliding on all four wheels. Put a set of tires for track day so you will have a little monster. BMW has been on the safe side in dynamic tuning – in almost every situation, it’s underperforming – but the potential is all there.
For you to play the old-fashioned Cooper S with the factory setting, you’ll need to take a short strike on the steering wheel (do not overdo it …) at the curb entrances at the end of the trail braking. More or less like in a kart. In this way, the rear axle slides slightly (so it is important to turn off one stage of the stability control, activating the Sport programming – without this, the rear will be tied) and the front points with the aggressiveness typical of the Mini. It’s a nice game to play if you ask me.
The brakes are correctly dimensioned to power and weight, and the pedal has good communicability. The electronic programming of the braking distribution continues spectacular – using the clever trail braking, you will effectively feel the rear brakes working hard, helping the front to point in the corners. The tip is!
The thrust of the 2.0 turbocharger makes your back glue against the backrest – and just like in the Golf GTi, you have to be careful with the 28.5 mkgf (available already at 1,250 rpm) in long corners, as the torque kick draws support from the Front wheels and leads to understeer. Feed the accelerator with patience that you will come out as a bear – and on the right track. It is the kind of car that does not work very well with anvil feet in sinuous stretches. Be a gentleman driver that you will understand the magic quickly.
That the Mini Cooper S would be a friend in Capuava, was to be expected. But the good surprise came when the Green mode was activated: instantly the gearbox threw three gears up, the accelerator became sedate, the steering became softer and the suspension relaxed the load. This was something that was missing in the previous generation Mini (R56) – after all, even the most purist of drivers ends up using the car at least 70% of the time in a civilized way. The F56 evolved much like a used automobile, and the gains in this area were far greater than the subtle loss of dynamic aggressiveness. Cooper S adjusted its revenue better to the proposal.
As you have seen up there, Mini Brasil will bring only the six-speed automatic Steptronic, dispensing with the six-speed manual. I felt a sour taste in my mouth as I discovered that the new generation of the manual has the auto blip feature, which automatically synchronizes the engine reductions in the gear reductions – just like in the new Corvette and the Nissan 370Z. But the brand only followed the demand of its customers: until 2013, the JCW version of the previous generation was only brought with manual exchange – and the buyers, from demanding the automatic, ended up reversing the menu.
In any case, the automatic Steptronic does a great job in keeping up with the mechanical set of the Cooper S. The programming is quite intelligent, so it even gives you the ability to drive in a race track in automatic programming: the exchange works with the ABS accelerometer and the ECU Of the engine, being able to interpret the sporty use and holding the marches in the curves and even making use of motor-brake. To do this, simply activate the Sport dynamic mode and, well, lower the wood. The exchanges are very fast and there is not that sense of skating transmission in the starts – but, as with every automatic, you have to wait for the spin to drop a little bit more before you ask for the reductions. If you prefer, you can make manual exchanges by the butterflies behind the wheel or on the lever – with rear upshifts, like in a race car. Cool.
I left the cabin of the Mini Cooper S with the impression of having tasted a mature product. He still likes the good old game of attacking curves but has become more sociable and less unidirectional in his proposal. For my taste, it would just take a pinch of the sub-pitch – the path to the rocks I’ve already given …
If the style and footprint of the previous generation Mini Cooper could already be considered timeless, the same could not be said in relation to the product within the market – it was falling behind. The new generation came at the right time, bringing better roomability and materials in the cabin, a range of dynamic features and comfort, and a state-of-the-art mechanical suite with a dual-flow turbo, variable duration and lift controls, and the main , Adjustable buffers – all without incurring a jump in the table. The amount of information on the new front, I confess, did not please me very much at first – but after guiding it, my impression changed.
More spacious and docile, the F56 has become more user-friendly for everyday use. As we have seen, to achieve this maturity he has given up a bit of razor wire (which you can recover with some aftermarket components), but it continues as a great car for enthusiasts. In fact, for the more heavy class, the great cheap are the possibilities that this new engine offers. After all, they are two liters and a turbo in a hatch 5 cm shorter than a VW Gol! In a presentation made earlier this year, BMW’s parent already let it slip that the B48 could yield up to 255 hp (probably on the next BMW 328i LCI in longitudinal position) – so you already have a good base where you can from Arrive with a piggyback from some German coach. The John Cooper Works prepared version of the Mini Cooper will also use the B48, with power in the 220 hp.
Finally, it is worth remembering: the $ 114,000 of this version puts the Cooper S Navi in an open battle with the Golf GTi Exclusive among the buyers with Castrol R in the vein (who is more tuned in style, can include the Beetle in the match). For the first time in a few months, I say that the Volks are in a position to defend themselves. And now Jose?