The mid-life update for the current generation of MINI hatchback and convertible is to be revealed at next week’s 2018 North American International Auto Show. The 2019 MINI Cooper range will go on sale in Australia the second half of 2018, and updates to other MINI models such as the Countryman small SUV and Clubman wagon will continue after that.
Rather than a comprehensive update, the 2019 MINI Cooper range is a subtle mid-life update of the successful and characterful small hatch and convertible range. It includes added equipment, new automatic transmissions, further customisation options and light styling updates, though the updates are largely aimed at trainspotters and are best described as subtle.
According to the brand, the “upgrading of the original product substance in the premium segment of small cars highlights the mature yet distinctive charisma of MINI, which in its current model generation is now available for the first time with three body types for hallmark driving fun in urban traffic. This is due to such elements as the new engine-transmission combinations, an extended range of standard features, newly designed headlights and rear lights, additional body finishes and cutting-edge connectivity technology for convenience and infotainment.”
The largest mechanical change to the 2019 MINI Cooper range are new transmissions for all models. Instead of the former six-speed torque converter automatic that featured in all models, a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic now features on Ray, Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S models, with the Cooper S also featuring steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Choose a Cooper SD (unlikely for Australia, though sold in the Countryman range) and it now arrives with an eight-speed automatic from the BMW range.
The transmissions now have the ability to coast on downhill sections in normal or eco modes, and also use data from the car’s navigation and front camera systems to dictate when to activate the car’s stop start systems – a common problem with many similar systems is the engine turning off at roundabouts or when slowing down. The addition of the new transmission coincides with the addition of direct injection, which in combination with the new transmissions and other weight saving measures such as a carbon fibre engine cover, MINI claims an up to 5 percent reduction in emissions.
Otherwise, the 2019 MINI Cooper update remains a largely cosmetic update to the existing car. Most noticeable on the outside are the new Union Jack-style tailights, which continue the brand’s unmistakably British feel. The LED headlights are now capable of Matrix adaptive high beam functionality, shielding oncoming cars from their main beam. The daytime running light and front indicators now share the same LED indicator ring around the main beam. MINI is also increasing its British design with new tailights that incorporate the Union Jack in their design, now with integrated LED indicators and reversing lights.
The 2018 MINI Cooper range also features a new MINI logo that’s been designed for simplicity and follows the original logo of the brand in the 1960’s. Instead of the black and white logo of previous modern MINI variants, the new logo is black and silver, and features a simpler set of wings on each side. The exterior of the 2019 MINI Cooper range also features new colours such as the orange hue shown in the images, and a new range of alloy wheels from 15- to 18-inches in diameter.
The interior of the 2019 MINI Cooper range has also undergone a slight refresh, with a new three-spoke steering wheel design and new colour options. The new base infotainment screen is a 6.5-inch screen, with the 8.8-inch touchscreen unit from other MINIs in the range now available as an option. Also available is wireless phone charging, as well as a wider range of MINI concierge services, including access to live traffic reports, as well as the weather and news services. The Union Jack has continued to the interior, with the dashboard inlays now featuring the motif for those whom choose it.
Local pricing for the 2019 MINI Cooper range will be announced closer to the car’s launch in the second half of 2018.
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