First Look: 2011 MINI
Although the official rollout won't come until mid-September and some U.S. specs have yet to be finalized, MINI has revealed that it's entire 2011 lineup will get subtle cosmetic changes, more efficient powertrains and boast a number of welcome interior upgrades aimed at raising their buyer appeal across the entire model range.
Looking even cooler
The MINI's subtle-but-smart visual tweaks start with reshaped soft-fascia contours that are more "pedestrian friendly" and conceal improved crush structures. Up front, the new visage is complemented by redesigned foglamps and, on Cooper S models, functional brake-cooling ducts now flank the lower grille inlet to help moderate binder temps. At the rear, the taillamps and brake lights now boast LED bulbs, and the latter gains dynamic intensity illumination that allows it to vary brightness with changes in pedal force. Finishing the update are five new alloy wheel designs ranging from 15- to 17-inch diameters and a variety of new colors along with the addition of corner-following xenon adaptive headlamps to the option list. The range-topping John Cooper Works model also gets some new cosmetics, including an "Inverse" trim option that reverses the normal black-over-red look and sees its Chili Red roof and door mirrors set off by Black Challenge alloy wheels.
Like its exterior, the 2011 MINI's cabin benefits from a number of focused updates while retaining its own unmistakable sense of design. The most obvious are a revamped center console, restyled steering wheel and more user-friendly climate and navigation system controls as well an a bevy of new color/trim combinations. Also in the mix are upgraded audio systems that offer Bluetooth/USB/MP3/iPod capabilities, a new, hard-drive based optional navigation package that's faster and includes a six-inch high-res display screen plus the available MINI Connected integrated infotainment system that was previewed at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show.
Motoring more efficiently
While the 2011 MINI will be available in global markets with several new diesel engine options, the U.S. lineup will carry on with just its two current gasoline engines for now and the foreseeable future. However, we'll finally get the functional upgrades that were introduced elsewhere in the world as running changes on the 2010s. The naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter four in the Cooper benefits from reduced internal friction and adds new computer-controlled "needs-based" oil-pump mapping that helps raise its output from 188 to 121 horsepower -- changes that are expected to raise fuel economy ratings by 2-3 mpg. Even more is in store for the 1.6 turbo version in the Cooper S which gets those enhancements as well as adopting BMW's Valvetronic continuously variable valve timing system, improvements that elevate pony count from 172 to 181 without impacting its EPA numbers. The primo JCW MINI will carry on with 208 horses.
Pricing for the 2011 MINI lineup has yet to be finalized and will be released closer to the on-sale date.