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Mini Mk2 (2006): first official pictures

Mon, 14 Aug 2006 00:00:00 -0700

By Angus Fitton

First Official Pictures

14 August 2006 15:01

The lowdown

The disguise is off. No more speculation, spy shots or sneak previews - this is the face of the all-new, faster, bigger, better Mini. No, we haven't jumbled up the pictures - the car pictured really is the the new Mini, due to hit our streets in October. Not only is it bigger, more advanced and better equipped than the current car but it’s better to drive, too. We know, we've driven it. Under the familiar styling, the Mini's all-new with a fresh platform, new engines, revised packaging and a restyled interior – complete with variable lighting to match your mood. The big news is the radical weight saving under the skin. Despite being bigger, safer and packed with more standard kit the new Cooper S weighs only 1205kg - only 65kg heavier than the outgoing car. For the first time the Mini makes extensive use of ultra-light aluminium and plastic composites to keep it trim. New Mini 2 aims to right the Mini 1's wrongs, with more room for rear seat passengers and more boot space, while retaining the styling and driving experience that's made the current car such as success. First deliveries are due to start in October. Launch engines will include the 1.6-litre petrol Cooper and the turbocharged 1.6-litre Cooper S. A 1.4-litre Mini One will follow in 2007. Prices will start around £11,595 for the One, £12,995 for the Cooper and £15,995 for the range-topping Cooper S.

Spotting the differences between old and new car isn't easy. But unbelievably, every panel is new. So dig out the magnifying glass and we'll pick out the subtle differences, on this Cooper. To improve rear passenger and boot space, the new car grows by 60mm in length. The bonnet line is higher to protect pedestrians in an impact, while the rear hatch is reprofiled to boost the cargo bay. The designers have successfully maintained the iconic Mini silhouette. Up front, the expensive one-piece clamshell bonnet that housed the headlamps has been replaced by a traditional lid, which now lifts up between the fixed headlights. The indicators are now incorporated in those lamps, and the lower air dam is slightly larger to improve cooling.

By Angus Fitton