Sunday, March 23, 2014

The New MINI (F56)

Once upon a time in 1959, the Mini compact was born and the design penned by Sir Alec Issigonis is a timeless masterpiece. Everyone loves this because of its timeless looks and compact sizing as well as its athletic characteristics. Fast forward to present day and Mini has been evolved into the piece you see it now. When BMW took over the responsibilities for the new Mini, the modern remake shares nothing from the old Mini Cooper. Now that it reached the third-generation model, codenamed F56, the New Mini is less of a Mini, more of a...Wumbo. If you don't know what in the word is Wumbo, well go ask Patrick from SpongeBob. You know? I wumbo...he, she, me wumbo...wumbo...wumboing...wumbology! The study of wumbo! That's first grade!

2015 Mini hatch

At first glance, you might think that this latest Mini is a bit more of a facelift but YOU ARE WRONG. VERY WRONG because everything's brand new from every nook and cranny...well almost because that's the way the Mini looks like through the years but anyway, since the new model is now bigger than the last model, perhaps the engineers from BMW had a degree of wumbology and again, such size should no longer be called a Mini anymore and it should have been called Wumbo. Uhh...did they set it to wumbo?

2015 Mini hatch interior

2015 Mini hatch interior

Apart from being a wumbo on the sizing department, looks like wumbo gets a new interior and for some purists, it seems all wrong because the new model's speedometer is now on the driver's side rather than being on a center like most Minis had through the years. They're not very pleased by this because the center console where the speedo used to be is now been occupied by the radio or sat-nav depending on the variant. If the new layout on the dashboard doesn't bother if you're more of a casual type of person, there's a lot of explanation to do once you're inside the new Mini because even though the dashboard's feel all wrong, the seats are all nice and friendly and because this car is bigger than the old one, you can really fit your mates especially at the back but as a warning, you can't bring your big momma to the back because. well that's the reason why is their a big momma in the scenario, she can't squeeze herself in.

So, what about the way it behaves? Well, even though a wumbo in the dimensions stake, the new Mini is still quite an enjoyable car to drive if you're free and even in the high-end Cooper S model, loaded with the 2.0L petrol engine producing 192PS of power and 300Nm of torque, you really can't tell. The entry-level One comes with either a 1.3L petrol or a 1.5L diesel engine while the normal Mini Cooper comes with either s 1.5L petrol engine or a 1.5L diesel engine. All of those engines are turbocharged but whichever variant you chose, the Mini is still as casual as a modern Fiat 500 or a modern VW Beetle. Those modern remakes of all-time classics may not be more sensible for the purists but I think they can still take the time and the effort to join the club if you had admission.

2015 Mini hatch

Back to the Cooper S model of the Mini, this car, in its manual gearbox configuration, can do 0-100kph in 6.8 seconds and flatout in 235kph. That's quite impressive if you're going to outrun a wheelchair rigged with fire extinguishers and with the combined fuel economy of about 17.5km/L (5.7L/100km), it's still a frugal car as well. I am humbled by the way this new Mini behaves judging by the way it behaves like a hot hatch and how it still got its charisma retained from the last model.

Price-wise and since this is a BMW-made machine, I'd expect this to be quite an expensive hatchback...but I was wrong-ish. The base One starts at 17,450 Euros up to 23,800 Euros for the Cooper S model. It's a smart buy for casual drivers but it's not quite as reasonably-priced as the Beetle or the 500.

In conclusion; the new Mini maybe more of a Wumbo and the interior looks a bit all wrong judging by the trademark Mini center speedo is gone and the speedo is now centered on the driver's side rather than the center because this is where the radio is now located at, it's still worth a humble machine that will make you feel humbled at the end of the day. Thanks to the new turbocharged engine and the new UKL1 platform, the new Mini is still a game-changing city car that truly lives in the Mini tradition of NOT NORMAL. This is the NEW NORMAL, after all.

Photo: MINI

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