The refreshed MINI hatch is now available in Malaysia in three different variants – Cooper S 3 Door (RM 226,888), Cooper S 5 Door (RM236,888) and John Cooper Works (RM283,888), and as far as mid-life facelifts go, you could say that MINI has given its iconic hatch more than just the expected nip and tuck.
For starters, both the Cooper S variants get a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it is of the wet sump variety and produced by Getrag for MINI and BMW models with transversal engine layouts. In the Cooper S, the DCT replaces the previous six-speed automatic ‘box, though the more powerful JCW (only as a 3 Door) sticks with a torque-converter auto, but with eight forward ratios instead of six previously.
The faster-shifting DCT on the Cooper S is mated to a reworked and lightened 2.0-litre TwinPower turbocharged four-cylinder incorporating a carbon-fibre engine cover. MINI claims improved fuel efficiency of 5.5L/100km and 5.6L/100km for the 3 and 5 Door respectively while churning out an unchanged output of 192hp and 280Nm.
The new DCT is also capable of ‘coasting’ (i.e. decoupling from the engine) in ‘Mid’ driving mode for additional fuel saving. Idle to 100km/h takes 6.7 seconds in the Cooper S 3 Door and 6.8 seconds in the slightly heavier Cooper S 5 Door, while the John Cooper Works with 231hp and 320Nm requires 6.1 seconds.
While the introduction of the LED tail-lamps with the Union Jack motiv isn’t quite as divisive as the Brexit referendum, it is a talking point nonetheless. What it really does is that it sets the updated MINI apart from the pre-facelift version simply at a glance, which isn’t something you can say about past MINIs. Otherwise, look out for the reconstituted LED headlamps with oval-shaped daytime running lights-cum-side indicators and the new take on the MINI emblem which incorporates a flatter design, not to mention more aggressive-looking body kits and new alloy wheel designs.
The Union Jack is also cheekily deployed as part of the interior ambient lighting on the dashboard of the 3 Door (there are 12 different shades in total) and JCW (but not the Cooper S 5 Door, oddly enough), along with new touch-screen displays (6.5-inch in Cooper S, 8.8-inch in JCW) and electronic shifters for the Cooper S models.
Of course, no MINI is complete without the ability to add your own customisation. To this end, MINI is making the endeavour a lot easier with the MINI Yours Customised Accessories service expected to be available soon for customers in South East Asia (go to www.yours-customised.mini). In short, you can have your own initials or graphics of choice etched on parts such as the side scuttles, cockpit facia, door sills, even the LED door projection and have them couriered to you within three to five weeks. Now, how cool is that?