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MINI has revealed its next-generation Cooper Hardtop model ahead of its official debut at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show this week, adding size but getting noticeably more mini under the hood.
While it may look mostly the same, the 2015 MINI Cooper sees significant enhancements including the introduction of two newly-developed powerplants featuring MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology, the same technology found in various BMW engines. New for 2015 is a three-cylinder engine with 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque while the four-cylinder found in the MINI Cooper S will have 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Torque can also briefly be increased to 221 lb-ft of torque.
Both powerplants will be available with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Though no official fuel figures were announced, itís a safe assumption that the 2015 MINI Cooper will see a reduction in fuel consumption thanks to its new engine offerings, weight loss and enhanced aerodynamic properties.
SEE ALSO: 2013 LA Auto Show Coverage
As for the body, the 2015 MINI Cooper is less mini than ever with an overall length that has grown 4.5 inches, allowing the interior to more comfortably seat four Ė something the old car was never particularly good at. Itís also 1.7-inches wider and 0.3 inches taller. Thereís more cargo room as well, with three extra cubic feet of trunk space for a total of 8.7.
Already an amazing handling package, wider front and rear tracks should help keep the MINI even more stable at speed, with the front track widened by 1.7 inches and the rear by 1.3 inches.
The longer wheelbase should help soften the carís notoriously harsh ride quality, aided by a Dynamic Damper Control system in the Cooper S model. While past models came with an optional sport mode to tighten the carís driving responses, all new models will get the MINI Driving Modes (MID) system that will adjust throttle and steering response as well as the engine sound. On Cooper S models the MINI Driving Modes will also include the dynamic suspension system and automatic transmission shift points. Three settings will be available, with an eco GREEN mode, a standard MID mode and an engaging GREEN mode.
Exterior design might not have changed all that much but the cabin of the 2015 MINI Cooper includes one significant departure from traditional MINI styling, namely the elimination of the central novelty-sized tachometer. The large circular space remains, but instead itís filled with a digital display screen that can be sized up to 8.8-inches. The speedometer and tachometer are instead located, where they should be, directly in front of the driver.
Another departure from traditional MINI styling is the decision to move the power window controls from the center stack to the more natural location on the doors. In addition, a new keyless access system no longer requires the key fob to be inserted in the dash; rather it just has to be in the car with a new ignition switch taking the form of a red toggle switch.
To further convey vehicle info is an available Head-Up Display, while other unique features for 2015 include optional extras like camera-based active cruise control, high beam assist, a rearview camera as well as collision and pedestrian warning.
The 2014 MINI Cooper and Cooper S hardtop will go on sale this coming March with pricing announced closer to launch.
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