Next Mini goes big on technology
Mini has yet to officially reveal its all-new hatchback but the BMW division has already given us a close-as-dammit indication of how it'll look with the recent Vision Concept.
To further whet our appetites, Mini has just revealed many of the technical secrets of its new generation and it's safe to say that the little mite is going to make a rather big technological stride.
Of particular interest will be the brand new range of three-cylinder and four-cylinder petrol engines as well as some new chassis technologies, including adjustable dampers.
MINI AND MAXI - THE NEW ENGINES
The current 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, available in normally aspirated and turbocharged form, is set to make way for an all-turbo range that will include a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine and a 2-litre four-cylinder unit - the latter being the biggest engine ever fitted to a series-production Mini.
The three-cylinder motor is also expected to make its way into the next 1 Series range, which will be built on an enlarged version of the new Mini's platform.
According to Mini, the new 1.5 pushes 100kW and 220Nm from 1250rpm, with an overboost function momentarily liberating 230Nm when called upon. Expect to find this engine in the standard Cooper model.
The Cooper S, meanwhile, will take the 'size counts' approach with a 141kW/280Nm (300Nm on overboost) version of BMW's 2-litre four-pot.
Both engines employ BMW TwinPower turbo technology, along with direct fuel injection, variable camshaft control on the intake and outlet sides and (in the gutsier versions) fully variable valve control.
The engines will be linked to brand new (manual or automatic) gearboxes, and the manual models will allow faster shifting through a 'gear sensor' that automatically adapts the engine speed when cogs are swopped.
The big news on the chassis front will be the fitment of electrically adjustable dampers that will allow drivers to choose between more comfortable and sportier settings.
Engineers have also tinkered with the suspension system, which albeit retains the tried-and-trusted single-link spring strut axle at the front end and the rear multi-link set-up.
Basically the front suspension gains a wider track and increased component rigidity while the back end mods include a wider track gauge, more high-strength steels and greater rigidity in the wheel suspension.
What's more, the car's actual structure promises to be stronger, safer and lighter.
The New New New Mini, which replaces the New New Mini, will be unveiled in November this year, ahead of its 2014 global roll-out.