By Mxolisi Mhlongo
The MINI hatch and convertible facelift models have hit SA’s urban streets, hosting fashionable upgrades aimed at invigorating urban driving.
The MINI is a brand that is quite rich with heritage and ideally an urban brand that started in 1959 by Alec Issigonis from the British Motor Corporation. To date, the MINI has kept its traditional values of being one of the preferred brands by trendsetters who enjoy the urban lifestyle. In the full spectrum of such a rich upbringing, five core MINI models are currently available in Mzansi with each model offering a unique character that allows the brand to tap into a variety of customer requirements.
In keeping up with the demands of its target market, the brand has afforded the 5-door, 3-door hatch and convertible MINI with minor but effective upgrades that not only keeps the ‘Urbanite’ relevant but more attractive to its target market as well.
On the outside, new upgrades adorning the MINI range include full LED headlights, the new MINI logo, LED rear lights with stylish Union Jack design, new body finishes, Piano Black exterior and new light alloy wheels. Exterior upgrades have been kept minimal but the effect is more than noticeable. During the launch drive, the MINI managed to get unprecedented attention from onlookers and bystanders impressed by the new Alloys, especially the rear LED lights.
The interior has gained an extended range of leather trim, interior surfaces and Colour Lines, multifunction steering wheel and radio with 6.5-inch colour screen, USB and Bluetooth interface offered as standard. Optional features include radio and navigation systems with a touchscreen monitor. Other exciting features new to the MINI include the MINI logo projection from the exterior mirror on the driver’s side, and the new MINI Yours Customised program that allows the customer to personalise side scuttles, decorative strips for the cockpit fascia, LED door sill finishers and LED door projectors.
The program allows the owner of a MINI to select, design and order through a specially created online shop (www.yours-customised.mini). Here customers can choose between various colours, patterns, surface structures and icons, as well as contributing their own texts and adding a touch of personal style to the design.
The engine bay of the facelifted MINI remains untouched with the only benefit being the 7-speed DCT auto transmission available on the Cooper S variant along with pedal shifts. The upcoming MINI JCW variants have been confirmed to benefit from an 8-speed Steptronic auto transmission. On the frugal side, the MINI One now slots the efficient 75kW/190Nm 1.5litre 3-cylinder drivetrain mated to a 6-speed -manual or an optional 7-speed DCT auto transmission sending power to the front wheels.
The facelift MINI retains its ‘Go-Kart’ driving characteristics, with the only drawback being rear passenger legroom on the three-door model with excessive wind noise in the cabin which one would not expect on such a premium compact hatch.
MINI One Hatch (3-Door): MINI One Hatch (5-Door)
R302 200 (Manual) R312 300 (Manual)
R323 200 (Auto) R333 300 (Auto)
MINI Cooper Hatch (3-Door): MINI Cooper Hatch (5-Door):
R370 300 (Manual) R380 400 (Manual)
R391 300 (Auto) R401 400 (Auto)
MINI Cooper S Hatch (3-Door): MINI Cooper S Hatch (5-Door)
R487 300 (R3 795) – Manual R438 400 (R2 657) – Manual
R511 600 (R1 265) – Auto R459 400 (R380) – Auto
MINI JCW Hatch: MINI Cooper Convertible
R487 300 (R3 795) – Manual R423 200 (Manual)
R511 600 (R1 265) – Auto R444 200 (Auto)
MINI Cooper S Convertible
R493 800 (R3 036) – Manual
R514 800 (R759) – Auto