Minis are cool, in a quirky sort of way. They can’t help it; they just are, in spite of themselves. The all-new, third-generation Mini that will be available this spring is more powerful, more refined, and more comfortable, but it’s still cool. It’s like cool’s older brother, only newer, if that makes any sense.
The new Mini can also be a bit of a showoff. Mini owners have always had the opportunity to dress up the outside and individualize the inside, but the new Mini adds a whole new range of model-specific accessories, colors, and decorative touches and for the first time, they can be precisely matched in design and color.
The classic Mini add-ons are still there, such as roof graphics, exterior mirror caps, and additional headlamps, but in addition, there are four new interior and exterior design concepts. Called Mini Design Lines, they come in Vivid Green, Speedwell Blue, John Cooper Works Pro, and Essential Black.
This approach to coordinated inside and outside design elements of the car applies to floor mats, sun protection elements, door sill cover strips, exterior and interior mirror caps, roof and side graphics, side indicator surrounds, key lanyards, protective covers, and luggage compartment items.
Vivid Green has striking dashes of rich green against a black background. Speedwell Blue is a reinterpretation of the red, white, and blue of the Union Jack, combined with a warm brown tone. John Cooper Works Pro sports a vibrant checkered flag in black, red, and grey. Essential Black is an understated and elegant design incorporating a diagonal checkered pattern.
The popular mirror caps now come in the four new Design Lines, but also in traditional Union Jack, Black Jack, Checkered Flag Black/Grey, Checkered Flag Black/White, and John Cooper Works Pro Carbon plus two new ones—Big Bang and Gold Jack.
Roof graphics are available in nine variants for the standard roof and six for the optional glass roof. Both can be enhanced with the Union Jack, Black Jack, Gold Jack, Checkered Flag Grey, and Checkered Flag White motifs as well as standard roof options from the four new Design Lines.
Side graphics are made from high-quality foil and run from the side indicators to the rear wheel arches. The new Mini can have them in Vivid Green, Speedwell Blue, and John Cooper Works Pro, as well as a new version of the John Cooper Works design in the colors Chili Red and Jet Black.
Other personalization options available in up to four Mini Design Lines include sun protection elements for the rear window and rear side windows, door sill cover strips backlit with LEDs, additional main beam headlamps, and a synthetic fabric car cover.
The Original Mini Accessories program now has a selection of light alloy wheels and for the first time, 18-inch forged aluminum rims in cross-spoke design. There are also 17-inch light alloy wheels available in multi-spoke design, which are available in Bright Silver metallic or Liquid Black. The hub caps on all Mini light alloy wheels can be finished in Chili Red, Bright Orange, Apple Green, or Bright Yellow.
A new and very cool technological innovation is the Mini key cap, which is making its debut on the all-new Mini. It features an integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) chip for non-contact data exchange between the Mini key and the driver’s smartphone. After synchronization at the press of a button, smartphone functions such as a Bluetooth connection, volume control, or app launch can be activated via the key. This means that the Mini driver’s individual settings for features such as Mini Connected Services are detected as soon as the driver gets into the car.
Speaking of technology, there is the optional Mini Predictive Drivetrain. The nav system pinpoints the car’s location, analyzes intersections and curves in the road ahead, and relays that information to the automatic transmission’s computer, which then pre-selects gear changes for best performance and safety. That sounds suspiciously similar to the Satellite Aided Transmission that’s available in certain Rolls-Royce models, which is really cool since a whole Mini costs about as much as a set of Rolls-Royce floor mats. Well, almost as much.—Scott Blazey