MINI has already unveiled the latest, fourth-generation (in modern terms) three-door 'Hatch' model to the world, but so far it has only been confirmed with electric drive power. Now, however, the company is adding two petrol models to the line-up, called the Cooper C and the Cooper S.
Choice of two outputs
When giving a second facelift to the previous generation of the car in 2021, MINI said it would not develop any new internal combustion engines for its sales icon beyond 2025. So, there's every likelihood that these Cooper C and Cooper S models will be the last petrol-powered MINIs that will ever be launched.
Using BMW's modular turbocharged engines, the Cooper C is powered by a 156hp/230Nm three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine, good for 0-100km/h in just 7.7 seconds. It has official fuel consumption of 5.9-6.5 litres/100km, with CO2 emissions between 133- and 146g/km.
The more powerful Cooper S has a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine, turning out 204hp and 300Nm. That trims the 0-100km/h time to 6.6 seconds, while fuel consumption is quoted as 6.1-6.7 litres/100km with CO2 between 138- and 150g/km.
Like any self-respecting MINI bearing the legendary 'Cooper' name - stretching right back to the original from the 1950s and '60s - the Cooper C and Cooper S are said to have rewarding, agile handling, with the suspension and steering specifically tuned to suit the different weight characteristics and balance of the petrol models when compared to their electric siblings.
Grilles at the front the giveaway
Visually, the new petrol MINI Hatch models look very similar to the electric ones, with no visible exhausts peeking out at the back of the cars, while much of the bodywork and detailing is the same. The most obvious difference is at the very front, where the Cooper C and Cooper S now have proper radiator grilles with air intakes, necessary for an internal combustion engine, whereas the electric MINIs have smoother panels. The petrol models retain the outgoing car's black-plastic wheelarch trim, too.
Inside the Cooper C and S models, there will be a rev counter incorporated into the MINI Operating System 9, which is presented on a large, round OLED display in the middle of the dashboard. Otherwise, though, it's much the same as in the electric MINIs, with a minimalist design in front of the driver and the extensive use of sustainable materials deployed throughout, such as textiles for the main fascia.
Up top, there's a panoramic sunroof, while the 60:40 split-folding rear seats can be dropped to realise up to 800 litres of boot space. With all seats in use, the petrol MINIs have a 210-litre cargo area.
One of the most interesting points is that despite having petrol engines, in the cabin there's no traditional gear lever in the MINI Cooper C and S models. Instead, the drive selector is part of the 'Toggle Bar' of switches, which also includes the parking brake, start-stop, the Experience Mode switch and a volume control. This, as you've probably guessed, means there will be no manual versions of the Cooper C and Cooper S, all of them coming with automatic gearboxes. Underneath the Toggle Bar, by way of recompense, is a wireless smartphone charging shelf with second-generation technology.
Another neat touch of the latest MINI Hatch is the Experience Mode function. Using the toggle switch on the main fascia, owners can command two projector units to beam various illuminated graphics straight onto the MINI's dashboard, which the company says 'opens up new possibilities for personalising' the car.
Technology on the Cooper C and Cooper S MINIs includes a comprehensive suite of driver assistance systems, including a Safe Exit function that monitors the areas around the vehicle when it is parked and warns approaching road users, through light signals, that the car's door is about to be opened. There's also 3D Navigation with an augmented-reality view, radar cruise, the MINI Intelligent Personal Assistant with voice control triggered by the phrase 'Hey MINI' and the Spike digital avatar, plus a Digital Key Plus function to turn the owner's smartphone into the car key itself via the MINI app.
Three-tone roof, anyone?
MINI says it will offer three trims called Classic, Exclusive and Sport for the Cooper C and Cooper S in Ireland and a JCW (John Cooper Works) grade is expected in the future. There's also the option of four contrast-colour roof finishes, including the three-hued Multitone Roof and its graded appearance, while alloy wheel sizes range from 16 to 18 inches.
Stefanie Wurst, the head of MINI, said: "At MINI, 'Power of Choice´ means that in addition to all-electric MINI models, we also offer models such as the new MINI Cooper with [a] petrol engine. The car is ideal for all those people who want to drive a classic MINI three-door, and appreciate the traditional performance and characteristic sound of a combustion engine."
Irish pricing for the new petrol MINIs
MINI Ireland has confirmed that the Cooper C's retail price starts at €31,280, while the Cooper S is priced from €37,740.