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MINI Cooper 1.5 C Exclusive Level 2 3dr Auto

  • Automatic
  • Petrol
  • 47.1 mpg
  • 3 door hatchback
  • 135 g/km CO2
  • 135 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 47.1 mpg Fuel efficiency
  • 7.7 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 156 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

The MINI Hatch is a true original, especially in this 3-Door combustion Cooper form. In this guise, the fourth generation 'F66'-series version has become smarter and more sophisticated. Plus some re-fettling work has been done on the punchy range of eager three and four cylinder engines. In short, this car claims to have come of age. But its fun-to-drive MINI formula is alive and well.

Background

As a brand, MINI has come to mean all kinds of things but it's in this simplest 3-Door Hatch form that the company's products are most iconically recognisable. This fourth generation BMW design was first launched in 'J01'-era full-electric form in Autumn 2023, with the 'F66' combustion version we look at here arriving six months later. Though the two models look the same, they run on quite different platforms; this petrol variant uses a mildly updated version of the old 'F56' car's chassis and its engines are largely borrowed from that older design too. Unlike the second generation MINI Electric, which to start with was Chinese-built, this combustion version hails from BMW Plant Oxford and remains the purest expression of 'MINI-ness'. It'll still charm you with its dinky looks and go-kart handling. And it's still a go-to choice if you want a style-conscious urban runabout with much of the technology of a larger car. All these attributes remain, but have been developed over more than half a century of MINI history into... well what? Let's find out.

Driving Experience

The reason this combustion MINI rides on a different chassis to the Electric version is that it has to carry forward basically the same engines that were used before. That's no surprise; no car maker has been developing completely new combustion powerplants for years now. At least there are power increases for the two units bought across. The 1.5-litre three cylinder turbo powertrain of the Cooper now puts out 230Nm and 154hp (20hp more than before), enough to bring the 0-62mph sprint time below 8s (it's now 7.7s) en route to 139mph. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo in the Cooper S meanwhile, now gets 300Nm and 201hp (25hp more), which gets it to 62mph in 6.6s, about the same as the Electric Cooper SE (though the Cooper S's 150mph top speed is way higher). A slightly faster John Cooper Works version will follow. To disguise the commonality beneath the bonnet, the brand has introduced seven so-called 'MINI Experience' modes - 'Core', 'Green', 'Go-kart', 'Personal', 'Vibrant', 'Timeless' and 'Balance'. As the names suggest, these do a lot more than just affect steering feel and throttle response, altering cabin colours and graphics. What you can't have in this generation MINI, rather sadly, is a manual gearbox. The previously optional Steptronic 7-speed auto is now non-negotiable and can be had in sharper-responding 'Sport' form complete with paddles on the steering wheel, if you specify 'Sport' trim. It works via a gear selector relocated from the centre console to a panel below the centre screen. One thing this combustion MINI can offer that the Electric version can't quite replicate is really agile handling - because it weighs an awful lot less. Both petrol Coopers tip the scales at the much more than 1.2 tonnes.

Design and Build

The first four BMW MINI models simply evolved generation-to-generation. This MK4 modern-era version, in contrast, is the first since the R50 model of 2000 to base its styling primarily on the 1950s Alec Issigonis original. It was launched in the F66 3-door form we look at here but you can talk to your dealer about a 5-door variant and there will later be a convertible derivative too. Styling chief Oliver Heimler has based this latest Hatch model's penmanship around the company's current DNA-defined design language, called 'Charismatic Simplicity'. You might think it doesn't look much different; the silhouette's certainly recognisable, with its flush glazing, 'floating' contrast-coloured roof and blacked-out window pillars. But much is different too. There's a fraction less body length, the wheels have been further pushed out to the extremities of the body and chrome has been stripped away from the exterior. At the front, the octagonal grille is new and the trademark circular headlamps now come with three different LED lighting signatures. Oh and it's no longer mandatory to get Union Jack tail light graphics; two other patterns are available. At a glance, this combustion model looks identical to the Electric version but, but there are exterior differences (apart from the grille not being blanked-off). These include black plastic cladding along the flanks and a clamshell bonnet line. There's virtually no differentiation over the Electric model inside though. As with every MINI, the cabin's centrepiece remains a familiar large circular central display - here 9.5-inches in size. Now though, it's the only one; there's nothing to view through the re-designed steering wheel except the new textile-trimmed dashboard panel - though a head-up display can be specified. The minimalist fascia is largely shorn of buttons and the gear selector has been relocated to a toggle beneath the central screen (rather nauseously now known as the 'MINI Interaction Unit'). You sit low, which adds to the promised 'sporty' feel. And the previous round vents are replaced by slimmer ones. The seats lack the previous model's adjustable thigh bolster but remain decently supportive. With this 3-door model, you won't be expecting much in terms of rear seat space - and you shouldn't; the rear pews are still very much for small children only, which is as it should be because if you wanted rear seat space, you'd have chosen a Countryman or an Aceman. Boot space is pretty much the same as before and still tiny, rated at 210-litres, though that's still 25-litres more than a rival Fiat 500 hybrid. With the 60:40 backrest folded, there's 725-litres on offer.

Market and Model

Prices from launch for this combustion 3 door hatch started at £22,300 for the entry-level 1.5-litre Cooper C, while the 2.0-litre Cooper S cost £26,700. For reference, at the time of this combustion model's introduction, the 40.7kWh Cooper Electric E was £31,945 and the 54.2kWh Cooper Electric SE was £33,445. Whichever version you choose, MINI boasts that this is its most connected car ever, courtesy of a revised 'My MINI' app; and a "Hey MINI" personal assistant voice control system, via which owners can choose digital depiction of a British bulldog named Spike as their screen avatar of choice. There are three available trim levels - 'Classic', 'Exclusive' and 'Sport' - and all are well equipped. The knitted textile dashboard gets a two-tone houndstooth pattern with 'Exclusive' trim and a multi-coloured finish with 'Sport' spec. The black synthetic leather sports seats get perforated trim with 'Exclusive'-spec and contrast red stitching on 'Sport' models. You'll need to avoid base spec to get a contrast-coloured roof, a 'Spray-Tech' top which blends three different colours. Key available features include 'Park Assist Plus' parking set-up, 'Digital Key Plus' (which allows you to unlock the car with your smartphone) and the 'Remote 360' surround view monitoring system. On longer journeys, the Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, and the 'MINI Driving Assistant' enhance comfort. The 'MINI Interaction Unit' central screen offers 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto', but only the former fills the whole circumference of the 24cm-diameter OLED round display. Third-party apps like Spotify now fit and work in it too.

Cost of Ownership

Let's get to the figures. The 1.5-litre Cooper C manages up to 47.9mpg on the combined cycle (3.5mpg less economical than the previous generation version) and up to 133g/km of CO2. For the 2.0-litre Cooper S, it's up to 44.8mpg and up to143g/km. To get anywhere near these figures, you'll need to drive most permanently in the 'MINI Experience' 'Green' drive mode. That 'Green' setting modifies throttle and transmission response and tweaks the standard gear shift point display. It also includes a so-called 'coasting' function where at high cruising speeds the drivetrain is temporarily decoupled for extra frugality when you come off the accelerator. What else? Well, residual values are bound to be strong - they always have been. You can expect your MINI Hatch to have retained just over half its value at the three year / 60,000 mile point. As expected, there's the normal three year unlimited mileage warranty with the usual BMW-style variable service indicators. Beyond that, there's an optional extended 'MINI Insured' warranty available that can cover you for up to 100,000 miles and can also be specified to apply to particular components, like the clutch, the engine or the gearbox.

Summary

This fourth generation re-design of this MINI hatch saw the car grow up a little and face its responsibilities - as all of us have to. Yet at the same time, the brand was keen that this car shouldn't lose its fun and 'joie de vivre', the very attributes that make most customers want to consider one in the first place. The updates we've been reviewing here are mostly aimed at making sure that doesn't happen, this Hatch version being now smarter, better connected and more sophisticated than before. Of course, not everyone is MINI-minded. Some don't like the way the looks have evolved. Others still think it isn't big enough. And this car can certainly be expensive once you've added in a few essential options. But these are things the creators of this fourth generation version never set out to change. The improvements they have made though, are resoundingly successful. Though the endearing raw edges that characterised older versions of this car may now be distant memories, added maturity brings many compensations. Which leaves us with a British-built benchmark in the premium small car segment and a model that, though easy to imitate, is now even more difficult to beat. Some rivals might be arguably more stylish or slightly larger but still none can beat its fun factor and everyday running cost affordability, both still crucial considerations in buying a car of this kind. Back in 1956 when he created the British original, Sir Alec Issigonis knew that. We think he'd have been pleased at how his creation's turned out.

  • Central toggle bar
  • DAB Digital radio
  • Personal eSim
  • Logos in Vibrant Silver
  • Vibrant Silver Grill Surround
  • Cupholders
  • Dark headliner
  • Front compact armrest
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Lidded storage box in grey knit
  • Sport Vescin Steering Wheel
  • Vescin synthetic leather upholstery
  • Driving assistant pack - Cooper Hatchback
  • Level 2 pack - Mini Hatchback
  • Park assistant pack - Cooper Hatchback
  • 3 point seatbelts on all four seats
  • 6 Airbags - front, side, head and seat belt tensioners
  • Acoustic pedestrian protection
  • Front ISOFIX (iSize)
  • Front passenger airbag deactivation
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Alarm
  • Immobiliser
  • Remote central locking
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 135
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 140
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 133
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High: 136
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - TEH: 145
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - TEL: 135
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High: 115
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - TEH: 119
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - TEL: 113
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low: 186
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - TEH: 187
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - TEL: 184
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium: 131
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - TEH: 133
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - TEL: 129
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1499
  • Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 3
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 82
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 94.6
  • Engine Code: B38A15M2
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO INJECTION
  • Gears: 7 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 12
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 5.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - TEH: 6.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - TEL: 6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 5.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - TEH: 5.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - TEL: 5
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 8.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - TEH: 8.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - TEL: 8.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 5.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - TEH: 5.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - TEL: 5.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 47.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEH: 45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEL: 47.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 47.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - TEH: 44.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - TEL: 47.1
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 55.4
  • WLTP - MPG - High - TEH: 53.3
  • WLTP - MPG - High - TEL: 56.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 34.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - TEH: 34
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - TEL: 34.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 48.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - TEH: 47.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - TEL: 49.6
  • AdBlue: False
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.5
  • Badge Power: 156
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: N
  • Coin Series: Cooper C Exclus L2
  • Generation Mark: 3
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 21E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 24
  • Service Interval Mileage: 30000
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 7.7
  • Engine Power - BHP: 156
  • Engine Power - KW: 115
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 4900
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 170
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 23.5
  • Engine Torque - NM: 230
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1500
  • Top Speed: 140
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 215/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Rear: 215/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: U SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 17" ALLOY
  • Height: 1432
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 3876
  • Wheelbase: 2495
  • Width: 1744
  • Width (including mirrors): 1970
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 44
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1715
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 725
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 210
  • Max. Loading Weight: 455
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1260
  • No. of Seats: 4
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.1