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by Tim Beissmann

BMW Group has unveiled its all-new three- and four-cylinder engine families, transmissions and front-wheel-drive architecture that will feature in its next generation of small cars, including the 2014 Mini.

The compact, lightweight, Euro 6-compliant petrol and diesel engines will debut in the third-generation Mini Cooper in November before finding their way into a host of new and existing BMW brand models.

Common among the powerplants is the group’s TwinPower turbocharging and direct injection technology.

The new entry-level 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine produces 100kW of power and 220Nm of torque (230Nm on overboost) from 1250rpm, representing an increase of 10kW and 60Nm over the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder it replaces.

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The larger 2.0-litre four-cylinder destined for the new Mini Cooper S models pumps out 141kW and 280Nm (300Nm on overboost) – up 6kW and 40Nm on its turbocharged 1.6-litre predecessor.

Mini has not confirmed performance details at this stage, though respective sprint times will fall from their current 9.1- and 7.0-second levels, and combined cycle fuel consumption will also sharpen from 5.8 and 6.3 litres per 100km for the Cooper and Cooper S hatch variants.

The first of the new diesel engines is a 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit producing 85kW of power and 270Nm of torque. The engine gains 3kW over the 1.6-litre four-cylinder it succeeds, while Mini promises efficiency gains of more than seven per cent, which should translate to combined fuel consumption as low as 3.5L/100km.

Mini says newly developed manual and automatic transmission will both enhance efficiency and “make a further contribution to the intensive driving pleasure” the company prides itself on.

It says the manual gearbox features a gear sensor that adapts the engine speed when gearshifting, promising quick and sporty changes.

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Electrically adjustable dampers will debut in the new Mini, claiming to offer drivers either an “emphatically sporty” or a “balanced, comfortable” chassis at the flick of a switch.

The new chassis retains the tried and tested single-link spring strut front axle and multi-link rear axle suspension layout, while Mini trademarks of a low centre of gravity, wide track gauge, short overhangs, transverse engines, rigid bodywork and lightweight design remain focuses of the new model.

Mini also promises added agility and reduced torque steer from its next-generation electronic power steering system.

Aerodynamically optimised light alloy wheels, roll friction-reduced tyres and optimised wheel bearings “contribute considerably” to reducing fuel consumption and emissions, while improved underbody airflow reduces lift forces to enhance the car’s handling characteristics.

Mini Australia corporate communications general manager Lenore Fletcher confirmed the third-generation model was expected to arrive in local showrooms around March/April 2014 following its international debut at November’s Los Angeles auto show.




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