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Bigger Mini keeps its charm

The Mini retains its bulldog exterior styling despite major changes beneath the skin.
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The latest Mini retains its cute little looks even though it has grown by 98mm to 3821mm, say executives at the BMW-owned British brand.

The longer body, plus an added 28mm to the wheelbase means the new Mini has more space in the rear for passengers and 50 liters more luggage space at 211 liters.

The third-generation Mini looks very much like its predecessor but beneath the body shell a lot has changed. The car debuts a new front-wheel-drive platform that will also be used by BMW brand’s compact models.

The new Mini has a more upscale interior and a new engine lineup.

Fast facts
What's new about the Mini?
The Mini gets BMW's newest gasoline and diesel engines. All are turbocharged, have direct injection, variable valve control and their fuel consumption is up to 27 percent lower compared to the outgoing versions.
What's new inside?
BMW responded to criticism about the Mini's ergonomics by making changes to the interior. Driver information such as the speedometer is moved in front of the driver from the center of the dashboard in current models. Also, the switches for the power windows are now on the doors instead of the center console.
New technology?
The Mini is now offered with the latest driver assistance systems such as head-up display, adaptive cruise control and collision warning with initial brake function. It's lighter than the current model and the suspension technology has been improved.
Target buyers?
The Mini is aimed at so-called “lifestyle-orientated people” of all ages. Half of Mini buyers are women.

Mini’s global sales rose by a little more than 1 percent to a record 305,030 units last year, with the hatchback variant accounting for 128,478 of those sales.

The basics
Launch date: March (Europe); May (U.S.); July (China)
Base price: 17,450 euros (Germany)
Platform: UKL (Untere Klasse)
Where built: Oxford, England; Born, Netherlands (starts summer 2014)
Lowest CO2 emissions: 89g/km (Mini One D with 95 hp)
Main rivals: Audi A1, Fiat 500 Abarth, VW Polo GTI

Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s board member in charge of Mini, thinks that sales result is a great achievement given the economic woes in the brand’s European home region. “It shows the strength of the brand,” he said.

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