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MINI models benefit from new technology. Image by MINI.

MINI models benefit from new technology
Midlife updates for MINI 3-Door, 5-Door and Convertible models due for the 2018MY.
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What's all this about?

It's midlife facelift time for the third-generation MINI, but don't get too excited - this is one of those 'a tweak here, a tousle there' updates, rather than a really significant overhaul.

But haven't the Clubman and Countryman only been on sale for a year or so?

Yes, but this update doesn't apply to those. It's for the 3-Door, 5-Door and Convertible models, as MINI likes to call them.

OK, so what have we got?

Outside, the headlights are tweaked, with circular daytime running lamps and indicators, while Adaptive LEDs with Matrix high-beams are an option. The standard halogen lights get a black insert, while round the back are some of the most questionable clusters we've ever seen, featuring a Union Jack motif. Surely only going to find favour in the UK alone, they're not even guaranteed to be that popular here. Indeed, BMW UK makes no mention of them; it's BMW AG that is excited about these.

Anything else on the aesthetic front?

Three new body colours are added, which are Emerald Grey metallic, Starlight Blue metallic and Solaris Orange metallic, there are a few changes to the designs of 17-inch light-alloy wheels, while there's the option to go with a Piano Black Exterior, which changes the surrounds of the headlights, rear lamps and radiator grille to high-gloss black, instead of chrome. Oh, and the MINI Yours Customised package, natch, which we reported on the other day. That applies outside and in.

Talking of the interior, what's going on in there?

New upholsteries (including a colour called Malt Brown), interior trims and colour lines are joined by illuminated MINI Yours Interior Style Piano Black. All three MINI variants also enjoy a new multifunction steering wheel and radio with a 6.5-inch colour screen, USB and Bluetooth as standard, as well as options that now include radio and satnav on a touchscreen monitor, wireless charging for smartphones, MINI logo projection from the exterior mirror on the driver's side and MINI Connected and MINI Connected XL with extra functionality.

Has anything changed under the bonnet?

MINI says a raft of detail changes - to the block, TwinPower Turbo technology, engine management, oil supply, air intake ducting, cooling systems and exhausts - as well as a reduction in weight (the turbocharged petrol and diesel three- and four-cylinder units now feature a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), consisting of carbon fibre 'recyclate' used in the production of BMW i vehicles) leads to a reduction of up to five per cent in fuel consumption and emissions across the board. The main physical change comes for the One First (a 75hp 'starter' MINI, if you like) and 102hp One models, which no longer use the PSA-sourced 1.2-litre three-cylinder TwinPower Turbo mill, instead employing the bigger 1.5-litre motor that has seen service in petrol Coopers since 2014. That means an additional 10Nm of torque for each, with peak outputs now at 160Nm for the First and 190Nm for the One. Finally, and again as we have previously reported, a twin-clutch Steptronic seven-speed automatic gearbox is added to the line-up, with the Cooper SD also now benefitting from the eight-speed Steptronic torque converter auto as standard.

Matt Robinson - 9 Jan 2018

2018 MINI. Image by MINI.2018 MINI. Image by MINI.2018 MINI. Image by MINI.2018 MINI. Image by MINI.2018 MINI. Image by MINI.

2018 MINI. Image by MINI.2018 MINI. Image by MINI.2018 MINI. Image by MINI.2018 MINI. Image by MINI.2018 MINI. Image by MINI.    - MINI road tests
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