What Changed for 2009:
- Redesigned convertible model
- Regular Cooper and Cooper S hatchbacks largely unchanged
- Dynamic Stability Control now standard on all models
- Dynamic Traction Control available during 2009 model year
- High-performance John Cooper Works editions rejoin Mini lineup
- Turbocharged John Cooper Works engine generates 208 hp
- Extended-length Clubman models offered (reviewed separately)
The world was introduced to the Morris Mini-Minor, affectionately called the "Mini," in 1959. Designed to be small and economical, the first Mini maximized passenger and luggage space in a package just 10 feet long. While it was undersized and slow (engine output was rated at just 34 hp), a light chassis with 10-inch wheels pushed to the furthest corners of the vehicle did offer one benefit-go kart-like handling.
is the new owner of the Mini
brand. Mixing updated chassis technology, modern safety advances and the original Mini's small-car formula, a brand-new, 3-door hatchback Mini was launched in 2001 (as a 2002 model)
. That was followed by an all-new, second-generation model in 2007
. For 2009, the Mini Cooper hatchback carries on mostly unchanged. The final convertibles
were built at the Oxford, England factory in the summer of 2008. Mini has not yet indicated if convertibles will be revived. New for 2009 are extended-length Clubman models
, which are reviewed separately.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2008, Mini unveiled a new model with electric power: the Mini E
. Some 500 Mini Es will be offered to lessees, to evaluate prospects for the battery-powered hatchback as a regular-production model. At the Paris Motor Show in October 2008, Mini exhibited a Crossover Concept
model that is likely to go into production. Mini includes a 4-year/50,000-mile limited warranty on all models.Model Lineup
The 2009 Mini Cooper is offered in two basic hatchback models: Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S. The standard model is oriented towards economy, with a dash of sport. That model uses a 118-hp engine, single exhaust pipe at the rear, and 15-inch alloy wheels. The "S" model promises higher performance, courtesy of a turbocharged 172-hp engine. Cooper S hatchbacks feature a hood scoop on the front, center-mounted twin exhaust pipe, and standard 16-inch wheels that hold run-flat tires. As an option, 17-inch wheels are available.
The options list for the Mini Cooper is long. With the exception of some "S" performance-only options, the selections are shared by both versions. Optional sport suspensions include stiffer springs, shock absorbers and roll bars. Special roof graphics are popular. A roof carrier is available, only with a rear bike rack and auxiliary headlights. Leather upholstery is offered in a variety of colors. Buyers can choose ambient illumination, Color Line interior highlights, chrome surround rings for instruments and vents, and a USB-enabled iPod adapter. The optional Mini navigation system fits within the center speedometer.Powertrain
As before, the 2009 Mini Cooper is available with a choice of two engines. The standard engine, found under the hood of the Mini Cooper hatchback, is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder unit developing 118 hp at 6000 rpm and 114 lb.-ft. of torque at 4250 rpm. EPA fuel-economy estimates for the standard model are 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway with manual shift, and 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway with automatic. The more powerful Mini Cooper S model is equipped with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that uses a twin-scroll turbocharger. Output is rated at 172 hp at 5500 rpm, and 177 lb.-ft. of torque at 1600 to 5000 rpm. Cooper S fuel-economy estimates are 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway with manual shift, and 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway with an automatic transmission.
The standard Mini Cooper engine is mated to either a Getrag 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed automatic. Mini no longer offers a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which had been used in convertibles. The sportier "S" models enjoy a Getrag 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed Aisin automatic with paddle shifters. All Mini Cooper models are front-wheel drive.Safety
Both the driver and front passenger inside the 2009 Mini Cooper are protected by dual-stage deployment "smart" frontal and seat-mounted side air bags. An Advanced Head Protection System II (AHPSII) curtain air bag offers protection for outboard passengers in both front and rear rows. Rear outboard seats are equipped with the child seat LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system. Standard electronic safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), Corner Brake Control (CBC), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). Cooper S models have Automatic Stability Control (ASC).
In crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
), the Mini Cooper hatchback earned dual 4-star ratings (out of 5) for frontal impacts. Side-impact testing resulted in a 5-star rating (the agency's highest rating) for front occupants and 4 stars for rear occupants. The 2007-2008 Mini Cooper (known as the MKII chassis) was crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
) with a "Good" rating (the Institute's highest score) for frontal offset impacts.Technology
All 2009 Mini Cooper models have Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). This microprocessor-based system electronically senses the steering wheel angle, vehicle yaw and lateral acceleration to determine if the vehicle is traveling in the direction intended by the driver. If the system detects skidding, or the vehicle is pitching into a slide, DSC will automatically intervene. Once engaged, DSC reduces wheel torque from the engine and simultaneously applies brake pressure to individual wheels assisting the driver in maintaining control. DSC works in conjunction with ABS, traction control and Cornering Brake Control.
Minis produced from December 2008 onward may be equipped with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). Like DSC, it controls wheelspin by reducing engine power and applying brakes as needed; but it's less intrusive and restores power more quickly. Included with DTC is Electronic Differential Lock Control, which controls wheelspin only while accelerating, when DSC and DTS are switched off, and does not reduce engine power. Hill Assist activates the brakes when starting off on an uphill grade, to prevent the car from rolling backward.