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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Detroit 2018: 2019 Mini Cooper Hardtop and Convertible Get More British

      See if you can spot the changes!


    Mini will be using next week's Detroit Auto Show to debut refreshed versions of the Cooper Hardtop and Convertible models. At first glance, the changes don't seem apparent as the new models look like the current ones. But you'll need to get a bit closer to see the changes. Up front, the 2019 Coopers feature a new headlight design and updated logo. Around back, Mini has fitted a new set of LED taillights with a Union Jack pattern.

    The interior sees some minor changes with Bluetooth and a 6.5-inch infotainment screen becoming standard. An 8.8-inch system with navigation is available as an option.

    The U.S. will miss out on one change that Mini is making for the Cooper in other markets - a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    No mention of when the 2019 Cooper Hardtop and Convertible will go on sale.

    Source: Mini 
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Fresh update for the original: the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door, the new MINI Convertible.

    Detroit, MI,  January 9, 2018. The British premium automobile manufacturer strengthens the progressive character and appeal of its models in the small car segment with a stylishly refined visual appearance and extensive technological advancements. The update for the MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the MINI Convertible includes fresh design accentuations, innovations in the field of drive technology, additional customisation options and an expansion of the digital services available as part of MINI Connected.

    The upgrading of the original product substance in the premium segment of small cars highlights the mature yet distinctive charisma of MINI, which in its current model generation is now available for the first time with three body types for hallmark driving fun in urban environments. This is due to such elements as an extended range of standard features, newly designed headlights and rear lights, additional body finishes and cutting-edge connectivity technology for convenience and infotainment.

    MINI Hardtop 2 Door, MINI Hardtop 4 Door, MINI Convertible: overview of new features.

    • LED rear lights in Union Jack design.
    • New MINI logo, new body finishes, Piano Black exterior.
    • New light alloy wheels.
    • Extended range of leather trim, interior surfaces and Color Lines.
    • Unique individualisation with MINI Yours Customised.
    • Multifunction steering wheel and radio with 6.5-inch colour screen, USB and
    • Bluetooth interface as standard.
    • Optional radio and navigation systems with touchscreen monitor.
    • Telephony with wireless charging.
    • MINI Connected and MINI Connected XL with new functions.
    • MINI logo projection from the exterior mirror on the driver's side.

    Bright and dazzle-free: LED headlights.
    A modified design for the characteristic circular headlights make the hallmark front view of the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible even more powerfully expressive. In the standard halogen headlights, a striking accentuation is added by means of a black panel. In the LED headlights available as optional equipment items, the high-quality technology is underscored by means of an entirely newly design of the light sources. The latest generation of the LED modules for low and high beam offers increased brightness. The LED daytime driving light and the turn indicator light are generated by a ring which surrounds the entire contour of the headlight,

    Very British: rear lights in Union Jack design.
    The rear lights also feature a new design in conjunction with the optional LED headlights. As a clear reference to the brand's British DNA, the upright light units at the rear of the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible now appear in a Union Jack design.

    The striking flag motif is recreated in the structure of the light functions. The turn indicators are horizontally arranged and the brake lights are vertically aligned, with the tail light additionally representing the diagonal lines of the British flag. In order to ensure a particularly harmonious lighting effect, all light sources forming the Union Jack graphic use LED technology.

    New MINI logo: reduced to the essentials.
    The new MINI logo is clear and authentic in style, appearing on the bonnet, tailgate, steering wheel, central instrument display, remote control, and optional driver’s side puddle lighting all models. It is a re-interpretation of the existing logo and now features a two-dimensional "flat design". As such, the MINI logo reflects the new brand identity with its focus on the essentials – namely key values such as driving fun, distinctive design, premium quality and emotional appeal.

    Three new exterior paint colors, premiere for Piano Black Exterior.
    The extensive range of exterior paint colors available for the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible now adds three variants: Emerald Grey metallic, Starlight Blue metallic, and Solaris Orange metallic.

    What is more, the list of optional equipment items features an additional means of customizing the exterior design. With the option Piano Black Exterior, the surrounds of the headlights, rear lights and radiator grille are finished in high-gloss black instead of chrome.

    The selection of optionally available light alloy wheels has been expanded, too. The 17-inch light alloy wheels in the design styles Roulette Spoke 2-tone and Propeller Spoke 2-tone are now available for all body variants of the new MINI. The likewise 17-inch light alloy wheels in Rail Spoke 2-tone design have also been newly added to the program.

    New leather trims, interior surfaces and Color Lines.
    A broad selection of seat surfaces, interior surfaces and Color Lines add a touch of individual style to the interior of the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible. New features for the MINI Hardtop 2 Door and the MINI Hardtop 4 Door include supple Malt Brown Chesterfield Leather upholstery.

    In addition, the new option MINI Yours Interior Style Piano Black with illumination includes a backlit decorative panel on the passenger side of the dashboard, likewise finished in Piano Black as well as bearing a stylised Union Jack motif.  The color of the backlighting matches the ambient lighting selected by the driver. This option also adds high-gloss Piano Black surfaces in the area of the doors and center console., 

    Maximum individualization: MINI Yours Customised.
    The MINI Yours Customised program now raises hallmark brand individualization to a whole new level. It includes retrofit products that can be designed by customers themselves, which are then produced precisely according to these individual specifications. The MINI Yours Customised range will include side scuttles, decorative strips for the interior on the passenger side, LED door sill finishers and LED door projectors.

    MINI Yours Customised products can be designed and previewed through a specially created Online Customiser. Here customers can choose between various colors, patterns, surface structures and icons, as well as contributing their own texts and adding a touch of personal style to the design. This offering enables MINI fans to turn their vehicle into a unique specimen that bears the stamp of their own personality. The individualized products are manufactured using innovative production techniques such as various 3D printing methods and laser engraving.

    New infotainment systems and features
    A new 6.5” display is included as standard, and features an updated and optimized user interface, Bluetooth mobile phone integration, and support for Bluetooth audio streaming. In addition, customers can specify a new 8.8” touchscreen navigation system with new user interface and greatly expanded features.  

    New options: telephony with wireless charging, MINI logo projection.
    The innovative optional equipment for the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible includes a wireless charging option. A storage compartment integrated in the centre armrest enables wireless charging of mobile phones which offer this capability. This option also adds a second USB port in the front section of the center console.

    For the first time, the MINI Hardtop 2 Door and MINI Hardtop 4 Door are available with a MINI logo projection feature. When the vehicle is opened and closed, the new MINI logo is projected onto the ground in front of the driver’s side door from a light source in the exterior mirror and can be seen there for 20 seconds, or permanently if the door is left open.

    MINI Connected: a range of digital services that is unique within the segment.
    With the new MINI Connected functions, MINI offers a diverse range of digital services at premium level that is unique in the small car segment. New features include Advanced Real Time Traffic Information with 4G LTE connectivity, support for Apple CarPlay, Connected Services, and intelligent emergency call.

    The personal mobility assistant feature of the MINI Connected smartphone app now enables drivers of the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible to integrate their vehicle and mobility planning seamlessly into their day-to-day digital routine. For example, MINI Connected can draw on calendar entries and contact data entered in a smartphone to plan a route and determine the ideal time to set off based on real time traffic data. The Send-to-Car function enables planned routes to be sent to the MINI navigation system, while Remote Services allow the driver not just to display vehicle location, fuel level and other vehicle status details on their digital end device, but also activate the headlight flasher, horn, ventilation and door lock/unlock function.

    Intelligent networking of the MINI is via a SIM card integrated in the vehicle: this now complies with the mobile communications standard 4G. It also enables the use of MINI Teleservices and the Intelligent Emergency Call with automatic detection of vehicle location and accident severity.

    Services now available in the new MINI Hardtop 2 Door, the new MINI Hardtop 4 Door and the new MINI Convertible for the first time also include MINI Find Mate. This consists of so-called tags with a wireless tracking function that can be attached to frequently used objects and travel items such as bags, cases, key rings and rucksacks. Their position can not only be displayed on the on-board computer but also in the MINI Connected App on a smartphone. In this way, MINI Find Mate helps prevent personal items getting lost or left behind.



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      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

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      This year was to be the final Detroit Auto Show to take place in January before the big move to an indoor/outdoor festival of sorts next June. Despite a number of manufacturers announcing they would not be at the show, there was some hope for there be to a surprise. Something that would allow the current incarnation of the show to go out with a bang.
      That did not happen.
      It was thought that Chevrolet would roll out the long-awaited and rumored mid-engined Corvette. But those hopes would be dashed as rumors came out that the project would be delayed up to six months due to a problem with the electrical system. It also gave Toyota a sigh of relief as the Supra wouldn’t be overshadowed by the Corvette - see the Ford GT eating up the attention from the Acura NSX a few years back.
      Even with the anticipation of the Supra coming to Detroit, there was nothing that could be described as being memorable. Most of the vehicles that were revealed seemed to be somewhat phoned in.
      We knew a lot about the Supra including how it would look and what would power it before it arrived on stage. CEO Akio Toyoda actually mentioned in the press conference that it was “one of the industry’s worst kept secrets.” The refreshed Volkswagen Passat was eclipsed by news that a second plant and 1,000 jobs would be added at Chattanooga, along with becoming a sponsor for U.S. Women’s, Men’s, and Youth National teams. Infiniti’s QX Inspiration concept didn’t actually appear at the presentation. It was stuck in the lobby of Cobo Hall due to some sort of malfunction.
        The announcement talking about Ford and Volkswagen’s new alliance? The stage appearance was canceled late on Monday. Instead, we got a conference call and press release providing the details. The big talking point at the show wasn’t about the show. Over the weekend, a water main broke which put most of Downtown Detroit under a boil water advisory. This caused a lot of headaches for visiting media and automotive executives as would have to use bottled water to brush their teeth or wash their hair (this was something I heard a few people mentioned on the show floor). Luckily, I saw this new before heading down to the show and brought a couple liters of water with me to use for tea and brushing my teeth.
      But the water main break serves as a good metaphor for this year’s Detroit Auto Show. It felt a bit discombobulated with a number of manufacturers being MIA and organizers trying to figure out what to do. There was also a noticeable lack of energy surrounding the show. Going into the media center at Cobo, I was expecting to be filled with various journalists and other media. To my surprise, it looked and felt the second day of the show where there was a surprising amount of open space to sit down and begin working. Being on the show floor was the same story. I was amazed at how easily I was able to get photos of cars that had been unveiled only 20 to 30 minutes without having to fight a number of people to get a decent shot.
      There is a lot riding on the move to June next year with organizers planning something like the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. There promises to be the ability to ride and drive various new vehicles, self-driving vehicles being demonstrated on public roads, “dynamic vehicle debuts,” and much more. A number of automakers and executives have praised this move.
      "I always thought it made sense for Detroit to showcase itself when the weather's nice. All the international press comes here in perhaps our worst weather month of the year. I don't know how many rodeos we can have coming down the street in January,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford earlier this week.
      I wished that shared the same enthusiasm as a number of people with the show moving to June. Call me skeptical or cynical, but I get the feeling that the move will not solve the issue that face a number of automakers; making the case to spend the money to attend another show. A recent piece in Wards Auto says it costs more than million dollars to hold a 25-minute press conference according to sources.
      “…due to exorbitant rates for sound and video production, lighting, drayage, special effects, food, drink and union labor to set up chairs, lay carpet and build ramps for drive-on vehicle unveilings.”
      The past few years have seen more and more automakers hold their own events off-site as they are not only cheaper but allows them to control the message.
      “We can go and create an atmosphere on Sunday night at the Garden Theater for less money and for what we think is an equal or better return on our investment,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of communications at General Motors to Wards Auto.
      I think back to a conversation I had last year on the show floor with a friend. I was mentioning how I was feeling somewhat bored and he asked how many Detroit Auto Shows I had attended.
      “I think this is my fourth or fifth,” I said.
      He paused for a moment before saying that was usually around the time someone begins to feel burnt out and wanting something exciting to happen. This popped into my head while walking around the show on Monday as nothing really grabbed my attention in terms of new debuts. There were some bright spots such as Kia Stinger GT police vehicle from Australia and the Toyota Yaris WRC on the show floor. But aside from these and few other vehicles, I felt a bit down. Maybe I had grown weary of the show itself and the noticeable departures of various automakers only compounded it. Or maybe this was the manifestation of a trend that the auto show I had come to know was coming to an end and was only beginning to realize it.
      2020 will be an interesting year to say in the least as organizers begin a new chapter in the auto show’s legacy. Whether it works out or not remains to be seen.
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
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