The new Mini family drinks less fuel, has a new dual-clutch gearbox, and is precisely thirty-seven per cent more British, old bean. Because the Oxford-build posh towncar has inherited Union Jack motif taillights.
There are also new alloy wheels, LED headlights with matrix tech (keep main beam on the whole time and let the computers work out how not to dazzle oncoming traffic), and a lightly refreshed Mini badge logo. But really, the only thing you’ll notice without the aid of a forensic pathologist is the Union Jack taillight. And, were that not patriotic enough, a new Union Jack design for the dashboard trim.
We expect in the coming weeks, Mini will reveal even more awfully British features, including a sat-nav read by Joanna Lumley, tweed floormats, a red double-decker version only sold in London, and a clock that bongs like Big Ben on the hour. Feel free to join in with your own suggestions below.
Underneath, many of the technical and mechanical swapsies are inherited from the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, which shares a platform with the Mini, but strangely hasn’t been plastered with German flags and traditional memorabilia in its own 2018 update.
So, there’s now a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox on offer besides the standard-fit six-speed manual, which is a peach, and the eight-speed auto, which is excellent. Sounds like gearbox overkill to us, but that’s the Germans for you. By which we of course mean, the British. This car is thoroughly British. And ever-so tickety-boo.
The basic Mini First and Mini One models now use Mini’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, and have a small bump in torque as a result. Each petrol Mini has had its fuel pressure increased, while the diesel family has had similar treatment and new turbo tech. Oh, and Mini has binned its plastic engine covers and replaced them with carbon fibre, in the name of saving as much weight as possible (without removing the square footage of chrome hanging off the nose).
Inside, there’s rethought steering wheel with new buttons, a standard-fit 6.5-inch infotainment screen and optional wireless smartphone charging. Mini’s also gone a little crackers with the personalisation options – you can now 3D print exterior and cabin trim pieces with your own name and favourite words or phrases on, to set your Mini apart. So, if you’d like a car you can share a tattoo with, look no further. It’ll also mean you can only sell your car on to a fellow Margaret, Ernest, or Nigel.