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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


No electric help needed as Mini debuts new petrol only Cooper S

An official launch date for South Africa has so far not been set, however, expect it to join the electric Cooper SE possibly in the second quarter of the year.


Having debuted the now officially named new Cooper Hatch in electric Cooper E and SE guises last year, Mini parent company, BMW, has taken the wraps off the combustion engine version in Cooper S form ahead of its market roll-out later this year.

Same styling, but different underneath

Although spied in 2023 appearing different from the EV when viewed from the back, a uniformed look has since been adopted, meaning the combustion variants retain the X-shaped taillight clusters with the Union Jack graphics, plus the Cooper S name integrated onto the central logo bar connecting the clusters.

Compared to the Cooper SE though, the Cooper S’ grille is no longer sealed and while the alloy wheels designs are different, the only other novelty is the Cooper S badge itself with the ‘S’ being red instead of the EV’s yellow.

ALSO READ: Wait over: Mini debuts all-new Cooper as a three-door EV

Underneath resides the biggest change in that the Cooper S rides on a completely different platform to the Cooper SE as part of a dual production strategy between BMW and Great Wall Motors (GMW).

Combustion engine new Mini revealed in Cooper S guise
Despite prior spy images, the same rear facia design with the X-shaped Union Jack taillights are carried over from the EV. Image: BMW

A configuration the next generation BMW 3 Series will reportedly also undertake, the setup involves the Cooper SE being based on a dedicated EV platform and build in China, while the Cooper S makes due with a conventional architecture handled by BMW’s Oxford Plant in the United Kingdom.

While no details surrounding the Cooper S’ dimensions relative to those of the Cooper SE were disclosed, Mini did confirm boot space figures of between 210-litres to 800-litres, the former suggesting a possible difference in length as those of the Cooper SE varies from 200-litres to the eventual same 800-litres.

Same inside

Inside, the disparities between the Cooper SE and Cooper S are also hard to spot as Mini has largely carried over the same design for the interior.

Combustion engine new Mini revealed in Cooper S guise
Interior has not been changed much from the electric Cooper SE. Image: BMW

This means the latter boasts the retro-styled 9.4-inch OLED infotainment system with Mini’s version of its parent’s 9.0 operating system, a wireless smartphone charger, the rectangular binnacle housing the physical buttons and dials for the transmission, starter button, mode selector, hazard lights and ventilation, and the same of assortment of colours and materials.

Pure combustion power

Its suspension, dampers and steering retuned to suit its sportier dynamics, up front, the Cooper S goes the opposite way of the Countryman Cooper S by doing without any form of hybrid assistance in spite of prior speculative reports suggesting all combustion variants will do so in order to reduce emissions.

The decision not to do so means the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine develops 150kW/300Nm, a drop of 10kW/60Nm from the Countryman, translating to the 0-100 km/h dash taking 6.6 seconds. No top speed figure was revealed.

Combustion engine new Mini revealed in Cooper S guise
A selection of colours and materials will be offered for the seats and interior itself. Image: BMW

In addition, BMW also confirmed the entry-level Mini One’s departure in favour of the newly named Cooper C.

The de facto replacement for the mid-range Cooper as well, the C derives motivation from the familiar 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, again without any electrical intervention, which produces 115kW/230Nm.

Able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 7.7 seconds, the Cooper C’s top speed also remains a mystery, though what is known is that both models’ amount of twist goes to the front wheels through a seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission.

Not yet confirmed

Already confirmed for key models, namely Europe and the United States, the Cooper S, and for that matter the Cooper C, have so far not been confirmed for South Africa as part of BMW’s product offensive for 2024 announced last month.

Given that the entire range of Mini models will make local market landfall in the second quarter of the year though, don’t be surprised if both the Cooper C and Cooper S do indeed form part of the eventual roll-out.

NOW READ: New 5 Series and M3 Touring headlining BMW’s 2024 model roll-out

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