MINI’s new Cooper Hardtop continues to grow in size, but remains as cheeky as ever

Mini pulled the sheets off its all-new 2014 Cooper Hardtop today in Los Angeles.

This debut marks the beginning of the fourth generation of Mini since the car first went on sale in 1959. 

Despite being a totally redesigned model, the new Mini looks more like an evolution in style, rather than a revolution in sheetmetal. Its bulging headlamps and shoebox-shaped body remain both cute and familiar, with a few modern tweaks, like its larger grille, LED daytime running lights, and optional LED headlights.

The Cooper is 4.5 inches longer than its predecessor, with more than an inch of that added to the wheelbase. It’s also 1.7 inches wider than before, and these longer, wider proportions should improve the MINI’s already sharp handling.

Inside, the cabin has been significantly upgraded. The added space benefits the cargo hold in particular, which has grown by three cubic feet. MINIs have never been particularly spacious, so any extra room is a welcome improvement.

The wheel-mounted gauge cluster now includes the tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge, while the center circle continues to house the radio and navigation displays. There’s also a new LED light ring, which changes colors between driving modes and parking distances, that encircles the center display. As you’re parking, it shifts from green, to yellow, to red as you approach a wall. It also switches between green and red, depending on whether you’ve selected the more eco-friendly or sportier driving modes.

There’s a boatload of new technology built into the all-new Cooper, too. Much like its larger BMW cousins, the new Mini receives an optional heads-up display, and keyless entry and push-button start are standard on all models. For those looking to load their Coopers with drivers’ aides, there’s also a first-ever implementation of adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and pre-collision warning systems. The MINI can also make use of your smartphone’s data connection through the use of MINI Connected.

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Underneath all the metal and upholstery is a completely new set of engines. Base MINI Coopers are now powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, capable of producing 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Whether you choose an automatic or manual transmission, the entry-level Cooper can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just over 7 seconds. In place of the old 1.6-liter turbo-four, Cooper S models are now powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which produces 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Cooper S models accelerate to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds with the manual transmission, and 6.4 seconds with the automatic.

We’re looking forward to getting our hands on the new MINI Cooper early next year, and we’re especially excited to see the base car with a little more power, thanks to its twin-power turbo. Tell us what you think of the new MINI Cooper hardtop in the comments below, and take a look at the rest of our coverage from the 2013 LA Auto Show.

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