2024 MINI Cooper petrol – heavy facelift for F56 brings EV looks, 3- and 4-cylinder engines with up to 204 PS

The all-new, all-electric MINI Cooper may represent a new dawn for the fashionable British brand, but if you miss the performance and sound of an internal combustion engine, don’t worry – you can still get the classic three-door hatchback with petrol power with this latest model.

There’s a catch, however. This may look like the electric model shown in September – developed in partnership with GWM, let’s not forget – but it is anything but. In fact, the petrol version (codenamed F66) is built on the bones of the current F56 MINI Hatch, albeit heavily revised to fit the new MINI design language. This is actually the third such facelift for the model.

Despite this, the designers have done a remarkable job transplanting the EV’s minimalist looks. The petrol MINI Cooper sports that car’s simplified LED headlights (with horizontal daytime running lights as standard and customisable versions with an illuminated outer ring on the optional upgraded units), large hexagonal body-coloured grille and triangular “matrix” LED taillights. MINI has even removed the side “scuttles” and visible exhaust pipes that have hitherto been key features of the hatch’s design.

2024 MINI Cooper petrol – heavy facelift for F56 brings EV looks, 3- and 4-cylinder engines with up to 204 PS

But look closely and you’ll be able to spot the differences that point to this being a warmed-over F56. These include the clamshell bonnet (the electric model uses a conventional one), the rings surrounding the headlights, the rather outdated pull-style door handles and the continued use of plastic body cladding. Still, it’s a successful redesign in our eyes – one that papers over the excesses of the overwrought 2021 facelift.

Inside, the petrol MINI Cooper continues to borrow heavily from its electric sibling. It’s been cleaned up, with much of the car’s functions (yes, including the instrument cluster and the climate controls, unfortunately) now grouped into the 9.4-inch OLED circular centre touchscreen. It runs on the latest Android-based MINI Operating System 9 and features Spike, a 3D virtualisation of the car’s “Hey MINI” voice control.

You also get a fabric-wrapped dashboard; the optional MINI Experience Modes adds two projectors behind the infotainment display that projects different graphics on the dash depending on the mode selected. Below the touchscreen sits the toggles for the gear and drive mode selectors, along with the twist-style engine starter. The conventional gear lever has instead been replaced by a Qi wireless charger.

Aside from the revamped upholstery choices and the new steering wheel (with a fabric centre spoke), the petrol MINI Cooper is still recognisably the same car. It’s still a strict four-seater and the boot still measures a tiny 210 litres, although you can fold the 60:40-split rear seats to get a total cargo capacity of 725 litres.

2024 MINI Cooper petrol – heavy facelift for F56 brings EV looks, 3- and 4-cylinder engines with up to 204 PS

Under the bonnet, you’ll find the same (but uprated) choice of 1.5 litre B38 turbocharged three-cylinder and 2.0 litre B48 four-cylinder engines, badged the MINI Cooper C and MINI Cooper S respectively. The former produces 156 PS and 230 Nm of torque, gets from zero to 100 km/h in 7.7 seconds and delivers a fuel consumption figure of between 5.9 and 6.5 litres per 100 km.

The MINI Cooper S, meanwhile, pumps out 204 PS and 300 Nm, enough to see off the century sprint in 6.6 seconds; fuel consumption is rated at between 6.1 and 6.7 litres per 100 km. No details on the gearbox but it’s likely the two models retain the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission of the previous car.

Elsewhere, the petrol MINI Cooper can now be had with Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capabilities as part of the Driving Assistant Plus package, thanks to a radar sensor (the smallest ever fitted to a BMW Group car) on the new grille. Essential, Classic, Favoured and JCW trim levels will be offered, with options including a Spray-Tech graduated three-colour roof on the Favoured model.

The three-door hatch won’t be the only body style made available on the latest petrol MINI Cooper. It’s already been confirmed the car will spawn five-door and convertible variants, just like the current car.

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