Who knew when BMW would bring back the iconic microcar from Austin, a part British Leyland, that American buyers would take to it like a fish to water. Maybe it is the quirkiness of something so small that it almost seems unreasonable to drive on the street. In that regard, the odd thing is that the MINI out sells the Smart Fortwo and has one of the best resale values among cars in its class. Call me a crazy small car nut, but I think the MINI is successful because it packs a lot of room, comfort and amenities into a small footprint. By seating four the MINI is a lot more usable than many of the sports cars that are larger and it has performance to match with the Cooper S variant. So what’s new for 2011, let’s check it out.

2011 MINI Cooper

2011 MINI Cooper

2011 MINI Cooper

2011 MINI Cooper

The 2011 MINI Cooper line of cars will receive a facelift according to U.S. News & World Report. They report that the Cooper, Cooper Convertible and Cooper Clubman will all receive updated front fascias and an increase in horsepower. The fascia change is said to give the new car a “meaner look,” which you may have to be the judge on since some people are quite fond of the cuter side of the current MINI. Other changes include the availability of black reflector headlamps (they first debuted on the Camden 50th Anniversary edition) and the addition of standard rear LED taillights.

The exterior isn’t the only place where small refinements are being made; as we mentioned before the 2011 MINI is supposed to get an increase in horsepower in both the base Cooper and Coopers models. The 2011 Cooper will have 122 horsepower with the Cooper S pushing 180 horsepower. That is 4 more horsepower than the current base model and 8 more horsepower than the current Cooper S. The interior also is seeing some upgrades with Automobile Magazine reporting that the sound system and air con controls have new revised designs. A more noticeable change to those versed in MINIs is that the volume knob for the stereo has been moved up from where it was in pervious models to a more user friendly postion.

Bottom line—MINI knows they have a good thing going, so instead of throwing the minicar out with the bath water, they have instead chosen to refine a good thing and we are all for that.

 

[Source: Automotive News & Automobile]