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Mini to get three-cylinder engines, new turbo units

BMW has confirmed key details for the new engine lineup for the 2014 Mini Cooper range, which will make its first public appearance simultaneously at the Tokyo and LA motor shows in November.

The new F56 Mini Cooper will be available with a three cylinder engine for the first time, with new 1.5 litre turbo petrol and turbodiesel triples to make up the volume of Mini's most popular model. A 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine will power the Cooper S model, with the modular units developed by BMW for the first time.

The first two Mini generations under BMW's stewardship used engines developed in conjunction with Chrysler and PSA respectively, and the new third-generation BMW model's petrol engines are related to the 170kw 1.5 litre petrol three used by the new i8 hybrid sports coupe.

In Mini guise, the direct-injected TwinPower 1.5 litre petrol develops 100kW/220Nm from 1250rpm(with 230Nm on overboost), while the Cooper S-spec direct-injected TwinPower 2.0 litre makes 141kW/280Nm (with 300Nm on overboost).

The new 1.5 litre turbodiesel makes 85kW and 270Nm, representing a slight power gain over the current 82kW/270Nm 1.6-litre four.

Both petrol engines represent a gain on the existing 90kw/160Nm base 1.6-litre four, and the 135kW/240Nm for the turbocharged Cooper S, while a challenger for the current 155kW/260Nm and 160kw/260Nm John Cooper Works (JCW) range-toppers will likely come later.

The 170kW achieved by the three cylinder unit in the i8 suggests that a figure in the vicinity of 226kW is possible for the 2.0-litre JCW models, which could make the smaller Mini a serious rival for the current hot hatch hero Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

BMW claims that all engines will trump their existing counterparts for fuel efficiency and emissions with Euro 6 compliance, but exact figures will have to wait until the Cooper's November unveiling.

Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will continue to be offered across the range, and a fuel-saving stop/start system will now be standard. Automatic models equipped with satnav will also be able to downshift in preparation for upcoming hills and intersections, using similar technology to the new Rolls Royce Wraith and Ghost models.

Kerb weights of the new Cooper lineup have been minimised through the use of construction technology shared with the i3 and i8 models, but once again, Mini is yet to mention specific figures. The new model will continue the Cooper tradition of a dynamically-focused chassis, with a multi-link rear end and single-link spring-strut front end, and adaptive dampers will be available for the first time on Mini models.

Following the Cooper's LA and Tokyo debuts, the new model is expected to make its way down under in the second quarter of 2014.

This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn