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Mini R56 Cooper (2007-on)

Review: Mini R56.I Cooper (2007-10)

Overview

Released in March 2007, the R56 Series I (R56.I) Cooper was a small, three-door hatchback. Manufactured in Cowley, England, the front-wheel drive R56.I Cooper was initially available with naturally aspirated and turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engines (the Cooper and Cooper S, respectively). The range was subsequently expanded with the John Cooper Works (2008) and Cooper D (2009). With respect to these variants,
  • the standard Cooper had a naturally aspirated, 1.6-litre ‘Prince’ engine which had a cast aluminium cylinder block, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, variable intake valve lift (based on BMW’s ‘Valvetronic’) and a compression ratio of 11.0:1;
  • the Cooper S engine added a twin-scroll turbocharger (with boost pressure limited to 0.8 bar), common-rail direct injection, infinite intake camshaft adjustment, sodium-filled outlet valves (for greater cooling) and the compression ratio was lowered to 10.5:1;
  • the John Cooper Works engine increased boost pressure to 1.2 bar, had a stronger cylinder head and valves, a modified air intake, free-flowing exhaust and a compression ratio of 8.3:1; and,
  • the Cooper D had a 1.6-litre DV6 diesel engine which featured a variable geometry turbocharger, common-rail injection (operating at 1600 bar), double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, a diesel particulate filter and a compression ratio of 18.0:1. The Cooper D models also had idle stop (which shut down the engine when the vehicle was stationary) and regenerative braking (which used the kinetic energy of the wheels – when braking or coasting – to recharge the vehicle’s battery).
Compared to its R50/R53 predecessors, the R56 Cooper was 73 mm longer (at 3699 mm), 5 mm narrower (1683 mm) and 6 mm lower (1407 mm), though wheelbase length was unchanged (2467 mm). The R56 Cooper’s front suspension consisted of a single-joint MacPherson spring strut axle, while the rear Z-axle had longitudinal struts with centrally-pivoted control arms. The R56 Cooper also introduced an electric power steering system.

Visually, the R56 Cooper could be identified by its higher bonnet line, restyled grille, reshaped C-pillars and headlights which were fixed to the front quarter panels. Inside, the front seats had sculpted backs to create additional leg room for rear seat occupants.
Mini R56.I Cooper specifications
  Editions Years Engine Trans. Peak power Peak torque
Cooper N/A,
Chilli, Mayfair, Camden
2007-10 1.6-litre petrol I4 6sp man., 6sp auto 88kW at 6000rpm 160Nm at 4250rpm
Cooper D N/A,
Chilli, Mayfair, Camden
2009-10 1.6-litre turbo-diesel I4 6sp man., 6sp auto 82kW at 4000rpm 270Nm at 1750-2250rpm
Cooper S N/A,
Chilli, Mayfair, Camden
2007-10 1.6-litre turbo petrol I4 6sp man., 6sp auto 128kW at 5500rpm 240Nm at 1600-5000rpm
(260Nm Overboost)
John Cooper Works N/A 2008-10 1.6-litre turbo petrol I4 6sp man. 155kW at 6000rpm 260Nm at 1850-5600rpm
(280Nm at 2000-5300rpm Overboost)

Safety equipment

Standard safety equipment included dual front airbags, front side airbags, full length curtain airbags, ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control, corner braking control and front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters.

The Cooper and Cooper D were fitted with 280 mm by 22 mm inner-vented front brake discs and 259 mm by 10 mm solid rear discs; the Cooper S, however, was fitted with 294 mm by 22 mm front brake discs. The John Cooper Works variants were distinguished by their 316 mm inner-vented front and 280 mm rear brake discs.

Euro NCAP crash testing

In Euro NCAP crash testing, the R56 Cooper received a five star adult occupant protection rating with a score of 32.51 out of 37. In the frontal offset impact test, protection from serious leg injury was marginal for the driver. In the side impact test, there was a moderate risk of serious chest injury for the driver.

Features

Standard features for the Cooper and Cooper D included 15-inch '5 star Spooler' alloy wheels, a six speaker sound system with CD player, MP3 compatibility and auxiliary input, air conditioning, cruise control, a multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, bi-xenon headlights, 50/50 split and folding rear seats, remote central locking, power windows and mirrors, a height and reach adjustable steering wheel, heated rear window, height adjustable front seats, tinted glass, a trip computer and an immobiliser.

Compared to the Cooper and Cooper D, the Cooper S was differentiated by its 16-inch 'S Winder' alloy wheels with 195/55 R16 V runflat tyres and contoured sports seats. There was also a 'Sport' button which provided greater throttle response, weightier steering and revised gearshift patterns for automatic models. Visually, the Cooper S could be identified by its bonnet scoop, honeycomb radiator grille, sport bumpers and chrome-plated fuel filler cap and indicator grilles.

Finally, the range-topping John Cooper Works variants were distinguished by their 18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels with 205/40 run-flat tyres, contoured sports seats, sports steering wheel, body kit and carbon-fibre exterior detailing.

Cooper Chilli

The Cooper, Cooper D and Cooper S were also available in Chilli editions. For the Cooper and Cooper D, the Chilli editions added 16-inch '5 star Blaster' alloy wheels, a ten speaker sound system, cloth/leather 'Ray' upholstery, front fog lights and velour floor mats. The Cooper S Chilli was also fitted with 17-inch 'Crown Spoke' alloy wheels, climate control air conditioning and bi-xenon headlights.

Cooper Mayfair and Cooper Camden

In August 2009, the Mayfair and Camden editions were introduced to commemorate Mini's 50th anniversary. Compared to their standard features, the Cooper and Cooper D Mayfair received 17-inch 'Infinite Stream Spoke Design' 12-spoke alloy wheels, contoured front sports seats, 'Leather Lounge' upholstery in Toffee/Cabron Black, Toffee/black leather-wrap steering wheel, bonnet stripes in light-brown Toffee metallic paint with white pinstripes, additional headlights mounted on the front grille, black mirror caps and Mayfair badging. The Cooper S Mayfair was also fitted with xenon headlights.

The Cooper and Cooper D Camden were fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels with silver inner surfaces and matt polished contour lines, a Harman Kardon sound system with digital amplifier, 'Mission Control' in-car entertainment system with voice recognition, combination cloth/leather sports seats in Carbon Black and Tech White upholstery, twin-tone mirror caps and black-tinted headlight lenses. Once again, the Cooper S Camden was also fitted with xenon headlights.

Review: Mini R56.II Cooper (2010-on)

Overview

Released in October 2010, the R56 Series II (R56.II) Cooper range introduced additional standard features, a subtle facelift and improved fuel economy for the Cooper D. Visually, the R56.II Cooper could be identified by its revised headlights and side indicators, new front bumper with lower air intake and larger deformation zones (for improved pedestrian safety), restyled front and rear fog lights, revised rear bumper and LED tail-light clusters.

The newly introduced LED brake lights varied in intensity with brake pressure and would display a 'pulsing' effect for heavy braking. Inside, there was a redesigned steering wheel and new controls for the air conditioning and audio systems.
Mini R56.II Cooper specifications
  Editions Engine Trans. Peak power Peak torque
Cooper N/A,
Chilli,
Baker Street,
Bayswater
1.6-litre petrol I4 6sp man., 6sp auto 88kW at 6000rpm 160Nm at 4250rpm
Cooper D N/A,
Chilli,
Bayswater
1.6-litre turbo-diesel I4 6sp man., 6sp auto 82kW at 4000rpm 270Nm at 1750-2250rpm
Cooper S N/A,
Chilli,
Baker Street,
Bayswater
1.6-litre turbo petrol I4 6sp man., 6sp auto 128kW at 5500rpm 240Nm at 1600-5000rpm
(260Nm Overboost)
John Cooper Works N/A 1.6-litre turbo petrol I4 6sp man. 155kW at 6000rpm 260Nm at 1850-5600rpm
(280Nm at 2000-5300rpm Overboost)
John Cooper Works GP 1.6-litre turbo petrol I4 6sp man. 160kW at 6000rpm 260Nm at 1750-5600rpm
(280Nm at 2000rpm Overboost)

Features

Compared to its R56.I predecessor, standard features for the R56.II Cooper were extended to include a USB audio interface, Bluetooth hands-free telephony, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated door mirrors and headlight washer jets.

Cooper Baker Street and Cooper Bayswater

In May 2012, limited-run Baker Street and Bayswater editions were released. The Baker Street editions could be identified by their 16-inch six-spoke black alloy wheels, gloss black door mirrors, V-shaped black bonnet stripes, black painted roof and choice of Rooftop Grey, Pepper White and Midnight Black paint finishes. Inside, the Baker Street editions featured a satellite navigation system and the grey seats had a unique diamond pattern which was extended to the door trim and dashboard.

The Bayswater editions could be identified by their 17-inch black and silver alloy wheels, black painted roof, unique badging and choice of Kite Blue, Midnight Black and Eclipse Grey paint finishes (with contrasting bonnet stripes). Inside, the Bayswater editions featured a Harman Kardon premium sound system, anthracite leather seats with contrast stitching, piano black dashboard inserts and chrome accents.

Mini John Cooper Works GP

Released in early 2013, only thirty (30) Mini John Cooper Works GP vehicles were delivered to Australia. Based on the John Cooper Works variants and pictured below, the GP editions had racing-style modifications with 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/40 R17 sports tyres (though 205/45 R17 tyres were also available), adjustable coil-over suspension, upside-down front shock absorbers (for greater longitudinal and lateral stiffness), increased front and rear camber and reduced front wheel toe-in. The John Cooper Works GP was also fitted with 330 mm by 25 mm front brake discs with six-piston fixed calipers and 280 mm by 10 mm rear discs.

Visually, the John Cooper Works GP could be identified by its xenon headlights in black shells, Thunder Grey metallic paint finish and red edging around the bonnet, mirror caps and side air intakes. Inside, there were Recaro sports seats, a thick-rimmed leather steering wheel, anthractite roof liner and piano black finishes.
Review by Ian Lithgow

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