2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop

2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop

Episode 3345
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

No one was quite sure what to expect when BMW reintroduced the MINI brand to America, as the first of the modern, 2002 cooper hardtops began arriving here. But, it sure sounded like a good idea at the time. And since then the good times have continued to roll with an expanded portfolio of convertibles, wagons, roadsters, and even crossovers. Well, now it’s time to return to the humble two-door hardtop and start the 3rd generation of “new minis”.  So, let’s see if the 2014 Mini Cooper is still super!

The 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop has undergone it’s most extensive re-engineering since the 2002 revival. And while most changes seem evolutionary, this Mini eyes the future rather than the past.

It has gotten bigger of course, 4 and a half inches longer, but with only 1-inch more wheelbase, So, there’s more overhang, but the classic shape remains. And while fans will applaud that proportions haven’t changed that much; they’ll be the first to notice the bolder take on iconic elements like the grille, side scuttles, head and tail lights, as well as the longer, flatter nose. 

With the new chassis also comes two all-new engines, as well as new 6-speed transmissions, both manual and automatic. Power includes a 2.0-liter turbo I4 with 189–horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque, 221 with overboost. Standard in the Cooper S; output is up from the previous gen.

The more intriguing new engine however, is the standard Cooper 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbo, with 134-horses and 162 lb-ft., 170 on overboost.  

Now we spent time with both motors at the international press launch in Puerto Rico and found the I3 to be the most impressive. 

But to confirm that it wasn’t just the island lifestyle clouding our judgment, it’s a standard I3-automatic equipped Cooper that we have here for testing. And after further review… our previous call has been confirmed. 

There are aggressive Sport, Mid and relaxed Green modes to tailor your driving experience, but it was in Sport mode that we took this Mini to our test track. 

Torque was good off the line and our Cooper Hardtop sprinted to 60 in a respectable 7.0-seconds. It felt great in the short run. However, the ¼-mile run proved more leisurely at 15.4–seconds and 92 miles-per-hour. 

But the Cooper has never been about straight line kicks. The fun starts when you begin sawing the wheel back and forth. Suspension hardware remains Mini’s unique single-joint spring strut front along with a multi-link rear, but everything has been both lightened and stiffened, losing none of the go kart feel along the way. The electronic steering is quick, but a bit numb feeling. 

It all makes an extremely capable back road handler, but much like most of the recent cars from corporate parent BMW the sensory parts have given way to more efficient electronic ones. Brakes weren’t quite up to the task, however, halting our tester in a rather lengthy average of 135–feet from 60. 

Mini has also put the brakes on some of the cheapness on the interior. There’s definitely a more premium feel, if one that’s also a bit less unique. Unless you are a minimalist, you will very much appreciate all of the small item storage nooks, as well as more front cabin space.  

In the back seat, leg room is up, but headroom is down. So, it’s still a tight confine for most adults. Cargo space climbs to 8.7 cubic-ft. seats up; 38.0 cubic-ft. with seatbacks folded.  That’s something all buyers can get behind.

Iconic elements like the “love them or hate them” toggle switches, and of course the big round center dash display remain. But, the speedometer has moved from there to a routine place behind the steering wheel. The center display can be filled with an 8.8-inch color screen controlled by Mini’s version of BMW’s iDrive system.

Surrounding the center display is a “mood ring” that changes with driving mode. From Green for Eco to Red for Sport. Other new bits like the available pop up head up display also make the case for convenience over nostalgia, as does no longer having to insert a key to get the party started. 

With auto stop/start, Government Fuel Economy Ratings are very good at 29-City, 41-Highway, and 34-Combined.  We saw a spot on average of 34.2 miles-per-gallon of Premium. 

Mini fun starts at a reasonable $20,745. The sportier Cooper S, at $24,395.

So, has the 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop gotten too big for its britches or is it still the fun runabout that we’ve loved so much? Well, more space doesn’t necessarily mean less fun, so we’re good there. But, we could do without the homogenization of more of BMW in the design. Still the spirit of the original Mini remains intact. Let’s all hope that always remains the case.

Specifications

  • Engine: 1.5-liter
  • Horsepower: 134
  • Torque: 162 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds @ 92 mph
  • EPA: 29 mpg city/ 41 mpg highway
2024 PHEV Roundup 1

2024 PHEV Roundup

You Don’t Have To Go Full EV To Live The EV Lifestyle

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You’ve heard us say many times that PHEVs– plug-in hybrid electrics– rather than BEVs– pure battery electrics– are a sound choice for many folks thinking about owning an electric vehicle. Well, buyers do seem to have gotten the message, as while recent sales of all-electric BEVs are down, PHEVs are suddenly skyrocketing. So, we thought we’d give you a close look at the range of PHEVs that are available today.

An EV when you want it, a fuel-efficient hybrid when you don’t; that’s the reason that PHEVs are so appealing, and why we feel they’re the perfect starter vehicle for this time of transition from internal combustion to all-electric. So, buckle up for an alphabetical rundown of all the mainstream PHEVs that are currently available.

BMW has many plug-in options, starting around $46,000 with the 2.0-liter I4-based 330e sedan and its 22 miles of EV range. There’s also a 750e sedan with more than 30 miles of EV range, and an xDrive50e X5 utility with closer to 40 miles of EV range, plus a high-performance XM with 738 horsepower. For partner Mini, a small 1.5-liter I4-based setup is available in the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 utility with 18 miles of EV range, going for around $42,000.

Ford has been in the plug-in game for some time, and currently gets a great 37 miles of EV range out of their 2.5-liter I4-based setup which is available in both the Escape for about $36,000, and in its upscale Lincoln Corsair counterpart which goes for around $55,000.

Hyundai offers a pair of plug-in SUVs, the Santa Fe priced at around $43,000 and the Tucson which goes for about $40,000; both use a 1.6-liter I4 turbo engine. It shares with their corporate cousins over at Kia. The Sorento, which starts around $51,000, and the Sportage, beginning at $40,000, along with Kia’s Niro at $35,000. All get more than 30 miles of EV Range.

For the high-rollers, Land Rover has a six-cylinder P550e plug-in option for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with 51 miles of range, starting around $119,000.

Mazda is very new to the plug-in game, with their inline-six based setup just recently becoming available in the new CX-70 and CX-90 SUVs, both with 26 miles of electric-only range, starting at $41,000.

Mercedes-Benz has offered quite a few PHEVs over the years, though currently their lineup only consists of the $70,000 GLE450e SUV with a 2.0-liter I4 and 48 miles of EV range; and a $128,000 3.0-liter I6 S580e sedan with 46 miles of range. Though a high-performance 671 horsepower AMG C 63 S E Performance will be blasting onto the scene soon.

We’re very familiar with this second-gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, having had both generations as part of our long-term fleet. The current Outlander PHEV goes for $41,000 and gets 38 miles of EV range from its 2.4-liter I4-based setup.

Stellantis has a wide array of PHEVs available across their many brands, starting with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar-packing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. It arrived way back in 2017 and currently delivers 32 miles of EV range for $40,000.

More recently, they’ve added the technology to the Jeep brand with 4Xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler for $52,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $61,000. And their most recent setup has just arrived in the compact crossover segment with 33 miles of battery in both the $45,000 Alfa Romeo Tonale and the $42,000 Dodge Hornet R/T.

All of this started with the Toyota Prius of course, which you can now get a Prime version of for $34,000 with a 2.0-liter I4 and 40 miles of range. The RAV4 Prime goes for $45,000 getting 42 miles. Plus, there’s a trio of Lexus PHEV’s rolling with bigger batteries on board, the NX450h+, the RX450h+, and the TX550h+, starting around $58,000.

Volkswagen PHEVs stick to their premium brands, starting with the $58,000 2.0-liter I4-based Audi Q5 55TFSI e quattro SUV with 22 miles of battery range.

Bentley adds electric-motor assistance to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for both the $206,000 Bentayga SUV, which gets 18 miles of EV range, and the $217,000 Flying Spur sedan, which stretches it to 21 miles. That same setup is available at Porsche in E-hybrid versions of both the $93,000 Cayenne SUV and $110,000 Panamera sedan, getting up to 19 miles on battery power.

Finally, Volvo has had a plug-in version of their turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 since the T8 arrived with the XC90 back in 2016. Now with a Recharge label, an updated version is available in just about every vehicle in their lineup; the S60 and S90 sedans, XC60 and XC90 SUVS, and yes even in the V60 wagon, starting around $53,000 with up to 40 EV miles.

So, there you have it, the Bs-to-Vs of PHEVs. They really are an easy way to live the EV lifestyle today, without going all the way.

2024 BMW X6

2024 BMW X6

BMW Improves The Original SUV Coupe

Episode 4337
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the BMW X6 arrived for 2008, coupe-like SUVs really weren’t even a thing. After all, isn’t a high, squared roof all but required to even be called an SUV? Well, forget that! Sloped roof utility vehicles surely are a thing now, and that’s mostly thanks to the X6, which is now in its third generation and ever more the trendsetter.

This 2024 BMW X6 may not qualify as all new, but the third generation of this Sports Activity Coupe has been thoroughly updated with increased power, better style, more standard content, and improved tech.

The X6 is, of course, the more stylish coupe-like version of BMW’s X5 midsize crossover, and they share many of the same updates. Exterior changes for this sloped roof utility include a revised face with slimmer headlights. And since so many people add the M Sport package to their X6s, BMW has now made it standard; it includes a big octagonal insert below the grill with large air intakes, exaggerated vent-style fender trim front and rear, side skirts, and lots of black accents. 20-inch wheels are also standard, 22s available.

2024 BMW X6 3/4 Front
2024 BMW X6 Roof
2024 BMW X6 Profile
2024 BMW X6 3/4 Rear
2024 BMW X6 Badge
2024 BMW X6 3/4 Front2024 BMW X6 Roof2024 BMW X6 Profile2024 BMW X6 3/4 Rear2024 BMW X6 Badge

Inside, the big news is a heavily revised dash with BMW’s latest curved display that includes a 12.3-inch driver info screen, and a 14.9-inch central display powered by iDrive 8. So, while there is still a central controller, you can use it as just a touchscreen. The dash is covered with new material. It adds an ambient light bar, and slimmer air vents. More standard content here in the base xDrive40i for ’24 includes Harmon Kardon audio and a panoramic moonroof. The M Sport package adds an M Sport steering wheel and aluminum trim, and some finely stitched and comfortable sport seats covered in BMW’s latest Sensafin vegan material.

The severely sloped roof does impede access to the rear seats somewhat, but there’s plenty of adult-size headroom and legroom once you get settled inside, along with dedicated climate controls. At 27.4 cubic-feet, cargo space is way less than the X5’s 33.9; but there’s still plenty of floorspace for luggage. You’re really just losing capacity for tall, bulky items. Max space with seats folded is a fine 59.6 cubic-feet.

The inline-six sounds powerful and delivered lots of low-end torque at our Mason Dixon test track.

Power for this xDrive40i comes from an upgraded 3.0-liter inline-six turbo engine with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology; output is now 375 horsepower, up 40; torque gains are more significant, an additional 51 lb-ft. to 383, as much as 398 when getting full electric assistance. The available V8 now gains 48-volt boost too, and gets a name change from M50i to M60i. Its horsepower rating actually stays the same though at 523, but there are upgraded turbos with improved airflow that quickens response. Both engines work with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.

The inline-six sounds powerful and delivered lots of low-end torque at our Mason Dixon test track. So much so, even with all-wheel drive and grippy 22-inch tires, we were spinning up at the line. And even with that, we managed to hit 60 in just 4.4-seconds. Shifts were both fast and firm, helping us complete the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 108 miles-per-hour.

2024 BMW X6 Dashboard
2024 BMW X6 Front Seat
2024 BMW X6 Shifter
2024 BMW X6 Rear Seat
2024 BMW X6 Trunk
2024 BMW X6 Dashboard2024 BMW X6 Front Seat2024 BMW X6 Shifter2024 BMW X6 Rear Seat2024 BMW X6 Trunk

The X6 comes standard with the Adaptive M suspension with electromagnetically controlled dampers, which had it feeling quite spry through our handling course. There was very little body roll; and despite a numb feel, steering was quick and accurate. The wide footprint provides a very stable platform that seemed more than ready for whatever we threw at it.

There was great stability in our panic braking runs as well, along with an average stopping distance of just 96 feet from 60 miles-per-hour. Nice, firm pedal feel too. We expected all that great performance at the track but didn’t expect it to be delivered with a ride quite this smooth for the drive home. This split personality enabled by BMW’s comprehensive drive mode setup.

Pricing for this xDrive40i starts at $75,495 and that’s more than enough X6 for our money; if you absolutely need the M60i’s V8, you’ll have to pony up at least $95,295.

Coupe-styled SUVs are not for everyone, but if you’re okay with letting practicality take a bit of a backseat to style, you might as well get the original, as the 2024 BMW X6 is better than ever and continues to set the standard for stylish performance-oriented SUVs.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 3.0-liter inline-six turbo
  • Horsepower: 375
  • Torque: 398 lb-ft
  • EPA: 22 City | 26 Highway | 24 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 12.9 seconds at 108 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 96 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 24.6 MPG (Premium)