“The most obvious place to begin charting the changes is the exterior. Up front you’ll find restyled bumper fascias and larger fog lights, while optional black headlight housings are now available with adaptive Xenon lamps.
The electric Mini E’s hood has been cribbed and installed on base Coopers, while the turbocharged S models still have their hood scoops and gain functional brake cooling ducts. At the rear are tweaked taillamp assemblies with LED fog lights along with a redesigned rear bumper housing the reverse lights.
The final notable tidbit is the availability of a new hue: British Racing Green II. Finally, a color that actually looks like the classic BRG we all know and love. It’s about time, as the previous dark green, while perfectly acceptable, simply wasn’t “British Racing Green.” While that’s a color we’re excited about, perhaps now would be a good time to point out the, ahem, interesting combo of the vehicle in our photos. While there’s nothing at all wrong with the new Spice Orange hue for 2011 or the Classic Green Lounge Leather (Mutant Ninja Turtle Green, as we took to calling it) interior… let’s just say the two should probably never be combined on the same vehicle.
We’re happy to report the 2011 Mini Cooper drives almost exactly like the 2010 Mini Cooper – no real surprise considering the limit of the changes. A boost in horsepower on standard models from 118 to 121 horsepower is nominal, but the Cooper S gets a bump to 181 ponies (up from 172), which can be felt when accelerating up a hill or on-ramp. Electronic power steering has allowed the crafty German engineers to add anti torque- and anti bump-steer to the Cooper’s repertoire, and the modifications were obvious when compared to last year’s model. The new suspension tricks were particularly transparent under hard acceleration and even more pronounced when matting the throttle on the turbocharged model, with its ‘Overboost’ function delivering up to 192 lb-ft of torque from 1,700 rpm onwards.
Despite the added power, Mini has managed a slight increase in fuel efficiency across the board, with the standard model now registering 37 miles per gallon. Perhaps more impressive is that the Valvetronic-equipped S makes even more power while earning a 36-mpg highway figure.”