2022 Mini Cooper Hardtop and Convertible get fresh looks and new tech
The new Mini models see a modest $500 price hike for 2022, as well.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Mini announced a number of changes for its Hardtop and Convertible models on Tuesday, as well as a few minor tweaks for the rest of its portfolio. But don't prepare yourselves for big upgrades, friends -- these updates don't amount to much more than a light refresh.
The most obvious differences are found on the car's schnoz. A body-colored insert spans the width of the grille with more pronounced air intakes below. The Mini's foglights are gone, too, replaced by slim, vertical cutouts just ahead of the wheel arches.
Speaking of arches, they get a tiny tweak as part of this update, and there are new wheel designs available, as well. Around back, there's a slightly different rear bumper. Rooftop gray, island blue and zesty yellow (sounds tasty) join the color palette this year, and Hardtop models can be optioned with a multitone roof, which fades from purple to blue to black. It's neat-ish, but weirdly, the blurple scheme is the only available colorway. A blackline exterior package swaps out the standard chrome for some darker eyeliner and trim, which looks great.
The electric Cooper SE and high-performance John Cooper Works models get similar updates. The SE's use of highlighter yellow accents are toned down, and the JCW gets big, stacked air vents on its front fascia and a pronounced rear diffuser. The SE's cool, model-specific wheels are still available, too, though they aren't called Corona Spoke anymore for obvious reasons.
Inside, the Minis get a new steering wheel design with better control buttons on the stalks and optional heating, and redesigned air vents flank either side of the circular instrument panel. The digital gauge cluster currently found in the Cooper SE and John Cooper Works models makes its way to the rest of the range, where it's standard equipment, though we hope Mini's found some way to keep it from washing out in the sun, which is a common problem.
Some new interior upholstery options are available, including a pretty rad yellow-tinted cloth. The dashboard appliques and door cards get a little zhuzhing-up, too, though the rest of the cabin carries over unchanged.
Multimedia tech is still handled by the Mini Connected infotainment system, housed on a larger, 8.8-inch touchscreen. Unfortunately, the software within is the same as before, meaning that while Apple CarPlay is standard, Android Auto is still a no-go. On the safety tech front, lane-departure warning is now standard across the board.
That, folks, is where the changes end. Mechanically speaking, the new Minis are identical to their predecessors. Cooper models use a turbocharged inline-three engine with 162 horsepower while the Cooper S upgrades to a turbo-four with 206 hp. The John Cooper Works Hardtop and Convertible variants increase performance still with a higher-output turbo-four making 235 hp. Both manual and dual-clutch transmissions are available with all the aforementioned Hardtop 2-Door, Hardtop 4-Door and Convertible models, except for the JCW Convertible, which is automatic-only.
The Cooper SE, meanwhile, carries on with its 32.6-kilowatt-hour battery and electric motor, offering 181 hp and 199 pound-feet of torque. Official EPA ratings aren't available just yet, but don't expect the range estimate to climb beyond the current car's 110 miles.
As for Mini's other models -- the Clubman and Countryman -- the automaker says more information specific to those will be released later this year. For now, Mini says those cars will also benefit from standard lane-departure warning, the 8.8-inch touchscreen and the digital gauge cluster.
Given the relatively minor nature of these updates, pricing for the 2022 Mini Hardtop and Convertible doesn't change much, either. The base 2022 Mini Cooper Hardtop comes in at $23,750, including $850 for destination. That's a $500 increase over the 2021 model-year cars, which applies to the base configurations of all Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works models. The electric Cooper SE retains its $30,750 starting price (including destination), which does not factor in federal and local tax incentives.
Mini says the 2022 models will go into production in the UK on March 1. Look for them to hit US dealers shortly thereafter.