The Ultimate Mini
Why the MPI was in Another League.
Driving 5% more more horsepower as standard (63bhp) compared to the earlier Cooper (61bhp), 20% more power than the standard production 1275cc models (50-53hp) and 50% more horse power when compared to the earlier 1000cc model (39hp), the Mini became faster. Such output when combined with their 700-800kg weight and exceptional renowned rally winning handling provides for terrific and/or terrifying fun.
Becoming one of the most safety equipped small cars on the road, opposed to being what was likely one of the most dangerous small cars (pre-1996), this was the first Mini to have a drivers airbag, a specially designed strengthened steering column and side impact door safety crash bars as well as safer seat belts (pyrotechnic device attached to inertia reel), you could feel safe.
Replacing the troublesome earlier carburettor, distributor and manual choke with modern multi-point fuel injection, dual spark technology and optimal engine management technology as well as the upgraded electrical power generation and cooling system, those frequent mechanical breakdowns were now rarely a problem.
Maximising fuel efficiency and minimising harmful gases, a new MEMS engine management computer controlled fully programmed sequential fuel injection, optimising fuel input, a higher ratio gearbox essentially made fourth gear more like fifth or overdrive reducing high speed rev requirements and an improved catalyctic converter was fitted, neautralising harmful gases. Rover claimed that one could now expect a 43 mile combined MPG.
Driving was more refined and you could drive further, for longer, in relative comfort. Unlike the earlier Mini’s, the MPI’s don’t deafen you on faster roads (50% quieter, according to Rover studies) due to a revised mechanical layout, the new higher ratio gearbox and cabin acoustic sound deadening. At the same time you didn’t have to worry about breaking down or about hitting sixty on a motorway slip road (Rover claim you can reach almost 90mph in third gear).
Having a fob operated immobiliser as standard, these were now harder to steal. These also had an alarm as standard, however in my experience only one in fifty have an operating alarm system and we don’t make any effort to fix these anymore.
The Mini was described as being gentrified. The materials used were generally of higher quality, the designs were generally more functional. Everything was more comfortable, the seats, the steering wheel, the switches, the driving experience. Importantly, it was easier to access the rear seats as the seats recline and slide forward at the pull of a handle.
Rover stepped up their game, the Sportspack was introduced and a variety of factory additional extras which transformed the Mini.