LIKE many other people of my generation my first car was a battered old Mini… it was falling apart and struggled to hit 50mph but I loved it.
Fast forward to 2019 and the mighty Mini has hit a big milestone because it was in 1959 that Sir Alex Issigonis unveiled his revolutionary little car to the world.
Yes the Mini is 60 and to mark the occasion the company released a commemorative edition of their big selling motor, which we got our hands on for a week.
Meet the Mini Cooper S 60 Years Edition, of which 500 have been be made exclusively for UK customers. At a fiver under 30 grand it’s not cheap – but is exclusively available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and in British Racing Green special edition paintwork with brown leather interior.
Many other options boxes have been ticked as standard bringing a touchscreen sat nav, CarPlay, reversing camera and sporty spotlights up front.
The two-litre turbo petrol Cooper S engine gives 192bhp and a 6.7sec 0-62mph time with a 145mph top speed so it is brisk enough to back up those sporty looks and is accompanied by a tastefully noisy exhaust note. Despite that impressive performance this is still a Mini so around 43 mpg is achievable.
The seats are upholstered with exclusive MINI Yours Leather Lounge in Dark Cacao, complemented by contrasting green seat stitching and piping. The bonnet is highlighted with unique black bonnet stripes, into which is integrated the special edition 60 Years Logo.
Customisable ambient lighting, a wireless smartphone charger and parking sensors are fitted too and as another exclusive addition to this model you get two-tone 17in alloys as standard.
The car also has automatic LED headlights and rear lights and Mini’s Navigation Plus pack is included with an 8.8in touchscreen and sat-nav, Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto), Bluetooth and wireless charging as standard. It’s controlled by touch or a rotary dial between the seats and you also get a rear view camera, power folding door mirrors plus front and rear parking sensors as part of the Comfort Plus Pack.
Build quality certainly lives up to Mini’s ‘premium’ image but with only two somewhat cramped rear seats and three doors it’s not a car for buyers who require practicality, especially as the boot is more compact than those of cheaper small car rivals.
On the road however the Mini is great at nipping in and out of modern traffic around town with a usefully tight turning circle and is just as at home on the fast lane of the motorway during a long journey. Also, if you fold the rear seats down flat, there is a useful luggage space available.
The standard Mini Cooper S costs £22,285 and once you’ve added the Navigation Plus pack (£2000), Comfort Plus pack (£1600) and that metallic paint as well as a leather interior then the £29,995 price tag does not seem too big a step up saying you also get a degree of exclusivity as this is a limited edition for Mini’s birthday celebrations.
I had forgotten just how much fun Minis – even the modern ones – can be with go kart like handling that gives lots of smiles per mile… so much so that I am now adding a modern-ish Cooper to the fleet at Howarth Towers.
More details at www.mini.co.uk
By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth