We all know the brand, maybe we have even driven a classic MINI or a brand new one. All we can say is that the brand MINI is known for its unique driving characteristics, ‘those tiny little cars that feel like a GO-cart’. It was fifty years ago, to be precise on 26 August 1959, that British Motor Corporation revealed the result of their development activities in creating a new compact car. The date the MINI was born!

Right from the start there were two new models: The Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven. Minimum dimensions fitting seats for four passengers, driving characteristics and very affordable price were the main subjects. Production of the classic Mini finally ceased in the year 2000. Many different versions had been produced until that moment, which was followed by a new step in the world of MINI; the re-birth of the brand with the market launch of the new MINI in 2001.

Over the past eight years versions like the convertible, JCW GP and the re-engineered second generation have popped up. The second generation is available in several ranges, like the Clubman, Convertible and standard version. Within each range you can get a MINI Cooper S with its 128kW/175hp power unit, the 88kW/120hp MINI Cooper or the Mini One with 70KW/90hp.

John Cooper Works

There are also three unique models from John Cooper Works, the MINI John Cooper Works, the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, and the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible. They are the top of the band delivering power and performance through their 155kW/211hp four-cylinder engine derived from motorsport. This is the same amount of hp you get in a MINI Challenge car! You will also get larger and powerful disc brakes on all four wheels, DSC Dynamic Stability Control including DTC Dynamic Traction Control and an electronically controlled locking function on the front axle differential.

Over the past years the true MINI feeling and branding has become big business. BMW has worked on pushing the brand to a more exclusive price range. The old way in which the brand sold their tiny cars to the masses are over. The same can be said about the way they have evolved the car to a more mature vehicle instead of a tiny little racer with cornering capabilities you had never seen before a production car.

MINI United 2009

We got this feeling after our personal road test in a Mini Cooper S Cabrio heading up to Mini United 2009. The brand, MINI, celebrated their great anniversary with people from all over the world sharing the true MINI heritage. The festival was held at Silverstone Race Track in Great Britain last week.

Most of the guests drove to Silverstone in their own cars – in many cases covering hundreds of kilometres from countries like Russia, Spain, Greece and Sweden. The festival gave a nice overview of the 50-year model history of the classic Mini and the current MINI. The event showed true MINI-lovers and individualists showing his or her personal style through the unique design, features and equipment of their personal MINI car. Much more than you would ever expect from any other car brand in the world. Not one MINI was a like.

The people enjoyed music, shops selling new parts for their cars, track drives with their own Mini, Mini driver trainings, a carwash with some lovely ladies and a wide variety of every possible MINI car that has ever been produced.

MINI United 2009 was the main celebration for the fifty-year-old brand that has positioned themselves at the top of exclusivity in the market for tiny and mid-segment city car’s. A city car with the ability to amaze any future driver and containing an underlying secret we will unveil in our road test of the current Mini Cooper S Cabrio.

MINI is set for the future. Exclusivity and superb driving capabilities are the key words. In need of something that puts a big smile on your face and drives like a GO-cart? Just get yourself a MINI. As a MINI enthousiasts would say: “Nothing sticks like a MINI”.

Bart Goossens – Mbargo.be


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