I owned an original Mini and I loved it. It was my first car and taught me a lot about driving and repairing cars. When the first BMW MINI (Capitals designate the new car) came out, I instantly thought BMW had cynically bought the brand to generate money and nothing else. I had a “Bavarian Mini Wreckers” sticker in the back window of my old Studio 2 Mini to show my loyalty.
My skepticism toward the new German car was because it was not very British. It was also a lot larger (not exactly “mini”) and seemingly was created to generate money from fashion victims rather than original Mini drivers. Also the new MINI looked and smelt very different to my old beast, though I doubt the smell of strong fabric cleaner and petrol sells cars these days.
Over time this cynicism died down a bit and even today I quite like some of the MINI models, particularly the quick variants. I couldn’t see myself driving such a cartoony pastiche, but I appreciate the car lots more than when it first appeared.
Since then, various bizarre new MINI’s have been launched to cover niches I never thought existed. From the bulbous Countryman, to the weird Coupe and pointless Paceman.
Even the designer of the “New MINI” Frank Stephenson (who later worked for McLaren and Ferrari) didn’t like this new direction. Asked about the new models Frank said “I don’t like the whole new trend at all. I think they just wildly abused the brand. And they’ve gone away from their roots in such a way that now the buyers are not the same buyers”.
Having a Countryman in the range is probably valid (though it is completely oversized), the Paceman and Coupe are unforgivably pointless cars designed to be sold to gullible fashion victims.
When you compare that against the genius behind the genius packaging and design of the original Mini,the cynical sales machine that is the new MINI brand, is just a heartless cash generator dressed up as a cute brand.