The original MINI vs the all-new MINI Hatch
Icons of the motor industry are normally cars that sit well and are truly out of the budget of the majority of driver’s financial clout. The MINI was different though when it was first put on sale in 1959; being a small car that made driving affordable, stylish and revolutionised the segment in a way never seen before. This made sure MINI instantly became one of Britain’s best-loved small cars and that remains the case today.
However, the MINI range is somewhat different now to how it used to look with a host of new models bought to market by new owners, BMW. Nowadays, you can have your pick from a hatchback, convertible, roadster, Clubman, Paceman and Countryman in range of specifications. But, the real changes to the MINI can be seen when comparing the all-new entry-level MINI Hatch, available at Coopermini.co.uk from 2014, to the 1959 model:
The starkest contrast between the current model and the opening gambit has to be the sheer size. BMW clearly believes that when it comes to the MINI, bigger is better. The figures tell you everything you need to know with the new Hatch being more than two and a half feet longer, seven inches wider and two inches taller than the first MINI. The only thing that has truly stayed the same is the amount of seats throughout; staying steady at four only.
The style of the original MINI was the key reason for it being taken into the British public’s hearts. First views of the new MINI Hatch at its World Premiere at the Oxford Plant in November show how the latest incarnation is a much fiercer and muscular-looking car. The back-end is far more voluptuous and the all-over bulkier appearance does detract from the small more distinguished charm of the original.
As you’d imagine the comparison in the performance between the two is hardly fair given the improvements to engineering which is extremely vast. The top speed of the original was just 72mph, whereas the latest model is topping 130mph; while the 0-60 pace is almost twenty seconds quicker. In the economy stakes the new engines will do more than 20mpg more than their predecessors.
Technology is something that has improved out of sight under BMW stewardship with connectivity for all tablets and MP3 players. It is an unfair comparison really, but it does highlight just how far technology in such an iconic car has come since the sixties. The new Hatch can also boast parking assists, an innovatively-lit cockpit-like driving console and cruise control capability.
For modern driving you should pick the new Hatch, but the original MINI still has the charm that its contemporary rival cannot match.