The ultimate pocket rocket: Mini turns 60, celebrates with a special model
The Mini Cooper S 5 Door 60 Years Edition pays homage to its inherent iconic styling and sportiness. And it isn’t just special, but practical too. Here’s why.
You would expect most 60-year-olds to slow down and take it easy when they hit that milestone age. But not this particular sexagenarian; it’s still living life in the fast lane.
The Mini turns 60 this year and far from easing off the gas pedal, the iconic British brand continues racing ahead with a very special model, the Mini Cooper S 5 Door 60 Years Edition.
It was in early 1959 that a very compact and very clever car was introduced to the world. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, this dinky two-door model was ahead of its time for being not only space-efficient but also extremely fuel-efficient.
As it turned out, it was a hit and went on to become one of the most influential cars in cultural as well as automotive history.
Today’s modern Mini is a little larger but it still retains all the original’s characteristics, such as the distinctive design and kart-like handling.
To mark its diamond jubilee, the 60 Years Edition is available only with the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S variants, either in 3 Door or 5 Door bodystyles.
The Cooper S is the flagship model. With its powerful 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to a seven-speed dual clutch sports transmission to drive the front wheels, the Cooper S is the ultimate pocket rocket.
As the Mini Cooper S 5 Door 60 Years Edition, it is even more exciting.
Available only in British Racing Green paintwork (in a new and lighter shade than before) with a white or black roof, it immediately stands out for its unique anniversary accents on the exterior – the specially designed black bonnet stripes with white and oak pinstripes, the side scuttle badging on the front fenders with the 60 years insignia, and the new two-tone six-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels.
Erstwhile chrome embellishments in the bumpers have also been blacked out.
But open the front door for a surprise that shines out, literally; the door mirror projects the 60 years insignia on the ground instead of the familiar Mini emblem.
Welcoming you into the upscale interior of the Cooper S are the front door entry strips with the 60 years insignia. The standard leather upholstery is the Mini Yours Lounge 60 Years Dark Maroon (although it looks more like a delicious chocolatey brown), with its green piping reflecting off the dashboard fascia’s black foil and pinstripes in British Racing Green and Dark Silver.
Slide into the ergonomic driver’s sports seat and grasp the reassuringly thick rim of the leather steering wheel; you will find a small “60’’ logo peeking out from the centre spoke.
Then shift the electronic gear lever into D and floor the accelerator for one of the most entertaining rides on the road (the Cooper S also comes with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles).
The Mini Cooper S 5 Door 60 Years Edition’s punchy engine is exceptionally responsive and the steering talkatively communicative. It has deep reserves of torque and a melodious exhaust that pops and burbles, with a Sport setting that allows for more enthusiastic driving.
Yet it comes with two back doors and a spacious rear bench for added usability, as well as the latest infotainment system featuring the Mini Connected suite of services.
The latter includes Real-Time Road Traffic Information or RTTI that delivers alerts about traffic jams and accidents via the navigation system, and a news feed to provide the latest updates from around the world. There is even an SOS button to send a distress call in case of an emergency.
Banded B for neutral under VES and priced at S$160,888, the Mini Cooper S 5 Door 60 Years Edition is not only special but practical too.
MINI Cooper S 5 Door 60 Years Edition
Engine – 1,998 cc inline-4 turbocharged
Gearbox – 7-speed dual clutch transmission
Max power – 192 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
Max torque – 280 Nm @ 1,350-4,600 rpm
0-100 kmh – 6.8 secs
Top speed – 235 kmh
VES band – B (neutral)
Distributor – Eurokars Habitat
MINI THROUGH THE YEARS
The very first Mini was a triumph of innovative design and engineering genius.
Exactly six decades ago, Sir Alec Issigonis conjured up something unthinkable for that day and age – a light, compact and fuel-efficient car. Aptly named Mini, it was born in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis and fuel shortages in Britain.
To say Sir Alec’s Mini was brilliant is an understatement. It used a transverse engine to drive the front wheels, with clever gearbox and suspension solutions to save more space, thus ensuring that the Mini was small on the outside but big on the inside.
Then there was the design. It was not only distinctive but easy to build.
Over some four decades and seven iterations, Sir Alec’s iconic design persevered.
From the Mark I Mini in 1959, right up to the original car’s final production model in 2000, it was accompanied along the way by various badges and bodystyles.
There were the Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf; and Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Mini Countryman.
There were also the famously utiliarian Mini Van and Mini Moke.
And of course, the famous Mini Cooper S – the original pocket rocket that was immortalised in The Italian Job, that classic 1969 British comedy starring Michael Caine.
THE BMW ERA
In 1994, German luxury carmaker BMW acquired the Mini brand through the purchase of its owner, the Rover Group.
In 2001, the first Mini from BMW was unveiled as a brand new premium compact car.
BMW also introduced new models and bodystyles.
The basic variants were One, Cooper and Cooper S, which had different engines.
They were also available in bodystyles such as Coupe, Convertible, Countryman, Clubman, Paceman and Roadster.
The current model was launched in 2013 as the third-generation car.