BMW haven’t had a problem shifting the new Mini, every year there seems to be a new model slightly bigger, slightly faster or slightly more efficient than the last. But in 2019 BMW are taking a gamble with the Mini, they are producing a fully electric Mini that BMW hopes will one day become their main Mini car. To get people excited about the idea of an electric Mini BMW may have made a mistake though. BMW have produced a one off electric classic Mini. Why is this a mistake you ask, well if they are capable of making one electric classic Mini whats stopping them from reproducing the original Mini that has been such a success since the 60’s. If someone had to choose between the modern Mini and the original there would be a lot of new Minis left over.
The electric Mini was specifically built for the New York International Auto show as promotional material for Minis electric future. The Mini on the surface resembles the very same Mini on which its based with its classic red paint complemented by the white roof and iconic bonnet stripe. On closer inspection though the original Mini badge has been replaced with a classically styled version of the new Mini electric emblem seen on both the bonnet and wheel hubs. BMW are saying: “The spontaneous power of its electric motor provides a new dimension to the unmistakable go-kart feeling”. Shame nobody will ever get to feel that ‘new dimension’ as they aren’t making any more.
Why is it that when nobody cares about a classic car, the company seems to be determined to bring it back, cars such as the Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip that I talked about last week. But when there is a clear want for a modern version of a classic the company refuses such as this Mini. BMW make us a new Mini! (well not a new Mini just the old one again). I guess we’ll just have to pick up an original classic or buy an incredibly over priced Mini Remastered from DB automotive.
Classic Mini Electric Gallery
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Mini have shown off the newest addition to the range, the 1499 GT. The new model is designed to celebrate the 1275 GT model from the original range. The new 1499 GT uses a turbocharged 1.5 litre 3 cylinder engine producing 101BHP, the same engine as the rest of the base Mini range. The 1499 GT 0-62 time is the same as the rest of the base level Minis, 10.1 seconds.
So what’s different about the new Mini then, well the new 1499 GT is only available in two colours, white or black. The Black model features exclusive decals in gold, whilst the white version gets the same decals in black. The Mini 1499 GT also gets the front and rear bumpers and the spoiler from the top end JCW Mini. The key part of the Mini 1499GT is the JCW Mini suspension it gets. Making this Mini more than just a visual upgrade.
The Mini 1499 GT is on sale now for £16,990 and Mini are expecting the 1499 examples to sell out quickly. But is it worth it? Not really the handling of the standard Mini is exceptional, is the JCW better yes but it’s not life changing. The 1499 GT is designed to celebrate the 1275 GT, my personal favourite Mini. What was special about the 1275 GT was the bigger engine than the standard 998CC. To keep the base model engine in this supposedly special edition gives the view that this is just an on paper upgrade and has no real significant value to the Mini brand. Nothing is new on the 1499 GT its just a new combination from existing Mini parts.
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The Mini Clubman is now more powerful and sportier than ever. the Mini Clubman has been given a going over by the John Cooper works team, to create a car that BMW say: “Offers all the style, practicality and fresh-thinking of the Clubman, combined with the high performance and sporting dynamics of the John Cooper Works range.” The New JCW Clubman boasts an impressive 231BHP from the new 2-litre turbocharged engine, 39 more than the standard Cooper S. The larger intercooler on the JCW gives the added bonus of 350nm of torque.
However all the sporty new upgrades don’t mean Mini have forgotten about the emissions. The JCW Clubman reaches a respectable 38.2MPG with CO2 output of 168g/km however if the optional 8-speed sports steptronic gearbox is fitted the Mini gets boosted to 41.5MPG and only 154g/km certainly a worthy option. The new Clubman JCW also features a unique four wheel drive system allowing the car to reach peak performance in all road conditions. The system along with the aid of launch control allows the Clubman JCW to get to 62MPH in 6.3 seconds.
The Clubman JCW sees all the suspension upgrades you expect to see on a quick Mini, variable suspension options with Sport, Mid and Green. Sport mode also increases the sensitivity of the throttle pedal along with providing a louder engine sound through the vehicle acoustics. Brakes have been upgraded as well with the Clubman JCW seeing 4 piston calipers from brake specialists Brembo.
As you’d expect the upgrades aren’t just underneath the body, the exterior has received the sporting treatment with the addition of complete new front face with intakes in the place of the standard Clubman’s fog lights directing cool air to the cars brakes. Unique sills roof spoiler and rear apron have been added to reduce aerodynamic lift. And of course not forgetting the smattering of JCW badges across the whole car, on the sills the front wing indicators and the front grill.