's Great British Cars – MINI

Fri 28th Dec 2018

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.


The mere mention of the word Mini in connection with British motoring conjures up an era of the Swinging Sixties, and classic British car car design. Which is why when BMW acquired the Rover Group in 1994 they had to handle the ownership of the Mini brand very carefully.

It took BMW six years to finally realise their dream of a future for the classic small car, changing the name from Mini to MINI to ensure no confusion between the former to the successor.

As the last ever ‘old’ Mini rolled off the production line at Longbridge in October 2000, the line of succession was already well established as the new generation MINI Hatch and Hardtop went on sale in July 2001, proving to be an instant success.

The new generation came with an entry level One variant but also more sporty Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works editions which catered for those who wanted something a little more powerful underneath the bonnet. The use of John Cooper continued a long relationship between Mini and one of the legendary names in British sports racing.

BMW introduced a convertible to the line-up in 2005 and two years later revamped the line with a second generation of vehicles focusing on the Hatch design.

In keeping with BMW’s focus on innovation and expansion, the group introduced a longer MINI Clubman estate vehicle in 2008 and three years later followed it up with the unlikely SUV variant, the Countryman.

A Coupe, Roadster and Pacemen have all since followed showing that BMW are prepared to experiment with the aesthetics of MINI design.

Not all of these changes were met favourably by the critics, with one Pulitzer Prize winning journalist going so far as saying that the Countryman SUV variant could no longer be described as a MINI.

Despite those harsh words, the BMW MINI has won a host of design and motroring awards since being reborn at the start of the Millennium.

Years of manufacture: 2000-present 
Price when new: £12,396 
Price now: £500-£29,990 
Engine: 1,598cc 4cyl petrol, 115bhp 
Top speed: 124mph