The BMW-owned MINI is a successor to the hugely popular Mini Cooper produced between 1959 and 2000, but is technically unrelated to the original model. Many Mini Cooper enthusiasts object to the MINI--spelt with all capital letters--being compared to the original because it possesses none of the characteristics other than a similarity in body design. More than 1 million MINIs have been sold since BMW took over production.
The original Mini Cooper enjoyed an exceptionally long run with various models until the cash-strapped Rover Group, the car's owner, halted production in 2000. Almost immediately, BMW picked up the concept and introduced the BMW MINI. The new version is bigger, more powerful and employs more safety features. In 2007, it was redesigned with its mechanical components updated.
The MINI is a high-performance car in a small package that is based on the historic European version with an auto racing pedigree.
The vehicle is marketed directly to the American consumer as a fuel-efficient, relatively low-cost alternative to European sports car imports.
The vehicle is offered in a hatchback, convertible and the Clubman, with the "S" model being a supercharged package.
The lasting advantage of the MINI is the sculpted interior that makes the most of limited space, and a large, centrally mounted speedo pod.
The base Mini Cooper measures 145.6 inches in length with a 97.1-inch wheelbase, and is powered by a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine generating 118 horsepower.
The Mini in all its variations was named European Car of the Century by a panel of 130 international automotive journalists.