Genius Original Mini
The original Mini was a thing of pure genius. Driven very much by the economic pressures of the age in which it was conceived, the mighty Mini was only made possible by the design and engineering brilliance of its creator, Alec Issigonis.
Front Wheel Drive
Sure, the overall concept – tiny car with room for a remarkable number of people, low production costs, cheap operating costs and front-wheel drive – wasn’t exactly revolutionary. After all, front-wheel drive had been around for decades and many small cars, some tinier than the Mini, already used this format.
Issigonis, however, combined a transverse-engine with integral gearbox (big check in the efficient packaging box), a wheel-at-each-corner format (big check in the efficient packaging and driving fun box), and an iconic, cheeky exterior that remains instantly-recognisable today and whose success is demonstrated by the continued popularity of BMW’s MINI. And here we are, more than 40 years after the original Mini stormed the roads of Britain, talking about fun and frugality.
BMW Mini Launched
You see, when the BMW MINI launched, it was welcomed in many quarters as a fine re-interpretation of the Mini character and purpose. Definitely, the requirements of modern motoring and the regulation of everything from safety and tail-pipe emissions to recycling of parts mean it would never have been possible to produce something that can truly replace the Mini, but the new MINI definitely carries on the tradition of cheekiness and fun launched by BMC in 1959.
Modern considerations meant the new MINI was always going to be substantially bigger than the original Mini. Furthermore, safety and comfort requirements mean all modern cars carry more equipment, safety features and other aspects of engineering that push up weight.
The MINI Cooper models, in particular offer great, sprightly fun. They can go, stop and grip in a most impressive manner but they’ve not really offered much in the way of green motoring.
New Mini Cooper D
The new MINI Cooper D, however, restores some of the cheap fun and environmental friendliness that were such strong points with the old Mini, with its low weight and tiny engine. The UK-built car, with a 1.6-litre diesel engine that produces only 99g/km of CO2, provides most of the thrills of its larger-engined siblings as well as the earth-loving behaviour they lack.
The common-rail engine generates 112bhp and 270Nm of torques. This means the MINI Cooper D with manual gearbox can get from rest to 100kph in just 9.7 seconds, with the automatic version needing just 0.4 seconds longer.
Whopping 74.3 MPG Fuel Consumption
The MINI Cooper D brings a welcome respite from cost at the forecourt, too, managing a combined fuel economy of 74.3mpg with a manual gearbox. The savings don’t stop there, however, as this model is exempt from having to pay the London Congestion Charge.
Otherwise, this is just like the other MINI Cooper models: lots of fun, lots of grins and a great combination of city practicality and long-distance cruising. The MINI Cooper D is so good that it’s already winning awards. At its 2011 Green Awards, consumer magazine What Car? picked this little eco-car as its Fun Green Car of the Year.