Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: September 30, 2019
It has been sixty years since the launch of the original, compact, and timeless icon that we have come to know and love as the MINI. Charming, cute, and made famous by Mr. Bean, the automaker has decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the MINI brand by launching a special edition package. Available for both the 3-Door or 5-Door hatch, and the Cooper or Cooper S, for $6,900, the MINI 60 Years Edition adds black bonnet stripes embedded with Aspen White and British Oak pinstripes, a 60th insignia inscribed onto the side scuttles, door sills, puddle lights, and steering wheel, and a unique 17-inch wheel design. The seats house a 60th badge on the side, as well an exclusive Dark Maroon leather (comes off more as dark brown) and green piping all throughout the interior.
To top it off, these Pepper White roofed MINIs are dressed up in a fitting shade of British Racing Green, but you can request three other paints: Melting Silver, Midnight Black, and Lapisluxury Blue. I think it’s one of the best looking specs I’ve ever laid my eyes on, a nod to the past that combines retro nostalgia with modern design. The 60 Years Edition also receives a host of standard features like a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, rain sensor with automatic headlamps, LED fog lights, LED headlights with cornering function, and GPS navigation.
Keep in mind that the 60 Years Edition is an aesthetics-only package, so there are no alterations to the MINI’s signature go-kart handling and peppy driving dynamics. Good thing, as the Cooper S we drove was exactly as we’d remembered: small, light, and eager to zip and zag through congested traffic. The Cooper S houses a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four under the hood, punching out a respectful 192 hp and 207 lb-ft, enough for it to sprint from 0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds. The MINI routes that power through an optional 8-speed automatic transmission ($1,400), though you can have three pedals and row the gears yourself if you are so inclined. MINI is one of the only automakers to still offer a manual on their small hatchbacks in Canada.
While the power output may not seem like much, the MINI’s small stature and diminutive footprint means it’s more than enough to quickly hit triple digit speeds without breaking a sweat. Stick it in Sport Mode, slap the shifter into Sport, and hang on tight. Maximum torque comes on early at 1,350 rpm, and does not let up until a staggering 4,600 rpm, around the same time you want to start shifting. With such an eager powertrain and capable chassis, the Cooper S eggs you to drive fast, and it even manages to turn low-speed drives into a joy.
Whenever I get out of the MINI or pick up a friend, the first comment I always receive is, “How do you even fit in that thing? Aren’t you six-feet tall?” The common misconception that the MINI is well, mini, may have been true back in 1959 when Alec Issigonis came up with the design, but this new 2019 model is anything but. The three-door hatchback we tested was roomy, spacious, and offered wonderful sightlines all around the vehicle. Combined with a rear view camera and rear windows, blind spots are all but non-existent. The seating position is low, the steering wheel telescopes a considerable amount to welcome even the tallest of drivers, and the BMW-sourced infotainment unit combined with a rotary dial is one of the most intuitive in the business. Sure, the rear seats on this 3-Door model are only suitable for small children and cargo, and the adjustable center armrest gets in the way of the storage cubby and handbrake, but these are just small detriments overshadowed by an otherwise well-packaged interior. Not bad for a hatchback that once, could barely fit a tall and lanky Mr. Bean.
Whether it’s just for the British Racing Green paint colour or to own a piece of history, the MINI 60 Years Edition is a nostalgic nod to its storied past. While it doesn’t change the essence of what makes the MINI such a unique, livable, and dynamic hatchback, it’s for the better. The Cooper S is already one of our highest recommended premium vehicles under $35,000, and adding a dose of exclusivity only makes it a better deal. Happy 60th Birthday, MINI.
Model: 2019 MINI Cooper S 60 Years Edition
Paint Type: British Racing Green
Base Price: $27,390
Price as Tested: $35,690
Length/Width/Height (mm): 3,858 / 1,727 / 1,414
Curb weight (kg): 1,281
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower: 192 hp @ 5,000 - 6,000 rpm
Torque: 207 lb-ft @ 1,350 - 4,600 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 7.8
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.3 / 7.3 / 8.4