Heritage

MINI celebrates 60 years of iconic style

MINI is celebrating its 60th birthday in 2019.

Photo courtesy of MINI

McCartney. Sellers. Statham. Madonna. McQueen. The names that have driven them are as iconic in their industry as the name MINI is in its.

This year, MINI turned 60. It was on August 26, 1959 that the car made its debut in Oxford, England following the design charge of creating a competitor to German and French micro-cars.

Over the years, MINI has hit a number of milestones, but aside from the overall launch, perhaps the brand's most influential moment is when John Cooper got involved. His development of the Mini Cooper gave the brand stronger performance chops, strengthened by the car's in at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, and 1967.

1964 MINI rally Paddy Hopkirk Paddy Hopkirk won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. Photo courtesy of MINI

In 1967, the car took center stage on the silver screen alongside Michael Caine in "The Italian Job." The MINI became a status symbol as owners including George Harrison from The Beatles and legendary actor and motoring enthusiast Steve McQueen purchased one for themselves. After a seven-year run, the first-generation MINI's tenure came to an end.

The Italian Job 1969 Cars racing down staircase in a scene from the film "The Italian Job", 1969. Photo by Getty Images

In 1999, MINI celebrated its 40th anniversary and was named the "European Car of the Century by 130 international automotive journalists. MINI sold 5.3 million cars in its first 40 years in business.

With great privilege comes great responsibility. By 2000, MINI had became part of the BMW family and the company tasked its employees with redesigning the vehicle while maintaining the hallmark equipment and branding MINI enthusiasts had come to know and love.

BMW introduced a new generation of MINI Cooper models in 2001. Cooper, Cooper S, and One models were available. The John Cooper Works range of tuning options quickly followed.

Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Mos Def brought the MINI back to the tip of American tongues when they starred in the 2003 remake of "The Italian Job."

The Italian Job 2003 The entrance at the premiere after-party for "The Italian Job" on May 27, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Getty Images

MINI owners were able to have the wind in their hair beginning in 2005 when the company introduced their first convertible. The model, with a full automatic roof, came in Cooper, Cooper S, and One variants. In 2007, the company followed up with MINI Hardtop convertible models and a John Cooper Works grade arrived in 2008.

In the last decade, the company has introduced Coupe, Roadster, and Paceman models, which have since bid "cheerio," but the fresh Countryman and Clubman MINIs are still on sale today.

This year, the company debuted a new all-electric MINI, dubbed the MINI Cooper SE. The model delivers around 125 miles of range and shares components with the BMW i3. The new vehicle will reach dealerships later this year.

Trending News

 
 

New AWD performance car

The Subaru WRX is all-new for 2022

The new WRX's body cladding is already stirring up controversy.

Subaru

The Subaru WRX is a rally-bred performance car that offers a unique mix of rowdy all-wheel drive fun, a value price, and youthful styling. The car is long overdue for an update, though, and Subaru is doing just that for the 2022 model year. The fifth-generation WRX is all-new, and features a more powerful engine, along with several go-fast upgrades.

2022 Subaru WRX Both a manual and an automatic transmission will be offered.Subaru

A new GT trim joins the WRX lineup for 2022. It features a new automatic transmission, adaptive dampers, and drive mode selections. With various customization options available to the driver, the system offers up to 430 different settings combinations. The GT's interior adds Recaro seats wrapped in Ultrasuede with red stitching. The GT also gets exclusive 18-inch wheels.

Though still a Boxer engine, the 2022 WRX's powerplant is new and more powerful than before. It delivers 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, as well as a broader torque curve. Subaru says that the larger engine plus an electronically controlled turbo wastegate and air bypass valves improve responsiveness and acceleration.

2022 Subaru WRX A larger 11.6-inch infotainment screen is on board. Subaru

All WRX models come with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel drive system and active torque vectoring, which can shift power to individual wheels that need the most traction. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a new Subaru Performance Transmission is available, which features faster shifts and other features to improve performance.

The 2022 WRX also gets a tech upgrade that brings a large 11.6-inch tablet-style touchscreen. It runs Subaru Starlink infotainment, handles HVAC and vehicle controls, and offers split-screen functionality for two apps to run simultaneously. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and HD radio. An upgraded version of the system also offers navigation with three years of free map updates.

2022 Subaru WRX Subaru will offer a new GT trim with upgraded suspension and finishes.Subaru

As it has done with many of its other vehicles, Subaru is equipping every WRX with its EyeSight suite of advanced driver aids. The packge includes lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and more. A new available automatic emergency steering system works with the car's pre-collision braking feature to help avoid collisions at speeds under 50 mph.

Trending News

 
 

The 2022 Mini Cooper SE alongside the 2009 Mini E

Photo courtesy of MINI

The Amelia Island Concours is an event that features some of the rarest and most desirable vehicles in the world today, but it has increasingly become a launchpad for automakers' latest models. This year, Mini took the opportunity to unveil updates to its Cooper SE. The all-electric car was shown off as an updated 2022 model.

The new Cooper SE features updated front and rear styling, an overhauled interior, and several new color options, including a multi-color roof. The Mini Cooper SE is still one of the more fun-to-drive EVs on the market, as its small size and low center of gravity make it just about the closest thing to a go-kart that can be legally driven on the road.

Mini at Amelia Island 2009 Mini E alongside 2022 Cooper SEPhoto courtesy of MINI

The SE comes standard with an 8.8-inch digital gauge cluster, a heated steering wheel, lane departure warnings, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Pricing remains reasonable, making the Cooper SEthe most attainable EV on sale today, according to Mini. The car's base pricing is held at the previous model year's number, and starts at $29,900. Even after the $850 destination charge is added, the car clocks in at a great price. That's before any federal or state tax credits are applied, which can make the car's final price tumble below $20,000 for many buyers.

The 2022 Mini Cooper SE gets attractive updates and a stellar price, so what's the downside? Well, range is the biggest one. On a full charge, the Cooper SE will only be able to travel 114 miles – a far cry from other EVs' abilities, which can top 300 miles for some cases. To be fair, those vehicles cost more, so it's a tradeoff that buyers will have to negotiate. That range is still more than suitable for an urban commuter, and two major EV publications agree. The car won Urban Green Car of the Year from Green Car Journal and took second place for Greenest Car by Greencars.org.

Mini at Amelia Island Updated 2022 Mini Cooper SEPhoto courtesy of MINI

Joining the 2022 Cooper SE was Mini's first all-electric vehicle, and established the automaker as an early player in the EV space. Mini, along with parent company BMW, used the vehicles as rolling test beds for EV technology, and referred to the first customers as "Electronauts." The cars were only available for a one-year lease at a cost of $850 per month, and offered up to 100 miles of range and 204 horsepower.

Trending News