The MINI that thinks it’s a Rolls Royce
By Mike Hanlon
April 14, 2011
The MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD has little to do with the Goodwood Festival of Speed, for which the small pocket of Southern England is best known. Goodwood is also the location of the Rolls-Royce Design division, and now that Germany's BMW owns both British marques, it is using the brand values of Rolls Royce to craft an unmistakably upmarket, limited edition MINI by using Rolls Royce materials and craftsmanship.
We all like to feel special, so we expect the 1000 limited edition run of the Mini Roller to sell out pretty quickly, and you can expect most demand to come from China – it's no coincidence that the car will be launched at Auto Shanghai next week.
As we've covered before, China has emerged rapidly since the major reforms of 1978, and like most other humans who have come from poverty, brand names and image are critically important to the nouveau riche. So great is the Chinese thirst for luxury goods that its current 15% share of the world luxury goods market is predicted to grow at 25% per annum to 44% of the world market within a decade (CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets).
So what has Rolls Royce added to the MINI? The dashboard is finished in Walnut Burr and black nappa leather, the roof lining is Cashmere wool, and the sun visors and foot mats are deep-pile lambs wool borrowed straight from the current Rolls-Royce range. Most of this skin-deep luxury is Rolls' proprietary "cornsilk" color, offset with rich "Piano black" highlights, while the quality of the Diamond Black metallic paint on the exterior is also borrowed from the current Rolls-Royce color chart. The leather which makes up a large part of the interior is also sumptuous RR quality. The list of refinements borrowed from Rolls Royce is long and detailed and includes all the tricks that make people feel satisfied for having paid a king's ransom for their automobile, so owners of the new MINI Roller should be immensely pleased to have sampled bourgeois quality at a proletarian price.
Otherwise, it's a MINI with the same 135 kW turbo 1.6 liter engine as the Cooper S, 17-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, Park Distance Control, and the MINI Visual Boost Radio audio system including a Harman Kardon hi-fi loudspeaker system.
Deliveries of the MINI Roller, which will launch as part of the exclusive MINI Yours product line, are scheduled to start this time next year. No details have yet been given on price.