The new Mini 1 was a success, it sold well and by all reports was a great drive, but I consider it a failure. The new new Mini 2 seems like a incremental advance on the new Mini 1 but still misses the point.
For me the Alec Issigonis Austin Mini was a design icon because it combined innovative (if not original) layout, clever packaging, astounding (for it’s time) handling and became a truly classless car, quite a feat in England. It was fatally flawed by lousy mechanicals (engine/gearbox sharing oil), high cost and dubious build quality.
So what makes the Mini 1/2 a failure? It isn’t “Mini” (too big), doesn’t set any standards for mechanical design, layout or packaging, it’s expensive and while, by all reports, it’s a great drive that isn’t enough to make it an icon.
I was following a Mini 1 along the motorway the other day and a Smart (fortwo) went by showing what a lazy, lardy, derivative design the new Mini is. There was hope the Mini 2 would be more radical but I think the true new Mini, even with it’s handling flaws, is a smart.
New Mini 2 - First Official Pictures - CAR Magazine
The disguise is off. No more speculation, spy shots or sneak previews - this is the face of the all-new, faster, bigger, better Mini.
Update: 18–08–2006 – A Real New Mini review
smart fortwo revisited - www.thetruthaboutcars.com
While I could fully deconstruct the utter strangeness of the fourtwo’s design, this paragraph is already longer than the car itself….
Update: 20–08–2006 – Great story about the design of the original, iconic, Mini
A Brief History of an Icon - www.austin-rover.co.uk
What was the reasoning for such a car to be produced, and by the terribly conservative BMC, of all companies?