What is it?

With the current emphasis on cheap cars right across Europe, it makes plenty of sense for BMW to launch a lower-cost Mini, the First, which in effect takes the price back to where it was when the Mini One first hit the market eight years ago.

If you’re happy with steel wheels and a low-output version of the British-made 1.4-litre petrol engine, you need pay only £10,950 for the new model.

What’s it like?

When you drive the First, its lack of power is immediately obvious in the leisurely acceleration (0-62mph in 13.2sec).

However, there’s still enough torque to propel the car at decent cruising speeds in its tall sixth gear, and for drivers who care more about economy than performance it is quick enough, if you use the gears.

It steers and handles neatly, just like the rest of the Mini family. You also get all the other Mini advantages, including a typical BMW feeling of solidity and quality.

The major surprise is what you don’t have to do without; the First comes with a stop-start system, a six-speed gearbox, chassis stability control and a shift light which helps you get close to the impressive 53.3mpg combined fuel consumption figure quoted for the car.

The First scores on other economy fronts, too. In exchange for just £185, you can cover service and maintenance for the next five years.

And, just like all other Minis, you can dress it up with various option packs (Design, Tech and Salt) but none of them enhance the car’s economy, which is its point.

Should I buy one?

The Mini First takes BMW’s baby right back into the top-value £10k arena, where the Mini One started life in 2001.

Steve Cropley

Join the debate

Comments
22

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

Another BMW marketing workout in cynicsm. Instead of setting yourself for 'oh look, I couldn't really afford to buy alloys on my Mini' just get a decently specced Fiat 500 and be done with it.

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

A small note, this car comes with hub-caps, which makes it marginally better than the more expensive ONE which comes with plain old steel wheels standard fit.

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

Keep it simple with no extra`s (stripes and union jacks esp!) and a Mini First in a non metallic colour is the most attractive model in the whole range. I like it.

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

manicm wrote:
just get a decently specced Fiat 500 and be done with it.

A decently specced 500? How about the chic Grande Punto Sporting with 120bhp Turbo. Goes like the absolute clappers and has loads more space, not to mention being fully equipped.

Plus, the Mini is no longer a style icon, far too common and obvious.

Competance executes, character inspires

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

Oh, and it is not 10 grand, its 11 before you put anything in it, so cheap/good value it aint.

Competance executes, character inspires

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

Fair play for making a cheaper version, but it REALLY irritates me when manufacturers re-tune engines for cheaper cars. It's just a software tune, and it probably cost BMW more to develop this new tune, with associated stability control mods etc, rather than just leave it as it is, as and give the buyer the full use of the engine that they've actually paid for. I'm not sure what the economy figures are for this compared to the normal 1.4, but often the economy figures are identical, as the engine is just capped at a certain bhp, meaning there's no economy benefit either.

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
it makes plenty of sense for BMW to launch a lower-cost Min

That's what a MINI was always supposed to be about anyway: lower cost.

Proof, if it were needed, that BMW have lost it's way with the brand?

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

Squonk61 wrote:
Proof, if it were needed, that BMW have lost it's way with the brand?

No they have not they are just reacting to market conditions. For the past few years everybody felt rich so they bought ever more expensive versions of various models.

Now the economy is in recession buyers want cheaper versions, common sense really.

With talk of a new BMW sub brand, electric mini`s and the re-invention of the 3 series as an eco-warrior i think BMW know what they are doing.

And before the avalanche of accusations that i love german cars begins i dont drive a BMW or a Mini.

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

I'm not sure how you can compare a Mini to a Fiat 500 - the depth of engineering and quality in the Mini is on another level to that offered by the 500. As a consequence, the Mini feels like a quality product and drives like a quality product - the 500 doesn't and the price differential reflects that, it's as simple as that really.

Those wheel trims are vile though - where as I quite like the look of the Mini One on bare steelies

Re: Mini First

4 years 51 weeks ago

Chips wrote:
I'm not sure how you can compare a Mini to a Fiat 500 - the depth of engineering and quality in the Mini is on another level to that offered by the 500. As a consequence, the Mini feels like a quality product and drives like a quality product - the 500 doesn't and the price differential reflects that, it's as simple as that really.

Very true, but how many average customers really care at this price point? I may care and so may you, but enthusiasts make up such a small sector of the market now for this sort of car.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Please register or login to post a comment.

Driven this week

  • Nissan X-Trail 1.6 dCi UK first drive review

    Nissan X-Trail 1.6 dCi UK first drive review

    First drive
    30 July 2014 12:16pm

    Crossover lessons have been put into practice with the X-Trail, resulting in a near class-leading SUV

  • Alpina B4 Biturbo first drive review

    Alpina B4 Biturbo first drive review

    First drive
    30 July 2014 12:15pm

    Alpina’s most direct swipe at a BMW M car yet produces an almost entirely convincing result

  • Audi S3 cabriolet UK first drive review

    Audi S3 cabriolet UK first drive review

    First drive
    29 July 2014

    Stylish high-performance compact cabriolet is well executed but a harsh ride and lifeless steering dent its appeal

  • Volkswagen Golf SV 1.6 TDI SE first drive review

    Volkswagen Golf SV 1.6 TDI SE first drive review

    First drive
    29 July 2014

    Larger, more spacious Golf majors on practicality, but a lack of driver involvement leaves it second behind Ford's C-Max

  • BMW M3

    BMW M3

    Car review
    28 July 2014

    You’d imagine that a higher roofline and four doors would hinder the M3 saloon’s capabilities compared to the M4 coupé, but you'd be wrong