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.