From £11,350
Improved base Mini, not exactly cheap but refined, comfortable and with a better engine

Our Verdict

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7 June 2010

What is it?

BMW has never pretended that entry to Mini ownership is cheap. The least you can spend these days is £11,160 for the new 1.6-litre Mini First, and that comes with a specification a bit too spartan for most of today’s owners. No air-con, for instance. For practical purposes, Minis start at around £14,000.

Once you’ve bought the car, however, the savings begin. Residuals are rock-solid; quality and reliability compare with cars costing five times as much. Just write that cheque, Mini people say, and you’re on to a winner.

For 2011, Mini is taking a couple of useful economy steps. First, by launching this bigger-engined First, still with 74bhp but with its torque output boosted by 17 per cent to 103lb ft. Second, by launching a ‘Minimalist’ version of the Mini One, which has steel wheels with wind-cheating flat hubcaps, low-resistance tyres, regenerative braking and standard stop-start for its 97bhp version of the 1.6-litre engine, all for a premium of £330 and a total price of £12,950.

See test pics of the Mini First

What's it like

The Minimalist’s main function is to cut a One’s emissions to 119g/km (just below the tax break at 120g/km). In all other respects, a First makes more sense.

However, although the previous First was engaging, it always felt distinctly puny, especially when you were trying to pass slower traffic or tackle long hills.

The new version keeps the six-speed gearbox and high overall gearing of more powerful models, but its extra torque makes it much easier and smoother to drive. It requires less gearchanging and can even be more frugal in real-world use. It will now maintain an easy 70mph cruise, with the engine turning at less than 3000rpm in sixth.

On its standard (and somewhat unfashionable-looking) 15in steel wheels, it rides quietly and more smoothly than most other Mini models, and the steering turn-in is still quick and predictable.

Should I buy one?

In short, with the addition of this slightly bigger engine – which actually saves fuel – Mini has changed its entry-level car from a curiosity to a practical proposition for those who aren’t easily seduced by stripes, body décor and stand-out wheels. There won’t be many buyers like this, but there will be some.

See all the latest Mini reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Comments
32

10 June 2010

For 2011?

Hasn't this 1.6 engine been in the First and One for a couple of months now?

10 June 2010

1510kg! A mk6 fiesta's only just over a tonne! Didn't think one of these would weigh so much. Can't be right can it?

10 June 2010

74bhp from a 1.6? Seriously?! Seriously?! Twelve years ago I had a 1.4 that produced 90bhp. I expect a minimum 100bhp, and easily up to 120bhp from a 1.6, especially one costing £14k with aircon. Appalling - cynically lowering an entry point by detuning an engine and stripping it of kit just to squeeze more people in to a car that they think makes them individual and fun. Pah.

10 June 2010

I am as flabbergasted by the flabby weight surely to goodness a mini is not a Mini if it really weighs 1510 kgs .

Is that a typo or is it really true thats practically double the weight of the original.

10 June 2010

does this car come with a stereo\cd player or is that an extra as well?

10 June 2010

[quote Old Toad]

I am as flabbergasted by the flabby weight surely to goodness a mini is not a Mini if it really weighs 1510 kgs .

Is that a typo or is it really true thats practically double the weight of the original.

[/quote]

No. Steve typed in the permitted total weight figure - 1,510 kg (car weight plus max payload). The car weighs 1,135 kg, which includes driver weight of 68 kgs, 7 kgs of luggage, and a 90% full fuel tank(40 litres capacity), around 105 kgs in all, making empty vehicle weight around 1,030 kg.

source: http://www.mini.de/de/de/mini_one/index.jsp

I might be wrong of course, and Steve may have got the 1.5 tonne+ figure by weighing the car with himself onboard, which might also explain the lacklustre acceleration figure.

10 June 2010

[quote Old Toad]1510 kgs .[/quote]

[quote Old Toad]Is that a typo [/quote]?

I would think so. The Cooper D Autocar tested in October 2007 weighs in at 1295KG (a bit bloaty still for a small car). I'd assume the First will, with a LOT less equipment and a petrol engine, be lighter.

10 June 2010

[quote nicksheele]

No. Steve typed in the permitted total weight figure - 1,510 kg (car weight plus max payload). The car weighs 1,135 kg, which includes driver weight of 68 kgs, 7 kgs of luggage, and a 90% full fuel tank(40 litres capacity), around 105 kgs in all, making empty vehicle weight around 1,030 kg.

[/quote]

Wonder if that was why the Mariva Autocar tested this week weighed in at nearly 1500kg.

Cars should be weighed like motorbikes (dry weight). That way readers can compare like with like going from magazine to magazine.

10 June 2010

[quote theonlydt]74bhp from a 1.6? Seriously?! Seriously?! Twelve years ago I had a 1.4 that produced 90bhp. I expect a minimum 100bhp, and easily up to 120bhp from a 1.6, especially one costing £14k with aircon. Appalling - cynically lowering an entry point by detuning an engine and stripping it of kit just to squeeze more people in to a car that they think makes them individual and fun. Pah.[/quote]

Pah, indeed, except:

'MINI 1.4 petrol option is dropped

In pursuit of production efficiencies, BMW has dropped the 1.4 litre petrol entry model, and from now on all petrol MINIs will share exactly the same 1.6 litre engine hardware which includes Valvetronic variable valve timing. That means the differing power outputs of the 74hp MINI First, 98hp MINI One and 122hp MINI Cooper variants will be based on engine mapping alone, offering the intriguing prospect of First buyers getting easy upgrades to Cooper spec once the tuning firms get in on the act. (Currently, 1.4 litre MINI First owners are not well catered for in the power upgrade department, as although the models share engine blocks with the 1.6 cars they have unique pistons and crankshafts.)'

http://www.pistonheads.com/news/default.asp?storyId=22029

£11k MINI with few hundred pound aftermarket 122hp upgrade - bargain of the year.

10 June 2010

MINI has just announced the MINI One MINIMALIST. Based on the slightly better One spec, in comparison to the First, but gains the start/stop & low resistance tyres etc. that the normal One does without. Achieves 119 g/km but is more expensive than the One and has restricted option availability.


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