Everything else, including the bodyshell, is brand new. The shell itself is stiffened with additional structural bracing and the Mini’s various gutters and seams are reprofiled or removed entirely to clean up the styling. The quality of the fit and finish, as well as the paintwork, is very good indeed. Whether or not that justifies the asking price is another matter.
The cabin, meanwhile, gets high quality leather and a bespoke dashboard with lots of attractive details, such as knurled aluminium knobs for the ventilation controls. There’s also air conditioning and even a Pioneer infotainment system with sat-nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mobile phone compatibility. Additionally, the seats are redesigned to be more comfortable and more supportive, while the boot is now leather-lined. David Brown Automotive has turned the original Mini into a tiny luxury car.
As for standard equipment the Mini Remastered gets halogen headlights, a logo-engraved fuel filler cap, a single exhaust, a leather upholstery, air conditioning, not to mention no cost options that can be added such as branded floor mats, LED illuminated instrument cluster and various 12in alloy wheel options.
The optional extras list also makes for interesting reading, with the chance to upgrade both the engine power and braking performance of the Mini, alongside modern luxuries such as LED headlights, heated front windscreen and a twin exhaust system. While the staple aggressive Cibies that adorned numerous Minis of old are also available too.
Is the Mini Remastered a new luxury performance machine?
What it isn’t, according to the man whose name hangs above the door, is a performance car. Instead, it’s designed to be used in the city, which means it’s been engineered more for usability than outright handling prowess. The chassis is honed for comfort, therefore, and the engine tuned for low down torque rather than peaky power. "Inevitably you’ll still have fun in it," says David Brown.
The driving position remains somewhat awkward; you either push the seat back and stretch your legs comfortably with the steering wheel way out ahead of you, or pull the seat forward so your legs are bunched up but the wheel good and close. Neither option is ideal but you soon get used to it.
The rebuilt four-cylinder engine now displaces 1330cc and develops 94bhp at 6100rpm and 87lb ft at 4000rpm. It drives the front wheels via the four-speed manual gearbox, which snicks around its tightly defined gate in beautiful fashion. It is important to point out that the Mini Remastered comes fitted with a 1275cc displacement engine as standard fit good for 78bhp and 91lb ft of peak twist.
The engine itself is gritty, rorty and full of character, although it starts to feel strained above 5000rpm. Straight line pace is far from frenzied although, with just 750kg to haul, the Mini Remastered does get to 60mph in a reasonable 10.6 seconds. That gives it enough punch to hold its own in a frantic city centre and pace enough, too, for it to really clip along a country road.
It has very alert, slack-free, unassisted steering that feels incredibly direct even around the straight-ahead. It takes just a small twitch of the wheel rim to get the front end darting this way and that. It also rolls dramatically in cornering, making you think it could tip clean over if you attack a bend with too much conviction. It won’t, of course, and once you’ve assured yourself of that the Mini Remastered becomes enormous fun to punt along a country road.