It seems the interior of your car is as much a statement these days as the exterior. Vegan trims and touchscreens visible from space are the modern touch, but this special-edition Mini 5-Door Hatch Resolute takes a different tack and adds retro-styled cloth seats - the second new car in a week I’ve been in with 1960s-style fabric.
But unlike the limited-edition, and hugely expensive, Porsche 911 Sport Classic, this Mini is not a museum-destined rarity. It’s part of Mini’s new range of specials, the other being a Countryman Untamed. (A Clubman Untold was also announced, but due to supplier issues, it’s not currently on sale.)
In fact, talking of shortages, this test car is a manual (and a lovely one at that) and you can’t currently buy one of these, either. Only the dual-clutch and auto are available. Mini tells us the manual will return when the crisis eases.
So, for £25,601 (just under £1000 more than the Exclusive trim) you get the white roof and door mirrors, some decals, the Rebel Green paint that was previously available on only John Cooper Works models and Resolute Bronze finishes on items such as the headlight surrounds, radiator grille, rear lights and door handles. The bronze replaces chrome and looks much better, especially against the green paint. It’s a finish that will be rolled out across next-generation Minis. Hopefully, that won’t dilute how special it feels here.
The retro cloth inserts dominate the interior, with other updates running to an edition emblem on the steering wheel and some gold pinstripe across the dashboard. It looks better than it sounds.
Mechanically, it’s identical to the normal Cooper S so has 176bhp and will do 0-62mph in 8.3sec. Both figures are healthily beaten by the Volkswagen Polo GTI, but I never found myself wanting for extra pace.
That’s mainly because the Mini is still a riot to drive. The front axle dominates - more so than in cars like the Ford Fiesta ST - because under full power, the torque load through it pushes and pulls you as much as the steering. The car doesn’t pivot around its middle as much as the Ford, but you can still trim the line that the nose is following by easing off the throttle. Hard cornering makes the inside rear go light: this is what small electric hatches need to aim for.
The ride quality still leaves a lot to be desired because it chatters away busily underneath you, making sure that you know what’s going on over every single bit of Tarmac. It all adds to the go-kart feel of it.
Normally, it’s easy to be sceptical about a special edition like this. But it looks great and, in a Mini that handles and goes as well as this one, it’s difficult to pick holes.