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Cooper S 60 Years Edition kicks off Mini birthday

Limited to 500 examples, the new trim level goes on sale in March. But there's more to come from Mini...

By Nic Cackett / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Obviously the 60th anniversary of the Mini is a big deal for the modern day iteration of the brand. The modern day Mini might have about as much to do with Alex Issigonis's creation as the current HMS Prince of Wales does with the last ship to bear its name, but BMW's Oxford-based outpost still regards itself as the keeper of the original car's outsized legacy - and frankly there's no better carer of a treasured British marque than anxious-to-please German owners (see Bentley and Rolls-Royce for further examples).

If the prospect of a limited edition Mini Cooper S seems like scant reward for sixty years of peerless small car heritage then rest assured that the British Racing Green model is merely the firing pin in a full-on 21-gun salute. Later in the year, Mini will launch its first fully electric for-sale model, the Cooper S E, a car which is widely expected to meld zero emission function with broader hot hatch sensibilities. It's likely to share much of its running gear with the latest BMW i3, but retain both the current Mini's platform and its inimitable styling.

Being forward thinking - and we'll assume, cleverly packaged - that newcomer ought to be a fitting bookmark in the brand's next chapter. The Mini 3-door Hatch Cooper S 60 Years Edition (mmm... snappy) less so, but of course you have to start somewhere. Alongside the paint, you get piano black exterior trim, black roof and exterior mirror caps, special anniversary design bonnet stripes and model exclusive 17-inch light alloy wheels. Completing the look, there's a '60 Years' emblem up front and an additional set of Mini spot lamps fitted to the radiator grille.

And it'll do 200mph thanks to a snap-on nitrous kit. Oh no, hang on, it's the standard Cooper S running gear. Mated to the automatic transmission as standard. Well, you'll just have to revel in the 'distinctly designed' interior instead, which features more of that emblem and seats finished in Mini Yours Leather Lounge in Dark Cacao with contrast stitching (actually rather fetching in the pictures), and a-l-o-t of standard kit. Which it ought to when the asking price is £29,990 - fully £7k more than a Cooper S Sport with the manual 'box you definitely want.

So it's not really for us then. But with just 500 being made available in the UK, it will certainly not struggle to find homes among the firm's regular clientele. And let's not be too harsh on Mini; high-priced special edition models are standard fayre for automotive anniversaries, and Oxford has much to celebrate sixty years after Leonard Lord instructed Issigonis to change the world. The cake and candles though, are yet to come.

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