By on November 19, 2009

(courtesy:Autocar.co.uk)

Autocar confirms that BMW has green-lighted a “MINI by Rolls-Royce,” featuring a “totally individual, coachbuilt” interiors finished at Rolls’ Goodwood plant. The Aston Martin Cygnet and Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari have been put on notice… as have the marketing geniuses who thought they were good ideas. At least Rolls-trimmed MINIs have good precedent.

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33 Comments on “Whats Wrong With This Picture: Compact Co-Branding Rolls On Edition...”


  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Uh, I don’t see anything wrong with this picture, frankly. I’d love to see the guys over at VW gnashing their teeth because an VW product with Bentley coachwork, other than Bentley, just doesn’t make sense. A Lupo with coachwork by Porsche?

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    It’s going to be funny watching the chauffeur hold the door open while Mr. & Mrs. Royalty try to squeeze into the back seats.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I think this is a Euro thing that may not translate very well.

    In Germany you can get a E-class with base trim with a 2.1L 4-cyl and a 6-speed manual.  You can get a stripped 520i with cloth seats. 

    You can also get a Golf with adaptive chasis control, navigation, radar cruise control, backup camera etc. 

    I just priced a VW GTD with everything in the Netherlands and it’s EUR41,750.  The base E-class in the Netherlands starts at EUR36,000 for an E200.

  • avatar
    John Holt

    So it’s a Mini with rich leather, burled walnut, and cut-pile wool carpet?  What keeps it from being a Rolls is that it will remain fun to drive.  Unless the aforementioned upgrades weigh six thousand pounds.  Then it would be very much a Rolls-Royce Mini.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The materials are nice, but this car still “benefits” from the most compromised ergonomics in all autodom.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    My first thought upon seeing the picture was “Why is there a bathroom scale in the middle of the dash?” My second thought was “Why does it have the turbofan engines from the A-10 Warthog attached to it?” I guess you have to be a Mini fan to appreciate this interior…but it does nothing for me.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “What keeps it from being a Rolls is that it will remain fun to drive.”

    I don’t know about you but I’d have a blast “wafting” along in a Phantom. 

    • 0 avatar
      John Holt

      I haven’t had the chance to drive a Phantom, but based on my experience sailing an old Corniche – it was as far from a “drivers car” as one could imagine.  A late model minivan is more engaging.

  • avatar
    jmo

     I guess you have to be a Mini fan to appreciate this interior…but it does nothing for me.

    What’s your favorite interior?

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I simply will NEVER understand the reasoning behind having a speedometer in the middle of a damn dash.
    Somebody, please help me here.
    Is there some reason that perhaps the back row passengers need to be able to see?
    Its just stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      It is a way of saving $50 a car (overall, in tooling, part differences, etc) when building a car in both a left-hand and right-hand orientation.
      It also says “We are a car company too cheap to spend $50 a car to give you decent ergonomics”

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Nicholas, just put a small LCD on the steering wheel and the problem is solved.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Remember, it’s not a huge dash. In a lot of larger cars, the middle of the minis dash would be on the driver’s side.  I can see where a center speedo might be an issue in a 76 Eldorado, but not in a car the size of the mini.  Besides, as others have said, anyone that has actually been in one knows there is a digital speedometer in the tach.  Is it a case of them being cheap and trying to save $50? Not at all. They’re just being true to the original design that had the center speedo since the 50′s and mini enthusiasts wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • 0 avatar
      d002

      The original Austin Mini had the speedo in the middle of the dashboard so that they could use the same dash for RHD and LHD. 
      They didn’t have LCD in 1959.
      The car was so small it made virtually no difference where the speedo was.

      The new mini has it in the middle in homage to the original.
      It’s less excusabale on the Yaris and Tarago.

      I would just point out that the Vanden Plas/Riley minis were the most sensible, with a half decent sized boot and winding windows.

    • 0 avatar
      nichjs

      I saw a programme about the history of the original mini a few years ago.  IIRC, the reason for the speedo in the centre was actually a classic piece of design for manufacture.  The whole car was manufactured on a spindle which passed through the engine bay, cabin and boot (trunk) and allowed the car to be ‘spun’ over to get access to the subframe to fit the drivetrain and suspension, and then right it again before rolling it off the spindle after the wheels had been added, adn teh vehicle proceeded to be rolled down the line.  the speedo was put there to cover up the hole. 
      Its central location being convenient for LH and RH drive markets was an upshot.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      In cars like the Echo/Yaris, Ion and X-Trail it does two things

      It makes the dash easier to engineer for both RHD and LHD.  In an economy-class multi-national car, this is important
      If the IP is high up, it means you have a shorter focal distance to the road.  Instead of a 20-30° look down to something in the near plane, you have a 10-15° look to the left or right, and you it’s in the same plane as the road.   You see the same thing (a dash in the same focal plane as the road) in the Civic (speedo), Prius and pre-facelift Aerio as well.   It’s a huge boon if you wear bifocals, but it does benefit everyone.

      In the original Mini is was a space-saving thing.  In the current one it’s pure kitsch: the IP is central, but it’s far too low to address to refocus issue.

  • avatar
    Fritz

    The placement of the meat thermometer in this turkey.  What were they thinking?

  • avatar

    This is one of the rare occasions where penny-pinchers and designers form a coalition. Penny-pinchers will be happy because it saves money when you need to derive LHD and RHD versions from one basic design, designers will be happy as it is an opportunity to introduce weird designs.
    It makes sense in racing cars and it made sense, once upon a time, when cars were so mean and  lean that it made no difference (c.f. http://cajautoimages.com/yahoo_site_admin2/assets/images/Bugatti_Dash.15581130_large.jpg , or http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2483/3731681226_42ca3035c1.jpg)

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    @jmo – I like my Celica interior, actually. Yes, there is some hard, easily marred plastic on the dash, but the ergonomics are superb. The instruments are framed perfectly by the steering wheel, where I can see them easily, the pedals are placed and spaced just right, the shifter is jsut where my right hand goes naturally, etc. I have never been more ‘at one’ with any vehicle I’ve owned.  You get in, and you are cocooned in the pilot seat like a fighter plane. I like the RX-8 interior as well. It’s been a while since I’ve sat in any other vehicles that had notable interiors, but I’m sure they exist. The Mini interior is just wierd. I drove a Yaris a couple of months ago and the center-mounted speedometer was distracting and harder to use than a ‘standard’ dash layout. Form follows function, Toyota! Why have you lost your way?

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Irvine

    I simply will NEVER understand the reasoning behind having a speedometer in the middle of a damn dash.
    Somebody, please help me here.

    TrailerTrash – You don’t really understand sports cars do you?  The idea is that the transmission can only be manual and you watch only the tacho, changing gears at redline. If you spot a cop in the rear view mirror, you lower your eyes straight down to the speedometer for the only time you would ever use it.

  • avatar
    Bocatrip

    Remember the Cadillac Cimmaron? or the glorified Chevy Cavalier?

  • avatar
    jmo

    MidLifeCelica,

    It takes about 2 min to get used to. 

    To second what Spike said - a 911 has a big tach right in front of you (like the mini) and a tiny spedo off to the side.  Why, well… what spike said – you drive by the tach not by the spedo.

  • avatar
    jmo

    And everyone does know there is an LCD speed readout on the tach that’s located directly in your line of site above the steering wheel, right?

    The instruments are framed perfectly by the steering wheel, where I can see them easily

    The tach and LED speed readout are framed perfectly by the steering wheel in the mini as well. I really don’t understand what the complaint is.

  • avatar
    jmo

    .

  • avatar
    pk1

    Brilliant! A small, compact, discrete if desired, luxury car.
     
    Just don’t ride it over a bump…

  • avatar
    jmo

    but based on my experience sailing an old Corniche – it was as far from a “drivers car” as one could imagine.  A late model minivan is more engaging.
    It’s not possible to enjoy a car because it’s quite, comfortable and effortlessly powerful?  You can only enjoy a loud, hard riding and uncomfortable car?  Or do each have their place and can each be enjoyed in their own way?
     
     

  • avatar
    hurls

    All I can think of is VW Bug with the aftermarket Rolls grill….

  • avatar
    Hank

    The only car with a RR interior that can be easily parked in those tiny Kensington parking spots.  Brilliant.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Spike_in_Irvine…

    This is a joke response, right?
    I mean your being cynical…I hope.
    Sports car?
    I knew this was going to be the response justification for this silly design.
    Because IF it was truly so, just leave the damned thing out. 
    I mean, do all RACE cars have the speedometer in the middle?
    Trying to think of another….hmmmm.
    Or is this the only true sports car????
    It also comes with AUTO transmissions, not just standard.
    They should put in a fire extinguisher, roll bar and remove the carpets as well, it being so sports car(ish).
    Really….

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    BMW could have a proper money-maker here if it’s a strict limited edition with production of no more than say 500 ever in the entire world and only sell them to Royce owners.

    The central speedo is something I’ve never liked. I hate it when passengers complain about me driving too fast. Much better to have the dials hidden at the bottom of a deeply cowled tunnel so you can only see them if looking straight on - Like in an Alfa-Romeo.

  • avatar
    jacad

    Those folks who think the speedo in the middle is ridiculous, don’t buy one! Those of us who actually own one know what a great little car they actually are. If they are going to make the Rolls edition in a convertible, sign me up!

  • avatar
    NickR

    Toronto poseurs, of which there are many, will be all over these like gravy on fries.


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