By on April 13, 2011

Typically, when a focused, well-branded company like BMW buys storied brands and then tries to combine them, the results are less than ideal for all involved. Thus far, BMW had actually been doing a fantastic job with its MINI and Rolls-Royce franchises, expanding into new niches while revitalizing potent brands with high-quality products. But putting the two together? It’s not clear how many buyers will line up for this Rolls-fettled MINI Goodwood (price estimated as high as £50,000), but at least the thing has good historical precedent in the Peter Sellers Mini-Rolls. And compared to some of the modern attempts to create premium city cars (hello Aston Cygnet), that makes this über-priced MINI-mashup something more than a mere cynical play for profits and C02 emission average reductions. In fact, it’s something of a tribute to BMW’s stewardship of two brands that could well have been botched over the past decade or so. Hit the jump for details on the Mini Goodwood’s posh appointments.

According to Autocar, the 1,000 units of limited edition Rolls-prepped MINIs will feature

a bespoke cabin whose spec was overseen by Rolls-Royce interior designer Alan Sheppard. It features elements synonymous with the Sussex-based luxury brand, including walnut burr veneers on the instrument panel and door pulls, Corn Silk beige leather on the fascia, centre console, seats, door sides and pillar trim, and deep lambswool fleece carpets.

Even the roof lining, sun visors and boot compartment cover are coated in a Rolls-Royce-spec cashmere blend. Rolls’ own typeface features on the speedometer and revcounter, and there’s a piano black finish on the steering wheel-mounted controls and centre console switches.

The car’s exterior mixes Cooper S parts — specifically, the front and rear bumpers — with the non-vented bonnet of the Cooper D. The standard colour will be metallic Diamond Black, which was developed, again, by Rolls-Royce Design — but Mini’s own Reef Blue metallic will be offered as an option.

Underneath there’s a standard Cooper S turbo petrol powertrain, producing 181bhp and 177lb ft (192lb ft on overboost). That’s enough for the Goodwood edition to hit 62mph in 7.0sec. The transmission is a six-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic will be a cost option.

Standard kit in the Mini Roller will include xenon headlights, Harman Kardon speakers, automatic climate control and parking sensors.

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38 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Brand Management Edition...”


  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    The car still have big plastic fenders around the wheels.  Classy. Doesn’t look like a 50k car…

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    This is a perfectly acceptable vehicle for those who wish to enjoy posh luxury while being seen driving a tiny car. It should appeal to wealthy young buyers interested in this class of car thanks to the Mazda 2, Fiat 500, Ford Ka, and the MINI.

    I believe that there is a niche for poshed-out mini cars. If biology hadn’t caused me to mate and procreate, I could live a life where I could cocoon myself in ensconced selfishness then wait to die. This would be attractive to me.

    Or, if I was an old infertile gray-haired raisin looking for a vehicle to update my image from a Toyota Camry or Nissan Maxima, this could be a neat choice. Or, perhaps my wife of 30 years divorced me after she caught me with a 21 year old co-ed in the university’s faculty lounge and was forced to move out of our suburban McMansion with the three car garage, I could find this vehicle a nice pick for my new professorial lifestyle.

    What we may have here is a car for those too old for a mid-life crisis, but still alive and healthy to enjoy say, a late-life crisis.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    This? Who’re they kidding? Ha ha ha!

    I hate this sort of thing ever since the faux-luxury of the 1970′s. Phooey!

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      What would be real luxury? A chandelier hanging from the headliner? If you really think about it, this is about as real as luxury in a car could get without hiring Jeeves to motor your ass home.

      If we want to put luxury into a tiny car, what should we do? If we gold-plated stuff, it would be unattractive. If we put mink seat covers over it, the environmentalists would cry, (they still haven’t caught on to leather, luckily). If we made it bigger, it would be unnecessary.

      This car is for those rich people simply crying out for mercy over their lack of suitable urban transportation.

      GM should bring out that mini-Opel they are considering for Buick. It looks like there is a new niche to exploit. I have a name – Buick Faberge!

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Sorry, V’Dude, but I remember all too well when the 1973 Monte Carlo came out and it made me sick along with all the other bloated blobs of cars – not just the elimination of all things pillarless, but the velour, garishly overly-padded, over-pleated interiors, opera windows and all things associated with that. It has left a bad taste in my mouth ever since. OR maybe it’s just that I don’t require that stuff to be content with life.

        Grumpy old man remembering-the-cool-cars-of-his-youth rant over.

        But I do love my A/C!

        I suppose even that I drive a base Impala with a sport appearance upgrade, it contains things considered “luxurious” not that long ago: A/C, power steering, brakes, tilt, cruise, alloy wheels, power seat, good sound system and nicer cloth upholstery.

        I guess those with the means have to waste spend their money on something and thet’s O.K., more power to them. I just don’t need it.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        This MINI is doubled the price of a regular MINI.

        The Monte Carlo was not doubled the price of a Malibu. So instead of real luxury, a Monte Carlo offered Wal-Mart luxury, which is different. Instead of vinyl, it had velour. Instead of a bench seat, it had pleated, buttoned, padded, puffed, cushioned crushed velour buckets. Instead of a black plastic dash, it had a black plastic dash with a sticker glued to it with a wood grain print on it. Instead of turn lamp indicators merely on the instrument panel, it had turn lamp indicators over each fender and a hood ornament made of pot-metal which had been painted chrome. Instead of a faux convertible hardtop, it had a faux convertible vinyl padded roof designed to appear as a coach roof for a Munstermobile. To add to the Goth-roof design, mini coach lamps were mounted next to little fixed windows. Instead of a durable vomit-proof rubber floormat, these cars had shag carpeting that matted to the floors when your kids vomited during mountain rides.

        That isn’t luxurious.

        This vehicle has honest materials in it, not plastic or polyester reproductions, hence the price.

        I don’t mind those 1970 Munstermobiles because it was kind of cool to see folks driving around in padded coffins with Goth roofs over their heads. Buyers dug that crazy stuff along with mustaches and Eagles music. I guess you had to be stoned to justify it, along with Jimmy Carter and Levi leisure suits. It is always good to make folks happy even if it meant Cougar Villager wagons.

        But this is better.

      • 0 avatar

        VanillaDude you’re making a lot of sense today. In fact, I was thinking of something like this when Iread the other article on the Lincoln C Concept. Seems this kind of thing does have a future.
        Zackman, if America is not ready for this, I’m betting Brazil and Europe surely are

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @VaniilaDude:

        Wal-Mart luxury, indeed. Great description.

        For the record: I was never an Eagles fan but did have a moustache. I owned a tan leisure suit, worn exactly once, never stoned either, but drunk a few times! Jimmy Carter? ummm…
        the 70′s after 1972 really did stink! You can blame the end of the Vietnam war for that.

        I will admit that this Cooper-thingy is a whale of a lot better than a 1973 Monte Carlo any day of the week! So yeah, I agree with you!

  • avatar
    zamoti

    Parking sensors on a Mini?  Really?!  I rank that in the same absurd category as mid-sized sedans with rear-view cameras and Ford Foci that park themselves.

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Definitely reminds me of those nasty 70′s Bill Blass, Pierre Cardin, Eddie Bauer etc. packages.  This is silly, but at least it’s the real thing in terms of materials and finishes.  Not sure how it would fare down the road in resale though.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      People who buy this car don’t care about resale.  People who buy this car really like Minis and have money to burn.  I don’t think Mini will have a problem finding 1000 people like that.  Mini’s doing a pretty good job moving truly limited editions like this at a premium.  I can’t see spending that kind of coin on a car, but if my income suddenly quadrupled, who knows?

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Like the Cygnet, it’s polishing the unpolishable.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Good grief, I hate to admit that I’m susceptible to a late-life crisis, but I kind of like the damn thing. It sort of fulfills the Rolls fantasy without the monetary or social costs. Might there be a luxe little piece of luggage in the boot too? Maybe membership in a private club?

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      This vehicle is not without it’s charms, in my opinion. I can easily see it being driven by Boomers tiring of their Japanese Oldsmobiles. It has a nice pedigree to park at the Club. It doesn’t say old-man like a Corvette. It isn’t just another Lexus, BMW or Mercedes. This niche remembers fun small cars like Beetles and the original MINI, yet has a wallet that lets them do something fancier than any old economy car.

      I can see a retired judge or a 50 year old partner taking a lady out to the theatre in this. Then getting some later.

  • avatar
    CraigSu

    Well, you read my mind.  My first thought was, “This has Aston Cygnet written all over it”.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    it never gets dull to poke marketing/PR people who while promoting a premium British brand can’t even write in English “a bespoke cabin whose spec”

    Beautiful interior – wish they did this to the Countrymon.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I want an SL55 with a Civic interior.

  • avatar
    carguy

    This is actually one of the more tasteful special editions I’ve seen lately but the value proposition is clearly dubious. Then again so was the 911 Sport Classic and it didn’t hinder sales. So if MINI thinks their brand is strong enough to find buyers for these then good luck to them.

  • avatar

    It’s not a new idea. Radford coachbuilders did luxury Mini conversions back in the day. They called it the Radford Mini de Ville. I don’t know if it was a de Ville or a one-off job, but Peter Seller’s Mini was done by Radford.
     
    http://www.radford-mini.com/
    http://www.radford-mini.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=2

  • avatar
    thekid

    The “Inspired by Goodwood” badges are what’s wrong to me.  If this exclusive, limited-edition model is officially called the MINI Goodwood, then the model name badges should simply read Goodwood.

    The car’s exclusive features should clearly communicate the Goodwood connection to the target audience.  Failing that, press releases, product literature and on-line content can further explain the story behind this limited-edition model.

    Adding unnecessary phrases to the model name badges like “Inspired by…” screams of supermarket packaging ploys that do not deliver what they promise, like “Sour Cream and Onion Style Potato Chips” containing neither sour cream or onions.

    If your limited-edition model name isn’t enough to explain the product story to the target audience, then the exclusive content you are offering is insufficient and/or incorrect.

    If you choose to add descriptive words to the model name badges to explain the theme to those outside the target audience, then your limited edition product loses exclusivity, and your originally intended target demographic will recognize and shun its lack of authenticity.

    If Professor Ulrich Bruhnke is reading this, I hope he appreciates how closely I’ve taken his lessons to heart.  He not only understands how to successfully market exclusive, limited-edition versions of production automobiles, but also to ensure that each one is truly special behind the marketing story.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Ever notice how crowded trunk lids have become with all the badging?

      Cars used to have the model name on the sides somewhere, the brand name/logo somewhere on the front and either a logo/brand name and model on the trunk lid. They spread out the notations.

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    Cimarron flashback. Ouch. Who buys these things…

  • avatar
    fincar1

    When you see one of these in the line of limos arriving at the Oscars, you’ll know that it has cachet.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Where is the Tickford Metro love? http://www.aronline.co.uk/index.htm?frazermetrof.htm

    This has all been done, last time with Aston Martin’s help.

  • avatar
    johnharris

    “I’m tired of hearing people equate luxury with only big vehicles,” says John Williams. Just so.
    This is probably the wrong TTAC piece on which to hang an argument about whether subcompact cars should be allowed to be nice.  A Rolls Mini is a curiosity, suitable for Leonardo DiCaprio and 999 of his rich friends.  Good for them.
    Still, there are a lot of haters in the comments scroll who seem to conflate smallness with cheapness, and who believe that any maker of small cars who presumes to offer quality in a small package must be doing so for cynical reasons only.
    There will always be cheap small cars that are “penalty boxes,” but smallness has a lot going for it.
    There is fuel economy, sure, but someone who can afford a bigger car might legitimately choose a small car for reasons other than to project a green image. I drive a Mini Cooper S, and will testify that in trafficky real-world driving scenarios, the point-and-shoot capabilities are absolutely narcotic.  Physics really favors smallness when it comes to automobile handling.  It’s also great to be able to park in tiny spots.  And it’s a revelation how much you can carry in a very small hatchback.  (Once a week or so I have an entire band PA system in there.)  Small is beautiful.
    Should I have to settle for cheap fabric seats and bargain bin interior appointments just because I like small cars?  I’m really happy that I had a relatively plush options list.
    (I also have a Ford Flex—a “Macro Cooper”—and a Ford E250 for other driving modes.)

  • avatar
    majo8

    Heh Heh…………. Goodwood.  Funniest–car–name–ever.

  • avatar
    Glenn Mercer

    Is it possible this is being done to average down Rolls’s CO2 fleet emissions, and average up its fleet MPG?  I know, I know, one would think they could be averaged in with BMW, but this does look like (as others have noted) a Cygnet-like move, and I am pretty sure Aston Martin is doing that to get its numbers in line.  Beats me, but I am searching for a rationale here…
     
    One does wonder what Jag Lan Rov will do… maybe if one buys a Jag one will get a Nano for free?

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    I don’t know what’s a bigger shame: That there are few well appointed cars of this size for sale in the U.S., or the fact that even if they were offered, few would be sold.

  • avatar
    eh_political

    This will sell out.  It’s actually a no-brainer for wealthy, ironic urbanites.  The price is steep, but the underlying mechanicals are solid, and the appeal of a luxury version trumps that of sporting variants–to me.  Truth is, Mini does not require more than 200hp.  I am guessing a manual is out of the question, but it is otherwise interesting.

    I would have liked an Acura version of the Honda Fit, with a 2.0 and some other interior upgrades.  Acura Canada offers a vehicle called the CSX, which is a gussied up Civic.  It sells well here.  Small 3 box sedans are not my thing, but yeah, I would have spent more on my Fit to have a nicer, quieter interior, premium tires, more powerful engine, better brakes, and better headlights.

  • avatar
    mcs

    This car may be more about helping to market lower end MINIs than anything else. I see it as a subtle way of letting potential MINI buyers know that Rolls is a sibling of MINI and tying the two brands together. The goal may not be to actually sell a lot of these vehicles, but to use it to elevate the MINI brand and sell more of the lower end models.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I kinda like MINI’s and having detailed one about a year ago, found myself having fun driving it around from the wash area to the garage for polishing. It was actually a bit of a challange with the curves and all. The owner was pretty happy with the car untill he tried to change the oil himself – found out it was friggin next to imposible without special tools. And the dealer wanted 135 bucks for oil/filter and “standard service” yeah right…..

    If it was easy to work on and mod, then it would open up a whole new market, plus, cut the costs for crying out loud and you could make up the profit with more sales.


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