Innovation is the life blood of any company in the New Digital Millennium and this also extends to the Car Industry. This has already been seen across of number of markets with new entrants into their respected fields with examples including – Retail (Amazon), TV (Netflix), Transport (Uber) and Music (Spotify). As consumers we have become reliant on this continued release of new Products and Services which we have now become to expect this on an ever shortening cycles – How often do you upgrade your phone?

Mini as a Global Car Manufacturer part of the BMW Group has a long, rich history and an icon of the British Car Industry. Initially created back in the late 1950’s due to the oil shortage as the result of the Suez Canal crisis with the simple design criteria – Small, Affordable and Fun. Those characteristics still remain today to make it the Premium Car Brand which surpasses all class boundaries and admired by many.

The New Mini 1499 GT is a great example on how this global icon can innovate within its market to meet this ever demanding requirement for the new millennial consumer market. From concept to production has taken less than 12 months which is unique in this industry. This allows Mini to tailor its models to meet the ever changing consumer lifestyle we lead today.

First Impressions

Thinking back to when I started my own car journey which was over 25 years ago with an ownership of 14 vehicles. This has been a range of multiple brands, but I did not enter the premium car market until my 3rd vehicle. The reason for this was twofold – Price entry and Insurance made this prohibitive until my late 20’s.
Mini’s 1499 GT address these requirements with over 50 years of design and manufacturing experiences with the continued DNA that they have retained over those years – Small, Affordable and Fun. It has been developed and packaged to provide all those design features any boy racer within us would want from the John Cooper Works (JCW) body kit to the rare Sports seats within the range.

What underpins this fantastic looking model is the commercial package to allow the younger generation to be the proud owner with a set of keys in their hand. This includes 3 years servicing with 1st year’s insurance all for the sum of £299 deposit plus £299 monthly payment over 47 months subject to T&C’s. Or you can purchase the car out right for an on the road price from £16,990 as well.

Key ingredient to the commercial package is the inclusion of the 1st year’s insurance. For young drivers it can be prohibitive with the ever increasing insurance premiums to own a car with this equivalent specification. The additional benefit of the commercial terms is the use of telematics based insurance solution. This allows young drivers to demonstrate and submit driving behavior via either a “black box” or driving app. In return based on their safe driving they can receive discounted insurance premiums for subsequent years.

Innovation can come in many forms, but this affordable approach by Mini has been insightful and opened the door for the next generation of loyal followers.

Exterior

Based on the 1969 classic 1275 GT edition the 1499 GT comes with the distinctive JCW Sports pack with styling features and unique graphics. This includes the sporty bumpers, spoiler, side skirts, tinted windows, door entry plates, white lens indicators and sat on 17” Track Spoke alloy wheels in black. There is a choice of two colors – Pepper White and Midnight black with the distinctive 1499 GT stripe in White or Gold respectively.

Interior

Mini 1499 GT has been packaged with a number of features you will not find in other models and some that are limited to the top of the range vehicles. It provides a premium sporty look and feel which is under pinned by the crisp dynamics of this car. Features include John Cooper Works Sports seats in Dinamica and leather and JCW badges, a JCW steering wheel in perforated leather with Chilli Red stitching and multi-function controls, cruise control, a Visual Boost radio with MINI Connected smartphone compatibility, air conditioning and Piano Black interior trim, along with Carbon Black interior details and an Anthracite headlining. There is also a range of optional extra’s to choose from as well, but for many this high specification will provide everything one would desire.

On The Road

The 1499 GT will not arrive to the show rooms until November this year and hence test drives will be available from then. From the specification it will have all the sporty feel we love of the Mini which continues to excite as a driver’s car especially down those country B roads. Standard features include Independent rear suspension, six speed manual gear box (auto optional) with sports car inspired rev matching technology which is normally found in more expensive sports vehicles to assist those crisp gear changes.

Within its market segment Mini has created another model which can’t be matched for its dynamic handling capabilities with this level of power. We expect even with the new 3 cylinder twin power turbo and 1499c engine producing a 102 hp to have all the fun driving characteristics which make it the icon brand of today.

Conclusion

Mini yet again has not disappointed and this new 3 door hatch back provides all the hall marks of another future classic with this limited special edition and innovative affordable commercial package. By providing the 1st year’s insurance premium this will attract the next generation of followers to this British icon that we know and trust.

Mini 1499 GT goes on sale this month and will have a limited production run of 1,499 between November and February in 2018. Hence if you want to join this exclusive club you will need to visit one of the 140 Mini dealers in the UK quickly to avoid disappointment. Mine is only 15 miles away.

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