MINI (BMW) One (2001 – 2007) Review

MINI (BMW) One (2001 – 2007) At A Glance


+1.6 engine same as Cooper, so just needs an ECU remap to give the same power.

-A/c not standard. Plastic wheeltrims are. Needs expensive spec upgrades to make desirable.

During the dissolution of the former Rover Group, BMW allegedly cherry-picked the best bits and keeping the iconic Mini brand for itself. The rest, as they say, is history as the BMW new range of small MINI-badged cars sold like hot cakes.

Much of the development of the car was carried out by Rover. Its codename, R50, was in-line with other Rover Group projects, and the chassis and body were engineered at the company's Gaydon HQ, largely by British engineers. There was American input, too, with Chrysler-sourced engines (arguably the launch car's weak point) and styling from the pen of Californian designer Frank Stephenson, who famously stuffed a beer can into the back of the clay model when the original styling buck had been created without an exhaust tailpipe. The feature remained in the exact same position on the production car...

The original plan, before BMW sold its 'English Patient' to the Phoenix Consortium for a tenner, was to build the R50 at Longbridge, on the production line vacated by the labour-intensive original Mini. But with the separation from MG Rover, BMW elected to keep the newer, more efficient Cowley plant, now known as MINI Plant Oxford, in which to produce the car. It was, arguably, the beginning of the end for the famous Birmingham plant.

Despite the emotional impact the BMW sale had on die-hard fans of British cars (some of which is still felt even today), the MINI arrived to a rapturous reception. The slightly gruff engines were easily offset by the BMW-inspired build quality, cute retro styling and impeccable handling, which was further exploited later in 2001 when the supercharged Cooper 'S' arrived. The MINI was a sensational hit, and won multiple awards.

Ask Honest John

Why is the dealer trying to charge me £1800 just to identify a fault?

"My MINI One had mechanical failure in March, just before lockdown. It was towed to the dealer that I bought it from, who quoted £1800 just to open the bonnet and say what was wrong! From reading various forums, this looks wildly disproportionate for a diagnostic check - especially from the dealer that we bought our second car from. The car was worth £6000 and we have £3000 finance to pay off, so I don't know whether to accept a derisory trade-in offer of £1500 or find someone else that might be able to fit a new engine at less than the value of the car."
That's ridiculous. Arrange for the car to be transported to an independent MINI specialist. The quality of the work will be just as good as the approved dealer and the costs with be much lower. You should be able to find a trustworthy mechanic with our Good Garage Guide:
Answered by Dan Powell
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