REINVENTING AN ICON.
20 YEARS OF THE Second GENERATION MINI.
Twenty years ago, in September 2000, the second-generation MINI was finally presented at the Paris Motor Show after years of speculation and anticipation. To commemorate this important milestone, we took a tour around the streets of Munich in an early iteration of the second-generation MINI, a bright yellow 3 door named Sunny.
The first of the second-generation MINIs rolled off the production line in October 2001, six months after production had started at the plant in Oxford. Alongside design features such as short overhangs, round headlamps, and a hexagonal radiator grille, a top priority for designers was to incorporate the fundamental principles of the classic Mini into the modern car. It therefore needed to be unique, have space for four people and their luggage, be fuel efficient, and offer a fun driving experience unlike other cars in its class.
Contemporary comfort and maximum safety standards were also taken into account. Once again, a revolutionary new small car was created – geared to the requirements of its era and this time also developed to comply with all the quality benchmarks of a premium brand.
The second-generation MINI captivated drivers around the world with its agile handling, which provided an athletic driving experience and extreme cornering. Its 85 kW/115 hp engine also provided impressive acceleration, something which impressed John Cooper – the sports-car designer who had previously paved the way for the classic Mini to take racetracks by storm. “The MINI Cooper puts a smile on your face,” he commented after his first test drive in the model once again named after him. The elementary design principles from the first generation had been recreated in the new edition, with front-wheel drive and the transversely mounted four-cylinder engine.
Following the success of the MINI 3 door, it didn’t take long for more models to be offered. The MINI Cabrio came out in 2004, with the MINI Clubman, Coupé, and Roadster joining the range in 2006. Not long after this, the brand broke into the premium compact segment with the MINI Countryman and the new MINI Clubman.
Over the past 20 years, the MINI has become noticeably more mature, but its character still remains inimitable. And the fresh shade of yellow that suited Sunny so perfectly now acts as a beacon for the future. Yellow accents adorn the MINI Cooper SE, which marks an exciting new stage for the brand as its first all-electric model.
This model, dubbed Sunny because of its Liquid Yellow colour, became quite a rarity. In the first year of sales of the modern MINI, only one in every 15 vehicles was supplied in this colour. The combination of Liquid Yellow with black roof and mirror caps was even rarer.
The development of the second-generation MINI was hinted at as early as 1994.
In autumn of 1997, select journalists were allowed their first look at the MINI 2000 study. The relaunch of the brand and the imminent presentation of the vehicle were the subject of intense debate.
In parallel to the world premiere in Paris, national and international MINI websites were launched, and more than 100,000 prospective customers interested in the MINI had soon already registered.