20-years on, MINI has managed to reinvent itself unlike many other things in popular culture and the latest release from the BMW Group continues to deliver.


  • On 26 April 2001, the first new MINI rolled off the production line in Oxford.
  • MINI has built more than five million premium cars in Great Britain.
  • At the Oxford plant alone, the MINI 3-door, the MINI 5-door, and the MINI Clubman as well as the fully-electric MINI Cooper SE are currently being built.
  • Visit for more stories.


There are few car brands that tick both the rational and the emotional brand connection quite like the MINI. Joining MINI South Africa for a test drive, The Sandton Times went topless, when it came to driving the new MINI 3-door convertible.


An 8.8-inch colour touchscreen display features the audio control unit and the function buttons for hazard warning lights and driver assistance systems, integrated even more harmoniously into the circular control unit. Image: The Sandton Times

Yet this wasn’t the only edition of the MINI joining the road trip from the Radisson RED in Rosebank to the NIROX Sculpture Park in the Cradle of Humankind for a media luncheon. The updated MINI look for 2021 continues the ‘small’ cars diverse range including the MINI 3-door, the MINI 5-door, and the MINI drop-top.


Hat, sunglasses, and Harman Kardon-designed sound system engaged, we set off on a just long enough drive, with the best possible weather to let down the roof. The latest offering from MINI has seen some tweaks, available across the fleet from the MINI 3-door, the MINI 5-door, and the convertible. One we were particularly thrilled about, which has remained from previous releases, is the distinctive and oh-so British Union Jack design rear lights.


The British flag-inspired graphic of the rear lights is in LED technology with the exception of the reversing light. Image: The Sandton Times

The LED headlights have seen a slight tweak along with some light adjustments around the front. A new and distinct addition to the 2021 release is a Multitone Roof – a kind of three-colour ombré effect for the head of the car using a very special wet-on-wet painting process technique. MINI has also brought some new alloy wheel designs to the new releases which we like.


The steering wheel has seen some reconfiguration (hardly noticeable to the un-MINI eye) along with a fabulous large round center touch-screen, slight adjustments to the fascia, and vents to still provide that premium, well-put-together MINI feel. The classic MINI switches to control some of the features in the car give it that cockpit feel, combined with a very comfortable gear shift. Nothing has changed on the engines with the MINI coming with its standard or S boosted options.


The range of light-alloy wheels available for the MINI has also been extensively renewed. Three new variants are available. Image: The Sandton Times

The drive is delicious, as to be expected, and descriptions of the MINI being like a turbocharged go-cart on the road, ring true. An ever-growing focus for MINI is the electrification of this premium British brand and with that, the MINI Cooper SE welcomed us at our final lunch destination, NIROX Sculpture Park, showcasing the possibility of what lies in the not too distant future of motoring.


However, small doesn’t also refer to the price when considering a MINI, and its premium position in the market is evident when it comes to pricing. On the bottom end, an entry-level MINI ONE 3 Door comes in at R420’000 whilst the convertible version starts at R563’000.


The choice of body paint finishes includes three new colours. In addition to the Rooftop Grey metallic and Island Blue metallic exterior paint finishes, the Zesty Yellow variant, initially only available for the MINI Convertible, will also be available. Image: The Sandton Times

And for those tap-dancing between the climbing fuel price and Eskom’s ability to provide continuous electricity, the MINI Cooper SE comes in at an electrifying R658’000.



  • The MINI is a fun, head-turning, design-conscious, and highly customizable driving experience.
  • The sports seats are super comfortable even on longer drives.
  • Every MINI with the Multitone Roof design is unique to you.



  • As we experienced with the MINI Convertible, boot space can be somewhat limited to a rucksack or carry-on suitcase.
  • If you are a tall person, you might struggle a bit for space in the MINI – the word MINI being the operative word.
  • The car price tag with added extra’s will require a generous budget to make MINI dreams come true.


Stand a chance to WIN with The Sandton Times.


Advertise on The Sandton Times today!


Head back to The Sandton Times Home Page for more stories.


Picture of Sandton Times Correspondent

Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


Related Posts