Multinational corporate intertwinings make for some creative uses of brands and parts. Within the BMW Group, Rolls-Royce builds its smaller model—the Ghost—using a few pieces of the BMW 760Li. Now Rolls is really downsizing, as it has partnered on a version of BMW’s other iconic Brit, the Mini.
The luxury runabout—to be unveiled at the Shanghai auto show—is officially called the Mini Inspired by Goodwood, Goodwood being the home of Rolls-Royce’s factory. Mini will offer 1000 copies in the spring of 2012. It’s a Mini Cooper S underneath, but with Rolls-specific detailing inside and out. While it has the Cooper S’s turbo four, that model’s scooped hood has been swapped for the Mini Cooper D’s more understated bonnet. The rest of the monochromatic exterior’s trimmings are equally as modest, with some normally optional chrome and “Inspired by Goodwood” fender plaques being the only attention-getting add-ons. Even the 17-inch wheels are standard Mini catalog parts. Rolls-Royce Diamond Black metallic paint is standard while Mini’s Reef Blue metallic will be optional.
You’ll more clearly see the Goodwood inspiration inside. Rolls designers helped choose the trim and coloring—they call the leather hue Cornsilk—and the walnut pieces are shaped at Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood facility. A stitched black-leather upper dash looks quirky, but expensive.
Few details were overlooked. A Rolls-like woven headliner has been fitted, as have lamb’s-wool floor mats. The doors and center console are covered in leather. The speedo and tachometer faces have been swapped for versions with Rolls-Royce’s font, although, disappointingly, the tach has not been supplanted by a Rolls power-reserve gauge. Many of the controls get a gloss-black finish, including the steering-wheel spokes. We’d have preferred a thin-rimmed wheel to better match that in a Rolls, but using the chunky Cooper S helm is an understandable concession given the fight provided by the turbocharged Mini’s front wheels.
You can think of the Mini Inspired by Goodwood as the smallest Rolls-Royce available, or the only Roller that comes with a manual. (A six-speed automatic transmission is optional.) Standard equipment will include adaptive Xenon headlights, automatic climate control, a Harman/Kardon sound system, and rear parking sensors. A Cooper S spec’d that way before adding the Rolls bits costs about $30K, and we figure the Inspired car will sticker for at least $45K.
Thanks to: Car and Driver