MINI took center stage at the 8th Manila International Auto Show, and staged a short skit to launch these two new variants, with MINI's semi-official events hosts, the boys from 89.9 FM's "The Boys' Night Out." Yes, they did make a sexist "topless" joke. And yes, I did chuckle a bit. But sexual innuendo aside, the message was clear: This is the Ultimate Dating Machine.
The iconic MINI look is always a draw, but the MINI Coupe's motorcycle-helmet top and well-designed boot represent a fresh take on the formula. Unusual... but fresh. Space is surprisingly acceptable despite the small cabin, and the Coupe is finished with an eye for detail. The retractable boot-lid spoiler, in particular, is a fantastic piece.
The Roadster, on the other hand, is undeniably sexy. And even sexier in top-down form, with a leather-swathed open cabin lined in chrome pin-striping. The cabin is, in fact, reminiscent of the classic Porsche Spyder in shape and form.
Both cars come in turbocharged "S" trim with a six speed automatic. The Coupe S starts at Php 2.950 million and the Roadster S is Php 3.150 million. For hardcore drivers who don't mind playing with a stick, the John Cooper Works variants come exclusively in manual flavor, with a bump in output from 184 hp to 208. At Php 3.450 million and Php 3.650 million respectively, that's a lot of moolah, but a Ferrari costs nearly ten times more.
The only things missing are Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background, a woman in the passenger seat wearing chunky Italian sunglasses and a scarf, and a winding mountain road. Everything else is optional, clothing included.