What's the news?
Good news - MINI has come up with a glorious homage to the brilliant Mini 1275 GT, which was first built in 1969. It's called the 1499 GT and it's a limited edition that's aimed at a younger clientele.
The aim of the 1499 GT is to offer John Cooper Works (JCW) top-end MINI styling, with low-cost availability. To that end, the newbie - limited to just 1,499 units that will be built between this November and February 2018 - has a bigger front airdam, the split-level boot spoiler, side skirts, privacy glass, white indicator lenses, a revised rear bumper... oh, and obviously, the 1275 GT-mimicking decals. Choose from Midnight Black with Gold stripes, or Pepper White with Black stripes. Finally, 17-inch Track Spoke alloys in black complete the appearance.
Obvious improvements here are the Chili Red-stitched, perforated leather JCW steering wheel, the Dinamica-and-leather JCW bucket sports seats, JCW sill tread plates and JCW logos dotted around the cabin. A multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, a Visual Boost radio with MINI Connected smartphone compatibility, Piano Black interior trim, an Anthracite headliner and Carbon Black interior details are all part of the kit list for the 1499 GT, which builds on the standard equipment of the MINI One.
No real changes to the output of the One, so we have 102hp and 180Nm, but strangely the engine is now a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, TwinPower Turbo unit, when the One uses a 1.2-litre triple. However, this is yet another nod to the 1275 GT, which was so named because its capacity was enlarged over the regular old Mini's 998cc to 1,275cc; thus, the reason the new special is called the 1499 GT is because, yes, it has a 1,499cc engine. Expect 0-100km/h in around 10 seconds and some seriously peppy handling, as the 1499 GT has upgraded sports suspension.
So here's the bad news... this is a UK market-only special, where it is priced right near the bottom of the MINI line-up and it comes with a tempting low deposit/monthly PCP deal that throws in a year's free insurance and three years' servicing to boot. Damn. However, we thought it was worth showing you both the attractive new car and, moreover, the stunning 1960s original, while we can also hope that some of these right-hand-drive 1499s come here via unofficial imports... can't we?