Millennium Mini; Chunkier (but Not Much Funkier) for a New Odyssey in 2001
Byline: RAY MASSEY
REVVING up to roar into a new century, this is the Mini for the millennium.
The long-awaited restyled version of the 38-year-old British classic was unveiled last night, with a promise from its makers that it will follow in the tyre tracks of its successful predecessors.
At first glance, the car looks beefier than the original, with the most significant change appearing to be the sloping 'fisheye' headlights. Many motoring fans may be disappointed that the new look is not as bold and exciting as some of the earlier prototypes suggested it might be.
But bosses at manufacturers Rover and parent company BMW are adamant that the revised model had to be 'recognisably a Mini'.
They knew they might be reviled by purists if they went too far from the Alec Issigonis design that became a legend in its own launch time when it was revealed in 1959.
The official unveiling of the new model was brought forward last night to steal the thunder from Mercedes at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where the German firm is unveiling its own joint-venture super-mini called the Smart car.
Rover Group design and engineering director Nick Stephenson said they had created a 'thoroughly modern Mini' with classic styling cues.
It was aimed at appealing to all ages, but was a premium product directed at wealthier customers.
'Designing the new Mini for a new century is an awesome responsibility,' he added. 'But we are dedicated to producing a car that is a worthy replacement for an icon of the world's motor industry. …