First thing when stepping inside our test car was to be (once again) amazed by the sheer size of the speedometer, mounted right in the top part of the center console. We realize the reason for its positions is strictly for retro reasons, so that it can be as similar to the original as possible, by the way. What we don't get is why it has to be sized the same as a cooking pan. Plus, when driving it with the top down pretty much everyone on the road can learn of your exact speed just by glancing towards your car. Not to mention every single one of your (maximum three) passengers.
Which brings us to the interior space, specially made to cure any agoraphobic upon entering it while the top is up. The overall space in the front is decent, although your elbows might feel a little "constrained" by the fact you'll always bump them from something inside the car if you're a larger fellow. The two seats in the rear are an entirely different experience altogether though.
Even if Mini's marketing says this is a 2+2 car, there is no way in hell you can fit four grown people inside it for a trip taking more than a few hundred yards, since most of the passengers will probably hate your guts for it. The luggage compartment is also only useful if you're traveling light, the Indian way. In other words, it's fit for a couple of briefcases and a backpack, with only 170 liters (6 cubic feet) of space.
Now, leaving the overall space aside, our test car's interior was quite a feast for a retro-geek's eyes. There are classically-shaped buttons and knobs everywhere on the car, while the overall design also harks back to "the good old days" of motoring.
Although at first it might appear a bit cluttered with buttons, the center console has easy to use and find controls and the materials used are much more "premium" than your average small econobox. A nice touch is of course the way the rev counter sits right behind the steering wheel alone, only to be "bothered" by a feature which can't be found on any other car's list of options. It's a small clock-like thingy called the "Always-Open Timer". In other words, it's a stop watch which tells you how long the roof has stayed open.
There is no actual purpose for it to stay right up there with the tachometer, but we kind of "digged" the idea behind its existence. To sum up the overall ambient in our test car in just a few words, it would sound something like this: cozy, cramped, sporty, retro and elegant. We should also further add that you can personalize your Mini's interior in just about every way possible, switching through a huge palette of colors and materials. Continue reading