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by Tim Beissmann

The Rolls-Royce-designed ‘MINI Inspired by Goodwood’ luxury hatch will make its debut at next week’s Auto Shanghai 2011 motor show ahead of a limited production run in 2012.

The Inspired by Goodwood model is the result of collaborative work between MINI and the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team, which is based in Goodwood.

The bespoke MINI – based on the Cooper S in the mould of the Aston Martin Cygnet and the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari – will be limited to just 1000 units.

Some UK publications have suggested Rolls-Royce’s take on the MINI could retail for as much as £50,000 ($77,500) when it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2012.

MINI Australia has not been able to confirm whether any of the special edition MINIs will make their way Down Under, but the brand’s product communications manager, Lucy McLellan, said there was definitely a chance that a small number could come here if the UK gave its approval.

“We’re most certainly putting up our hand,” Ms McLellan said.

From the outside, it would not be difficult to mistake the Inspired by Goodwood for just another MINI, but the expert craftsmanship and the top quality materials of the interior truly set it apart.

The dashboard and door handles are manufactured in Goodwood and are finished in Walnut Burr, a quality of wood previously exclusive to Rolls-Royce.

Enhancing the quality is the black nappa leather dashboard cover, leather cornsilk door linings and piano black steering wheel features, instrument buttons and dials.

The carpets are deep lambs wool fleece, and the roof lining, sun visors and boot compartment cover are finished in another exclusive Rolls-Royce cashmere blend.

The Rolls-Royce inspiration doesn’t stop there either. Even the typeface on the speedometer and tachometer matches that used by the famous British luxury marque.

Other premium features include adaptive xenon headlights, park distance control, automatic climate control, MINI Visual Boost audio system and Harman Kardon speaker system.

On the outside, the Inspired by Goodwood features a Rolls-Royce paint colour (Diamond Black), 17-inch alloy wheels and unique badging.

The Goodwood uses the front and rear aprons of the Cooper S but adopts the smoother bonnet of the Cooper D, which does away with the bonnet scoop.

Like the Cooper S, the Rolls-Royce creation is powered by a 135kW/260Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With a manual transmission, it accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 6.6 seconds and uses 9.4 litres/100km of fuel on the European combined cycle.

The 2012 MINI Inspired by Goodwood will be manufactured at the Oxford MINI plant alongside the hatch, Clubman and Cabrio models.




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