Quick spin: Mini Cooper Baker Street
What is it?
It's the latest in a long line of special-edition Minis. This one is named after Baker Street, the real-life London street where the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes lives. It also coincided nicely with the London Olympics.
Vitals: 1.6-litre 4-cyl petrol, 90kW, 160Nm, 6-sp man and 6-sp auto.
What does it say about me?
That you're a sucker for a special-edition Mini.
What doesn't it say about me?
That you're an individual who wants something unique about your highly customisable Mini.
Who else is buying it?
Massive Sherlock Holmes fans.
What colours does it come in?
White, black and a browny-beige. But, according to Mini, a standout is the roof that is finished in ''Rooftop Grey metallic exterior paint shade'' that apparently ''combines with special bonnet stripes whose basic colour, black, is given extra character by a subtle V-shape design.'' And here's me thinking it is a black roof with black stripes on the bonnet.
If it were a movie star, who would it be?
Who else? Benedict Cumberbatch, the English actor who plays Holmes in the contemporary TV version of Sherlock.
Why would I buy it?
Because it's a relatively subtle take on the classic Cooper shape. Given the popularity of bright, bold colours on the modern Mini, the muted brown and black wheels are a refreshing change.
Will it let me down?
BMW builds Minis now, so they're more reliable than the originals.
Will it get me noticed?
No. Minis are a dime a dozen these days. And they've done so many special editions they're starting to blend into the traffic.
Are there any gadgets I can brag about?
No. Disappointingly, you don't get a deerstalker hat or a smoking pipe. A real missed opportunity by Mini. But at least they give you Mini's navigation system.
How's the cabin ambience?
Like the outside, muted. The seats feature a nice diamond pattern, which, according to Mini, is ''traditional British style''. The ''Rooftop Grey'' colour is used for the trim on the dash and doors, and there's grey stitching on the floormats, gearshift and handbrake. Oh, and Baker Street is written on the door sills.
What's the stereo like?
It's good, and you get Bluetooth audio streaming (and phone connection) as standard too.
Does it go?
Sadly the Baker Street option is only available on the non-turbo Cooper and turbo diesel Cooper D, instead of the more sprightly Cooper S. It's adequately powered, but does lack a bit of low-down oomph.
Does it like corners?
It's a Mini so it's still got that go-kart handling the brand talks up so much.
What about bumps?
It's a Mini so it's still got the go-kart-like rock-hard suspension the brand doesn't talk about so much.
Would you buy one?
No, I'd rather buy an Audi A1 if I was in the market for a premium hatch. It's more contemporary and has a more relaxed ride while still being sporty.
But what if you really, really want a Mini?
Try picking your own colour and trim options - there's no shortage.
The Mini Baker Street embodies the youthful, fresh and innovative trend-setting style of the brand.
If people buy this it opens up a new market of special editions named after any street in the world. Coming soon to a Mini dealer near you: the Ramsay Street edition.
Sydney Morning Herald