If two automakers were ever at opposite ends of the automotive spectrum, they’d be Mini and Rolls-Royce. Mini makes compact but amusing hatchbacks for the great unwashed masses, while Rolls-Royce builds luxurious motorcars for the well-heeled. You probably wouldn’t want to park a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe on the streets of Manhattan overnight, but on the other hand you wouldn’t want to roll up to Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris in a Mini Cooper. It’s all about expectations, I suppose.
At least it was until Mini announced the Mini Inspired By Goodwood model, to debut at next week’s Shanghai Auto Show. Named for Rolls-Royce’s hometown, the Goodwood is built under the watchful eye of Rolls-Royce advisors. It gets Rolls-Royce paint (Diamond Black Metallic), a Rolls-Royce inspired interior (in their proprietary color, Cornsilk), and it even gets the Cooper S engine, good for 181 horsepower. As alluring as the outside may be, the inside comes close to over-the-top. Mats are made from thick lambswool, just like on Rolls-Royce models. The Walnut Burr dash is topped with black Nappa leather, just like on a Rolls. Even the switchgear has gone upscale, and now features a piano black finish.
There’s no word on what markets will get the Goodwood Mini, or what the price will be (hint: a LOT higher than a base Cooper S). Mini says the car will see production, and they insist that only 1,000 will be built for all markets. Unlike the Aston-Martin Cygnet, which requires prior Aston ownership to “qualify” for purchase, no such rules exist with the Goodwood Mini. Sure it’ll be expensive, but it’s be the closest that most of us can come to buying a Rolls Royce.