The Deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as DNA, is a molecule which carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms. In simpler words, it's the genetic code that determines all the characteristics of a living thing.
And just like how every living thing has its unique identity, products and brands also have their own ‘DNA’, giving them their distinct characteristics.
While many brands have left their identity all over the place as they progressed, some, like MINI here, have managed to successfully preserve the DNA even as they evolved.
Even earlier this year, when BMW Group Malaysia unveiled the new Clubman, those with an eye for detail would’ve noticed that it wasn’t only the car that was new, but also the logo, the typography and tone. Things were a tad classier, more minimalist, or and more ‘hipster’ as the millennials would put it.
Yes, the brand has evolved again and this time, the new identity is said to be based on the principles of minimalism still, with added clarity and authenticity.
“We want to continue the MINI success story, refine our brand strategy and refresh the brand’s visual identity – starting with the campaign for the new Clubman. We aim to make more people avid Mini fans – with a new brand identity and new offerings in the future,” said Sebastian Mackensen, the head of MINI during the global unveiling of the brand’s new corporate image last year.
That said, we were given the opportunity to get our hands on the complete range of Minis, and also to have a word about the brand’s new direction with the guys at MINI Malaysia at MINIscape 2016; a two-day affair which required us to drive close to 600km from KL to JB and back.
The cars which we drove include:
The regular Cooper and Clubman aside, the Countryman Park Lane, Adventurer, Cooper JCW and Stealth Editions can be considered special models, as these cars had not one or two but many cosmetic and performance enhancements that set them apart from the lot.
For instance, the Cooper S JCW, with the tuning and the performance upgrades, produces a massive 231 hp, making it the most powerful model in the lot.
Up next is the Countryman Park Lane, which is limited to only 88 units of it in Malaysia. Clad in Earl Grey metallic body paint, Oak Red finish on the roof, exterior mirror caps and racing stripes, its sporty aesthetic make it one of the more visually outstanding Mini models.
And then, there was the Countryman Adventurer, which comes with a few cosmetic additions which give it a more rugged appearance, such as additional spotlights on the front grille, unique rims, as well as roof rails to carry bicycles, surf boards and what not.
Last and not the least was the Cooper S Stealth Edition; tuned by John Cooper Works (JCW), fitted with JCW Exhaust Valve Silencer System, JCW Carbon Tailpipe Finishers, and a Bluetooth remote control to activate the manic exhaust, it was absolute joy to be in the car, especially on the B-roads where the mufflers were singing the songs of their people every time we downshifted or de-throttled.
While day 1 of MINIscape 2016 comprised mostly of driving through coastal roads, day 2 required us to make a pit-stop at a very exciting location – the Melaka International Motorsports Circuit for a brief ‘Time-attack’ challenge in the Cooper and Cooper S before we headed to the highway en-route to KL.
Although the routes traversed in day 1 were exciting, it was the session at the circuit which had all participants smiling from ear to ear as we could really push the Cooper and Cooper S to their limits.
And It was also at the circuit where we got a first-hand experience on Mini’s renowned go-kart like handling – which is the unique characteristic; the DNA that has defined the brand since the glory days of the Monte-Carlo Rally winning Cooper in 1964, until today.
In all, Miniscape 2016 was indeed an exciting outing for all the participants as those who were new to MINI got to familiarize themselves with the brand and the cars. As for the more experienced ones, this was yet another perfect opportunity to indulge in some serious driving and occasional ‘hooning’ action.