Yet another ritzy London suburb is getting its own limited edition Mini - this time a chocolate metallic convertible, with chocolate leather interior and a lot of gadgets. I feel like Rip Van Winkle...is it the 1970s again?
The new model is called the Highgate, for the ritzy North London suburb that adjoins Hampstead Heath and was a village until Victorian times. Highgate cemetery is best known for Karl Marx being buried there, but so is Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide). Peter Sellers grew up in Highgate, actress Glenda Jackson has been the MP for the district since 1992 and T.S. Eliot once taught at the Highgate school. Less well known, perhaps is that the wife and son of Hitler's half-brother Alois lived there from 1930 to 1939, when it seemed expedient to return home.
The special edition convertible is expected to be built by Mini Yours, the in-house division responsible for fitting Mini models with custom features. Like the previous special editions, the Highgate gets unique exterior and interior equipment. The special paint is called Ice Chocolate Metallic. The interior will be customized in chocolate with contrasting white stitches (yikes!). The gadget list includes automatic climate control, on-board computer, Bluetooth with USB audio, fog lamps, and a sports leather steering wheel. The engine is expected to be the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the 2011 Mini Cooper S, which delivers 181 horsepower.
The Mini Highgate is likely to be unveiled next month, probably at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will be available in European markets by the end of the year. The Mini Hampton edition (another stuffy suburb) was the previous project, and is currently on sale.
I think Mini is missing a bet here. After all, these are respectable areas. How about a Mini Tottenham in flat black, with bars on blacked-out windows and flamer-thrower exhaust, or a Mini Brixton in white, with a red and white fringed Surrey top and booming reggae music? —Paul Duchene