After 41 years, the original and classic-in-its-own-lifetime Mini was replaced with a brand new car. It was designed and engineered in the UK, after BMW insisted Rover went in the new-age Cooper direction, rather than the ‘Spiritual’ direction the British really wanted.
A few post-launch wobbles, but now in its second generation, and a huge global success that has re-affirmed MINI as the builder of desirable small cars. The R50 code demotes the first generation from 2001-2006, the second generation was known as the R56 – and was pretty much a BMW-engineered version of the original car – while the third generation was known as the F56.
It’s this car that brought BMW and MINI closer together, and away from its Rover heritage, being underpinned by a brand new German-engineered platform, known as UKL1. It’s this that spawned the Countryman and Clubman versions, and which are shared with the BMW 2-Series Active Touring.