Mini Coupe Gets Me In A Lather

Mini Coupe Gets Me In A Lather

During my weekly forage at the big yellow comestibles shop I decided to splash out on a bit of a retro indulgence that – as far as my reasonably limited memory can remember – has never actually made it into the shopping trolley since my ownership was transferred to the current Mrs Grimley.

A bar of soap.

Before the more hygiene fixated amongst you abandon Car & SUV forever in protest at my lack of personal cleanliness, rest assured that on a day-to-day basis I am nothing short of pine fresh. Thanks largely to the input of the female inhabitant of Grimley Towers, at any one time our shower room has enough examples of foamy grooming products to turn the Tasman Sea into a bubble bath; but until now we have always shunned the humble soap cake.

And it only took a single application of my new purchase to tell me why. Thanks to clever people in laboratories and the selfless suffering of their guinea pigs (which probably are guinea pigs) the usual lotions and potions involved in my cleansing rituals are capable of disguising the 31 years of neglect that my flesh has been subjected to. A concoction of plant extracts and technical whizzery leave me emerging from every shower feeling like the victim of a drive-by moisturising.

Clean Up Your Act BMW

Soap does not do this. One quick wash was enough to leave me convinced that my skin had somehow been removed and replaced with some two sizes smaller and twenty years older. Every doorframe became a Krypton Factor-esque challenge as I was sure the slightest brush of my newly abrasive forearm would have been enough to remove the paint. I felt tight and weather beaten, but most importantly of all I felt properly clean.

Now, despite all evidence to the contrary, I’m not stupid. I know that scientific evolution ensures the shower gels of today are light years ahead of a classic block of Lifebuoy and will keep me looking less terrible for longer, but it doesn’t really matter. Despite the fact it is old fashioned, I love the single minded purposefulness of soap; you get clean and that’s your lot. Want to be smooth too? Buy some moisturiser. By only going about one task, the end result just seems to be that bit more focussed and pleasing.

And that’s why I’m beginning to fall out of love with Mini.

As a devotee of Sir Alec Issigonis’ original car who complained bitterly about the Germans reinventing a true British legend, it came as a bit of an embarrassment to discover that I absolutely adored the new model. Being fun, cute and wildly entertaining to drive made it a worthy successor to one of the all time great motor vehicles.

The problem is that in their quest for world domination, BMW has subsequently seen fit to expand their baby into as many market sectors as possible. Not that there is anything wrong with that – the original model certainly had its share of derivatives – but in an age where style rules, rather than put their back into it and really go to town on design detail, they simply pull out an angle grinder, take off the roof and stick a new bit on.

And nowhere is this truer than the new Coupe which, thanks to a roof apparently intended for a more diminutive vehicle, looks like a man with a big head wearing a very small toupée. With a bit of effort, I’m sure the Mini could be formed into a cool, original coupe – Adrian Van Hooydonk, current Director of BMW Group Design, was personally responsible for the ACV 30, so certainly has the pedigree – but instead it seems a dilution of the winning formula is more palatable.

But in the same way I want soap to give 100% towards making me dirt free, I also want a Mini to concentrate on doing what it does best: simply being a Mini. Unfortunately like my soap, it seems sadly destined to keep on being watered down by a bloody shower.

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