Race of Super Minis
The Fiat Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari is a nod to the manufacturers of the ultimate Italian cars. The Mini Goodwood’s interiors are that of a miniature Rolls Royce Phantom, and Toyota’s Aston Martin Cygnet, a super-tuned version of the iQ, is worthy of James Bond. But are super luxurious super minis a fun toy for the super rich, or will they become a permanent market fixture?
The Toyota iQ is produced in Japan, then sent off to Gaydon for some Aston-logos, a very flashy grill, exciting rear lights, and 16 inch polished wheels, and thus transformed into the Aston Martin Cygnet. Everything in the 3100mm long super mini Martin is ‘sport’ – especially flap-controlled exhaust system succeeds in persuading the driver that this is not just some Toyota. Only 380mm wider than a Smart Fortwo, the Cygnet’s turning circle comprises a tiny 7.8 metres – allowing for some exciting city manoeuvring. With only 98 bhp this mini is not as impressive as the other two listed here – however it still manages to reach 62 mph in an acceptable 11.8 seconds. Top speed is 106mph. Intended as a luxurious second car, the Cygnet is far lower in CO2 emissions than most other Aston Martin luxury cruisers – 120g CO2/km. It is also significantly cheaper to run than its larger relatives, using 54mpg. The main criticism is that exciting interior design is not featured as a standard – and this particular excitement is expensive.
The Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari is Fiat’s tribute to the other Italian manufacturer. The mini looks more or less like a standard Fiat, however is packed to the brim with impressive technology. 180 bhp strong, a maximum of 140mph fast, and boasting 250Nm, this is a car for the city racer. It accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just seven seconds. Lots of luxurious interior extras are included as standard.
The Mini Goodwood’s noble background can, externally, only be guessed at. The cheapest version of the British noble brand Rolls Royce, and the most expensive Mini, this little guy comes in Rolls’ ‘Diamond Black’, with an interior of finest leather. Boasting a 184 bhp strong 1.6 litre turbo engine, this Mini is one to watch out for. It accelerates to 62mph in an enviable 7.0 seconds. CO2 emissions however are slightly higher than those of the Cygnet – 36g per km. The Goodwood uses 48.7 mpg.
Undeniably exciting, these really are the top class of super minis – this flashy offspring of some of the most luxurious car manufacturers shows that small city cars are here to stay. What is missing on the market now, between the luxury versions above and the Daihatsu Cuores and Volkswagen Foxes are models by other high-end manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Audi, and BMW. Although the Mercedes A Class and the BMW 1 series already provide a valuable city alternative, they are still significantly larger than the super minis described here.
There clearly is a market for luxury, or, at the very least, comfortably small city cars. Fuel efficiency of models currently available also could be improved further (for example through the use of hybrid technology). Mercedes best small car, for example, is currently probably the A Class. It is brilliant – could it be shrunk more?
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