Mini Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Rebirth With New Video Game

Ten years have passed since the Mini nameplate was resurrected as BMW’s compact sub-brand. Since the first new Mini rolled off the assembly line in 2001, BMW has sold roughly 300,000 Mini-branded cars in the UK. To mark its 10th birthday, Mini has created “MINI Lunatics,” a Flash-based web game set in Earth orbit that allows Mini owners to see how their cars’ mileage compares to the distance between the Earth and the moon.

Although the concept sounds a bit strange for a game commemorating Mini’s 10-year anniversary, the moon theme comes from Mini’s estimates for its customer’s combined mileage – which it says is equivalent to 33,000 round-trip journeys to the Earth’s closest celestial body. Once you register, you’re given a basic idea of how far your Mini would get if you could drive to the moon. A graphical representation of your car docks with the “MINI Space Station,” where you can see how your Mini’s mileage stacks up against other users. Prizes are randomly awarded to users who dock at certain parts of the space station, with a chance at the grand prize trip to Cape Canaveral available to those that find the game’s seven hidden words.

While perhaps not the way we’d celebrate our 10th anniversary, the “MINI Lunatics” game does provide a few minutes of entertainment, especially if you take the time to find all the secret words hidden in the game’s clickable factoids. The Mini brand’s achievement, however, is worthy of more than just an interactive web game. BMW took quite a risk in reinventing a cultural icon like the Mini, but by adopting the defunct British marque as its compact sub-brand, the automaker’s gamble has paid dividends.

For our own celebration of BMW’s success, we’ve picked out five of our favorite Mini models and concepts from the revived brand.

Mini Rocketman Concept – Shown at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the Rocketman concept represents what a Mini could look like if it were downsized to A-segment dimensions. At nearly a foot shorter than a standard Cooper, the Rocketman is a bit closer to Mini’s original goal of building small, fun cars. Drivetrain specifications weren’t given for the concept, but Mini says the Rocketman would be capable of roughly 78 mpg if produced.

John Cooper Works Minis – Originally a tuning kit offered by a third-party company – which happened to be founded by one of the architects of the original Mini, John Cooper – the JCW kit for the Cooper S turned it into a supercharged compact screamer. JCW quickly established a more integrated relationship with BMW and was finally bought by the company in 2007, giving us the turbocharged factory Cooper JCW models we know today.

Mini Beachcomber Concept – Unveiled at the Detroit show in 2010, the doorless Beachcomber Concept channeled the spirit of the Jeep-like Mini Moke of the 1960s. With its cabin totally exposed to the elements, the Beachcomber wasn’t a likely candidate for production, but its off-road-capable look and relatively small size made it a favorite of the show. Although a production version isn’t planned, a few of the concept’s features and styling made the transition to the Countryman crossover.

Mini E – This Cooper-based EV was developed primarily as a prototype for future electric cars from BMW, but as lessees participating in the limited trial program can attest, the car is a success in its own right. The Mini E’s electric drive system produces 204 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque and has a real-world range of roughly 100 miles. Mini’s trials of the car changed many participants’ views on EVs, and the data collected from the tests will help shape the development of BMW’s upcoming i3 all-electric city car.

Mini ACV 30 Concept – Predating the resurrected Mini brand, the ACV 30 Concept premiered at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show. The letters in the concept’s name stand for Anniversary Concept Vehicle, celebrating Mini’s win at the Monte Carlo Rally 30 years earlier. The concept was a mid-engined, retro-themed compact with bulging fenders and a sleeker, more coupe-like profile compared to the original Mini. Although never produced in this form, the concept is credited as the progenitor for modern Mini design.

Source: Mini