You could say London is the real home of the original Mini, the poster car of the Swinging Sixties and, although today's Minis are designed in Munich and built in Oxford, the tradition of naming special-edition models after trendy London suburbs continues.
And so, as the buzz builds up ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, here are the latest two - the trendy Baker Street and the sporty Bayswater - each of which will be available in South Africa from March 2012, at prices to be announced then.
The Baker Street will be available in South Africa only as a 90kW Mini Cooper model, with six-speed manual (standard) or six-speed auto (optional) transmission, in a special metallic grey finish with V-shaped black bonnet stripes, black roof, and glossy black mirror housings and 16” alloys, with the 'Baker Street' logo on the side scuttles framing the indicator repeaters.
The Baker Street is also listed in black or white, the latter also with a black roof.
In each case the interior is trimmed in light grey, with a diamond pattern on the upholstery, whether ordered in fabric or in leather, with grey contrast stitching and the 'Baker Street' logo on the floor mats, gear-lever and handbrake gaiters, and seat tags.
The logo is also embossed on the door sills, and the all-grey interior gets a bit of discreet twinkle with the Chrome Line trim package. Also standard is the Pepper Pack (an extra-cost option on other Mini models) M) which includes aircon, an onboard computer, a leather steering wheel, chromed exterior trim, front foglights, a lighting package and height adjustment for the front passenger seat.
Baker Street is, of course, best known as the home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, whose rooms were at No.221b. Today, the Sherlock Holmes museum and Madame Tussaud's waxworks can both be found just a stone's throw from Baker Street underground station.
As befits the extrovert, vibrant and just slightly raffish reputation of the area between the shopping hot spots of Knightsbridge and Notting Hill, the Mini Bayswater comes in a special metallic blue colour with a black roof, although you can order black or grey metallic, also with black on top.
Each has sporty stripes across the bonnets and on the mirror housings - blue on the right, grey on the left, with the 'Bayswater' logo on the side indicator surrounds.
The interior is trimmed in dark grey leather with a metallic sheen on the side bolsters, and blue and grey contrast stitching, which is also to be seen+ on the gear-lever and handbrake gaiters. The 'Bayswater' logo adorns the door sills and seat tags, and the special floor mats have dark grey edging with blue stitching. Chromed interior accents set off the gloss black trim strips
Stainless-steel pedals are standard, as is Pepper Pack, as detailed above.
Customers can order their Mini Bayswater in Cooper (90kW) or Cooper S (135 kW) format; a six-speed manual 'box is standard, a six-speed auto an option.