Roundel magazine reviews the MINI Roadster


Roundel May 2012It’s not often that Roundel, a BMW magazine, puts anything other than a BMW car on its cover, but it did just that for its May 2012 issue.  The cover car is a MINI Cooper S Roadster which is reviewed inside.

But you can’t judge a review by the cover.  With the Roadster’s accomplishment, you might think Roundel takes the new MINI Roadster seriously.  Instead, the condescending author imagines the “Nancy Drew car” as suitable for a sixteen-year-old girl named Buffy.  Some quotes from just the first page (page 40) of the article:

“It’s just so gosh-darned cuuuuuute!”

“The Coupé is an attitude car, the ride-of-choice for the young rebel without a clue; the Roadster is simply the adorable kitten from the shelter: Won’t you take me home, little girl?”

“Here’s how goofy this thing is: I am smiling and waving at passers-by.”

So it seems the author, a BMW guy, is reluctant to admit he loves the MINI. He’s shown on the cover with a huge grin and even feels the need to explain that in his column on page 7.

All the condescension might be to hide the schizophrenic author’s true love for the MINI, since he simultaneously ridicules and praises the Roadster:

So what’s in store for you in this kiddie car, Mister Adult With Responsibilities And Good Sense? Well, first of all, it’s an excellent way to banish that image. As a roadster-with-a-lowercase-r fanatic myself, I must note the verities of the breed. Your neighbors will shake their heads as you drift out of the driveway on your way to work, tsk-tsking your apparent descent into a long-delayed adolescence while they inwardly seethe with envy. […] The Mini Roadster is simply so much fun that you might justify buying one even if you have no children, just in case.

One positive comment on the article is that it does give several great tables of specifications and data on all the versions of the MINI Roadster, both manual and automatic.

We can’t help thinking this article says more about the author and the typical BMW owner than it does about the character of the car itself.  However much they might want to like the Roadster, the perception of their image by others comes first.  Most MINI enthusiasts don’t suffer from this issue but will simply embrace the quirks and enjoy the sheer driving fun that Roadster and all MINIs provide.

To read this issue, go to the Roundel reader page, click the Issues tab on the left side, and choose the May 2012 cover.  Note: the website uses Flash and will not work on Apple devices.


2 thoughts on “Roundel magazine reviews the MINI Roadster

  • Joao / BR

    The author of that poor attempt at humor is Satch Carlson, editor of the Roundel, and not typical of anything. BTW Roundel is the house mag of BMWCCA (BMW Car Club of America).

  • Roger Sitterly

    Given that Satch Carlson absolutely refuses to spell “MINI” in upper case in Roundel (he automatically edits every “MINI” to “Mini”) I guess we are supposed to be grateful he managed to smile for the cover photo.

    I belong to the CCA, and once had an opportunity to ask him face-to-face why his editorial style was inconsistent – he uses “Mini” (not “MINI”) but “BMW” (not “Bmw”). He hemmed and hawed, and never really provided anything approaching an answer. Despite all their rather half-hearted efforts, the CCA really is all about BMWs that carry a Roundel badge, and cars built by BMW but lacking that precious blue-and-white emblem are looked down on as somehow second rate. That’s why I long ago stopped attending local CCA functions – I maintain my membership only because I own a classic and value the Roundel columns by Mike Self and Mike Miller.

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