Munich. At the time, no one could have known that the young pharmacist's assistant and assistant teacher, who earned a little money in the small English town of Midhurst, West Sussex, at the beginning of 1881, would become one of the greats of science fiction literature. His name: Herbert George Wells, the later creator of classics such as "War of the Worlds" and "The Time Machine". Can there be a better place than Midhurst to explore as part of the history of southern England with a modern time machine like the MINI Cooper S 5-door (fuel consumption combined: 6.8 -6.2 l/100 km according to WLTP; CO2 emissions combined: 154 - 141 g/km according to WLTP), which transfers the principle of creative use of space once conceived for the classic Mini to the present in a particularly convincing way?
Midhurst itself, a town of 5,000 people in the county of West Sussex, is definitely worth a visit. It is located in the middle of the South Downs National Park, the youngest of the 15 national parks in England and Wales. The ruins of Tudor Cowdray House and Victorian Cowdray House give a first glimpse of the rich architectural heritage England has to offer. Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture meet here, and the old market square has long been the meeting place for relaxed residents.
No less narrow than the lanes in Midhurst are the small country roads that cross the national park. In typical English style, bushes and trees stand right at the edge of the tarmac ribbons, and pheasants poke their heads through the thicket or dash across the narrow carriageway every now and then.
These tracks are the ideal terrain for a compact sports car like the MINI Cooper S 5-door, which can demonstrate its temperament here with its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo technology. The drivetrain generates a maximum of 131 kW/178 hp and accelerates the MINI Cooper S 5-door from zero to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds. Enough power to swiftly overtake the many agricultural vehicles used here for cattle farming and fruit growing.
Those who want to explore the surrounding area of Midhurst have plenty of choice, as almost every village has a story to tell. We first decide to take a detour north to the Hollycombe Steam Collection at Liphook on the northern edge of the national park. Here, among other things, is an almost complete and usable steam fair from Edwardian times.
After so much early industrial culture, we're happy to climb back into our ultra-modern MINI, which gleams in Island Blue metallic and catches the eye with its roof and exterior mirror caps in silver, its 18-inch Pulse Spoke 2-tone alloy wheels and Piano Black exterior, among other features. The redesigned and standard sports leather steering wheel with its multi-function button panels fits perfectly in the hand - it's time to explore more of West Sussex.
To do this, the route leads south-east, past Petworth with its impressive baroque Petworth House, which houses a collection of old masters. But the place is also known for its literature festival in November. If you want to visit the ancient Romans, you only have to drive a few kilometres further south: In Bignor, the remains of a Roman villa were discovered by chance while ploughing in 1811. Beautiful mosaic floors and ceramics can still be seen today, the oldest pieces dating back to the first century AD.
After another short drive, the MINI reaches Amberley - and anyone interested in technology should not drive past the Railway Museum there. Here, narrow-gauge trains built in 1880 and later roll along old tracks with a gauge of 610 millimetres. Their bizarreness already impressed the makers of the James Bond episode “A View to a Kill" in the 1980s.
In the neighbourhood of the River Rother, which at 56 kilometres is one of the longest rivers in Sussex and also flows through the middle of Midhurst, the A284 country road continues south to Arundel with its incredibly large castle. It is the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk, the first buildings having been built in 1068. Also worth seeing is the Parish Church of St Nicholas, built in 1380, and Hiorne Tower - an ornamental 18th century building in Arundel Park, last occupied in the 1950s.
Next to it is the English Channel and Bognor Regis, one of the famous southern English seaside resorts. So unpack your swimwear from the luggage compartment of the MINI Cooper S 5-door. The luggage compartment holds 278 litres when all five seats are in use and can be expanded to 941 litres with only two occupants when the standard 60/40 split rear seat backrest is folded down. Well refreshed, the road now leads inland again, to Chichester. The city is much more than just the administrative seat of West Sussex - its cathedral is famous, for example, but also its reputation as a shopping hotspot thanks to designer boutiques and art galleries.
Not far from Chichester is the paradise of all fans of classic cars and sports and luxury cars: Goodwood. A visit is a must because, firstly, Goodwood House with its large and beautiful estates is an ideal place to relax. Secondly, the hilly aristocratic grounds with its integrated race track host the incomparable Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival every year. And thirdly, the BMW Group, to which MINI also belongs, builds automotive luxury in the Duke of Richmond's large garden: cars of the Rolls-Royce brand have been manufactured here since 2003.
The route leads back towards Midhurst through the heathland of West Sussex and the ridges of the South Downs and the Weald as the highest elevations. This is where the new Adaptive Suspension of the MINI Cooper S 5-door comes into its own. Frequency-selective damping ensures an optimised balance between sportiness and ride comfort.
An additional valve ensures that the damping forces are adjusted extremely quickly, so that the harmonious driving characteristics remain unaffected by the not exactly rare bumps in the English road surface. And the go-kart feeling - typical of the brand - can be felt in every one of the many bends.
After a stop at the Weald and Downland Living Museum, which informs about the former country life of the area and fascinates with a Victorian classroom and a Tudor kitchen, the MINI Cooper S 5-door rolls back to Midhurst, where there is the opportunity to rest from the impressive journey and ponder H. G. Wells at the Swan Inn in Chichester Road.
Incidentally, he was not the only prominent resident of the town. For example, Sir Alec Guinness, the man with a thousand faces, and William Henry Pratt - better known as Boris Karloff or even as Frankenstein's monster - also lived and died in Midhurst. You can't have England without a bit of horror.
Fuel consumption, CO2 emission figures and power consumption were measured using the methods required according to Regulation VO (EC) 2007/715 as amended. They refer to vehicles on the automotive market in Germany. For ranges, the NEDC figures take into account differences in the selected wheel and tyre size, while the WLTP figures take into account the effects of any optional equipment.
All figures are already calculated on the basis of the new WLTP test cycle. NEDC values listed have been calculated back to the NEDC measurement procedure where applicable. WLTP values are used as a basis for the definition of taxes and other vehicle-related levies that are (also) based on CO2 emissions and, where applicable, for the purposes of vehicle-specific subsidies. Further information on the WLTP and NEDC measurement procedures is also available at www.bmw.de/wltp.
For further details of the official fuel consumption figures and official specific CO2 emissions of new cars, please refer to the “Manual on the fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and power consumption of new cars”, available at sales outlets, from Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH (DAT), Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen and at Leitfaden-Kraftstoffverbrauch - DAT.
In case of queries, please contact:
Julian Kisch, Press Spokesperson Product Communications MINI
Andreas Lampka, Head of Communications MINI
Jennifer Treiber-Ruckenbrod, Head of Communications MINI and BMW Motorrad
The BMW Group
With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2020, the BMW Group sold over 2.3 million passenger vehicles and more than 169,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2020 was € 5.222 billion on revenues amounting to € 98.990 billion. As of 31 December 2020, the BMW Group had a workforce of 120,726 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company set the course for the future at an early stage and consistently makes sustainability and efficient resource management central to its strategic direction, from the supply chain through production to the end of the use phase of all products.
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Source: BMW Group PressClub Global