MINI of Chicago: The Largest MINI Goodwood Dealer in the World

As a name, MINI Inspired by Goodwood is a mouthful. MINI couldn’t use the term Rolls Royce or even reference the storied brand. So instead they simply referenced the place all Rolls are made – Goodwood England. And it’s a shame because the Goodwood is nothing less than jaw-dropping once you open the door and your senses fully experience the car. The only problem? They’re relatively rare with many dealers not even getting more than one (if any). However MotoringFile sponsors MINI of Chicago not only has one or two but eight of the ultimate MINIs. Currently the dealer has delivered four and have another four in the showroom (all priced only $1,000 over invoice to celebrate the store’s one year anniversary). So with all the opulence just a few miles away from MF HQ, we thought it was worth a trip down the street to go check them out.

The first question we had of the MINI of Chicago Motoring Advisors; who’s buying the car? With the dealership being located in the posh Lincoln Park neighborhood just north of Chicago, there’s no shortage of upwardly mobile potential buyers. And apparently the buyers thus far have ranged from young professionals (who just want something special to drive around town) to well off stay at home moms. Either way it’s the car is a conversation piece for owners thus far.

It’s also quite subtle from the outside. The Goodwood doesn’t have a defining exterior characteristic like the JCW brand or other limited edition MINIs. In fact from a distance, it just looks like a very well specced dark colored MINI Cooper. And that’s completely by design.

Designers at Rolls Royce didn’t want to create a car that was an extrovert. As is their philosophy, they simply wanted to created understated elegance that led into a rich and sumptuous driver environment. For a MINI owners used to seeing Union Jacks decals and white wheels, it’s a foreign idea. But for the Roll Royce owner (or anyone with a similar mind-set) the exterior is for the world, the interior is for them.

And what a world awaits you when you open the door. With four in the showroom at MINI of Chicago, it was hard to not comb every inch of the interior. The leather (which covers almost everything), isn’t what we know from the rest of the automotive world. Where almost all cars use leather with printed patterns on them to hide the mediocre quality of the hide, Rolls Royce uses hides that are carefully prepared to ensure consistency of color throughout. Every millimeter is inspected by eye to make sure there are no imperfections. Additionally the leather is pre-shrunk and specially dyed so that it won’t squeak or crack with age.

Then there’s the carpeting which will likely be one of the softest and most luxurious things you’ll ever lay your hands on. One change (welcome in my eyes) to the interior was the change from plush carpet matt in the boot to a thick and long-lasting leather matt.

Yes $52,000 is a lot of money for a MINI. But when you see it up-close, you start to understand the truly bespoke nature of this car.

And at the moment, MINI of Chicago is the king of the Goodwood MINI. With four in the showroom you can easily compare and contrast the two colors available, Rolls Diamond Black or MINI’s Reef Blue (the only options on the car). Who knows, they may actually start to make sense once the scent of leather hits your nose.