Until recently the only information available for the new 2006 colors came from either the MINIUSA configurator flash animation or a color sample at the dealership. Neither one was a very good way to gage just how the new colors would look. To aid those spec’ing their 2006 MINIs, today we take a look at how the Solar Red body color and the new bonnet stripes look “in the flesh.”

Solar Red

In the week that has past since I took delivery of my 2006 COOPER, I have been surprised at just how much range of color there is to Solar Red. In some lighting conditions it can appear to be a lighter version of Velvet Red, and in others the color shifts to being fairly close to Chili Red. The good news is for those still waiting for their MINIs to be delivered, the color chip doesn’t do Solar Red justice.

For those looking for a brighter color for their MINI, there are two potential downsides to Solar Red. First, the roof options are restricted to Solar Red and Silver. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those choices, but but it would have been nice to have been able to also choose from white and black. The other problem with Solar Red is that it isn’t available on the COOPER S.

Silver Bonnet Stripes

Visually the new stripe pattern does excellent job of drawing attention not just to the stripe, but to the bulge in the center of the bonnet.

As far as fit and finish go, the new stripe has an almost metallic appearance which makes it look nearly painted on. In addition, the stripe is applied at the factory prior to installation of the MINI emblem and has nice radiuses in the corners. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon:
1) The new stripe has two clearance holes cut in it to fit around the washer nozzles mounted toward the rear of the bonnet. The holes are slightly larger than one might have expected for a factory installation.
2) MINI continues its trend of not having the stripe run the full length of the bonnet, resulting in a small gap at the front and back of the stripe.
3) The stripe isn’t available in black or white for those that elected for a roof in a color other than silver. Perhaps in the future an aftermarket company would consider producing a similar stripe if the interest was there.