While I was out last week driving a bunch of fast BMWs around California, I had a chance to see the MINI Goodwood as it made its US debut at Pebble Beach. The MINI Goodwood (yes even we refuse to use the full name – MINI Inpsired by 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 that mind-set) the exterior is for the world, the interior is for them.

The defining characteristic of the car is obvious the second you open the door. The smell, the textures and the subtle details are almost overwhelming. 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. It is meant to appeal to high net-worth individuals who want a efficient urban runabout with the style and elegance they’ve come to expect in their lives.

Leather is everywhere. And this isn’t the leather 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 colour throughout. Every millimetre 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.

The MINI Goodwood isn’t intended for me and it’s likely not for you. But the Goodwood incredibly successful at redefining the MINI in the eyes of a demographic that is increasingly looking at smaller more efficient cars for daily transportation. And there’s no better starting point than the already stylishly iconic MINI

Special thanks to Bryan from Kilometer Magazine for providing the photography.