MINI recently took the highly limited edition MINI Cooper SE Convertible out for a tour of London and wrote a love letter to the city in the process.
Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus – what’s the best way to start a tour in the MINI Cooper SE Convertible through a major city with nine million inhabitants and such a wealth of history? With “Courage”. This important quality for real change has been commemorated since 2018 by one of the newest statues in historic London in honour of women’s rights activist Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett. She was one of the driving forces for women’s suffrage. “Courage calls for courage everywhere” it says on the banner the figure of the first monument to a woman in Parliament Square in London is holding. It stands for social participation and equality.
Vibrant city brimming with diversity.
The centrally located, spacious square right next to the seat of the British Parliament in the Palace of Westminster gives us another brief opportunity for recharging. From here, we head east across the legendary 252-metre long Westminster Bridge in the MINI Cooper SE Convertible (power consumption combined: 17.2 kWh/100 km according to WLTP; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km) right into the breathtaking atmosphere of London’s South Bank on the other side of the Thames.
At the centre of the 1.7-kilometre stretch of waterfront there is the Queen Elizabeth Hall, alongside the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal National Theatre. While a daily programme of classical, jazz and avant-garde concerts delights audiences in the upper part of the foyer building, the vibrant heart of London’s subculture pulsates in the basement. After all, the city’s best-known skateboarding area has been located here since the 1970s. Next door, London’s creative scene celebrates the city’s urban art made famous by Banksy with the colourful graffiti tunnel on Leake Street.
Historical and contemporary structures in exciting contrast
Passing the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre, the route leads across London Bridge to the other side of the river again. On the bridge, the textile soft top of the MINI Cooper SE Convertible with its typical Union Jack design silently lowers to reveal an ever brightening English sky. Here in the east of the city, the enchanted church ruins of St Dunstan-in-the-East create an exciting contrast between history and modernity. The park is considered to be an insider’s tip and is located in and around the nave and offers a special place for the MINI passengers to rest and fill up their spent energy.
The MINI Cooper SE Convertible no longer has to do this in the classic sense we know from combustion engines. Instead, the 135 kW/184 hp electric motor favours agile and easily controllable handling and allows for 201 kilometres of locally emission-free open-air driving pleasure according to the WLTP test cycle.
A stop at the London Sky Garden is a good idea to enjoy a view over the city on the Thames that is as goods from a convertible. London’s highest garden is located on the 35th floor of a skyscraper called “Walkie-Talkie” because of its distinctive shape. Admission is free and guarantees a fantastic view of the city, where you can already spot the next sightseeing attractions.
Looking west, St Paul’s Cathedral, in the middle of Europe’s largest financial centre – the borough of City of London – is easily recognisable as one of the largest churches in the world. In the centre of the 158-metre-long cathedral there is the 750 ton roof lantern suspended at a height of 111 metres. 111 metres correspond to exactly 365 feet, i.e. one foot for each day of the year.
Before this eventful day draws to a close, a spot in front of the magnificently lit Somerset House guarantees a spectacular view of the sea of lights at night along the Thames. Home to cultural pioneers, Somerset House links up creativity and art with society. Part of the neoclassical building belongs to King’s College, one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the world.
London doesn’t sleep, it shines.
On the opposite side of the river, the buildings lit up in bright colours and the iconic London Eye are already reflected in the water of the Thames. At 135 metres high and with its 32 floor-to-ceiling glass gondolas, on a clear day you can see 40 kilometres away to the royals’ Windsor Castle outside London.
For today, however, a glance from the sports seats of the open MINI Cooper SE Convertible into the clear night sky over London is enough to let all the great impressions pass in review. And already dream of the next day full of open-air go-kart feeling in this electrifying metropolis.