BMW has just announced a cheaper version of its popular Oxford-built Mini - the Mini First. Fans of the 1959 Mini who think the current model isn’t quite true to the spirit of the rather basic original may feel more at home in the First, which does without some of the luxuries fitted as standard to the existing Mini range.

Prices start at £10,950, which is a bit of a bargain, given the quality of engineering and construction that goes into this car; combine that with the Mini’s traditional low rates of depreciation, fuel consumption of 53.3mpg on the combined cycle and BMW’s TLC package (which covers all servicing costs for the first five years of a Mini’s life at a cost of just £185) and the First seems likely to be exceptionally cheap to run.

One possible drawback is this car’s comparatively leisurely performance; the First’s 1.4 litre petrol engine is the same as that fitted to the Mini One, the previous entry-level Mini, but in a lower state of tune so that it delivers only 75 horsepower. On the other hand the First does have a six-speed gearbox and fuel-saving automatic stop-start technology.

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