Mini designer Alec Issigonis would probably have had a wry smile on his face if he had lived to see the car built to celebrate the 60th birthday of his little classic.

The car he designed, first revealed on August 26, 1959, was a masterpiece of engineering ingenuity set to revolutionise the compact car segment – but it was not an instant success.

Creative use of space, driving fun and individuality were not enough to instantly propel the affordable little car into the best-sellers’ list.

Only when it became a darling of the rich and famous and a style icon did sales shift up a gear.

And style still sits at the heart of the thoroughly modern Mini.

Marking the brand’s 60th anniversary, the Mini 60 Years Edition is built at Oxford, the plant where the first Morris Mini-Minor rolled off the line on May 8, 1959.

While the original Mini was designed as a practical, cost-effective way to move a small family, the anniversary model is a shameless celebration of luxury, individuality and exclusivity.

Only 500 of this worldwide edition are being sold in the UK with a price tag of just over £30,000.

And that hefty sum buys a rather special three-door Cooper S hatchback. The bald statistics say its 192 horsepower, 2.0-litre engine will propel it from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds and on to a potential top speed of 146mph.

But that’s not the point of this car, as I found when I took it for a drive around the Downs on the edge of Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

The British Racing Green paintwork, black roof, bonnet stripes, 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels and additional spot lamps fitted to the radiator grille, all scream sporty style.

But if you are expecting rock-hard rally car suspension to match the racetrack looks you are in for a very comfortable, easy-riding surprise.

The 60 Years Edition is being offered exclusively with a seven-speed automatic transmission in the UK and this perfectly matches the unhurried air, unruffled ride and luxury feel of the car.

The interior is a combination of special ‘dark cacao’ leather seating with contrast seat stitching and piping matching the exterior paintwork.

The technology provided is also top grade, including a near nine-inch central touchscreen with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth telephone link and wireless charging.

Add in a rear-view camera, automatic headlights, rain sensor and folding exterior mirrors and as well as being fun to drive, it is also a rather classy place to be.

With only a few of the limited edition run left you will have to be quick to get one.

Or you could take your money and add your name to the growing queue for the next chapter in the Mini story, the Mini Electric, which is set to offer Cooper S-like performance with no emissions.

Available in three trim levels, the Mini Electric will be priced from £24,400, and will come with home and public changing cables with an 80 per cent charge reached in 35 minutes at a fast-changing station.

Production is due to start at Cowley next month, with the first models taking to the road in March 2020.