Oxford’s longstanding car producer MINI has started to make its brand new model.

The fifth generation MINI Cooper began production on Monday, March 11, at the MINI Plant on the Oxford Bypass in Cowley.

Associates at MINI Plant Oxford were joined by Head of MINI, Stefanie Wurst for a special on-site event.

The first three-door model was driven off the production line by Charlie Cooper, grandson of John Cooper, whose heritage inspired the Cooper moniker.

Oxford Mail: The new MINI Cooper started production this week.The new MINI Cooper started production this week. (Image: BMW)

It is the latest generation to be built in the UK, with all three BMW Group UK manufacturing sites contributing to production.

The plant in Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies, while the three and four-cylinder petrol engines are built at the plant at Hams Hall in North Warwickshire.

These parts come together at MINI Plant Oxford where body shell production, paint and final assembly take place.

Commenting on the start of production, Stefanie Wurst, Head of MINI said: “This milestone underscores the commitment to our roots while propelling us into a dynamic future of driving.

Oxford Mail: The new MINI Cooper in Oxford.The new MINI Cooper in Oxford. (Image: BMW)

“Plant Oxford is the heart of the MINI brand, and today, as we witness the birth of this new chapter, we renew our pledge to craftsmanship and the thrill of motoring."

Announced last month, the new MINI Cooper is the third addition to the new MINI lineup, alongside the MINI Cooper Electric and the new MINI Countryman.

The model’s exterior silhouette features clear surfaces, short overhangs and a compact bonnet which combined with a contrasting long wheelbase, achieves the typical MINI proportions.

Moving inside, the interior is minimalistic, with the entire cockpit focussed on just three elements: a circular OLED display, the new Vescin steering wheel and the toggle bar.

Oxford Mail: The scenes at the MINI Plant on Monday.The scenes at the MINI Plant on Monday. (Image: BMW)

It is available in two model variants which include the MINI Cooper C and performance-enhanced MINI Cooper S.

The new MINI Cooper will be priced from £22,300 RRP with first customer deliveries in spring 2024.

Dr. Markus Grüneisl, Head of Plants Oxford and Swindon said, “We are delighted to welcome the new MINI Cooper to our lines in both Oxford and Swindon.

“The new MINI Cooper is an incredibly important car for our team and UK manufacturing.

Oxford Mail: The new car in Oxford.The new car in Oxford. (Image: BMW)

“We are proud to produce this iconic car, loved all over the world.”

BMW agreed to redevelop the entire Cowley plant site in 2000, demolishing much of the factory, to create the new Plant Oxford factory.

The location has been producing the new Mini, built by BMW since May 2001 and is the largest industrial employer in Oxfordshire.

Since the launch of the first modern MINI, over 4.4 million MINIs have been produced in Britain.