In adversity lies opportunity. Not many know that the iconic small car, the Mini, was born out of the energy crisis in the 1950s. Modern history lessons tell us that with the Egyptian blockade of the Suez in 1956, the price of petrol shot up. And when the crisis forced the British government to introduce petrol rationing, British Motor Corporation (BMC), sensing an upcoming new market, set out to design a car that was affordable to run. (In fact, during the design stage, the Mini was called the New Market!) The revolutionary, front-wheel drive, compact design was created by Sir Alec Issigonis and by 1959 the car landed on British roads. The car was so successful that it became the small car icon of the 1960s. Its design such that even four decades later some cars keep getting inspired by the Mini—think Suzuki Swift, Skoda Fabia. In the 1990s, the Mini went from BMC to BMW, when the German carmaker took control of the Rover Group, which included the Mini.
Here it must be added how Cooper got added to Mini. John Cooper, owner of the Cooper Car Company and a friend of Sir Issigonis, saw the potential of the Mini as a performance car and wanted to make a car for competitive events. So, he appealed to the BMC management and the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper. In fact, in the Mini world, “Cooper treatment” means making the car sporty!
The Audi A4, on the other hand, is