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Mini brings $25,500 ‘Ray’ base model to Oz

Mini for less: New 'Ray' variant brings the diminutive Mini within more budgets than ever before in Oz.

Mini drops a price bomb in Fiat 500 territory with colourful ‘Ray’ entry model

Mini logo8 Apr 2011

ENTRY to a brand-new Mini hatch just got $6000 more affordable with the arrival of a new ‘Ray’ base model, which should help combat flagging sales for the BMW-owned British retro brand in Australia.

At $25,500 (less than $30,000 drive-away), the Mini Ray – of which Australia has an initial allocation of just 300 units – is equipped with a six-speaker sound system, MP3 player connection, six airbags and electronic stability control as standard.

The least expensive Mini enables the brand to undercut direct rivals in Audi's entry-level $29,900 A1 Attraction and Citroen's $32,990 DS3 DStyle by a significant margin while moving within $550 of matching the similarly retro-inspired Fiat 500 Sport’s $24,990 price point.

Down 18kW in the power stakes compared with the Cooper hatch, the Ray’s 72kW 1.6-litre petrol engine produces 153Nm of torque (Cooper: 160Nm) and can haul the Ray from rest to 100km/h in 10.5 seconds (Cooper: 9.1 sec) when mated to the standard six-speed manual transmission. An automatic gearbox ups the price by $2,350.

39 center imageThe Ray consumes fuel at an average rate of 5.4 litres per 100km, beating the Cooper’s 5.8L/100km figure and enabling a tank range in excess of 700km. It shares a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating with the rest of the Mini hatch line-up.

Paint finishes for the Ray include Pepper White or Chilli Red plus three metallic paint options - Midnight Black, British Racing Green and Velvet Silver - as an $800 option.

Styling features exclusive to the Ray include mirror caps and side scuttles finished in Alien Green, Lemon Yellow, Flash White, Energy Pink, Vitamin Orange and Shocking Blue.

Meanwhile, Ray-specific hub caps designed and imported from Italy shroud the steel wheels.

The Ray is based on the Mini ‘One’ base model that is not imported to Australia. An even more basic model dubbed Mini First was released onto the UK market during 2009, powered by a 55kW 1.4-litre petrol engine.

Ray stocks will arrive in showrooms next week. Mini Australia national manager David Woollcott said, “We anticipate strong interest in the Mini Ray which has already proven highly-popular in Europe”.

“There are many Mini-lovers who, until now, may have felt Mini was out of their price range.

“The Mini Ray appeals to both the heart and the head, with only 300 cars available initially, the privilege will be limited to just a lucky few,” he said.

Clarifying for GoAuto that the Ray is not a limited-run special-edition, Mini Australia head of corporate communications Piers Scott said: “We have put our hand up for an initial allocation of 300, but it remains to be seen as to how many more we can get.” Despite a recently-revised hatch and cabrio range, Mini sales are down 23.1 per cent so far this year at 459 units, according to VFACTS figures.

Last year’s full-year sales total of 2267 units was up 11.7 per cent on 2009’s result.

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