FEW cars truly live up to their hype in my opinion, but the MINI is one of them.
My test car arrived during a week in which I was struggling under a heavy cold and it was an immediate tonic. I instantly felt ten years younger as I jumped inside, bowled over by its 'in-your-face' silver/ aluminium dashboard.
And driving it is such good fun, proving that while it may be small in size, it has bags of personality.
The One D is the fourth model to make it into the MINI family, joining the cheeky MINI One, the smile-a-mile MINI Cooper and the awesome Cooper S.
Staying true to the qualities that define the breed, it adds a new dimension to the line-up.
You get plenty of performance - and plenty of economy too. The One D can eke out almost 60mpg on the extra urban cycle and just under 50mpg on the combined.
To an economy-minded driver like me, that all helps to make the go-kart handling, impressive driving dynamics and torquey drive all the more pleasurable.
Maker BMW says there is no such person as a typical MINI One D owner, but it's my guess it will appeal to the astute, young-at-heart, who know that fuel economy and fun need not be mutually exclusive.
The One D is the first car in the history of the brand to use a diesel engine, and by using the latest all aluminium lightweight unit with direct injection common rail technology, it is able to keep weight to a minimum and power to the maximum.
Incidentally, the compact four-cylinder engine is based on a Toyota development, but further engineered by BMW, especially for the MINI.
With a torque figure of 133 lb/ft at just 2,000 rpm, this little car punches above its weight where it matters - high torque at low revs making it the ideal car for city driving.
From the exterior the diesel stands out from the Mini One through its model designation at the back, side sills carried over from the Cooper S, a front panel with larger air intakes for the intercooler and the tailpipe covered by the rear skirt.
Inside it follows the classic but modern look of the rest of the family.
Frankly, there's not much space, but hey, who cares? This is a MINI, it's not meant to be roomy.
The One D also benefits from the addition of an external temperature display incorporated into the rev counter which is fitted as standard - very useful too, as the first frosts of the winter arrived while I had the vehicle.
My test car had a host of option extras, raising the basic on-the-road price of £11,390 to £13,075. These included halogen front lamps, a remote control alarm system, 15-inch alloy wheels, heated water jets and mirrors and a single CD player.
And that's part of the beauty of the Mini. With loads of option combinations possible, Mini owners have enhanced opportunity to be individual and different. Most customers shell out an average 18 per cent of the value of the car on options to make their "wheels" as personal as themselves.
I loved the dashboard which is dominated by the centrally mounted speedo, although I found the chunky steering wheel a little heavier than I expected. The rev counter sits in front of the driver on the steering column and I initially found it quite intrusive.
But you get used to it and it's a clear reminder that driving enjoyment is not all about top speed, but also well-timed gear changes and power availability.
BMW Mini One D
Mechanical: 75bhp, 1,364cc 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-spd manual transmission
Max speed: 103mph
0-62mph: 13.8 secs
Combined mpg: 58.9
Insurance group: 4
CO2 emissions: 129g/km
BiK rating: 18%.
Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited miles; 6yrs anti-rust