With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

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2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio 32 With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

Photos by BMW

When Hamburgers speak unpretentiously of a trip “to the island”, it often sounds as if they are only changing the district for a short time. Sylt is right at the top of North Friesland and therefore around 180 kilometers as the crow flies from the Hanseatic city. The fastest route is via Autobahn 7 and is therefore the ideal choice for a short trip with the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible (combined fuel consumption: 7,4 - 7,1 l / 100 km according to WLTP, 7,4 - 7,1 l / 100 km according to NEDC; combined CO2 emissions: 167 - 161 g / km according to WLTP, 169 - 163 g / km according to NEDC). The speed limit is lifted a few kilometers beyond the city limits. Now the 170 kW / 231 PS four-cylinder turbo engine of the extremely sporty four-seater can ensure that the distance between the city and the island actually shrinks by the minute.

MINI John Cooper Works Convertible

The rapid journey ends shortly before Flensburg. From there it's just under 50 kilometers on country roads to the “Sylt Shuttle” in Niebüll. The parking lot in front of the loading station is empty of cars. The MINI John Cooper Works Convertible rolls onto the car train at walking pace, accompanied by the typical “clack, clack, clack” when crossing the car lanes. Now it's time to turn off the engine, apply the parking brake, open the window and wait. And already it is there, this incomparable mixture of North Sea air, salt on your lips and the screaming of seagulls.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio 9 With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

The car train travels a short distance through small towns and over flat land, then the wagons roll onto the ten kilometer long Hindenburg dam, which was inaugurated in 1927 and became the real engine of Sylt tourism. From then on, artists like Emil Nolde, Hermann Hesse or Stefan Zweig were just as magically drawn to the North Sea island as intellectuals, bon vivants and actors like Marlene Dietrich, Hans Albers or famous athletes like Max Schmeling. In 1928 Thomas Mann noted in the guest book of the artist guest house "Kliffende" in Kampen: "I lived deeply on this shattering sea."

The crossing to Westerland train station takes just under an hour. You quickly get off the car train and take a short walk to the Hotel “Miramar”, one of the oldest hostels on the island with a magnificent view over the Westerland spa promenade and the sea. This morning the sky is as blue as in a Nolde painting. On the outskirts of Westerland, it's time to open the roof. This is also possible while driving at a maximum of 30 km / h and within 18 seconds. Then the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible sprints north along the dead straight country road. Now the wind is blowing into the interior at gale force. But there is more: this intense, salty sea air, the bitter, earthy aroma of the mudflats, the herbaceous, wild scent of the dunes - and an unmistakable landscape with small hills and scruffy grass that changes its color depending on the incidence of wind and light.

After a good six kilometers, Kampen is reached. The place is loved by some because of its glamor, by others shunned because of the exuberant appearance of the celebrities. An artists' colony in the pre-war period, Kampen was awakened from its slumber by the bon vivant and photographer Gunter Sachs in the 1960s. The company heir celebrated wild parties on the until then tranquil island - and especially in Kampen. On the “whiskey mile”, where luxury vehicles meet in summer, there is a high density of those who consider themselves to be particularly important. Right at the end of Kampener Strönwai, the street's real name, is the “Pony Club”, a noble bar and celebrity disco for almost 60 years, which made Gunter Sachs even more popular than he did one evening with his classic Mini bis drove straight to the dance floor.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio 7 With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

The MINI John Cooper Works Convertible is also not too discreetly in the limelight on its drive through Kampen. Its body painting in the new color Zesty Yellow makes it an eye-catcher everywhere. But the open four-seater carries the strong color with style. The new, reduced design language draws attention to the brand-typical design features such as the hexagonal radiator grille and the round headlights. The rear lights in Union Jack design are a subtle reminder of the brand's British origins. And the powerful contours of the rear diffuser, in the middle of which the two 85 millimeter stainless steel tailpipes of the exhaust system protrude into the open, are an authentic signal of sportiness. This also applies to the sound of the sports exhaust system, which underlines the spirited sprinting ability of the open top athlete.

Holidays on Sylt are very popular, the demand for accommodation is increasing and increasing - in 2019, 4,8 million tourists were counted. Real estate prices are reaching dizzying heights. Those who can afford it don't want to rent, they want to buy. Preferably one of the typical thatched roof houses. The result: Entire villages are now ghost towns, which only operate in summer and on weekends or public holidays. In Kampen, two thirds of the houses are now holiday villas. The houses are not bought to live in, but to own. The result: locals can no longer afford their island. Most of them now - like the seasonal workforce - live on the mainland. 150 are counted on Sylt in the main season. Only 000 are registered as residents.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio 34 With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

But Kampen also shows visitors how impermanent is. The "Kliffende", one of the most traditional Sylt buildings, is only 40 meters as the crow flies from the edge of the Kampen cliff. Every year violent autumn and winter storms gnaw the cliff and the roaring sea catches up bit by bit. It was just over 20 years ago that five wealthy privateers bought the house. Now they have to watch how the eight million they once invested liquefy - or they put a lot of money into additional coastal protection.

But not everywhere on Sylt are humans in conflict with the forces of nature. In addition to 40 kilometers of the most beautiful sandy beach, there are also twelve nature reserves and seven landscape protection areas on the island. In the middle of the heathland, a toll road leads to the “Ellenbogen”, the northernmost point in Germany. This piece of the island is privately owned and protected. A narrow street, a mixture of laid concrete slabs and furrowed asphalt, leads to the lighthouse of List. A unique wasteland with salt marshes, beach grass and wild thyme. Sheep cross the path, thousands of birds buzz around, the wind seems to blow steadily, changing its direction and constantly humming new melodies with the surf.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio 24 With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

At the beginning of the 70s, the “northernmost fish stall in Germany” was built at the old port of List. What began with a tray and smoked eel turned into one of the most successful catering companies in the country, which now has 40 locations nationwide. Now on the menu: prawns and champagne. And yet the nature on the east coast of Sylt is particularly impressive. It is part of the Wadden Sea, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. The east coast of Sylt is also a stopover for migratory birds on their way south. Up to twelve million animals rest in the Wadden Sea every autumn.

Keitum is on this side of the tidal flats. Here the prosperity shows itself in a different way than in Kampen. Old thatched roof houses lie behind high rose hip hedges, bicycles are used instead of sports cars for short journeys, rubber boots instead of high heels, thick six-thread cashmere sweaters instead of glitter jackets. Everything here is a bit less agitated, relaxed, and Hanseatic. And if you get married on Sylt, you can get married in the Keitum St. Severin Church, the oldest sacred building in Schleswig-Holstein.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio 21 With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

Those who like it particularly quiet head for Morsum in the far east of the island. The place is surrounded by meadows and pastures, dykes and heathland. Morsum was once one of the first Frisian settlements on Sylt. The main attraction is the Morsum cliff with its sloping color gradations, testimony to the earth's history, which is millions of years old. Here the island landscape is far more consistent than in other parts of Sylt, for example in Rantum, where there are only around 550 meters between the lake and the tidal flats, or in Hörnum, whose southern tip is shrinking year after year due to erosion.

A base for seaplanes was established in Rantum in the 1930s. Since the renaturation in the mid-1960s, the area has been a bird sanctuary - a civilian air base, so to speak. Today's visitors are more familiar with Rantum because of the "Zanzibar", one of the most famous restaurants on the island. Excursion boats to the seal banks and the neighboring islands leave from Hörnum. The town's lighthouse is one of the most popular photo opportunities on Sylt.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio 20 With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

The forces of nature of the North Sea are particularly present in Hörnum. The North Sea gnaws greedily on the beach of the Hörnum-Odde, and the losses are counteracted year after year with sand flushing. The primeval forces of nature, the sound of the surf, the screaming of seagulls, the wind in your hair and the salty air make up the charm of the island of Sylt, which can be experienced particularly intensely when driving open-top in the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible.

2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio 15 With the 2021 MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio on Sylt!

Don't worry, of course that was far from being the case when it came to auto / auto tuning. Our magazine still has tens of thousands other tuning reports in stock. Do you want to see them all? Then just click HERE and look around. Or are you particularly interested in the BMW subsidiary brand Mini? Then the following excerpt with other vehicles is definitely the right one.

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Germany's northernmost island is worth a visit at any time of the year. There is a lot to discover between the mud flats and waves. In-bars and fine shopping addresses alternate with unspoilt nature and miles of beaches. And in between there are plenty of opportunities for open driving fun in the salty North Sea air.

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