Re: I was at a local....
"They are f***g massive things and f******g expensive"
Yes, but the world changed during the 40+ years of the original Mini's production, whereas the design of the car did not. I visited the BMW museum in Munich last year, where they have/had a "Mini Story" exhibition (which was actually pretty cool). One fact that stuck out to me was that the average human was 10cm taller in the late '90s than they were in the late '50s. So the revamped car had to be designed with this in mind.
But the cost thing... yes, of course. BMW is a premium brand. They aren't going to churn out cheap and cheerful, iconic branding or not.