BMW & MINI To Develop Shared Cars Off New Platform

The idea of MINI’s platform becoming the basis for a series of front wheel drive BMW’s doesn’t sounds great to most MINI fans. However once you realize the engineering and technology benefits things get a little more interesting. We’ve already told you about the replacement for the R56 sharing a chassis with a new BMW model but we haven’t looked at what that means for the entire range. Automobile magazine has strung together some information that paints a rosy picture of what the future brings for the shared UKL1 architecture meant for next generation MINI models.

While MINI will continue the hatch and convertible without much layout change to the size, weight and positioning, the Clubman will live on as paired with the BMW Joy (yes Joy is an internal name). The Clubman will gain a rear hinged door on the left side of the car speaking to one of the criticisms people have had since launch.

The existing Countryman will also be paired with a BMW product that will mirror the four conventional door hatchback layout.

Things start to get interesting with the SpaceBox concept or Traveler has Automotive Magazine calls it. We know that name Traveler is not owned by MINI throughout the world so it’s unlikely to be a final name. Regardless of what they call it this is the van type of concept that focuses on interior space.

We’ve reported quite a bit on the new range of 3 Cylinder engines (to be shared with BMW) and Automobile confirms and reiterates most of it here. MINI will likely feature the 122 and 184 hp versions of the engines in the Cooper and Cooper S. Both should get diesel like MPG in a lighter package. And the sound, we’re told the sound surprisingly harkens back to British roadsters of the 1960s.

It’s unclear what MINI and BMW will do with the JCW range. We’ve known for some time that the current JCW engine was bound for a 1 Series model. Does this mean it will finally be upgraded and offered in an improved JCW product? And if not what about the 270hp 1.5L turbo three cylinder BMW is currently developing. Is there any hope of that making it into a JCW? Questions we’ll all have answers to soon.

Sneak Preview: BMW’s Front-Wheel-Drive Future / Automobile Magazine

  • MatthewW

    No thank you very much.

    I fully respect the business end of it all, but I’m an American that has never bought into the concept of shared/leveraged platforms.

    I originally found the MINI compelling because it was a stand-apart. There’s something irreverent about Mini and MINI’s independence, something that’s more than skin deep.

    Off my soap box (and planning to keep my R50 indefinitely 🙂

  • JonPD

    Very interesting, actually I support sharing the platform. The proposed change on the Clubman I think is a great idea and should address some of the issues in the right hand drive markets.

    Would be interesting to see that engine in a jcw, I admit though I am still nervous about three cylinder engines. I am sure BMW/MINI has enough very talented engineers that the product will be good I am just dealing with preconceived feelings about it.

    BTW just have to say that shot on the R60 is not great, makes it look like it has a weak chin. Must just be the angle/color combination.

  • Paul


    “The vehicles, which will arrive at the beginning of the 2013 model year, are: BMW Joy and Mini Clubman”

    So, the ‘Joy’ is based on the existing Countryman platform?

  • All this is great for BMW I guess… more vehicles more markets to conquer. Even after seeing the Countryman in person it still isn’t the prettiest rose in the box now is it! Doesn’t have any resemblance to a MINI, in looks or psychology, I gotta wonder what’s the point? Just to get a car into WRC? HUH?

    I understand your saying in the long run it helps, really only BMW, they think, the brand but things like the Countryman and whatever other 3 headed morphs they come out with are leaving me cold and heading towards a Fiat 500.

    Just think, MotoriniMedaglia, MotoriniCarta, MotoriniUnito and StradaCurva for me. I really doubt Fiat will make it into a 500 wagon or a 500 SUV but I could be wrong, just doesn’t seem very Italiano to me.

    But rage on BMW… it’s your right to do so. GAK!

  • what is that thing? the link says countryman but thats not a countryman? The line from the scuttle to the tail light is distinctly different then the countryman…

    I hope that is not whats in store for us… that looks horrible… like MINI/BMW sucked out every last bit of edginess left

  • Yuck. I’d like to stab this thing with a fork and roll it around in a sandbox full of potato sauce. What a turd. I hate this car. Stinky. IT’S STINKY!

  • >

    I hope that is not whats in store for us… that looks horrible… like MINI/BMW sucked out every last bit of edginess left

    It’s a terrible representation of something that will never be built. Blame Automobile.

  • Note the tag on the photo: “Really bad rendering of a MINI that will not be built”

  • CV
    BTW just have to say that shot on the R60 is not great, makes it look like it has a weak chin. Must just be the angle/color combination.

    That’s what I thought too, until I looked again. I don’t think that’s an R60 in the photo. Reasoning: The bonnet looks a bit short (either that or the headlights have gotten huge); the angle and placement of the side scuttle is different from the Countrymen I’ve seen; and then there’s the sliding rear door. I thought at first it was a suicide door, but that sure looks like a door track above the rear wheel (the black line running into the top of the tail light). Perhaps this is the Clubman version of the next MINI series (UKL1)? Although I’m not clear about that either, since the copy says that the Clubman will gain a hinged rear door.

    It does sport a MINI badge on the bonnet though, and has brake ducts in the lower grille (a la the 2011 MCS and Countryman S), so I’m guessing that this might be a prototype for the 2013 Clubman S . . .

  • CV

    And then I looked at the sections tag right below the title: Gen MINI | R65 (SpaceBox)


  • FrankB

    I am pretty darn sure the R60 is a two door!

  • This is why (btw) we typically don’t post renderings from magazines. They are 99% terrible and have no basis in reality.

  • Michael

    I echo MatthewW. MINI Automobiles are really mini BMWs, and all of the MINI has been wrung out of them. I’ll stick with my ’08 R52 MCS Sidewalk thank you.

  • The ‘photo’ is obviously a Photoshop edit of a R60 Countryman. It’s pure speculation by Automobile mag.

  • lavardera

    Dude – Fiat offers a wider range of vehicles than Mini and BMW put together. Its not like the only car they ever made was the 500.

  • B-

    That is too bad about the Clubman getting a single rear door, it is one of the things that make it quirky and unique. I guess I do understand that it can be un-safe if a pencil is riding a bicycle behind you… wait, if a pencil is riding a bicycle behind you and keeping up, you are not driving fast enough. I removed my rear view mirror from my R52 because the view out the front is more important to me than out the rear. I just have to turn my head which I have always done in my driving career.

  • Dusty S

    Gotta say I like it. Shared platforms can be more cost effective. This would make the Clubman a little more distinctive than the R56 hatch, though still sharing a similiar face. The BMW version has a nice edgy look to it…

  • That is too bad about the Clubman getting a single rear door

    That may be incorrect.

  • I am pretty darn sure the R60 is a two door!

    @FrankB: I’m pretty darn sure you’re wrong.

    R60 = Countryman = four doors. 🙂

  • FrankB

    Well darn…I guess I was thinking R59. 🙂

  • B-

    @ Gabe

    Let’s hope so!

  • MiniMonger

    I was jazzed for a moment thinking this Mini with rear sliding doors would be a great replacement for my wife’s ZoomZoom Mazda5. Mini, you ought to bring this and give Mazda a run for their money in this segment owned by them. (small family hauler with spunk)

  • as usual Lav you missed the point… I know Fiat make tons of cars my point was I don’t think they’ll Bastardize the 500 like BMW is the MINI.

  • Jas

    These comments are crazy…that is not a real pic of a car that will be produced and everyone is so negative on MINI, I guess if you don’t like it, then don’t drive it. BMW needs new models to sell (bigger somewhat in the USA) so they are able to continue making models like the JCW, Coupe and Roadster.

  • I don’t have a problem with shared platforms as long as you can’t see much of the commonality in the skin. It allows you to spend more money on design and development because it is supported by higher product volume. This has to be a Win-Win if done properly.

    However, what you NEVER want to do is a family like GM did with the Nova, Omega, Ventura and Apollo, for example. The differences were so slight and it made you wonder what the point was…

  • MatthewW

    @Jas, chiming in for the critics.

    While I, and a few others, obviously aren’t in favor of this BMW rumor/tidbit/whatever, that doesn’t mean I’m not planning on buying another MINI. I do, and I will. I suspect I’m not alone.

    I’m just concerned that it’s going to be more difficult to root out a MINI model that embodies the same characteristics that wooed me over from VW and Audi, brands I was exclusively loyal to for over two decades. I’d be thrilled to be proven flat-wrong in all of my concerns when the time comes.

    I’ve said it before, but I really like the different opinions I find here (and on other topics I’m interested in). It’s in that discovery that I dial in my own.

  • Jas

    I hear you MatthewW, i have no problem in not liking this rumor, but just seems everyone gets so crazy over rumors. I could understand if this was truth and that was a production car. But I think MINI will still have the models that we all love. MINI was a success, and other car brands will come out with smaller cars to compete. But MINIs still drive the best of them.

  • Rodney Case

    “The Clubman will gain a rear hinged door on the left side”

    So if I am reading correctly the Clubman will get two suicide doors? I think this is awesome if true.

  • Greg W

    One thing I like about VW Golf is no matter what they do and improve, it always looks like a Golf. It has evolution just like MINI. But from the comments above people are afraid that the BMW stylists are loosing the mini-ness. BMW has never gone away from the hofmeister kink in the c-pillar and the two kidney grilles. There are certain genetics which are the basis of design and MINI still has them. However, inbreeding madness was the downfall of King George III who America can thank for the War of Idependence.

  • JM in NH

    It seems the MINI Cooper concept has been drifting away from the iconic 60’s form. This latest image from BMW confirms that. It’s my fear that sooner, rather than later, the MINI Cooper we know and love-and the recent iterations of it that at least reveal a deep abiding respect for what it once was, will disappear.

  • Greg W

    On further looking at the “Automobile” article, I particularly like the rendered design of the BMW. If this is a replacement of the current 1 series hatch then bring it on. The front of the 1 series was in my opinion wrong, it is almost enough to scare small children. Remember, that BMC made Mini in many versions to try and increase the market – Austin Se7en, Morris Mini-minor, Riley Elf, Wolseley Hornet, an ill-fated MG convertible one-off concept, etc – all made on the same platform.

  • This latest image from BMW confirms that.

    This latest image is a hatchet job that Automobile created with very little solid information.