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A BMW Insider Weighs in on Upcoming MINI Models

Frequent MotoringFile commenter and known BMW insider, Herr26, left us a interesting comment yesterday on our recent post regarding upcoming MINI models. As with all of his comments (here or BimmerFile) don’t take it as fact but perhaps great insight about a moment in time within BMW. In the past we’ve seen many of his proven right but also some proven wrong simply because plans changed within the company.

All that said its well worth a read, so we’re reposting it here. In it, there’s lots of interesting tidbits regarding future MINIs:

  • The MINI Spacebox aka the Traveller that will be essentially a larger version of the Clubman based on the recently announced BMW Active Tourer pictured above
  • MINI four door sedan
  • MINI Activity Tourer which could be something of a larger four door Pacemen with an extremely raked look
  • MINI Sports car aka the next generation coupe and roadster which could seeing more variation from the look o the standard MINI

Catch the full comment after the break.


The next MINI concept will be a cross-over destined to show how BMW and MINI can co-exist. Entirely based on the Active Tourer the MINI variant goes with familiar MINI aspects such as enhanced MINI family design and quirky features such as club doors but with the emphasis on space and light. As the vehicle utilises an allround glasshouse and large panorama roof for an enhanced spatial feel It is the vehicle destined to become the MINI TRAVELLER and follows the same creative approach as the BMW by re-interpreting an existing concept into their own brand philosophy. Whilst the BMW aims for a very dynamic appearance with intelligent thinking the MINI will appeal more to the MINI heartland and especially those who need more space and flexibility. One clever addition is the incorporating of a Rolls-Royce type wrap around lounge seat in the rear.

To describe the MINI it is very much like an enlarged clubman and alongside the Active Tourer you would never guess they are practically the same car . But that is BMW’s intentions that MINI and BMW can and will co-exist. Appearances will differ as will how they will drive as BMW sets out to show that MINI and BMW can co-exist. Both the MINI Traveller and BMW Active Tourer enter a market that is growing as more european customers are turning to cross-overs in needs of greater flexibility. The Mercedes-Benz B-Klasse has shown that premium can work within such a segment and the two concept attack by BMW and MINI has spurned Audi into action as the segment is expected to grow by around 45-50% and BMW expects both the MINI and BMW to take a significant result from that growth.

The interesting aspect in terms of design language of the BMW Active Tourer is that if you shrink the car and change the front and rear end you get a very close look of the next MINI’s sister the City Compact. The MINI sedan is also moving ahead with some quarter scale models being built for first evaluations. Looking like a mixture of Maserati and even a mini-Rolls-Royce the car is advancing with some typical MINI ideas being expanded on as slimmer, elongated MINI-esque lights at the front or the conventional cornered lights , trapezoid rear lights and floating roof , its far too early to get a definite answer on what it will look like , but some of the ideas are so far overly impressive , some even incorporating the rear hinged doors which bodes to my impression of a MINI Rolls-Royce. The stumbling block here is what to do with BMW. As BMW are currently at work on a elongated four door of the upcoming 2er Coupe model to bring into line amongst the 6er Gran Coupe and upcoming 4er Gran Coupe aimed at the Mercedes CLA and Audi A3 Sedan. A FWD 4dr BMW would be counter-productive as the appeal of a RWD model would be far greater.

The next BMW FWD model is an intelligent approach on the SAV, MPV and Touring. This can fully be described as a cross-over because it features the robust solidity of an SAV in its appearance, The space feel of an MPV and the cargo capability as a Touring and you can add Coupe to that mix because of its dynamic sloping rear end.

Dubbed the F.amily A.ctivity S.ports T.ourer or FAST for short it aims to offer an intelligent approach to a cross-over which combines every need with optional xDrive. One thing learned is that there are a lot more customers using their cars for more than their basic needs. In todays market it has shown that customers now shun conventional concepts in light of more unconventional choices, such as MPVs over Sedans, Crossovers instead of hatches and so on.

FAST offers a variation in one concept with universal appeal. FAST will also be the first BMW model (after BMW i3) to offer rear hinged doors as the FAST shares with a similar MINI Concept which I originally thought it was the Paceman is actually the MINI Activity Tourer.

The MINI Activity Tourer brings the more raked look from the PACEMAN , but to a five door concept. Again sharing with the BMW FAST it aims to offer a variation on the MINI theme by offering a more sporting space concept but developed for a more active lifestyle. For a more stylish MINI appearance rear hinged doors will open up the cabin for easy entry/exit on the beach or on the slopes.

The MINI Sports car idea is a variation on the theme of actual Coupe/Roadster and how that for the second generation and in that the whole MINI family. Is that if you take the Countryman it has proved that MINI can stand alone in seperate individual concepts. And now is the opportunity for the MINI family to expand further on styling and individuality.

The current MINI , Coupe , Clubman and Roadster are all variants of the same look. the next generation should form their own unique identity but still be recognisable as a MINI. The Countryman has achieved this and the replacements for the MINI Coupe and Roadster should also follow this by making them completely distinguishable from the conventional standard MINI with more individuality and sportier styling. MINI’s unique selling point is that they are cars with character , they expand on ideas in an unconventional way and yet they deliver cars which drive with a fun-factor missing from many proposed sporting hatches or coupes.

The next generation through their enhanced sharing with BMW retains that fun factor with a dynamic edge but never forgetting that go-kart like character. BMW are aiming at a more sporting edge aimed at the more premium end of the market , despite the concept whether it is FWD or a Active Tourer etc it has too feel as direct and communicative as a BMW. BMW knows that for this new generation of compact vehicles is that for everything to work they have to be everything the other is not and that individuality is just as important as design.

Something the engineers have achieved, I cannot wait till you find out how this jigsaw goes together.

Thanks, Herr26. We always appreciate your perspective.

Tell us what you think about all this, readers. Is there too much BMW is this formula? Do you like what you’re reading? Sound off in the comments.

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Written By: Nathaniel Salzman

  • http://www.facebook.com/scamper Scamper Robinson

    On the one hand, it’s great to hear of a continued — and increased — investment by BMW in the Mini brand. On the other hand, and not to sound like a snot, it’s a shame that there’s so much energy being given to the Maxi Minis. I understand that appealing to a broader audience is a strategy that BMW is betting on, I really get it. But the very qualities that drew little old me to Mini to begin with are sounding ever more like an afterthought: “Oh, and we won’t forget the sports models, etc.” Oh? Um, great.

    To me, the Roadster and Coupé (and Rocketman concept? yes please!) are the only fumes I’m riding on — steps in the right direction. Whereas the Maxi models are a bit like Sloth from The Goonies: well-meaning, but a bit huge and deformed from the original vision. IMO. :)

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      The key thing to remember amongst all of this is that the the model BMW is pouring the most money and the into will be the 3rd generation F56 MINI – aka the small one we all love. It’s not mentioned here simply because we and the good Herr26 have spoken about I so much.

  • Hoq1

    The relationship with BMW is necessary for MINI to stay afloat, but the future models continue to get larger and larger and brand ceases to be… Well… “mini.” When you have a consumer base that says “I love the MINI, but I wish it were bigger” I sometimes wonder where the brand will be in 10 years… The rockeman will probably be the size of the original R53 (which dwarfed the original Mini!) with the staple hatch being the size of the clubman… And the countryman will probably be the size of the current 4runner with 3rd row seating!

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      The next generation MINI hatch will very likely be lighter than the R56 which was lighter than the R53. So small MINIs aren’t being forgotten. But BMW and MINI also can’t turn a blind eye to what sells and that’s why you see them exploring the small crossover market.

  • Lemelou

    Mini is Eye Candy. They’re some of the few cars on the road that deeply cut into the ocean of bland and uninspiring monotony of cars served to us by the Toyotas of this World.

    Let me put it this way: the Car Pool is a vanilla cake, and Mini’s are the cholote chips.

    • Hoq1

      Yeah…. Until they bigger and more bloated like every other car out there… Wait a sec, MINI is already heading down that path

      • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

        Nonsense.

        That’s the same old aluminum foil hat malarky people have been saying since the very idea of the Clubman first came around. Meanwhile the core MINI, the current R56 hardtop, is near as makes no difference the same size as the R50 and lighter to boot. The F56 will likely do the same thing. The only thing actually growing the MINI by a cm here and there is european pedestrian crash standards, not some deep seeded conspiracy on the part of BMW because they secretly hate things that are small. It’s such a tired old trope. Can we just finally retire it? Especially as MINI is trying its damnedest to bring a very small city car to market. As for the Countryman, while larger than the MINI hardtop, it’s still a very small car. When it debuted, it was the fourth smallest car you could buy in America in terms of size. Is it bigger than the hardtop? Of course. It’s a five-door crossover. It’d have to be. Is it a big car? Not by a long shot. It’s smaller and lighter than every other crossover on the market, all while having a performance capability and visual character that’s definitely inline with the MINI ethos — especially in JCW trim. There are plenty of MINI fans out there who don’t like the Countryman, and more power to them, but enough with the bloating lament already. To paraphrase Gert Hildabrand (who was referencing the as yet unseen Countryman at the time), “size is relative.” MINI could build a semi truck and it would still “be a MINI” if they did it right. It’s be nicer, smaller, lighter, more efficient and more interesting than the other semi trucks. But oh crap! It might be a little bigger than the classic Mini! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000346192156 Edward Ng

        “MINI is already heading down that path”

        I believe that classic Mini owners said that back in 2001.

      • lemelou

        You’re missing the point, Hoq. They could Minify freight trucks and it would be awesome. Do you like chocolate chips because they’re small, or because they’re made out of chocolate? I, like most people, like chocolates of any size. I prefer a chocolate bar over a bran bar: one is alot of sweetness, the other makes me hit the … You catch my drift, the secret is in the sauce, not the bowl.

        Go have a look at what Porsche Design has come up with in recent years.Where would the ipad be if Apple stuck to the original ipod? What would life be like if the internets kept bacon to its original breakfast plate? (Oh yes, I went there!)

        • Hoq1

          I was referring to the countryman/clubman…. So relatively speaking the MINI brand still makes “small” cars… But as for the chocolate chip metaphor, is the bread in an MRE the same a real slice of bread (the vets in the crowd will know what I’m talking about)???

  • Mr Remi

    I love where this is going. I think the idea of having the smallest crossover and SUVon the market is brilliant.

    What I’m most excited about, however, are the upcoming coupe/roadsters. My dream is that these become Mimi’s M class.

  • gokartride

    I think it’s good (and about time) for MINI to expand beyond adherence to the rigid MINI-look. The retro-pastiche-approach worked for a long while, but I think it’s time to expand things a bit. Perhaps the Countryman did us a favor in this regard since it broke the mold more than any previous MINI ever did. I’m sure this will be an evolutionary process and I’m sure MINIs will continue to be a unigue presence on the automotive scene, but standing still will become toxic eventually. That would be an unfortunate outcome that none of us would probably like to see. My vote is to give MINI a lot of latitude to innovate…I think the results will be spectacular.

  • nick dawson

    A further new BMW model, not mentioned by Herr 26, is the recently signed off BMW X2. Known internally as F26, it will share its platform and running gear with the next generation X1, Countryman and Paceman. The MINI versions will be smaller than their respective BMW siblings. The rendering below hints at what BMW is thinking.

    • Herr26

      The problem with the X2 is that with a single concept such as the Sport Activity Coupe series you start with the X6 which is larger so there is dimensions etc to play around with. The upcoming X4 scales down the X6 in order to accomodate a good height and length to be recognised in the segment. When we go down a scale further we get the X2 but in the Sport Activity Coupe concept it becomes impractical as the proportions have shrunk to offer reasonsable headroom and length. So BMW’s proposed solution is to make the car more of a loweroofed SAV than following the same idea as the Sport Activity Coupe. Think of X2 as a MINI Paceman by BMW but for the first time as a BMW SAV will be offered as a 3dr and 5dr model. The best example of how this low roofed SAV will look like is that if you look at Lamborghini Urus on how it is not exactly a Coupe because it has the shallow upright rear screen. It is not the first time that BMW have considered a 3dr X model , modelled on the original Xcoupe concept. The X6 was conceived as a 3dr Coupe until marketing and customer demands changed the focus for added practicality. The X4 was conceived as a 3dr again until marketing demands changed the focus something Porsche ran into aswell with their Macan , 3drs were dismissed in light of more market friendly 5dr configurations.

      • ulrichd

        I recently went to the grocery store knowing that I was about to run out of toothpaste. However, faced with the task of choosing from perhaps twenty different offerings from the four major brands, I moved on and bought ice cream instead. This how I feel when I look at BMWs current and future model lineup. It makes my head spin.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          Enter marketing.

        • Lemelou

          Are you saying you’ll be trading in for a lambo?

  • Dr Obnxs

    No one has mentioned what I see as the biggest potential issue: If BMW and MINI share chassis, and there are plans to differentiat the driving dynamics to allign with the branding, MINI having “fun factor” and BMW having “a sporting edge”, will one or both brands be leaving some handling off the cars? On the other side of this coin, it also means that we may be able to crib parts from one brand to the other more easily… As far as the griping on size, when MINI launched, there was limited, very limited, opportunity for smaller, and huge oppertunities to create MINI branded bigger cars (like the Clubman or the Countryman). I think many overinterpret this as a desire to make MINIs bigger. Like many have pointed out, it’s not about making the original hatch bigger, it’s about making bigger MINIs that access other market segments. As long as a flavor of the original hatch is available that stays small, light and nimble, I don’t care how many larger types of cars they make, it’s all good and required for the brand to continue. But the critic in me is looking at the hyper-fragmentation of the brand (BMW has a gazillion niche varients of thier cars) and thinking that it’s going too far. If you look at the sales number, BMW really makes two cars: the 3 Series and the X3. The rest are bit players. MINI makes the original Hatch and the Countryman, the rest are bit players. Back to MINI. If they are to be anything other than a curiosity and questionable investment proposal (like Smart), they need more models. Anyone that doesn’t see that is blind to how the auto industry works.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      Somebody check the temperature in hell. I actually agree with Dr Obnxs. ;-)

  • Herr26

    I can give an absolute reassurance that BMW have set the limit that any MINI must be at least 4 metres in length.

  • scott

    okay i know this is odd but so is the mini cooper clubman going to a four door? or this there going to be a this traveller model. i love the clubman hade it for a year now and im just wondering bc idk if i wanna continue with the clubman if its going to be this four door model? please if anyone knows please comment. thanks


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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