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.
Written By: Nathaniel Salzman
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