MINI and BMW to Dramatically Expand Model Ranges

This post is also featured over on our sister site,

In various interviews over the past few months, BMW executives have hinted at grand plans for the UKL platform. Reported by both MotoringFile and BimmerFile, the UKL platform will spawn an onslaught of FWD models. This will make MINI more long-term viable and will drive the BMW Group to greater economies of scale. Yet just how far BMW is willing to go with FWD, and how big the MINI brand will get hasn’t really been understood until recently.

BMW has plans — BIG plans — for such a small automaker. According to several sources (and recently coraborated by “Scott27” — our favorite inside source), the BMW board has given approval for a number of front wheel drive models in both the BMW and MINI lineups. Surprisingly, this even includes a MINI four door sedan. According to those who’ve seen the proposal, it’s an extremely attractive car that leverages the MINI floating roof and wrap-around glass. Apparently, the rear is similar to the Paceman, with sculpted front lines reminiscent of the 2008 MINI Crossover Concept. However, this variation of the MINI design language will be unique to this sedan, letting most of the rest of the lineup continue to follow the visual lead of the F56 hardtop hatch.

The MINI sedan is just the start of further model expansion. There will be several crossovers and utility vehicles, as well as sporting coupes and convertibles. Here’s the list for both BMW and MINI as we currently understand it, keeping in mind some of the details may change.

  1. BMW 1er Urbanic Compact 3/5dr – Upcoming City hatch based on the next MINI, making it BMW’s Audi A1 rival.
  2. MINI 3/5dr hatch – Increased demand for utility leads to the next generation MINI, due next year, to feature available five doors for the 1st time.
  3. BMW 1-series Sedan – Baby sedan based on the UKL architecture and aimed at global markets for small five seaters.
  4. MINI Sedan – A sporty four door MINI aimed at further growing the market for MINIs. Could potentially be MINI’s best seller worldwide, overtaking the Countryman.
  5. BMW 1-series Active Tourer – Production version of Active Tourer Concept launched at IAA 2013.
  6. MINI Traveller – MINI’s version of the Active Tourer. It’s designed to show how both cars can co-exist with individual style and flexibility.
  7. BMW 1-series Urbanic Roadster – BMW’s open top version of the City Car will inherit two seats and will feature a rear deck with layered butresses like the BMW 6-series Cabrio and BMW i8. These are designed for clip on roof panel.
  8. MINI Convertible – The F56-generation version of the popular 4-seat, open top MINI.
  9. BMW Z1 Sportster – To provide greater economies of scale, The Z1 will be BMW’s equivalent to the MINI Coupe and Roadster. It will be FWD and powered by more powerful three cylinder engines than what we’ll find in the MINI range. The design is derived from the well-received 2011 Vision ConnectedDrive concept car.
  10. MINI Roadster – The next Roadster and Coupe will launch with a sportier look completely separate from the standard MINI. MINI design language will remain but the bodywork will no longer be based on the hardtop hatch.
  11. BMW Z1 Sport Coupe – A coupe version of the Z1 will complete the BMW Z twins.
  12. MINI Coupe – Coupe version of Roadster, and as mentioned above, more individual in appearance than the standard hardtop hatch.
  13. BMW X1 – Next generation of BMW’s highly successful SAV moves to the UKL architecture to offer more flexibility, including xDrive.
  14. MINI Countryman – Next generation of the global MINI juggernaut, the Countryman will finally share its underpinnings with BMW X1.
  15. BMW X2 – Sport Activity Coupe variant of the next BMW X1 , FWD with optional xDrive and the first BMW SAC to appear as both a 3dr and 5dr. Think of it as the BMW version of the MINI Paceman.
  16. MINI Paceman and Paceman XL – Next generation of newest MINI member will be offered with the current 3-door version, as well as a 5-door.
  17. BMW Family Activity Sports Tourer – BMW’s hybrid of an SAV and MPV, the FAST will feature a “touring” bodystyle and aim to sew up the small, luxury people carrier segment.
  18. MINI Clubman – Current car revisited with more style and more flexibility. Anticipated as more of a Shooting Brake with dynamic raked roof and forward looking proportions.
  19. Next Generation BMW 1 Series Sedan – Due in 2017 and is expected with both front and all wheel drive available.

However, for all this FWD, BMW isn’t giving up small rear wheel drive cars. In fact BMW and BMW M have big plans for the 2 Series range. Specifically BMW M will base a car on the 2-series with a Gran Coupe variant of the 2-series Coupe. Adding two extra doors to a slightly longer wheelbase and roofline, the Gran Coupe will set itself apart. This car will be BMW’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLA, but in a more enthusiast friendly RWD form. The 2-series Coupe will also form the foundation of what will effectively be the second generation 1M. Here’s the full rundown of future small, rear wheel drive cars from BMW:

  • BMW 2-series Coupe – Coupe version of the 1-series hatch. Unique front and rear style, with a sleeker, rounded roof. Yet still in compact proportions. Premieres at IAA 2013.
  • BMW 2-series Cabrio – Soft top version retains the unique appearance of the 2-series Coupe.
  • BMW 2-series Gran Coupe – A 4-door addition of 2-series Coupe with slightly lengthened wheelbase and roof line. It’s aimed to position BMW’s RWD as dominant over the Audi A3 Sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA.
  • BMW 2-series Gran Sports Tourer – A Hyundai Veloster-type, asymmetrical touring coupe inspired by the classic BMW 2002 Touring variant. This car has many admirers in Munich.
  • BMW M2 Coupe – Successor to the BMW 1-series M Coupe, the M2 Coupe continues the same formula that made the last car so memorable. While no huge competitor in the HP race, four cylinder will bring less weight, which matters most in a car of this type. More driving enjoyment and overall feel is considered of higher priority than who has the biggest horsepower numbers.
  • BMW M2 Gran Coupe – The baby Gran Coupe inherits a lot from its four door big brother: 340 HP, Four doors and RWD. It will be a direct competitor to the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45AMG.

Image courtesy of Autocar

  • minienigma

    I see a lot of overlap between the 1er and the Mini. Probably one or the other variations would be making it to the U.S. market to avoid cannibalization, even if they would be marketed/targeted for different buyers. For example, I doubt the 1er hatch would ever make it to U.S. market given U.S. buyer’s bias against premium hatches, whereas most likely Mini will continue its hatches and perhaps the sedan might not make it to U.S. market to maintain U.S. brand distinction and image….

    But I wonder, with all of these variations, is Mini not once again at risk of losing its distinctiveness, making the brand more BMW-like and making the lower-end BMW likewise more Mini like, even if there are styling, tuning and sheet-metal differences? There are already many BMW-like features, such as the stateless turn signal stalk, toggle lock switch, etc. that are all sourced from BMW design. I’m not saying that these features are good or bad, but these are some of the features that make the Mini more BMW-like and perhaps marginalizes Mini’s distinction from BMW’s corporate ownership….

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      All I can say is that if there is not more of BMW influence and part sharing with MINI, there will be no MINI- the market can not and will not support it.

      There will be significant distinctions- like cousins you can tell they are family but there are many differences. If you get in a MINI Hatch/Clubman and the new F2X 1 series there are more differences than similarities in just the drive character which regardless of what parts are shared the difference remains. MINI will be quirky and have a different feel even if the drive line is shared.

      • There will likely be significant price differences between any two equivalent cars as well. BMW wants to expand their offerings, but they’re going to let MINI continue to handle their “down market” segments.

  • nick Dawson

    A thick shroud of secrecy surrounds the planned 1-series 4 door saloon (sedan) but Autocar’s source, a ‘high-ranking’ BMW insider, has confirmed that the firm is mulling over two disparate strategies. The first revolves around the existing rear-drive 1-series, but using the underpinnings of the 2-series, which will have a slightly longer rear overhang. However, BMW’s top brass have decided, that after the success of the 1M Coupe, they want a price-leading M-series saloon, putting out over 300 bhp from its 2.0 litre four cylinder engine. That will require four-wheel drive underpinnings, and would cost 15 per cent more than using the new front drive platform. The rear-drive platform, however, would benefit from greater economies of scale because it shares components with the platform beneath the 3-series. The second strategy revolves around the front-drive UKL1 platform, which would allow it to be twinned with the new MINI four door saloon, rumoured to be be pencilled-in for 2015, and would allow that car to be a more cost effective proposition. Although a question mark hangs over which platform to use, the decision has been made to use 2-litre four cylinder power, to provide a sufficient gap in the line-up to the sixth-generation M3, which will use a turbocharged 3.0 litre straight six.

  • John

    No mention of the rocketman?

    • It’s not part of BMW’s core UKL strategy as it can’t be coupled with a BMW or additional MINI product. The only way it works is with another corporate partner (ie Toyota).

      • Jason Hayes

        So is that still a possibility, or should I just go ahead and buy a Paceman? Or, will the F56 incorporate enough of the design language from the Rocketman that people who really love the look of the Rocketman will be satisfied?

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          The Rocketman is being explored on a next generation Toyota platform. The development cycle of such a vehicle would mean it would not come to market for at least 3 years- that would be the best case with utilizing the vast majority of Toyota’s development and just using MINI sheet metal. Most product development is a five year minimum when starting a fresh (but is really 7).

          Honestly, you can enjoy the Paceman or F56 for a good amount of time before the Rocketman would be seen in a dealer, it has not even been given the green-light and is in early feasibility discussions.

          F56 will be a nice segway to the new design language MINI will use moving forward.

        • Jason

          Thank you for the information.

        • Kurtster

          Buy a Paceman. It’s an awesome looking MINI, you won’t see many others driving one and you’ll get it a LOT sooner than a Rocketman. 🙂

  • On the MINI side of things I see lots of big models coming. Fine, I guess people want MAXIs these days. But for me there’s the MINI Roadster/Coupe, still, fortunately. The last cute MINI. So my question is: when? The current retrofitted models don’t interest me, but the next-gen, built-from-the-ground-up Coupe already sounds good to me. I think my 2003 MINI will hold out another year or two. So what do you think? 2014? Later?

    • Like all MINIs the coupe will have a seven year life cycle. So it will be around from 2011 to 2018. In other words it’ll be one of the last to switch over to the new platform.

  • Aurel

    No mention of the Clubman?

  • Front wheel drivers and turbo charged 4-cyl engines… Oh my! How times have changed at the BMW Group.

  • Kurtster

    Would it kill them to make an AWD roadster to compete with the TTS? I don’t care if it’s based on the Z or the Mini, or something new, I’d just rather have one all-season roadster that can get me to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds or less.

    • The UKL platform will support AWD, so an AWD Roadster is not out of the question. Doesn’t mean it’ll happen, but you don’t hope completely in vain. AWD is such a popular feature that especially US buyers are coming to desire (whether they need it or not) that making it available across the range is likely, simply as a selling point and profit center.