MotoringFile (& You) at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show


Next Monday marks the beginning of the 2013 auto show season with the famed North American International Auto Show. It’s not only the most important show in the US but easily one of the biggest in the world. As always MotoringFile will be on hand to cover the show and this year, the debut of the JCW Paceman.

Beyond getting some hands-on time with these new cars we’ll also have a chance to speak to designers, engineers and representatives from BMW. Now here’s were you come in. What do you want to know? What cars or options would you like to see make it to the US market? What do you want to now about MINI’s future? JCW? How about diesel? Let us know your questions and we’ll do our best to get them answered by the powers that be.

  • LoveMyMINI

    F56, F56, F56, F56, and F56. Oh, did I mention F56?

    • ulrichd

      Unfortunately not until the Frankfurt show in the Fall, since it will be a ’14 model. I hope I am wrong.

  • D. Knight

    I would like to know the timeline for release of the upcoming new F54 Clubman. Will it come out at the same time as the F55 five door? or later ? Will there be JCW versions?

    • Captain

      Roger that, still rocking my 2008 Clubman S, believe I want to stay in a Club, but would love any details.

  • JDL

    I have to admit I am starting to like (accept?) the taillights, but what drove the designers to move away from the long established look or vertical taillights? I like the taillight design on the Countryman… why did they not use that configuration?

    • John McLauchlan

      The horizontal tail lights on the Paceman are supposed to emphasize a lower/wider rear stance. While I understand the intent, I am not a fan of the result.

      Google search “Crossman Concept” to see what could have been. Those were much better, and had the rear lettering in a better position on the tailgage to boot 😉

      • Nathaniel Salzman

        I agree. While not unattractive, these have always looked like VW Passat tail lights to me.

        • Gabriel Bridger

          In person they are spectacular.

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          I agree that they’re good looking. They just don’t look like they belong on a MINI. I am simply philosophically opposed to non-island tail lights. It’s like the clamshell bonnet — one of the handful of design details that make a MINI visually distinct from every other car on the road. I appreciate that it’s more expensive to make body panels with punch-outs in them. Then again, it’s not like the Paceman is the least expensive car in the MINI lineup.

        • ulrichd

          My problem with these tail lights, just like on the current hatch, is the heavy handed chrome trim. The R50/53 very cleverly worked the brigthwork into the lens itself and therefor avoided the stuck on look.

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          I don’t disagree. That detail definitely lacks subtlety.

  • James Nolan

    I would like to know what the intention is for either smaller vehciles (i.e. Rocketman), or low end cheaper models such as the Mini First in the UK and whether the 3 cylinder engine would lead to smaller engine capacity with good performance similar to Ford’s 1 litre eco-boost range in order to create a lower insurance group and price category from which young drivers and first time buyers can begin to access the mini brand. The possibility for a new mini pick up and if the clubvan will ever be made into a cooper s or sd varient similar in guise to the Ford Transit Sportvan. Also will BMW ever revive the Triumph brand as it has teased over the years, and if more luxury minis will make it to market, maybe similar to the Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf of the 1960’s, even using those names perhaps?

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      With the advent of the MINI Roadster, a Triumph seems unlikely. Crazier things have happened, however.

      • Gabriel Bridger

        Especially since BMW will be developing a fwd roadster off the UKL platform.

    • Nick Dawson

      What is known already is that BMW is planning up to 23 new models off the new UKL1 platform, 12 BMW’s and 11 MINI’s, and according to Ian Robertson, 12 of the 23 have already been signed off for production.

      As far as MINI is concerned, all present 7 models (including the Paceman) will be replaced, plus there will a five door Hatch and a three and five door Paceman 2, and the Traveller F58 MINI MPV with an extremely flexible seating arrangement. According to insider sources, the Traveller will effectively take over the Countryman’s role as the MINI for the small family, when Countryman 2 (a more bespoke SUV with greater off-road capability) is launched.

      The only classic Mini model not yet exploited, apart from a pickup, is the Riley/Wolseley booted version, but that will be corrected if F59 MINI 4-door Saloon (Sedan) gets the go ahead for sale in the US and Asia. A Rocketman type MINI is unlikely to see the light of day in the foreseeable future on cost grounds, but a cut price Hatch with a smaller engine ( a 1.2 litre triple and 1.0 twin have been rumoured) is the more likely possibility.

      • R.Burns

        What a shame for the Rocketman, the last real Mini

  • Chris

    any hybrids planned? or electrics, since they tested those hatchbacks in LA a while back… just curious to see how they plan to tackle the raise in oil prices in the coming years in order not to lose potential customers who will seek fun, commuter cars that consume less.

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      MINI has been exploring hybrid technology for several years now. However, they are also predicting hybrid-like efficiency out of their petrol and diesel-burning engines in the upcoming F-series cars. The current generation of MINI diesels already get Prius-or-better fuel mileage. Keep in mind that the gains in efficiency a car as small as the MINI would garner would be all but entirely offset by the added weight, complexity and cost of the system. When you plot the math, the cost savings between 45 mpg and 55 mpg aren’t actually that significant (as opposed to savings between say 15 mpg and 30 mpg). So if MINI did introduce a hybrid, it likely wouldn’t be much more efficient than their current offerings, and likely only be made available on the Countryman/Paceman to bump those numbers a tad higher on paper. When other environmental factors are brought into context (battery materials, higher manufacturing energy expenditure, etc), the “green” case for a hybrid MINI isn’t that strong. That is, except as a marketing ploy aimed at buyers with an unsophisticated understanding of the topic. Demand is demand, after all.

      • ulrichd

        Would it be totally nuts to have FWD car with a rear wheel electric motor that turns on during high performance driving, turning it into a AWD car?

        • Nathaniel Salzman

          An electric rear drive is the system we believe MINI has been testing, however it would only kick in during initial takeoff most likely.

  • AMS

    I’m wondering if the interiors on the legacy models will be getting any significant upgrades/updates when the F56 shows up and shames everything currently on the MINI lots.