“At the moment we don’t see a need.” That was the answer that Oliver Friedman, head of MINI product worldwide, gave to me when I asked him about all-wheel drive in the new MINI hatch. He went on to say that MINI will not offer all-wheel drive in any of its smaller platform lineup.
It’s a bit of a surprise, as we had expected AWD to show up potentially on the F55 five door hatch when it debuts late next year. Furthermore, an all-wheel drive F56 could be a great basis for a JCW product. So where can we expect AWD? The next Clubman is a good bet, as it will grow in size off the smaller MINI footprint into a car more comparable to the Countryman of today. Then of course there’s the successor to the Countryman itself, and perhaps an even larger vehicle on the horizon.
What about JCW, though? We’ve been given some hints that it will be plenty special without AWD. In fact, if you go back to our conversations with then MINI Head of Marketing, Kay Segler, it was evident that MINI wanted to stay true to its heritage in offering a high performance front wheel drive car as its halo product.
Where does this land in the MINI community? Were you hoping for AWD across the range? Let us hear from you in the comments.