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F55 Four Door MINI Spied Uncovered

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The F55 MINI four door is MINI’s answer to such cars as the four door VW Polo or Golf. We expect it be a big seller for the brand by injecting more versatility without losing the appeal of the typical MINI small-ness. And now we have yet another look at it thanks to a poster at Newminiclub.nl. The car appears to be the same one spied at the Oxford plant perhaps on its way for a final evaluation in Munich.

Check out the gallery and the full story behind the new F55 MINI four door after the break.

The Release Schedule

The 2015 MINI four door (the name is still TBD) will debut in the fall of 2014. Details have yet to be worked out but expect a roll-out to be slightly compressed in compared to the F56 – meaning it should hit the US before the spring of 2015. This should help give the Convertible room to launch that spring.

The Space

Using the next generation hatch (internally knowing as the F56) as its basis, MINI will shorten the front doors and add two small, conventionally opening doors behind them. This will be much like the Countryman’s layout, but in a smaller package. Those rear doors will be on the small side, but still more usable then you might expect. Sources are telling us that the rear doors will extend from the trailing edge of the front doors all the way into the rear wheel arches and up to the gas cap on the right side of the car. Opening those four doors will be completely redesigned door handles, while stylistically they will be similar to the current car, will pivot outward from the front end similar to the mechanism found on newer BMWs.

Inside we’ve been told to expect rear legroom to increase about 5 cm as compared to the next generation hardtop (which will be roughly the same as the current generation). F55 will offer a three person bench seat (like the Countryman and Clubman in some markets) likely as standard.

Stylistically the front of the car will be identical to the new F56. However the rear will be slightly raked as the extra 5 cm of legroom will push the boot out slightly. As these photos almost let you make out, think of shape as almost a fast-back. In total the F55 will likely be at least 5 cm longer than the F56 hatch which will be approximately the same size in length (give or two a cm or two). On the roof the R55 will feature a more subtle version of the Clubman’s “dune-line” roof profile to further distinguish the three and five door hatches.

MINI will even likely market the R55 simply as “the four-door MINI.” It won’t be taking the place of the iconic two door hardtop, but it will be offered for those who want a small MINI with just a bit more practicality. A little practicality wouldn’t hurt the hardtop for many. Have you ever tried to get a child seat in the back of the hatch or perhaps a dog in and out? Then you’ll know why the four-door F55 may go along way in helping Americans overcome their fears of impracticality. For the rest, the original hatchback form factor of the two door MINI will remain as well.

Or thought of another way, it’ll bring some of the Countryman’s gains in practicality, but with fewer of its SUV-bred performance compromises. Imagine being able to more easily haul passengers, kids or pets, but retaining all of the smaller MINI’s handling and lightweight efficiency. That’s a package we can get excited about.

What about the Clubman? Don’t worry MINI still has plans for the “other” MINI. But expect some tweaks to the formula in an effort to make the next generation Clubman (dubbed internally as the F54) a bit more dynamic.

Written By: Gabe

  • nsbancroft

    I’m quite curious to see how this turns out. If done well, I’d be quite interested.

  • oldsbear

    Is the masking for a re-paint after being air-shipped to a new facility?

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      No that was the previous set of photos at the Oxford plant.

  • Bor

    very likely my next car to replace the aging 07 R56 and accommodate the growing kids…

  • tobi

    lord, i don’t know what to think. need to see this in real. enough with the paparazzi

  • Fishbulb

    Very cool… now bring us one with ALL4! :)

    • James D.

      Yes! ALL4. I have a need for this with a 3 inch lift kit, off-road tires, brush guard, under belly protection, and roof rack. Even without the ALL4, I still might get one! Oh, and then vinyl wrapped in desert camo…

      • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

        ALL4 won’t be available on the F55 but we’ve reported previously that we expect it on the F54 Clubman

  • Jason

    At some point MINI will need to start consolidating their brand. There are only so many potential MINI owners out there and this epic dilution will bite them in the butt one day, IMHO.

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      If they do not expand into other demos it will bite them faster. If not for the expansion into the land of the Countryman BMW would have closed up shop at MINI and walked away as you cannot sell only one model and expect to be a mainstream company; Would you pay $40k for a base cooper?

      This 5 door will bring more people to MINI it is amazing how many people would never considered one until the Countryman and its 4 doors.

      The Pace man and Coupe will more than likely be axed in favor of a sedan or people mover in the future but MINI needs at least the current number of variants to be viable.

      With BMW launching the 2 Series Sports Tourer there will be some cross pollination with MINI and the next generation X1 being FWD will share DNA with the Countryman.

      MINI was originally purchased by BMW so it did not need to take the flagship brand down market to compete with economies of scale etc…. that did not work as intended.

      • Herr26

        MINI is a victim of it own success.

        To quote a film ” If you build it they will come” and come they did. Going forward with the new F series cars brought a new meaning to the MINI vocabulary. Practicality. The MINI always had an appeal to customers out with the brand who owned other UKL or C segment brands but the truly practical MINIs are the Countryman and on some level the Clubman. It was always felt that more practicality would be needed in the main car the ,primary MINI.

        The 5dr MINI extends its appeal to customers out with the MINI brand. Not everyone wants the Countryman however but there will be a replacement closely aligned with the next BMW X1 which from a design view is a fantastic looking compact SAV.

        The added practicality to the MINI arrives at a crucial time especially in Europe where we are seeing volume manufacturers cars in this exact segment being decimated by premium compact cars like the MINI in sales and market share. Expanding the MINIs customer base is crucial and the next generation of cars intend to do so.

        Also in Europe and across the global market, we are also experiencing customer demand for premium sub-compact cars and MINI is right in that spot to take advantage of this growing customer market.

        There is still that market for the MINI as it is and there is extra demand for practicality and flexibility. The next MINI models showcase the move to extend practicality and the customer base my widening the range with not only the 5dr MINI but the next Clubman and the Spacebox the joint relation to the BMW 2er Active Tourer. The Spacebox keeps it in the MINI family by being a taller model of the new Clubman. In the next line of MINI family there is a key desire to expand to other segments aswell as discontinuing others. A stylish Sedan seen as a CLA competitor in the FWD segment is being conceived as is a single replacement for the MINI Coupe and Roadster which could share with the BMW Z1 or possibly with further developments in the BMW-Toyota partnership especially as Toyota want a sub-compact sports car below the GT 86. The PACEMAN might survive as BMW are working on an X2 sister car to the new X1.

        Haven driven a final prototype of the Active Tourer and a MINI Cooper.

        it is clear that this concept knows its customer base. The first FWD BMW is far from the disaster some are making it out to be even though they have not driven the car yet. The media will shortly in a special workshop to prepare the world for the first BMW that drives from the front. It is clear that what MINI customers and BMW customers expect have been catered for the new MINI is recognise able instantly as a MINI once you hot the road everything you love about a MINI has been retained with extra progress. You still get exceptional go-kart style handling and excellent communication from the steering.

        The Active Tourer is very clear that this is the most road going specific compact MPV ever. Its chassis is very direct to accommodate a driver who needs performance and space. This car is surprisingly nimble , not overly enthusiastic as the MINI but enough to keep an enthusiast who has to grow up entertained. Agility is superb as is refinement. The three cylinder is a gem of an engine , when it opens up it betrays its origins that you will not believe there is a three cylinder under that bonnet.

        The Active Tourer is the first of BMWs FWD cars that are timed to take advantage of a segment that will grow by around 65% in 2014 and demand for premium compact and sub-compact cars.

        As things get practical you can begin to see a desire for something to “downsize” the brand and it is evident in Munich that management will have to think of an entry MINI model, the question remains is how to go about it , a decision which is perhaps still a few years away.

        • JonPD

          Brand bloating is a proven track record for Bigger Motor Works. Increase the size of everything until you can design something smaller back in the bottom. I have lost a huge amount of respect for BMW over the years as they continued to pour out ever larger cars. This has taken the sales prices further and further north until the company determines its missing the entry luxury market. AKA see the 1 series. I am sure MINI is following this Chrysler model of bigger is better that BMW is addicted to.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          And what plan would you have for BMW/MINI remaining in business.. AKA profitable?

          I only ask because I read this all the time and no one ever has a better option. If you do not have economies of scale in any business costs will not allow you to remain viable. Look at how many shop at BJ’s or Costco- buying huge quantities of whatever because in the end it is way cheaper. BMW needs 500 widgets and it costs $500-> 1000 widgets cost $600. Maybe they should buy more widgets and put them into more similar cars?

          That’s how it works- tooling costs are cheaper the more you build meaning each car is less to produce and can have more profit which can then be spent on R&D- the CF production stream and the technology for the CFRP cost BMW 2.5 billion, and it will be the future so I think they are heading down the right path as long as they continue to offer some cars that are designed to be driven by enthusiasts.

          If you want a true enthusiast car I always tell people to look at Lotus but funny thing is… Lotus is trying to build more and more models oh and they are miserable to drive in everyday.

          Not sure where people would rather spend their money but the reality of anything mass produced is that companies are making a profit.

          I just bought a pair of Quoddy boots- they are well made but damn expensive because they are produced on a limited scale; I also have American made Danners and Red Wings which cost half the price and are almost as nice- reason why Danner and the Red Wings are cheaper? They have other lines that allow them to offset costs and purchase materials and machinery cheaper…. it is just the way it is. How is that different than BMW?

        • John McLauchlan

          Agree with JonPD. BMW isn’t going to settle for maintaining profitability, they expect to increase profitability (and sales) year over year. They accomplish this by creating niche cars, bloating the size into new segments, and have been doing so for decades. This has become predictable.

          How to do it differently with MINI and maintain profitability?

          1. Engineering – Platform sharing (already started)
          2. Design – Make the incoming models more attractive than the outgoing.
          3. Marketing – Hire the product planning team from Porsche. They’ve figured it out.
        • BimmerFile_Michael

          3- look who is is the board member over seeing MINI…

          And as for Porsche- they were conquered.

        • ulrichd

          I think JonPD’s post was about the ever increasing physical size of the cars rather than the increasing quantity of models.

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

          It usually is ;-)

        • JonPD

          Funny Nathaniel since I generally also think all of us, including MF staff are well known for our particular takes. I could have you and Gabe write articles without names and even not looking at the way or writing know pretty much who penned what lol. Think this is why on forums even people changing their nicks normally does little to mask the person behind the notes. Think this is all more or less a human condition all of us experiance.

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

          This is not a bad thing.

        • JonPD

          Its a tough nut to crack Michael but with a broad range of cars some of which are sales failures (micro niche cars) the problem I have is that MINI is heading down the same path BMW has. Brand mediocrity is the end effect of the broad swath of cars being produced. Even when you turn out a good vehicle it can get lost in the global view. I hear friends and associates that have the same blandness to their voice when they are discussing Honda and etc where the parent company does may have attempts of brand identifiers however when somebody says Honda a gray box comes to mind. BMW has fallen into this as well where a decade ago somebody saying a BMW and a 3 or 5 series comes to mind, these days when I hear BMW I see the same gray box whith company taglines spread around. In years past if you told people you had a MINI they imediatly know what your speaking of, these days the same gray box seems to be evoloping MINI.

          While I am no master on a better model just have to say just like cars I have to say car companies are the same, bigger is not always better for the brand. At the end of the day producing more cars is a model for solid profits however I think it changes the character of the entire brand in the interm. This is the oldest manafacturing debate out there quality or quanity. I personally believe the best model is somewhere in the middle of this, I just feel that BMW/MINI are concetrating on quanity far beyond quality and are loosing their coprorate souls to become just another hunk of metal with pretty tag lines.

    • 80 Spitfire

      I totally agree! Why can’t BMW sell a MINI (like the R53) as another model in the lineup? Much the way Volkswagon does with the New Beetle. This need to fill every niche is a real turn off for me.

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

        You say that like they’re not going to sell the Hardtop Hatch. They are. You’ll always be able to buy the standard MINI Cooper regardless of what other variations come along. As for the R53, it couldn’t be produced today because it wouldn’t meet EU safety standards.

      • Jason

        What? No, I just mean that MINI has too many models that appeal to the same customers. The 4 door hatch is going to compete with the Clubman. The Cabrio and the Roadster competes. The Countryman and the Paceman compete.

        There’s a lot of R&D being spent and the models aren’t different enough to warrant it (just my opinion).

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

          Oh I see what you’re saying. You’d like to see MINI as a single model in the BMW lineup. Where that falls apart for me is that MINI means different things to different people. Performance is only one aspect of the car, and there are a lot of customers who never cross shop MINI and BMW, so the success of the car seems pretty unlikely. The two brands create very different driving experiences, as Herr26 has pointed out. So the actual experiential overlap will be smaller than it seems to those of us who know how the proverbial sausage is made.

        • 80 Spitfire

          Where is the SUV Volkswagon Beetle? Or the five door Beetle? If there were only a few models of the MINI Cooper it would retain the unique experience the MINI was meant to be. Not another dilluted BMW model. In my opinion.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          It’s called the Tiguan.

          Gabriel Bridger | MotoringFile.com | BimmerFile.com | BimmerCast.com | Whiteroofradio.com

        • 80 Spitfire

          Oh yeah, it looks just like a Beetle how could I have missed that.

        • 80 Spitfire

          For that matter, BMW already makes a X1, X3, X5 and X6 so let’s crank out another MINI variation to fill the void.

        • Herr26

          I always find interesting how BMW are singled out for their SAV family when they expand the X line for significant reasons. Markets and customers want SUVs above anything else. BMW and MINI have a perfect family of SAVs which are global sellers. The MINI Countryman/PACEMAN are perfect models for MINI. But as we head to the future , this year alone will see BMW introduce the new X4 and X6 Sport Activity Coupe’s. And because of the new BMW X1 arriving at the end of 2015 there will also be an X2 which means the PACEMAN will be replaced with a sister vehicle.

          But it’s not the end of the expansion a super luxury SAV to align with the next generation 7er as luxury sedans are being decimated by Luxury SUVs is also coming to the market.

          Some people say they will buy another manufacturer and move on because of this expansion. But as they say in Munich “we know what they will do because we already have done it” applies to many other competitors out there.

          And then there is Porsche. I expect by the end of this decade we will see an entry SUV under the Macan and a Cayenne Coupe. The markets point to both.

        • JonPD

          If SUV/SAVs are the fix for sales numbers why don’t we see a X-Phantom, X-Ghost, and X-Wraith to increase Rolls sales numbers? My issue is not only with BMW on this but broadly across the market. Given any day the most wasteful thing I see is crossover after crossover that runs around on the dry paved streets with a solo person in the car. Crossovers are broadly speaking given their counter part cars are just wasteful. If BMW is searching for sales numbers when will we see a 1,3,5,7 series pickup trucks since they sell like candy? The F-150 and Silverado ranked #1 and #2 for the highest volume of sales last year. Also in the top 20 there tends to be a lot of cheap cars so maybe BMW should produce some cheap cars also. ;)

          I remember a day and time when getting behind the wheel of a BMW was a experience. You expected a vehicle that hit the corners better than most things on the road. Handling was the hallmark of BMW. These days the amount of BMW’s that wallow around corners has grown. This has cropped its head up in the MINI brand as well with the R60.

        • Herr26

          “If SUV/SAVs are the fix for sales numbers why don’t we see a X-Phantom, X-Ghost, and X-Wraith to increase Rolls sales numbers? “

          Don’t worry it’s coming… it will be based off of its sister car which will be called the X7 – a Luxury SAV which will top the X family to mimic the BMW portfolio of 1- 7. We will see the first ideas very soon.

          But yes BMW do investigate new niches because that is where your new and possibly first time customer come from. Markets progress , customers progress and trends progress. You either adapt or you sign away your market share. Why do you think Audi and Mercedes-Benz are following suit.

          The MINI Countryman is but one example of bringing a new customer as is the BMW X1 which continues to lead its segment. The new X1 is just under a year and half from launch and The F48 is conceived to be more competitive than before.

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

          The X1 is very compelling right now.

        • planeguy

          And I bought a one instead of another MINI because I have a family….

    • JonPD

      No shock since BMW is in love with niche cars within the brand. I think BMW started down this path as they make several poor choices that failed to sell over the years. So by having a broader segment of cars I expect its a process put in place for dealing with the occasional flop.

  • Roger Seeley

    So its now Fail +4 doors…as if this thing couldnt get any uglier…christ almighty what an abomination

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      And the R53 looks so great on the inside…. or under the hood.

      • ulrichd

        What?

  • Herr26

    This could be the car they intend to show as a pre-production concept @ Geneva.

  • lavardera

    That is certainly not a flattering angle. I think a 4dr makes sense. I’ve a friend who got a GTI, but only because he could get a 4dr.

  • tobi

    golf = C-segment mini = B-segment. The F55 MINI four door is MINI’s answer to such cars as audi A1 sport back, suzuki swift, polo, skoda fabia, ford fiesta, peugeot 208, citroën C3, etc…

  • SPICYJCWCOUPE

    With the new F56 to be at dealers in Europe this month & the US in March, followed by the 5 door F55 in the fall,,,both with the new engines & the many other new tech standard & optional features, will any/all those new goodies from the F56/F55 be inputed into the expected refreshed 2015 Countryman (& Paceman?) this coming fall??? What does a ‘refresh’ consist of compared to a ‘new generation’ model change…anything & everything except for a new body, or only minor nondescript changes??? Would really like to see the new engines & tech features in the 2015 refresh of the Countryman/Paceman………..

  • Blainestang

    Can’t wait to see more of this. IMO, they should have never bothered with the crappy-driving Countryman and just made this instead. If they did, we’d own an F55 instead of a 4-door GTI (FWIW, we still have the R56, but rear-facing child seats are a huge pain in the R56).

    And for the record, MINI made GP’s before the Countryman, and Porsche made GT3’s before the Cayenne. I wish they’d stop BS’ing everyone and just admit they want to make more money rather than say “oh, we couldn’t make GPs and GT3s if we didnt make these SUVs!” To me, it’s more offensive to feed us a line of crap than to just admit you’re building them simply to make more money. That’s the point of a business, anyway.

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

      You not believing in financial realities doesn’t unmake them.

      • Blainestang

        If you’re going to reply with a condescending one-liner, at least back it up with some proof.

        Was MINI about to close up shop before the Countryman was green-lighted? Volkswagen (err, Porsche) before the Tuareg (err, Cayenne)? They both made their halo cars then, just like they do now.

        My point is, I’ve never seen any evidence that either would be in dire financial straits were it not for their SUVs. Do they make plenty of money on them? Sure! But I’ve never seen any evidence that they saved the company or saved the halo cars. It simply seems like an easy out for them to say “Oh, well, these SUVs allow us to make the cars that properly represent the current brand.” It’s a simple, difficult-to-disprove statement to blow off enthusiasts when the company makes bland, brand-diluting vehicles. From MINI/Porsche’s standpoint, why NOT make that claim? It’s a win-win. You get to slap your logo on a SUV and rake in the cash while getting the enthusiasts off your back for doing so… and no one can easily disprove the claim without a LOT of insider financial knowledge, at the very least.

        You say it is a “financial reality” that there would be no more fun cars without relatively boring ones. I’m sure MINI/Porsche would tell you that if asked, and since we can’t just make a phone call to the alternate reality where they never built Porsche/MINI SUVs and see how they’re doing, we may never know the real effect.

        Fact is, I can’t prove it’s just marketing-speak designed to make enthusiasts feel better about diluting the brand, and you probably can’t actually prove the opposite (If you can, I’d love to hear it and would be happy to be wrong. Then, it wouldn’t annoy me so much when I hear that claim :)). Given the reality of the situation, though (halo cars existed before; SUVs are making both companies a lot of money), I tend to believe the simplest hypothesis (Occam’s Razor): It’s just marketing-speak designed to make enthusiasts OK with trading brand purity for company profits. They just want to make more money.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          There was a plan to close up MINI shop after the R56 if Reitholder did not green light the FWD BMWs and the Countryman did not sell so well. Companies are not in the business of losing money.

          MINI accounts for about 17% of BMW Group models sold and yields little to no profit . That is the reason there is little marketing, that is the reason the dealers are still not an easy drive for everyone. There is little money. The only reason MINI has made it this long is BMW throwing money and hocking technology- PSA, etc.

          MINI’s original intention was to be BMW’s savior- so they would not need to go down market, to go FWD.

          The truth is a MINI is very expensive to build (built in the UK with union labor)- they are a small volume brand and there is little room to make a profit when build costs are so high to start. Part of the reason the Countryman is built at Steyr is bc BMW did not want to invest production capacity in a brand they were not sold on being financially self sufficient and it would be the cheapest way to build it.

          New MINI models will also be contracted out but BMW is using some of the MINI plants- Hams Hall /Swindon to produce components (engines) that will be used throughout the group now- not just for MINI.

          I have talked with many in the company and this has come up time and again. The rumors about BMW restarting Triumph was a plan to save MINI- share components across two brands. At the end of the day Reitholder and the board made the move to make BMWs FWD and share everything across MINI and BMW- it would tarnish the RWD BMW image but require no further capital investment in starting up a brand.

          The numbers are out there and for Porsche- look at the financials and minutes from the board meetings that are published quarterly from years and years ago.

          No brand is going to show its true hand especially when they are worried about being taken over. Porsche was in the same boat- and look what happened; BMW is the LAST independent automaker. Quandts and Klatten have helped that remain possible.

        • Blainestang

          “No brand is going to show its true hand especially when they are worried about being taken over. Porsche was in the same boat- and look what happened;”

          Agreed, they’re not going to show their true hand and say “Hey, we’re going to build SUVs whether you like it or not” when they could say “we’ve got to do this to save the company or the models you love.”

          As you have several examples, often companies say, “If we do this, we won’t do this or we won’t do this”… and in the end they do it anyway.

          If we build MINIs, we won’t have to build FWD BMWs!

          If we build SUVs, VW might not buy us out!

          Point is, there are too many variables to say definitively “SUVs saved the company” when similar previous claims haven’t panned out and no one can know what would happen if some variables changed. What if MINI just built the 5-door MINI instead of the CM? Could that have sold enough to “save the company” without building an SUV?

          Nobody really knows, even Porsche/MINI, so like I said, I’d rather they just say, “we just want to make more money” which may or may not affect the existance

        • ulrichd

          “Point is, there are too many variables to say definitively “SUVs saved the company” when…” Looking at Porsche sales figures as an example, they sell about 1,500 Cayennes a month. That’s about the same as all the other models (911, Cayman, Panamera) together. Just saying.

        • Blainestang

          Interesting figures, no doubt. That said, it doesn’t prove that Porsche was saved by the Cayenne. It absolutely makes them a bunch of money, but would they be out of business if they never built it? Who knows?

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

          Michael has hit the financials pretty well on the head, but I’ll respond as well since you asked.

          You said “And for the record, MINI made GP’s before the Countryman, and Porsche made GT3’s before the Cayenne. I wish they’d stop BS’ing everyone and just admit they want to make more money rather than say “oh, we couldn’t make GPs and GT3s if we didnt make these SUVs!””

          First, this is a straw man argument. No one at MINI, or here at MF, or over at WRR has said that the Countryman made the original GP possible, or that the only reason it exists is to finance performance-oriented models. No one said that, so I’m not going to try to disprove it.

          It’s been said here at MF and on WRR in the past that R60 sales and profit margin have helped to make performance-oriented variants like the Coupe/Roadster possible, but that’s our color commentary and not something MINI has ever said as part of its marketing. In fact MINI has never apologized for the Countryman. They don’t have to. It’s profitable and it’s a massive sales success.

          So while no one here or at MINI said what you’re claiming, it isn’t far off from the truth. Without increased profitability over time, MINI won’t survive. If there’s no MINI, there are no “enthusiast MINIs” either.

          Secondly, I disagree with the inference that there aren’t any MINI Enthusiasts who like or own the Countryman. This is entirely untrue. In fact, the Countryman has swelled the ranks of MINI enthusiasts and we have lots of R60 and R61 owners who read and participate here at MotoringFile. They mod their cars. They drive them hard. They show up in force at MINI events. They’re enthusiasts. So this whole idea that MINI needs to make excuses to the “enthusiasts,” let alone actually does make excuses, doesn’t hold any water.

          Third, what Porsche did or didn’t do, and the reasons they claimed to do it are irrelevant to why MINI does or doesn’t do anything. BMW and MINI are not guilty by association.

          Fourth, to infer that commentary here or at White Roof Radio is in any way “MINI Marketing Speak” is ad hominem nonsense. In fact, I think we’re going to have to make this into a drinking game. All official content from MINI is clearly labeled, and we share it because the MINI community wants to know what’s going on. In fact, there are lots of press releases that we don’t share because we don’t think they’re interesting.

          Furthermore, if we did work for MINI, we’d say that up front. We’d be proud of it. There’s nothing wrong with content marketing. I’ve done lots of it for other people in the motorcycle world, but we don’t do it for MINI. Fact is, we don’t work for anybody, not in this capacity anyway. Hell, I’m a volunteer and I do this in my spare time. There are no marching orders. There is no grand conspiracy to pacify the enthusiasts because we are enthusiasts. Our opinions are ours, and no one here ever said that the Countryman made the first GP possible as you claim. It’s always been about profits and bringing in new customers and helping the brand grow. That success making other things possible is simply a positive side effect, not the Countryman’s reason for being.

          Lastly, you insist that the Countryman is a boring car. I completely disagree. Gabe spent a year with one as a daily driver and he really liked it. I’ve driven every engine level of the Countryman through the Alps in the snow. I’ve driven one up the Autobahn as fast as it would go. I’ve driven one in anger the full length of the Dragon.

          Have you?

          On its own, the Countryman is a really fun car, but especially once you take its segment into consideration. I’ve driven nearly every other small crossover in the Countryman’s orbit and it’s by far and away the most fun to drive. It also has one of the best AWD systems for wet and snow I’ve ever driven. It’s the only one available with both AWD and a manual transmission in combination — all while getting better fuel economy than its equivalent rivals.

          So I’m not going to attempt to prove the negative of your argument, because the argument itself is invalid. The Countryman isn’t boring. MINI doesn’t apologize for it at all. There are plenty of Countryman enthusiasts. No one ever said it exists only to subsidize performance-oriented MINIs. It exists because there’s market demand for it, and that success is something that performance-oriented enthusiasts can then benefit from.

          For example, the success of the Countryman does free up the development dollars for things like the 2nd-gen JCW GP. And as Michael has pointed out, the Countryman’s success has contributed to the survival of the company — making enough of a business case to incentivize BMW in investing in the platform and providing a future for MINI. That’s the financial reality.

        • Blainestang

          So, you say I post logical fallacies and then post your own?

          I didn’t say “no enthusiasts own CMs.” I know they do, because people have to make compromises sometimes. If not, we’d all drive GPs, Z06s, and Exiges.

          Yes, people on MF have claimed that without the CM, enthusiast MINIs would no longer exist… Michael did just yesterday.

          I never said the CM was boring when compared to other vehicles in general. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have almost bought one. If you inferred that, maybe I should have been more clear., but I didn’t say that. It IS, however, boring compared to a hardtop. No, I have not driven a CM on the Dragon or on a track. I HAVE driven my R56 Cooper many many times on the Dragon, at Auto-Xs, and on tracks such as Sebring, Road Atlanta, and Roebling Road. I HAVE driven a CM and it’s a logical fallacy to imply that I’d inherently have to have driven one at the Dragon (or similar) to know it drives nothing like even my base R56. Similarly, I’ve driven the new 911 and the Panamera GTS on a track. The Panamera is fun and capable, no doubt, but it’s still no 911. Compared to a CRV, fun. Compared to a MINI hardtop, it’s not. Unless the F55 is a huge departure from the R56, it will be a much better driver than the CM, too. That was my point. They should have just made the 5-door in the first place.

        • Blainestang

          The sentence that makes no sense should say “Compared to a CRV, the CM is fun,” but this system seems to be disagreeing with my phone right now.

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

          Disagreeing is not a logical fallacy. I responded to what you said and what your argument seems to imply. If you meant something else, please clarify. However, your original comment was trying to refute something that hadn’t actually been said.

          In your last comment, you said “I didn’t say ‘no enthusiasts own CMs.’ I know they do, because people have to make compromises sometimes. If not, we’d all drive GPs, Z06s, and Exiges.”

          I didn’t say you said this, but this premise seems central to your original argument that MINI makes excuses for the Countryman to the enthusiast community, as though Countryman owners weren’t included in that community.

          You also say “I never said the CM was boring when compared to other vehicles in general. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have almost bought one.”

          What you said was this: “You say it is a ‘financial reality’ that there would be no more fun cars without relatively boring ones.”

          I simply disagreed that the Countryman is a boring car, especially in the context of its class. This also seems like a central concept to your argument, especially with the Porsche comparison — that Crossovers are boring by default. Disagreement is not a logical fallacy. As for where you have or haven’t driven the Countryman, my point is that a lot of people love to criticize things they haven’t even experienced, and experience matters. So I asked what yours was.

          All that said, I agree with you that this 4-door model is long overdue. Our understanding is that the next generation of the Countryman will get more off road oriented and this model will be more sporting. Being as its smaller, that makes a lot of sense. Personally, I’m really curious about the next generation Clubman, which will sit on the larger of the two platform variations. The initial spy photos look really encouraging, especially since it’d most likely have the ALL4 system. With the foot+ of snow outside my window right now, I’d love to replace the CRV in our driveway with the next Clubman.

        • Chilly

          You two guys must have been on the debate team! :-)

          Nate – Regarding your comments about the new Clubman, I completely agree. I am very interested to see what this looks like in the flesh, it looks really good in the photo’s we’ve seen so far. I for one would prefer this over the 4-door Cooper.

        • Blainestang

          I agree that simple disagreement is not a logical fallacy. When I say that the CM is “relatively boring,” meaning compared to Hardtop MINIs (which the F55 will presumably drive like), and you say it drives well for a crossover, that’s a logical fallacy, not a simple disagreement. That said, I’ll take the blame for that because it may have just been a miscommunication. When I said the CM was “crappy-driving” and “relatively boring”, I meant compared to the Hardtop MINIs in the context of my original post. You took that to mean I thought the CM is “relatively boring” when compared to vehicles in general or vehicles in it’s class. So, let’s chalk that up to miscommunication. We can agree that the CM is an interesting drive compared to most other small cars and cars in its class (what you were saying). I think we can also agree that its not as fun/dynamic as a comparable-spec Hardtop (what I was saying). I mean, I almost bought a CM, so I don’t hate them by any means. I have just been spoiled by the driving dynamics of the Hardtop and would prefer the 5-door hardtop over the CM because it will presumably retain the driving dynamics of the 3-door.

          And yes, we can agree very much that in the scheme of adding models to the MINI stable, the 5-door is long overdue.

          Now to the things we might not agree about :D. In my opinion, it’s a more valuable/logical/MINI-esque addition to the MINI lineup than any of the other existing MINIs except maybe the Clubby. Why? Because it will retain 98% of the performance of the hardtop (unlike the CM), adds practicality which was a hallmark of Mini (unlike the Convertible, Roadster, and Coupe), and it will sell better than everything except the Hardtop and Countryman.

  • MIke

    5 door…..??? Then is not a mini anymore…its a BMW Golf….!!!

  • Tucki

    Those tail lights are HORRID.


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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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MotoringFile Reviews

Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
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'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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