Exclusive: The Rocketman is a Go

Since we published our opinion piece last week stating that the Rocketman was a necessary move for the brand, we’ve heard from several sources on the subject. According these sources in the know, it’s great news for those of us who have been wanting a MINI city car.

According to those in the know, BMW will develop the car based off of a pre-existing chassis from a partner automaker. This allows for both rapid development and economic feasibility. Crucially the solution that was chosen also allows for a fully electric drivetrain.

P90096908_Rocketman

We had originally assumed the partner would be Toyota and there’s reason to go against that thinking. However we do know that the car won’t be based on the the Aygo-108-C1 architecture as first thought. This leaves the next generation Toyota iQ or equivalent perfectly positioned as it’s just now beginning development.

BMW and Toyota have recently become technical partners in several ventures around hybrid and hydrogen technology not to mention that they are designed at least one sports car together for a release later this decade.

toyota-iq

Given this, we expect BMW to have direct input into the next generation iQ (which is a full 33? shorter than the F56). That direct input would be put towards making sure resulting MINI feel as gokart like as possible and accommodate either a 1.5L three cylinder MINI engine or something even smaller co-developed with Toyota along with an electric drivetrain.

Why is MINI so eager to produce something smaller than the F56? The brand is born out of a less is more philosophy and a few internally at MINI are concerned that the current product range doesn’t make that point clear enough. A small city car could serve as both a price leader and a halo vehicle that better exemplifies the brand ethos than the current hatch.

P90072978_Rocketman

According to sources the decision was influenced greatly by this year’s Geneva Motor Show where there was a major focus on new small city cars from European manufacturers.

Timing

Don’t look for the Rocketman any time soon. However MINI have fast-tracked the development meaning that we could see something by 2018 at the earliest. What we will see sooner is a new concept car that foreshadows the production version of the new city car. We had heard rumors that this would be showcased in the first part of 2015 but that remains very much unconfirmed.

  • KLF23

    Argh! Don’t go getting our hopes up! Fool me twice…etc.

    Almost sounds too good to be true. Can’t wait to see the concept.

    MINI – keep the concept as close as possible to the production model so we aren’t disappointed when we have to settle for less.

  • Great news if true! Interesting too, that for this brand, the “halo” car would be its smallest… #buildtherocketman

  • Bob Hayhurst

    Well timed piece Gabe; sometimes people (and corporations) need just a small amount of encouragement to find their way. Hopefully, we’ll see just the right car come to market at just the right time.

  • Chris Bamford

    awesome. best news I’ve read on here for years 🙂

    • Pete Mitchell

      This is news?

      • Chris Bamford

        lol – only if its true of course 🙂

  • EvanHVYWGHT

    What great news! We’ll have to of course observe with some trepidation since rumors have flown around about this before, but to get a Mini MINI again would be outstanding. Not until I parked my loaner F56 next to my R50 after service did I realize just how much the MINI has grown. And not until I drove my R50 right after the F56 did I realize just how much more instantly entertaining and involving the original R50 chassis was compared to the very nice yet not as immediate F56 chassis.

    What a great little commuter car with MINI style and fun! The Rocketman as a general concept is outstanding and I can’t wait to follow its development. Thx Gabe!

  • Eddie Cosme

    Please let this be true! I want this to be my next MINI.

  • BudD

    If it’s anything like the rendering above please spare us. If it’s anything resembling the Rocketman concept car we will welcome its launch and hopefully much sooner than 2018.

    • Creed Cate

      what rendering above? none are renderings

  • ken valley

    Hurrah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bring in on Mini!

  • No back seats would be nice too! Not all of us use our cars to haul people — that’s what the big MINIs are for. 😉

    • Pete Mitchell

      No back seats has really made the Coupe’s sales explode these days

      • I can dream though. Let the other models cater to family-having supersizers (which they largely do), and give me my wee solo car. But anyways… :

        • ulrichd

          Backseat delete option would make everyone happy.

        • Plus it sounds cool.

        • ulrichd

          Plus it would save weight.

    • SPICYJCWCOUPE

      If 2 seaters were as popular as you & others tend to believe, the Coupe & Roadster would be selling like hotcakes. But both are among the lowest in sales figures. I have a JCW Coupe… fun to drive, but I realize after 3 years in the Coupe, I need more room yet want to stay with a ‘small’ MINI, so will go for the F55S in a few months. It’s smaller with a lower profile than the Countryman or Paceman, but lots more room than the Coupe. Of course, a Rocketman sitting next to the F55S in my garage would be the icing on the cake.

      • Not saying you’re wrong. Just that I don’t care what’s popular, in this case. Just stating what I personally like, which is never a predictor of commercial success. 😉

  • otter

    IF, it looks pretty close to the concept, has a manual transmission, and some brass under the hood, e.g. it is a cute little hooligan, I would buy one almost regardless of price.

  • JonPD

    I have hope that the company may once again make something worthwhile after a great many years turning its back on what made Mini’s special. Time to get back to David defeating Goliath.

  • Taiyo

    Every once or twice a year, my wife receives questionnaire from a marketing agency working for BMW. They have previously got in touch with us, to interview her (not me!) about future BMW / MINI products. Just recently, she was shown a picture of Rocketman ( Referred to as “Pure Man” ) along with F56 and R61, to see “Which of the three would you like your next car to be?”

    They must be serious about making the Rocketman this time! Bring it on!

    • Pete Mitchell

      Market research = very serious!

  • Pete Mitchell

    This is the worst article ever published on the internet.

    • ulrichd

      Care to share why?

      • Don’t feed the trolls.

        • Chris Bamford

          kick him off nathaniel – I didn’t have to be nice to him earlier either

  • ulrichd

    Fingers crossed until we see a new concept car. As long as it will be available in a 3-door configuration with a manual I’ll be happy.

  • tobi

    i can’t wait to order my ROCKETMAN S 😀

    • ulrichd

      Or Rocketman D or EV.

  • Andy

    The Rocketman is an awesome little car. In my opinion, the suitcase handle style tail lights should not go to production. Those will be the first thing some A-Hole will grab and break off. The see thru roof is super cool as well but I feel should be an option. Example; in Arizona during the summer, having a see thru roof would turn your Rocketman into an oven with wheels. I see a safety issue there. I do want one, though.

  • SPICYJCWCOUPE

    Those 7 spoke wheels on the Rocketman look very similar to the new 10 spoke (Two-Tone Roulette Spoke) wheels to be available on the new F55 4 door. The outer portion of the spokes are chrome while the inner portion is black. Nice!!

  • GoRixter

    MINI design, Toyota build quality. That would be a nice combination.

  • anchoright

    I REALLY WANT one of these, ESPECIALLY if it is electric. Fiat has come out with an electric car, Smart has too, why can’t we have a MINI that is electric? And a small one – not a large one? Why do they always have to make electric cars so big?!

  • Mr Remi

    i dream of a JCW rocketman. Also know as the J-Rock.