Rumor: MINI Creating Small Crossover to Slot Below the Countryman

MINI is creating a small crossover below the Countryman and based on next generation hatch. That rumor comes from Autoexpress which is using a number of indicators (and an official non-denial) to put together a fairly credible case for the crossover.

Autoexpress has a history of being rather outlandish in their rumors but this one all makes perfect sense when we look at the market for small crossovers. It’s a market that is booming worldwide almost without compare and one that MINI has transitioned out of with the new, larger Countryman.

According to the article the new model will have a similar footprint to today’s four door MINI which itself is about a foot shorter than the Countryman. That would make sense as we expect the next generation COuntryman to grow slightly in length theoretically allowing for something to slot in below it in the line-up.

Given the timing this new small crossover would be based on the next generation MINI platform which will be designed from the ground up to better accommodate internal combustion engines, hybrids and all electric drive-trains.

For a reminder the MINI range is currently made up of two version of the UKL platform. The UKL1 underpins the smaller MINIs while the UKL2 underpins the Clubman, Countryman and other small front wheel drive BMWs.

The next generation MINI won’t debut until 2021 and that will be in hatch form a la the F56. We’re guessing that MINI will have a series of products releasing directly after (like inin 6-12-18 increments) consisting of the variations on the core product. We’d guess this new small crossover might be one of those but it’s obviously too early to say.

It’s good to see MINI moving smaller rather than larger in this strategy. In fact BMW board of management Peter Schwarzenbauer speaking to larger crossovers said: “That would not fit with MINI’s DNA – we would not make a seven-seater or something like that.

Asked if there was a chance that MINI could make a smaller SUV than the Countryman, Schwarzenbauer told Autoexpress: “That would be an interesting option, especially when you look around. There are few car types in the world right now that fit into every market. A small urban SUV is definitely a segment that is extremely interesting, but so far we haven’t made any decision on its direction.”

And that’s a classic non-denial if we’ve ever heard one.

  • karrock

    Nice! More compact dimensions and a lower price tag should quell the people complaining that the new Countryman was supersized too far. What’ll its moniker be — Countryman Sport, think they’ll revive Paceman or use something entirely new?

  • CA-MINI

    This is exactly what I’ve been hoping for!!! A crossover vehicle sized at about where the current F55 is, which is fairly close to my current R60. Keep the weight under control, styling cues more like the MINI-E concept and I will order an S model as soon as it’s available!!!

  • Nick Dawson

    This doesn’t surprise me at all – it would sit perfectly with the MINI brand. Even Jaguar Land Rover, JLR, is said to be developing smaller SUVs to fit below the E Pace and the Evoque.

  • ulrichd

    If the crossover money helps make the Rocketman a reality then I’m all for it. Other than that: meh.

    • Nick Dawson

      An F55 sized Crossover would sell well in Europe, but it would do nothing to restore the fortunes of MINI USA. On the other hand, a 4-door MINI Sportback based on the F60 Countryman platform – effectively sister car to the soon to be launched X2 – would sell well everywhere, and at a price that would be more profitable for BMW.

      The big question is, would a small MINI City Car restore MINI USA’s fortunes. I’m not sure, and neither is BMW.