MINI is in a state of transition. That’s the take you get from reading Georg Kacher latest article in Automobile. While many of the points he makes about MINI have been reported previously on MotoringFile, it’s a thorough look at both BMW and MINI’s future as they transition into the world of EVs. Lets take a look at the big take-aways and go a bit further into a few aspects of the MINI’s future.
The first step for MINI is to extend the life of the current F56 until its replacement is ready with an unheard of second facelift (aka LCI). This is due to BMW changing course last year and deciding to parter with the Chinese company Great Wall Motors for the next small MINI range. Engineered in collaboration with Great Wall Motors and BMW (but designed by MINI), the next generation MINI will come in both petrol and EV forms and will be built in both Oxford and China (the latter for the Asian market). The benefit of this approach is that MINI will get a platform that is more dedicated to the MINI and less of a cut down small BMW. What we’re hearing is that this will create a car that feels more MINI, drives smaller and deliveries technology and performance that will be needed in 2022.
According to a recent Autocar report BMW has given the idea the green light and is set to collaborate its Spotlight Automotive – the joint venture run by BMW and Great Wall. Autocar went further and features a quote from an unnamed BMW that goes into further detail:
“We’re advancing plans for a model along the lines of the Rocketman. It’s a car we have been looking at for a long time, but to build it profitably at the price point we think customers are prepared to pay, you need a joint venture partner to share costs. Great Wall Motors has provided that opportunity with a shared electric car platform that will be used by Mini,”
So great Wall Motors is in charge of the next MINI three and five door hatch, and city car. But what about the Countryman? Kacher corroborates what we’ve heard in his article but reporting that the Countryman and its derivatives will be based on the BMW FAAR platform that will underpin the new X1 and X2. Those derivatives will not include a Clubman but instead a Spaceman (think BMW Active Tourer), and Sportsman (think X2/2 Series Gran Coupe) according to Kacher.
Under the hood of the range will be four cylinder petrol powered mild hybrid drivetrains starting with a 75-kW (101 hp), 150 Nm (110 lb-ft) electric power boost, with electrical energy stored in a 30-kWh pack. Look for that to spawn several variations that will include Cooper, Cooper S and JCW variants.
We’ll have more on both the second F56 facelift and the next generation MINI aim the weeks and months ahead.