Aug 18th, 2014
The next generation Clubman and Countryman are due in 2015 and 2017 respectively, will represent major milestones for the brand. Designed to right the wrongs of previous larger MINIs, they will address concerns ranging from design to performance. Unlike the previous versions of these cars, MINI won’t be tackling these problems alone.
The genius of BMW shared UKL platform and engine strategy is becoming more evident as the months pass since the introduction of the F56. The first wave of component sharing spans everything imaginable:
- The UKL chassis itself – a stronger and lighter chassis than what preceded it in the R56 (which itself was a modified version of the R50)
- Advanced electronics – this has allowed the F56 to leap-frog the competition with advanced options and the industry’s best infotainment system
- Powertrain – at launch this means a range of highly efficient 3 and 4 cylinder engines that are meant to help mini better compete with rivals. However it’s what happens after launch that is particularly interesting.
All good you say but why is MINI only getting 189hp out of a 2.0 four cylinder? The interesting thing about BMW is that they are an organization that obsessively looks at the full picture. Every metric matters – sometimes to the detriment of power figures (look at the new M4 vs it’s competition). However they also design and engineer for the future..
Based on sources, here’s what we know. MINI is planning several new versions of the B48 2 liter found in the current Cooper S.
In late 2014 BMW will release a 231 hp version destined for a number of products including the 2015 MINI JCW – this engine is known internally as the B48A20O0. Expect the JCW F56 to arrive to showrooms sometime in the spring of 2015.
Enter the High Output Version of the B48
Beyond the B48A20O0, we believe BMW and MINI are working on a much higher performance variant of the B48 with a target output as high as 300 hp. The engine is rumored to be destined for use in the BMW high spec versions of the X1, X2 and future FWD versions of the 1 and 2 series hitting dealers later this decade.
MINI also has plans for this engine In it’s larger all wheel drive UKL based vehicles – the next generation F54 Clubman and the F60 Countryman. We believe that this engine will form a the basis of a high output all-wheel drive JCW variant of both cars released as early as 2017.
While nothing has been confirmed at this time, this approach would make a lot of sense from a product and marketing perspective. MINIs are increasingly cross shopped with larger more expensive alternatives on one end. On the other are an increasingly impressive list of rivals with products designed to encroach on MINIs market.
If we see such a high performance MINI how will it be marketed? There’s no question in our mind that this would be a JCW product through and through. Having different power plants to solve for difference JCW cars makes sense when you look at how BMW M approaches it’s models. But then of course that begs the question, why not throw the high output 2.0L in the smallest car you have – the F56 hatch? We expect BMW and MINI won’t want to put that much power through the front wheels only and they’ve already commented to us several times that the F56 will not be available in AWD. Yet it remains an attractive idea. Even if the engine is detuned a bit it could make for one hell of a JCW model. Perhaps a GP? Keep in mind we’ve heard no rumblings of that happening but as always, watch this space.
Aug 7th, 2014
MINI has a busy 24 months ahead of it. With the F56 rolled out and in showrooms, the brand can turn it’s attention to all the associated variants. But what gets released and when? Read on for the detailed list. continued →
Apr 11th, 2014
While the automotive world is focused on the new MINI, the upcoming four door and Clubman, MINI is quietly working on what will be the largest MINI yet, the F60 Countryman. Expected in the summer of 2017 MINI is already using focus groups to help get feedback on early concepts for the car.
Why is MINI making these changes? Consumer response to the Countryman has been good over the past three years since launch with sales that have exceeded expectations. However it’s clear that those same consumers want a car with slightly more room and less trade-offs. What does that mean?
Mar 19th, 2014
Earlier today BMW uber source Scott26 (or Herr26 on BF) officially confirmed that they will bring to market an X2 sport activity coupe based on the second generation X1 and Countryman in 2017. According to BMW the model will be more upmarket than the X1 and only offered with xDrive. It is expected to come in both five and three door formats and will follow the typical crossover coupe design BMW initiated with the X6.
As expected the car will share a stretched version of the UKL platform with the next generation Countryman and Paceman. Yes the Paceman.
Mar 10th, 2014
MINI and BMW executives keep dropping more and more indicators that several current MINI models don’t have a future in this new generation of cars. This latest round of revelations came via Oliver Friedmann, head of MINI brand management, in a conversation with Auto News. Instead of a wide cross-section of model variants, Friedmann says MINI’s new strategy is to focus on three “pillar” cars to ground the product lineup in what MINI is all about. Those models? The F56 hardtop hatch, the next generation Countryman, and the next generation Clubman which we saw in concept at Geneva.
Oct 12th, 2013
The F56 MINI scheduled to debut on November 18th on MF and at the Oxford Plant is just the tip of the Iceberg. We’ve known for quite some time that the UKL platform would spawn as many as a dozen new MINI models. However now we have a bit more information on MINI’s future thanks to Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s board member in charge of the brand. Automotive News Europe interviewed Mr. Schwarzenbauer about the brand and came away with a few interesting nuggets.
Here's a rundown of the more interesting things in things mentioned:
- At this point it's unclear if MINI will stick with the current models entirely or kill a few off to re-align the mix. For instance - will we see a follow-up to niche products such as the coupe or Paceman?
- For years we've known MINI was developing a plugin hybrid - now we have proof it's coming to market.
- Since 2011 we've reported that MINI would be bringing diesels to the US in conjunction with the UKL platform. Now we have confirmation that they're coming.
Read more at Automotive News EuropeAutomotive News Europe.
Sep 30th, 2013
What automatic will MINI use in the F56? That’s the question I asked MINI USA Head of Product Pat McKenna last week when MINI USA brought MotoringFile to its US Headquarters to discuss the F56′s technology. The response was unexpected; the current 6 Speed Aisin automatic. The immediate follow-up was, why would MINI stick with the six speed when competitors are moving to 8 and 9 speed quick-shifting automatics?
The answer was straightforwart. According to Mr. McKenna, MINI is happy with the performance of the Aisin unit for the time being. With some mechanical revisions and totally revamped software, MINI believes the updated transmission will keep pace with the industry – including the VW GTI’s six speed DSG (which is a DTC or dual clutch transmission). continued →