Over the past several years we’ve reported countless times on the future of the R56 platform. Upcoming models, rumored models and even definitive production time-lines. Most readers just about know everything there is to know about the coming model onslaught from MINI. However with the introduction of the R56 and the Clubman talk reaching a feverish pitch around the web, we thought a revisiting of the subject was in order.
So we’re going to through each model variant of the second generation MINI, when to expect it and what comes next.
R56 (The Coupe)
It may be old news to most of the world but for the record let’s look at the this first version of the new MINI platform to be released. The 2nd generation MINI coupe debuted on November 18th for much of the world with a US introduction scheduled for February of 2007. It’s been covered elsewhere on MotoringFile extensively so we won’t go into the details here. Needless to say, it was a design evolution with an entirely new (and much more hi-tech) drive-train.
The coupe will eventually be available in five models;
– 95 bhp One
– 110bhp/180lb ft of torque Cooper Diesel
– 120 bhp Cooper
– 175 bhp Cooper S
– 210+ bhp JCW MCS (released 06/08)
It recent BMW’s are any indication, don’t expect anything to radical if BMW decides to facelift the R56. Front and rear bumpers will most likely be the main exterior changes to both the Cooper and Cooper S. Expect to see changes around the 2010 model year (late 2009) if BMW follows it’s typical cycle.
And yes, that means those who have either aero-kit will have a car that will remain relatively fresh for the entire generation.
R55 (The Clubman)
As first reported on MotoringFile, the Clubman will feature 8cm added to the wheelbase (over the R56) and that means 8cm more rear legroom along with a right side suicide “coach” door. The door will open to allow easier access to the rear seats making the MINI much more small family friendly. The luggage space will increase from 160 litres to around 260. With the seats down that means as much as 930 litres of space.
The coach door’s handle will only be exposed when the front right door is open and will be on the right side of the car in all world markets. The Clubman will seat five (yes, three in the rear seats) outside the US market and feature some extra storage features not seen on the coupe. Expect US versions to make due with a two seat configuration similar to what is found in the current coupe.
Unlike the R56, the longer R55 will come standard with a space-saver spare tire on some models. However when the car is equipped with runflats, there’s an additional bit of hidden storage space below the boot (similar to what is found on the current BMW 3 Series wagon).
The boot will see unique, wide-opening rear barn doors with dual wipers and two chrome handles in the center that come together when closed. Like the Traveller concepts, the rear lights will be built on the body rather than the doors. This will allow the doors to be hinged on the edge of the car giving greater access to the boot – similar to what was shown on the Traveller concept a cars in Geneva, Detroit, etc.
* July/August 2007: Clubman pictures and information made available to the press
* August 2007: Clubman enters full pre-production at the Oxford Plant
* Early September 2007: Clubman makes it’s public debut at the Frankfurt Motorshow
* November 2007): Clubman goes on sale in Europe/UK
* February 2008: Clubman goes on sale in US market
For Clubman production, MINI will roughly follow the same timeline it used for the R56 as seen above. That means R55 will enter major production some time in August of 2007. Look for these early cars to be mostly made of press and demonstration cars. Judging from how R56 production was handled, look for customer cars to start to be produced in October and November for a UK and European launch in November of 2007. The US launch will follow in February of 2008.
When the Clubman hits the production line full-time later this fall, there will be one R55 produced for every four R56s.
The final version of MINI’s new shooting brake will be available in five models;
– 95 bhp Clubman One (released after the initial launch)
– 110bhp/180lb ft of torque Clubman Diesel
– 120 bhp Clubman
– 175 bhp Clubman S
– 210+ bhp (factory) JCW Clubman S (released 06/08)
It recent BMW’s are any indication, don’t expect anything to radical if BMW decides to facelift the R55. Front and rear bumpers will most likely be the main exterior changes to both the Cooper and Cooper S. Expect to see changes around the 2010 model year (late 2009) if BMW follows it’s typical cycle.
R57 (The Convertible)
With the R56 chassis designed from the beginning to accommodate convertible functionality, the R57 should be both more space efficient and have less cowl shake than the current R52. The convertible will also lose the stationary roll-bars for a pop-up system similar to the one used on the new 1 Series convertible and all 3 Series convertibles since the early 90’s.
Also unique to the car will be a gauge connected to the rev counter that will give the driver a percentage of the time the top is down. This will tie into the “always open” marketing that has been used with the MINI convertible since it’s launch in 2004.
We should see the R57 a little more one year after the Clubman. The official European launch should happen in March of 2009 with the US launch happening shortly thereafter.
The convertible will eventually be available in three models:
– 120 bhp Cooper
– 175 bhp Cooper S
– 210+ bhp JCW MCS
It recent BMW’s are any indication, don’t expect anything to radical if BMW decides to facelift the R57. Front and rear bumpers will most likely be the main exterior changes to both the Cooper and Cooper S. Expect to see changes around the 2010 model year (late 2009) if BMW follows it’s typical cycle.
The MINI SUV (R60)
There’s been much speculation lately on this site about what to expect with the “Colorado” project. Now with some new information being leaked to several publications, we feel compelled to let our readers know what to expect. First off the name Colorado that has been bandied about is not the name of the car, simply the name of the project internally. The next step is the assigning of a model number a la the R56. That number is officially set to be R60.
Whatever the final model number, we’ve known for awhile that MINI was seriously considering a “smart” AWD system for the coupe platform and a aggressive appearance to match. The concept was conceived as not quite an SUV but more like a MINI with a go anywhere and do anything attitude. Taking a few cues from the classic MINI rally cars of the past combined with a more extroverted character, the Colorado will be more aimed at the US market than the UK an Europe markets.
The car will be based loosely on the front portion of an R55 chassis combined with a rear portion derived from the upcoming BMW X1 (itself a 1 Series derivative) meant to accommodate the AWD mechanicals.
One thing that is certain, the Colorado will not be the track day warrior the MINI community has been clamoring for in an AWD model. And don’t expect this model to have a true English pedigree either. Production will take place in Austria at Magna Steyr’s plant where the X3 is currently produced.
The MINI Coupe
We’ve also confirmed (through multiple sources) that a two-seat coupe was an idea that had been kicked around seriously by bosses in Munich. But it’s our opinion that it remains a long-shot for production. If it gets the go ahead (which we highly doubt) it won’t debut before 2012. And like the Colorado, expect the MINI coupe (if built) to be assembled outside of the Oxford plant where all MINIs are currently made.
With the new Turbo 4 Cylinder under the bonnet, BMW will have to work a little harder to achieve greater power figures than the old supercharged mill in the R53. And with so many other hot-hatches and small coupes coming to the market with well over 200bhp, they’re going to do what they can to make the next JCW MCS a very special car.
Now that they’ve launched the dealer installed “JCW kit” for the 2007 MCS, MINI will turn their attention on the JCW factory MINI. Expect the car to have well over the 210bhp found in the previous JCW MCS and go on-sale June of 2008. With improved torque and drivability from the new dual-stage turbo it should no doubt be a screamer.
Further rumor has it the 2008 JCW MCS will most likely come equipped with upgraded brakes and a host of surprises that will surely make this the fastest MINI ever.