We have the MINI, MINI convertible, MINI wagon (Clubman) and soon to be MINI SUV. Since we know BMW is keen to grow the brand we have to ask ourselves, what’s next? Based on what sources are telling us, it could be a bit of a shock.

First lets take a look at the rumors from the past few years. For almost two years we’ve heard various rumors of some sort of Triumph branded roadster only to have them quashed by those in the know. Then there’s the MINI micro-car rumor that sprung recently along with talk of a new MW Issetta. However with European emissions legislation the driving force behind both of those concepts, it’s hard to really tell where they will go.

However we got some very interesting insight recently when speaking to a high level source at MINI about this very question. He mentioned that the roadster idea didn’t have a lot of backers in the company for various reasons. He then went on to leave us with this little nugget of info in the form a question: What if MINI instead produced a low-slung and sleek small coupe not unlike the ACV 30 concept car from 1997?

The ACV 30 (Anniversary Concept Vehicle 30) was originally based off of a concept (designed by the current BMW head of design Adrian Van Hooydonk) proposed as the new MINI in the mid-90s. Once it was out of the running (with Frank Stephenson’s design wining out and going on to become the R50) it was refitted and rolled out as a bit of a stop gap measure to show the public that a new MINI was indeed coming and the brand was still well alive. What it showed was that distinctive futuristic retro interior (similar to what eventually showed up in the R50) mated with a sleek, rally inspired exterior that traded some interior space for looks. Could that same formula work on a production car? Our source seemed to say the idea was at least on the table.

But one particularly noteworthy aspect of the ACV 30 is that it was mid-engined and rear-wheel drive since it was based off of the MGF roadster. While we doubt that that part of the concept would ever transfer to production (due to brand values, space efficiencies and cost), it would make for a very interesting concept.

Another thing to keep in mind – if MINI goes this route we don’t expect the eventual production car to look much like the ACV 30.