Over the past year we’ve report that MINI is looking to grow the current line-up by offering more crossover – including an all electric MINI model. Today that stalwart of the industry, Automotive News has picked up on the story and added their own twists.
What’s This New Electric MINI and How Big is It?
The US (and Chinese) markets have spoken and they need (demand) more crossovers. Specifically they want larger crossovers that can compete better in the marketplace. What that means for MINI in a multi-prong strategy.
Automotive News gets it mostly wrong. So we’ll give you the real news. MINI is planning on shrinking (slightly) the hatch and convertible models with the next generation small cars. The goal is to create a car that more visually aligned with the R53 than the F56. More on that soon.
Shockingly news from Munich is that the Clubman is safe and will soldier on for another generation in it’s current wagon-like layout. If that happens we will be ecstatic as we firmly believe it’s the best product MINI makes currently.
Where we’ll see changes are in the crossover categories. Specifically MINI intends to bring a revised Countryman to market that is longer, wider and taller than the current model. Like the next generation BMW X1, we expect an electric version of the Countryman to launch shortly after the first ICE models (potentially in 2023).
The drivetrain, performance and range are still a mystery, but we can take clues in the just released iX3. That vehicle uses a new electric drivetrain and produces 282bhp and offers a WLTP range of 285 miles. MINI’s footprint would likely mean fewer batteries, but also less weight. So range and performance might not be that different.
There is an alternative rumor that might be worth mentioning despite it not being confirmed. One typically trusted sources has told us that MINI will be electrifying the next generation Countryman with a hybrid only and the full electric MINI crossovers will be entirely different. If that proves true then the first electric vehicle will be slightly larger than the current Countryman and be the first fruit of the Great Wall joint venture. In this alternative world, the new crossover will likely come to market in 2022 and built on a shared (non-BMW) electric platform. This platform is also rumored to form the basis of a new BMW as well.
The Return Of The Traveler – The Big One (2024)
The second new crossover (potentially named the Traveler) will be built on an existing BMW ICE/electric platform – likely the rear wheel drive CLAAR platform. To give you an idea of size, the latter underpins the X3 which would dramatically alter what we know MINI’s to be. As a rear wheel drive based platform, it would be the biggest departure yet from MINI’s original concept. The expectation is that this product will be several feet longer than the Countryman and could even seat seven.
How could anything so large be called a MINI? Like the Countryman, MINI is looking to retain its brand identity by always being the smallest product in each category.
We expect the Traveler to be offered with a combination of ICE, hybrid and electric drivetrains.
Check back for further updates as these rumors are developing…