It’s an exciting time for the MINI brand. There’s both a revolution and evolution underway that MINI is hoping will both bring the brand back to its roots of disruption while pleasing its fans. From various sources we have learned that plan will center around five cars and some key changes to the current model mix.
1. The Electric Hatch
As we’ve detailed over the last few weeks, MINI will split the hatch into two distinct models. The revolutionary side is an all electric hatch slightly smaller and built from the ground up as an electric car. Co-developed with GWM and BMW and built in China, the electric hatch will point to the future of the brand in many ways. But look for the exterior design to be very evolutionary and mirror the design of the next generation internal combustion car (ICE).
The electric hatch will offering much more performance and range than the current Cooper SE If rumors are to be believe, MINI will make use of the Ora Kat’s single electric motor producing 169bhp and 184lb ft, (which results in a 0-31mph in 3.8sec) and come with driver assistance systems not seen in small cars before. It will also feature a range of around 250 miles in base form. That last number is identical to what we’ve heard from sources about the next generation MINI (although expect that to be closer to 200 miles on the EPA’s testing cycle). We’d also expect a Cooper S and even JCW variant with even greater performance.
2. The Internal Combustion Hatch (G56)
The current F56 hatch will be produced for nearly ten years before it’s officially done. And even then it won’t be done. Much like the transition between the R50 and the R56, key elements will be reengineered but much of the core structure will remain the same in the new ICE hatch. A couple reasons for this. For one the UKL chassis that underpins the current F56 is still relatively modern and was designed in a very modular way. Second there’s the enormous cost associated with developing (in parallel) the all electric MINI hatch designed on a completely separate platform.
But this won’t be a facelift. Revised engines, an all exterior with a shorter front overhang and an entirely new interior with much larger infotainment screens are coming. We’re told it will feel like an entirely new car and come in both three and five door configurations.
The next generation hatch and convertible will be built in their spiritual home Oxford England.
3. The Convertible (G57)
In hindsight this is a no-brainer. Despite rumors of its demise the convertible sells well in various parts of the world and is quickly owning the market (given how few small open top cars there are available). Further the revisions to the F56 can easily be translated into the convertible making it a smart business case.
4. The Countryman (G60)
As we detailed last week, the all new Countryman will be based on the new FAAR BMW platform. The successor to the UKL2, the FAAR is designed from the ground-up to accommodate internal combustion, hybrid and all electric power. The versatility of the platform is key as MINI (and BMW) will likely need to pivot to electrification quickly based on market and legislative pressures.
For the Countryman this will result is a slightly larger car but one with aluminum and other weight savings measures designed into it. Of course that will come in handy as there will be power plants ranging from mild-hybrids to plugins to all electric.
The next generation Countryman will be built alongside the BMW X1 at Leipzig Germany.
5. The Electric Crossover
The other end of the spectrum will be the all electric crossover co-developed with GWM and built in China. Of all the new variants this is the one we know least about. However it’s assumed it will be based on the same platform as the all electric hatch and thus a small four door crossover positioned under the Countryman.
Based on the development progress of the other variants you can expect this small crossover no earlier than 2024 and perhaps 2025.
Other Rumored Next Generation MINIs
Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design, has gone on record by saying that there would be a maximum of five new MINI models in the fourth generation MINIs. However as you can see there’s no Clubman listed above nor is there a reference to the Urbanaut. And when Helimer said five was he counting both hatches as two and one?
We know that the Clubman, in its current form won’t continue. Despite it being the best four door MINI current makes, the market us quickly shrinking for small wagons. We also know that MINI is exploring other variants like the Urbanaut and rumors have pointed to even larger crossovers in the future. At this time we believe nothing has been decided in those categories and MINI is moving forward with the five above.