MINI 'Mini' leads small car boom

18 May, 2011 6:22pm Jack Rix

Smallest modern MINI takes shape in these exclusive new images of green lit production car

It’s the car that fans of the original Mini have been waiting for – and it could be the biggest-selling new MINI yet. With stringent emissions regulations and spiralling petrol prices, the demand for compact cars is going through the roof.

 
And the new baby MINI is set to head a new breed of penny-pinching small cars that prove you don’t have to sacrifice style and driving fun for low running costs. Based on the Rocketman concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the ‘mini’ MINI will expand the burgeoning brand even further.

It will create a new entry point and mark the beginning of a new era, too, with a range of three-cylinder engines on offer, lightweight materials throughout and an all-electric version in the pipeline.

Our images show how the pint-sized production car is likely to look – and all those who have been waiting patiently for a true successor to the Sixties model will be pleased to see this car’s tiny footprint on the road. The ‘mini’ MINI is only 40cm longer and 50cm wider than the original, and engineers are intent on making the production car no bigger than the concept.

It will make the most of every inch available to it, though, with a space-saving 3+1 seating layout similar to the Toyota iQ’s. While there will be seats for four, the chair behind the driver will only be suitable for short trips. However, the instrument cluster moves backwards and forwards with the steering wheel to boost room when necessary.

Carried over from the concept will be the dual-function boot, which features a conventional compartment accessed via a hatch with a drawer-like storage area underneath. The centrally mounted ‘Coke can’ exhaust is also slated for production. Predictably, however, the concept’s Union Jack glass roof will make way for a more conventional metal top. Plus, the concept’s three-dimensional ‘handlebar’ rear lights will be replaced by simpler clusters fitted flush into the bodywork.
 
The distinctive door hinge spikes will be smoothed out, too, but the exposed carbon fibre sections on the front flanks and grille will be retained. Speaking to Auto Express, BMW sales and marketing director Ian Robertson told us: “MINI will never produce a car under the ‘i’ brand – this is exclusively for BMWs – but the technology we are developing for the ‘i’ family of cars will certainly be made available for the rest of the BMW Group.”
 
This suggests the structure of BMW’s electric i3 city car, with its carbon fibre passenger cell mated to an aluminium chassis, could be adapted for the production car. That would strip out weight, and give it benefits including trademark ‘go-kart’ handling and improved efficiency. The i3’s all-electric powertrain would slot neatly into the MINI, too, although power would be sent to the front wheels, rather than the rears.

Electricity won’t be the only power source available – petrol and diesel versions of BMW’s forthcoming family of three-cylinder turbocharged engines will be offered from launch. Although there are no specifics on power outputs or performance, BMW claims the most efficient petrol unit will be capable of returning 94mpg.

The next MINIs to go on sale will be the Coupé and Roadster in 2012. Expect the ‘mini’ MINI to arrive in 2014 – the same time that the next-generation hatch is due.

 

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NO Mini does NOT lead new small car boom....vw will have their small car out first, and it will look better than this playmobil look alike.

So, in old money that's nearly 16" longer and nearly 20" wider, the latter being roughly the width of the passenger seat.
Hardly the tiny little city car revolution the first Mini was in 1959.
And, as a MINI Clubman owner, I have to say, this car is even uglier.

The front looks like a frogs mouth after it has vomited up something unpalatable. Yuk.
It is not as cute and friendly as the real mini of the 60's

The FIAT 500 and Ford Ka lead the way in small small cars.

How unusual for the press to big up a BMW Group car....

BMW do not say if it is more reliable than the previous ones. I do not think so. BJ

Overcomplex design to squeeze too much into the available space will make it too expensive and impractical, so it will be a disappointment much like the current Mini which always failed to deliver in all respects except on the track if you bought a performance once. And the cool styling has now been lost too.
There is nothing here for the man in the street, sadly.
(The best small car concept for years was the original "Lupo" concept, but they never built that design and ultimately we've ended up with the Fox...)

Once again Auto Express show it's almost fanatical fanboyism of the MINI brand and the BMW group on a whole. As has already been mentioned Fiat and Ford have both had a strong hold on this sector for quite some time, you could even argue that when it comes to small city cars Smart beat BMW to the mark as well.

Yes it's nice to see a new MINI that is closer (although still bloated in comparison) to the original idea by Sir Alec Issigonis but lets try and not make out that it is some kind of segment revolution for the compact city car class.

I'm indebted to snappyuk because when I quick-scanned the article I read it as 50mm.

Perhaps it was a typo, because 50mm would be a (relatively) impressive figure.

If it's not a typo, then it's an interesting example of how saying the same thing in a different way can turn a story on its head. For a positive review, say 'only..50cm' which doesn't sound much. For a negative review, say 'fully half a metre wider than the original'. And with only three seats.

I'm indebted to snappyuk because when I quick-scanned the article I read it as 50mm.

Perhaps it was a typo, because 50mm would be a (relatively) impressive figure.

If it's not a typo, then it's an interesting example of how saying the same thing in a different way can turn a story on its head. For a positive review, say 'only..50cm' which doesn't sound much. For a negative review, say 'fully half a metre wider than the original'. And with only three seats.

What the hell are BMW doing! I have never liked the Mini. Not ever but they keep coming up with ways to make it more ugly everytime they want to make money.

If you are reading this and you have a Countryman, then shame on you, you should have bought a Juke.

I have a Countryman. I love it. So does everybody else. Can't drive it anywhere without somebody coming to ask me about it. It seems only auto express readers dont like it. Juke is hideously ugly.

Fiat's Panda is No1 best selling micro car in Europe with 16.8% market share, Renault Twingo No 2 with 13.4%, Fiat 500 is No3. Ford's Ka is No 7. Sad to say AE Mini does not lead the small car boom in Europe.

Hope the new smaller Mini does well, its supporting lot of British jobs in tough times, it could not have come at better time as l think sky high fuel prices are here to stay.

The Rocketman concept was awful (this pic doesn't look so bad) and I have no interest in paying almost 20K (which it will be with essential options) for something the size of this. The original Mini was about affordable motoring - hence why it was small. This will be small and expensive - I can't see the point.

But why is the next generation Mini not out until 2014? Motoring magazines were showing pics of the supposed next model years ago, and quoting a launch date of 2011/12. Some scoop that one! The current model is losing ground to cars like the A1 (which I don't think is that good anyway) so why do we have to wait another 3 years for the new model?

Maybe BMW is going to milk the current shape car for as long as it can, as it forms the basis of the ugly coupe and roadster that are due out soon.

Its funny people complaining its still bigger than the original. Errr yes, but the original was about as safe as driving a bakebean can.

Modern cars have to be bigger because the technology that stops you from becoing sardines in an accident takes up space.

Autoexpress truely is the Daily mail of car mags, constant bitching and moaning in the comments.

How can you have only and 40cm in the same sentence! that is the difference in lenght between a peugeot 206 and a 307 SW, a much bigger car...

An ugly little sibling!
BMW are determined to flog the MINI brand to death.
What next "Mini" condoms to guard against small pricks?

lmao @ mini condoms

Yikes! It's huge. Let's have a properly small car.

Stupid

I agree with nickeroo. This is like being in the Daily Mail's comments.

People moaned the original wasn't small enough, so they've made a smaller one that's still safe by modern standards and will seat four.

The modern MINI brand isn't about basic motoring, it's about stye and fashion. If you want an ultra-cheap motor with a wheezy engine and the structural integrity of a rotary washing line, invest in a Tata Nano.

The only thing is that I'm not totally in love with the grille. It looks too much like a Ford Ka.

Would anyone in their right mind buy a mini? They are cars built for people who have desperately attempted to appear part of the in crowd all their lives but never quite made it.

Lets face it no sane minded individual would be interested in purchasing an ugly,bloated, bulbous, strange German interpretation of a British classic.

As for the Clubman and the Countryman don't get me started- I have to slow down every time i see either of these things to stop myself crashing with laughter.

Like it...

Looks likes a Mini and is a Mini...

Job done lads!

Will it fit in a lift?

Cannot see anything remotely wrong with this car...

Perhaps better as a 2seater with larger load space with a optional rear bench at extra cost? (if required by purchaser)

Boot n doors are bit too fussy on this concept model though, but am sure Mini will go somewhat more 'conventional' in the fiinal version... rear Lights are growing on me.

there are some very opinionated people on this site rubbishing a true success story built in the UK. That's just weird. And if oliver 144 has to slow down and laugh when he sees a Clubman I sugest you grow up and try to be a bit more broad minded . What do you drive thats so brilliant? Most likely just another boring small car. You probably just can't afford a Mini and so drive a Clio or a Kia or something, so you sneer at those who can. Nice. Same old story. Get over yourself. Minis are cool. You're obviously not.

Next time you go zipping past me in your little brown clubman, spare a thought for us poor angry little plebians in our Clios and Kia's.

You're right- I dream about owning a mini and hope to have saved enough money from my paperround in ten or fifteen years from now to buy one.

Hopefully then i too will become as "cool" as you are.

MMmmm your chocolate roll is an Austrian success story.

Mini's are cool but l witnessed a head on accident between a new Mini and a clapped out old Granada. The airbags & crumple zones didnot save the drivers or passengers life in the Mini who ended up with the engine almost sitting on his lap. The very old Granada car just had its chrome bumper pushed back into the radiator. He got out alive.

Some folk think they are invincible to death if they have an airbag fitted in their car.

A more accurate title would have been 'MINI 'Mini' JOINS small car boom'

BMW may aswell stick a replica of the original mini in production with an updated interior, new range of eco-engines, and price it sub £10k, it would sell in droves.
I'd buy one.

Typical A E gobble. Look at the headline which claims that a car not yet built therefore not on sale is leading the "boom". It is "only" 40 cm longer and 50cm wider which means that they still have`nt managed with modern technology to achieve the same amount of internal space as the original design which is now over 50 years old.

I was disappointed to see pictures of the generation 3 Mini because it is hardly different from generation 2 or 1. But this is a strange trend amongst manufacturers and you begin to wonder why they got the drawing paper out in the first place.

When I came to replace my Peugeot 206 I was disappointed that the new 207 simply took all the elements of the 206 and bloated them. This development of the existing into the 'new same' is disturbingly now general practice.

Look how the original Ford Focus got 'mainstreamed' down for the generation 2 Focus and further blanded for generation 3. The latest Astra has simply blown up the Corsa body rather than drawn something recognisable in a car park like the outgoing Astra was. When Citroen launched the original C3 and the original C4 they were indeed 'original', but the latest incarnations are mere euroboxes with the odd visual reference to the outgoing model.

Worst of all is Renault, who followed their remarkable Avantime and Vel Satis designs with the same concepts for the mega bum Megane and its siblings. But now look at the latest Megane; can you tell it from a 2011 Focus or Astra in the car park?

As for the Laguna, well that's bland beyond belief although it is in good company. What has become of the large saloon market, a segment where the possibility of making a style statement ought to be so much easier than for the technically and financially constrained Super Mini market. The Passat lost its way, as did the Laguna, the Mondeo never escaped from being a characterless over-extended Focus, Peugeot forgot Pininfarina, and we all got the most non descript saloons ever so-called 'designed'.

Are car manufacturers afraid to draw, or have they forgotten how to? Why do they want their product to look like everyone else's, why do they want it to look like their outgoing model? I don't want my Peugeot 208 to be another 206 poked and tweaked yet more. I want it to be a different looking car; something perhaps that may be regarded as a classic in years to come, rather than a conformer.

AEX 1337
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