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by Matt Campbell

The new-generation Mini range is set to see the introduction of a budget-friendly base model.

On the back of the reveal of the third-generation Mini One at the Geneva motor show, a new cut-price model appears almost certain for Australia.

Mini has previously offered the Mini Ray in Australia, a car that was priced attractively at $25,500 plus on-road costs (or $28,800 drive-away). That car missed out on some equipment compared to the Cooper range: it was fitted with steel wheels, had black plastic exterior trimming, had a more toned down interior and feature a lower output naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine.

The new Mini One follows a similar formula, doing away with some external bling and making do with a lower specification interior, as well as dropping some capacity and kilowatts from its three-cylinder engine – the One is offered with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 75kW and 180Nm – by comparison, the standard Mini Cooper has a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo with 100kW and 230Nm.

Mini Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told CarAdvice that the brand will likely revisit the idea of a cut-price Cooper for Australia, but it may not arrive for some time.

“Given the success of the Mini Ray here, I’d say there will be a strong chance that will be added to the market at a later date,” Croaker said.

The previous-generation Mini Ray was initially limited to 300 units in 2011, but the BMW-owned brand increased its intake of the car in light of high demand – it sold out in just three months.

The new-generation Mini Cooper range is set to be launched next week with pricing starting at $26,650.

The new-generation Mini One (or Mini Ray, if that is the name it adopts) is expected to start at about $23,000-$24,000. It should arrive here by mid-2015.




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