Motor Shows

More variants for new Mini, due 2014

The new-generation Mini will go on sale next year, but it won’t necessarily be smaller or lighter than the current model that launched in 2007.
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Speaking at the North American international auto show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Mini senior vice president Kay Segler all but ruled out a production version of the tiny, 3m-long Mini Rocketman 3+1 concept, saying that buyers do not want a smaller Mini.

“The reason why we developed the new Mini is that we listened to customers' demands,” Segler said.

“There is a slight hint that customers would like more space, and there are other requirements like pedestrian safety that might have an effect…”

When asked whether any Mini hatchback could have only two seats, Segler simply answer “no”.

Segler did, however, confirm that the next Mini will be available with a three-cylinder engine, likely a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine previewed in the BMW Active Tourer concept.

“There will be a three-cylinder [engine], it’s clear. But whether all Minis will have a three-cylinder is not communicated [yet].

“[Reducing CO

2

emissions] was always part of our strategy, we are chasing that.

“We [BMW] had brake energy regeneration and electric steering introduced first in the industry and others followed. So we have a lot of things already in the car.

“We don’t create a special car only for CO

2

reduction, we try with the whole model range to reduce CO

2

.”

Despite the aim to reduce consumption and emissions, Segler also hinted that the next Mini won’t be any lighter than the current car.

“We have the only small car which is geared up to be registered in all countries. There’s no car small car which competes with us to meet US standards. Have you asked yourself why some of the competitors are not present in the United States? They could not be registered here for safety reasons.

“With the Mini you get the safety of US standards, of China standards, of European standards in one car. We don’t delete it for other countries."

The current base Mini weighs just over 1000kg, where many light cars including the Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 – neither of which sell in the US – weigh less than that figure.

In addition to sharing powertrains with BMW, the next Mini will for the first time share platforms with the first-ever front-wheel-drive BMW models.

Segler insisted, however, that the Mini is being tuned seperately to the forthcoming i-series BMWs.

“For chassis and suspension, we have different guys working on it.”

When asked whether the Mini would share wheelbase and track lengths with next generation BMWs, Segler avoided an answer, saying “I forgot”.

While the next Mini won’t be smaller or lighter, the model range will continue to expand beyond the current hatch, Clubman, Countryman, Paceman, coupe and roadster variants.

“We are considering different expansions. But we have much more ideas than we can realise. It can be smaller, lower, higher…

“Through Rocketman and Mini scooter and other concept vehicles... it's clear that we don’t do a Mini electric scooter, but it's how we show that with Mini you can reinvent the whole range.

“You see what we are doing with the coupe… 10,000 small coupes [sold in 2012], we are dominating the sector.”

Rumours abound whether a Mini sedan is the next light car spin-off, but while Segler admits “I’ve heard them [rumours], too” he declines to comment further.

The vice president is, however, more forthright when it comes to whether a Mini can have just two wheels … “No”.