Mini head of design Anders Warming told Auto Express an even smaller Mini model made sense for the brand, and revealed it is working through the issues that currently make such a car unviable.
“For sure, a Mini should always be a small car, so [a new city car] would be appropriate for the brand,” Warming said.
“At the moment, we don’t have the right tech solutions, but we are working on it. We don’t yet have a final solution, you could say.”
Plans for a smaller Mini hatchback have been on again, off again since the Mini Rocketman concept debuted three and a half years ago at the 2011 Geneva motor show, predominantly due to prohibitively high development costs. Mini released an updated concept in 2012 to coincide with the London Olympic Games.
The pint-sized Rocketman concept measured just 3.4 metres from nose to tail, making it closer in size to the original Morris Mini of the 1960s (3.1m) than the current third-generation Mini Cooper hatch (3.8m).
Unlike the BMW i3 electric city car, Warming said a smaller Mini would not use carbonfibre to reduce weight, suggesting lightweight aluminium was more likely to be used.
“I don’t believe carbonfibre is the route to a superlight Mini,” he said.
“Our concepts have had carbon parts, but aluminium is more likely. We want to reduce parts, to do more with less.”
Warming also said any sub-compact Mini model would have a very simple interior, taking inspiration from the original.
“To have a great cabin, all you need is a great steering wheel, a seat and a great user interface. We want no superfluous parts. Driving in the city is stressful enough, so we need a reduction in the number of elements.”
Warming said the brand wouldn’t reveal another new mini Mini concept until it developed a design that was viable for production.