The Mini Clubman wagon is reportedly on the chopping block, and it could be replaced with either a Volkswagen Golf-sized hatchback or a production version of the Vision Urbanaut people mover.
“We have a small and flat car [Cooper], we have small and high [Aceman] and we have large and high [Countryman]. But we don’t have large and flat. Another body type is feasible. I’m a big fan of analysing different body types,” Mini boss Stefanie Wurst told Auto Express.
Insiders told the UK publication the two body types being weighed are a Volkswagen Golf-sized hatchback or a small people mover.
A larger hatchback could help Mini’s growth plans in the US market, much like the upcoming, upsized Countryman which is set to measure around 4.5m long – around 200mm longer than the current crossover.
The hatch could share its updated FAAR underpinnings with the next-generation Countryman, which is set to continue offering combustion-power. It’s set to launch in 2023.
The crossover’s plug-in hybrid option is also reportedly on the chopping block, but FAAR can support electric powertrains. Neither the five-door hatch nor the Countryman is currently available with electric power.
The electric Vision Urbanaut concept is an entirely different beast to any Mini product, past or present, and looks far from production-ready.
Revealed in 2020, it’s a small monospace people mover measuring 4.46m long, or around 160mm longer than the current Countryman crossover.
There are unusual touches like a pop-up windscreen, a single sliding door, and an interior that owes more to a contemporary living room than a typical people mover’s cabin.
Whether Mini chooses to introduce a people mover as many European brands – like Citroen and Renault – switch away from this body style is unclear.
Mini promises that whichever “large, flat” option it introduces, it’ll be distinctively Mini in its styling and offer a “go-kart” feel.
The current five-door hatch entered production in 2013, while the Clubman followed in 2015, which means both are due for replacement.
Mini is about to undergo a significant overhaul of its model range.
The brand is splitting its three-door hatchback range into two models: an electric-only model, on a platform engineered with Great Wall Motor, and a heavy update of the current combustion-powered model on the FAAR platform. Both are expected in 2023.
A convertible version of the latter is due in 2025.
Also joining the range is a new, smaller crossover – previewed by the Aceman concept – to slot in below the upcoming, upsized Countryman.
The production model will ride a dedicated electric platform like the next-generation EV hatch, and will be similarly sized to the concept that measured 4050mm long.
While Mini is best known for its hatchbacks, it has offered multiple body styles since being established by BMW as a standalone brand.
It offered a van version of its first-generation Clubman wagon, as well as a quirky three-door crossover called the Paceman that was produced from 2012 to 2016.
The Cabriolet was also joined by the more aggressive Roadster (2012-15), and the fixed-head Coupe (2011-15).
It also weighed introducing a sedan, and previewed an even smaller hatchback with the well-received Rocketman concept.