MINI’s on-again, off-again entry-level model has reportedly been given the green light for production.
The automaker previously explained that developing an entry-level model was off the table because it would need to ride on a purpose-designed platform that would be too expensive to develop in-house. However, MINI appears to have found a partner with which to develop the car and it is pushing full speed ahead with its development.
Understandably, MINI is keeping mum about its upcoming city car but British magazine Auto Express believes it will be developed jointly with Toyota. Its design will be inspired by the Rocketman concept (pictured) that was introduced at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show but it will ditch the double-hinged doors, the two-piece tailgate and the mouse ear-like tail lamps.
While the concept was crafted largely out of carbon fiber, the production car will eschew composite materials and rely heavily on lightweight metals like aluminum in order to shed precious pounds.
Related: Four-door MINI Cooper
The only official tidbit of information that MINI has released is that its entry-level model will offer a simple, back-to-the-basics cockpit that will be centered around the driver.
“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. True luxury is now simplicity,” explained MINI head of design Anders Warming in an interview with British magazine Auto Express.
MINI’s smallest model is scheduled to land in Europe in 2016 at the very earliest. Whether or not it will be sold in the United States is up in the air.