As it currently stands, MINI has seven models. Only a few of which are actually mini. The rest are actually kind of large, which has always confused me a bit.
For next year, MINI has an all-new Cooper planned based upon an all-new chassis. The first new MINI, the Cooper, won’t be very large, but – from there – MINI will only go bigger.
That new platform underpinning the next-gen MINIs, called ULK (abbreviation for “Unter Klasse”), is shared with the new entry-level, front-wheel drive BMWs. Unlike Bimmer, though, MINI is going to get its money worth from the platform, planning as many as 10 variants of the new architecture.
What all could those be? We’re not sure. Maybe an amphibious variant? We can only hope.
No, it’s likely to be a bunch more bulbous MINI four-door thingies. One of those rotund MINIs, intriguingly, will be a plug-in hybrid.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s board member in charge of Mini, said, “There will be electrification within the Mini brand, including a plug-in hybrid for certain. We’re still investigating pure EVs.”
We’re not sure why MINI would go plug-in hybrid, though, as its new three-cylinder engine will be both peppy and fuel-frugal. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine producing 134 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque will power the base unit. The more powerful option is a turbo 2.0-liter four that makes 189 hp and 221 lb-ft.
Why add all that weight and complexity to a little car? It’s beyond me.
If people will buy them, though, MINI will build them – even if they don’t really make much sense.