Contradicting a report from a few weeks ago that Mini could produce an vehicle larger than the Countryman, Auto Express is now reporting that the Mini Countryman SUV represents the largest that the Mini brand will go.
This report quotes Mini chief designer Anders Warming as saying that the Countryman represents the upper limit of size for future Mini models. This discounts rumors of a seven-seat MiniVan MPV, as Warming says this model is no longer in the product plan. “We won’t build anything bigger than the Countryman, not at this moment,” Warming told AE. “You should be able to park a Mini in a city, so a Countryman or this new Clubman is as big as it should be.”
Warming is referring to the Mini Clubman concept that was just introduced at the 2014 Geneva auto show. This larger version of the Mini differs from the outgoing Clubman in that it offers four forward-facing doors in addition to the Clubman’s traditional French-style rear cargo doors. This reinterpretation of the Clubman will be one of the many Mini variants stemming from the recently redesigned 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop. In addition to the traditional convertible version, we are also expecting a four-door Mini Hardtop that will be smaller than the Clubman. The next Clubman will thus move into a larger class of vehicles and compete with more traditionally-sized hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf. Compared to an existing Mini Countryman, the Clubman concept is 4.0 inches longer and 2.2 inches wider.
It’s expected that all Mini variants going forward will ride on BMW’s new modular front-wheel-drive platform called UKL1 that underpins the new Mini Cooper Hardtop. Although Warming did not disclose how many Mini variants would move on to this next generation of vehicles, he did emphasize that Mini will be focusing more on the individual character of each variant.
Stay tuned for more news about these more differentiated Mini models going forward.