Just how big should Mini’s lineup grow? The next-generation car will go on sale in 2013, and it’s set to spawn some ten — yes, ten — different models. And that’s not counting the various BMW models that will share the same platform.
The first Mini to debut will be the three-door Cooper hatchback, followed by nine other models. The lineup will include a new version of the Clubman wagon and, later, a people-mover called the Traveler — the name references a long-wheelbase Mini wagon from the 1960s.
All of the next-gen Mini range will reportedly be based on a new BMW platform called UKL1. The front-wheel-drive chassis can be built in two different wheelbase lengths and employs strut front and multilink rear suspension. Engine choices are said to include BMW’s planned three-cylinder engines, with power ranging from 120 hp to 160 hp. The chassis could possibly fit a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making up to 230 hp in the hot John Cooper Works trims.
The UKL1 platform also may permit all-wheel-drive Minis, as well as a hybrid or electric model. Mini has previously said that a smaller model, possibly based on the Rocketman concept, could go into production with an electric drivetrain poached from the forthcoming BMW i electric car.
As we expected, BMW will enjoy a cozier relationship with Mini over the next few years, with as many as five new BMW models to be built on the UKL1 platform. The new, small BMWs could use three-cylinder engines ranging from 1.2 to 1.5 liters in size, as the engines are lighter and more compact than four-cylinder units. Both front- and all-wheel drive will be offered. The BMWs will compete with the likes of the Audi A1 and A3, and Mercedes-Benz A- and B-Class.
As many as five BMW vehicles will sprout from the UKL1 chassis, each strongly tied to a Mini product. Obviously, that would mean three- and five-door hatchbacks based on the MINI Cooper. Additionally, a tall 1 Series model could be based on the aforementioned Mini Traveler, and a fastback model — styled like the 5 Series GT — could be based on the next Mini Clubman. Also in the cards is a small crossover; it would have four doors, a large cargo area, flexible seating arrangements, and a higher roofline.
If Autocar’s predictions are correct, 15 different vehicles will be built on the UKL1 chassis, making it BMW’s most prolific new vehicle platform.The third-generation Mini line should be revealed by late 2012 and will go on sale in 2013. Any BMW variants of the new UKL1 cars would also debut around 2013.