The all-new platform on which the new Mini sits will give the brand "scope to be far more adventurous" on spin-off model derivatives according to sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson - including building a car bigger than the current Mini Countryman SUV.

"The small car segment is growing at around twice the speed of the rest of the segments combined, so there are clearly opportunities," said Robertson. "That opens opportunities, some of which may surprise you. The Countryman is 4m 17cm and when we launched it we were very conscious that we had to remain true to the Mini brand. But sales of 100,000 Countrymans a year show that it has been a success, and that we are capable of more.

"I do think there is a size limit. I'm not sure we could sell a 5m Mini. But so long as we remain true to the principles of it being very much an urban car, with a good turning circle, a decent size to park and so on then I think there are areas we can explore."

Robertson again played down the potential for selling cars smaller than the standard Mini, however. A two-seat Mini Rocketman concept was previously revealed to a warm reception, but Robertson stressed that the need to base it on an all-new platform was prohibitively costly.

"Shorter than the standard car is possible, but we haven't found a solution to make the business case," he said. "It would have to be another platform entirely, and that's not an easy thing to do. But never say never."