Five-door version of the Mk3 Mini will join the three-door model; on sale early next year

The all-new, Mk3 Mini hatchback will come in a family-friendly five-door guise when it goes on sale early next year, Autocar can reveal. The new model is thought to be the result of customer demands for a Mini that is more practical for drivers with young children.

Despite speculation that the new Mini would use Clubman-style ‘suicide’ doors, the new model will have two conventionally hinged rear doors. BMW engineers have managed to squeeze them into the sub-4m-long car by slightly lengthening the wheelbase of the five-door car and by shortening its front doors, but even with these measures the rear doors cut right around the rear wheel arches and close up against the C-pillars. 

Although access to the rear will be tight for an adult, the primary purpose of the rear doors is understood to be to allow easy access for children. The shortened front doors will also make it easier for the driver and front passenger to get in and out in tight spaces.

The five-door version of 
the Mk3 Mini, codenamed 
F56, will join the three-door hatchback as the first of the new-generation Mini models to be launched. BMW engineers are currently putting the finishing touches to both body styles, including a three-door Cooper S version. 

Entry-level and mid-range models, including the Cooper versions, will be powered by BMW’s new turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine. This state-of-the-art unit, which is directly related to the N20 four-cylinder engine in the new 3-series, will deliver much-improved economy and emissions. The Cooper S and JCW versions are expected to get the newly updated four-cylinder ‘Prince’ engine.

Despite the Mini’s enviable brand image and relatively affordable entry-level pricing, sales have not expanded as quickly as predicted. Just 50,000 Minis of all types were sold in the UK last year, with 285,000 sold globally. This was partly a result of the Mini’s niche market positioning and the declining popularity of three-door cars.

This trend is reflected in sales of the five-door Mini Countryman. Despite initial scepticism, sales in the first quarter of this year were 22,000 units, 37 per cent up 
on the same period in 2011.

Our rendering, which is based on recent spy shots, clearly shows that the new Mini is longer than the current car, even in three-door form, with a much longer front overhang. In turn, the bonnet is longer and flatter and the front wheels are positioned further forward. This change is thought to be a result of the need to improve crash protection and pedestrian safety and to accommodate BMW’s own requirements for its new 
range of front-wheel-drive 
cars, which are based on the same UKL1 platform as the 
Mini. 

It is thought that more than 10 different Mini and baby BMW models will be based on the new UKL1 architecture, which will transform the profitability of the Mini. With a unique platform, expensively engineered components (such as the multi-link rear ‘Z-axle’) and global sales of less than 300,000 units, it’s thought that the Mini operation wasn’t profitable enough for BMW to have commissioned a new stand-alone Mini platform.

However, by introducing a front-drive BMW family to the mix, and with the global trend for downsizing, BMW bosses estimate that the UKL1 project will be good for well over half a million profitable sales each year, possibly even rising to 
as many as 800,000 a year 
by the end of the decade.

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Comments
12

7 June 2012

I would have thought that the reason MINI sales haven't expanded as much as expected was more to do with the fact that the second generation has been around for 5 years now, and its not that different from the first generation, which of course came out in 2001. Also, there is a lot more competition, with the likes of DS3, A1, etc.

Oh, and by the way, Issigonis must be spinning in his grave..

7 June 2012

catnip wrote:

Oh, and by the way, Issigonis must be spinning in his grave..

lolz!

I'm looking forward to seeing this when it is revealed

-----

10 years of Smart ownership over, sensible car mode activated

7 June 2012

I thought the five door version was called the countryman?

It is ok if Mini are going to make a 5 door, if customer demand says it is needed, but what is also needed is a replacement for the original Mini, something, ermmm, small, just like the rocketman? They could call it the mini MINI?

7 June 2012

Good luck to anyone with light coloured trousers getting in the back seat with the nice dirty wheel to rub against Smile

7 June 2012

From the spy pics shown earlier the combination of the longer front overhang and the longer bonnet makes it look fairly ugly. As the articles states that's the compromise to cater for both Mini and BMW fwd models.

That also means the Mini as we know it is effectively a different car altogether since it will lose its novelty value big time.

Luckily there are still great small cars like the Citroen DS3, even if it's a fluke.

7 June 2012

Having owned an original 1986 Mini... I just now laugh at everytime they bring out a new gigantic model. My old model was '100% BMW Free'.

7 June 2012

Well the suicide door on the Clubman was a disaster, particualrly in the UK, and the countryman is rather large for a Mini, so this makes sense. BMW needs to get as many variants as it can on the FWD mini platform to make money out of it.

7 June 2012

Last time I looked in the local dealership, the forecout was awash with preregistered Minis with sizeable discounts of £2-3,000 being offered. True that at least two of the cars were diesels, but if dealers are  blatantly advertising big discounts, then this must affect resale values pretty soon.

I for one am tired of BMW's bloated and expensive Mini and would much rather see the compamy offer something to compete with the likes of the VW UP, Citroen C1 etc 

8 June 2012

A 5-door Mini ... Hmm ... Maybe BMW/MINI could have saved the money (and the trouble) by engineering a RHD version of the MINI Clubman from the beginning, instead of fobbing us off with a LHD version because of "lack of demand" or "engineering costs" (or whatever the lame excuse was) ... Having owned an original Mini, the "new" version offered nothing more than a sad pastiche of what was once a great car ... I think Sir Alec Issigonis spun himself into oblivion LONG before now ...

7 June 2012

This looks 'clumsy' for want of a better word.The MINI needs a ground up rethink.

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