These mules for the next-generation Mini Countryman give the latest clues as to how BMW will expand the third-generation Mini line-up beyond the existing seven models.

A new Mini family MPV, internally nicknamed the Spacebox, is likely to join the line-up. This will allow the Mini Countryman to become more SUV than family vehicle, as a sister car to the second-generation BMW X1.

Although Mini sources remain tight-lipped about plans to further expand the Mini range, one suggestion is that two models will replace the Countryman, the argument being that today’s Countryman is neither a proper SUV nor a utility family car.

For the next generation, Mini will introduce a more rugged-looking Countryman SUV twinned with the next X1, which will be around 15cm longer than the Mini version due to larger overhangs.

Though similar in profile to the Countryman, the new Spacebox model will be more of a practical family car, rather than simply an enlarged version of the Mini hatch.

The third-generation Mini family will also see the Clubman redefined to become more of a sporting estate car; it is expected to get twin rear suicide doors.

Starting later this year, the company will begin rolling out the new Mini and BMW models that are based on its all-new, front-wheel drive UKL platform. This is expected to come in at least two wheelbases, two track widths and with high and low seating positions. All-wheel drive will be an option.

The first Mini model to switch to the corporate platform will be the Mini hatchback, followed by BMW’s new front-drive 1-series models. These pictures show that the larger version of the UKL platform will have wider tracks and a slightly longer wheelbase than today’s Countryman.