Later this year the all-new Cabriolet, codenamed F57, will be revealed. It remains a four-seater, keeps the familiar two-stage folding fabric roof and is expected in showrooms by early spring next year.
After that, the next all-new Mini will be the replacement for the Countryman. Sources at parent company BMW say the new Countryman will be an “authentic SUV”. It is expected to go on sale in the final quarter of next year.
The second-generation Countryman is expected to be more rugged than the current model, taking some cues from the Mini X-Raid, which has won the Dakar Rally four times since 2012.
The Countryman will be based on the same UKL architecture as the Clubman, so the new model, codenamed F60, will be significantly more spacious than its predecessor.
It’s expected to be just over 4.25m long (a stretch of 150mm) and at least 10mm wider than the current Countryman. The boot willalso be noticeably bigger than the current 450 litres.
The new Countryman will be offered with the same four-wheel drive system as BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer.
Although the original Countryman, launched in 2010, was widely regarded as a step too far for the revived marque, it quickly accounted for more than a third of Mini sales.
Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer has already said he wants Mini to have five ‘superhero’ models. However, BMW has yet to fully reveal the final Mini family line-up as the company’s small-car plans remain in flux.
Schwarzenbauer recently revealed an example of how BMW’s plans for its front-drive vehicles are still changing. He said the next-generation1 Series might not be built on the UKL architecture and could remain rear-wheel drive after all. A decision will be made towards the end of this year.
As for the Mini brand, four of the superhero models will be on sale by late next year.
The hatchback twins are one family, followed by the Clubman, Cabriolet and Countryman as stand-alone models. While it now looks like a production version of the Superleggera concept will be a spin-off from the Cabriolet, that leaves one more model line to be announced.
Two different models are rumoured. Firstly, it’s thought Toyota and BMW engineers have been working on a joint city car platform that would potentially allow the tiny Mini Rocketman concept to be brought to life.
Secondly, it’s thought a Mini Traveller MPV (essentially a sister car to the BMW 2 Series) has also been developed as a possible new model line.
On the downside, the Rocketman could be difficult to justify if Mini wants to head upmarket, selling larger and more expensive models.
However the plans for the fifth model line pan out, there will be a number of highly appealing Mini variants over the next 24 to 36 months.
It’s thought Mini has drawn up plans for a coupé-like SUV based on the new Countryman. It would still have five doors and be, in effect, a sister car to the planned BMW X2.
Meanwhile, a plug-in hybrid Clubman is in the works, using the same transmission as the 2 Series Active Tourer eDrive. A small electric motor is mounted on the rear axle, which is used to provide acceleration assistance and occasional pure electric drive.