The fifth model in Mini’s new-look range is likely to be a saloon as part of its global push upmarket, Autocar understands.
The new model could even, in theory, result in a return of the Riley name, for which BMW owns the trademark.
Although there’s no official confirmation of the addition of a saloon to the Mini range, sources have revealed that it is on the cards as part of Mini’s new look and ethos and the brand’s next logical evolution.
In its third generation of models under BMW ownership, Mini has pledged to focus on making five distinct model lines.
These will be more rounded and mature models, moving the brand away from its more cartoon-like recent past.
This approach started with the new three-door and five-door hatchbacks as one model line and continued with the Clubman and Convertible as the second and third. These models have brought in a more grown-up identity for Mini as a whole.
The fourth new model, a larger and more spacious second generation of the Countryman, will be seen later this year.
Mystery has previously surrounded the fifth model line since BMW’s board member with responsibility for Mini, Peter Schwarzenbauer, first spoke of the five ‘superheroes’ plan in 2014.
But Autocar now understands it will be a saloon, targeted mainly at the North American and Chinese markets but available globally.
Speaking to Autocar at the recent New York motor show, vice-president of Mini product management Ralph Mahler didn’t confirm plans for a saloon directly but did reveal that Mini had undertaken all sorts of analysis on different market trends and segments.