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2019 Mini Cooper Lineup Unveiled

2019 Mini Cooper Lineup Unveiled

Adding extra fun to the formula

Mini just revealed its refreshed Cooper lineup, giving us an early look at what’s in store before the pint-sized auto hits the show floor in Detroit later this month. The update encompasses no less than three body styles, including the Mini Hardtop 2 Door, the Mini Hardtop 4 Door, and the Mini Convertible, and adds tweaked exterior styling, more tech in the cabin, more standard features, and more customization options as well.

At either end, you may notice the Mini gets small updates to the headlight and taillight designs. This is especially noticeable in the rear, where the brake lights gain a Union Jack design for extra U.K. points. There are LEDs for illumination purposes, while the headlights get LEDs as an available option. You’ll also find LEDs for the daytime running lights and turn signals. Piano Black exterior trim can be had as an option for the headlight surrounds, taillight surrounds, and grille surround, while the body panels gain new paint options like Emerald Grey metallic, Starlight Blue metallic, and Solaris Orange metallic. New alloy wheel designs can be found in the corners, with sizing up to 17 inches offered across the range of body styles. Mini also updated its logo throughout.

Open the door, and you’ll be greeted with a Mini logo splash projection from the underside of the side-view mirrors. The funky dash incorporates a 6.5-inch screen, with the possibility to throw in a 8.8-inch screen if desired. On the tech front, USB and Bluetooth are both standard appointment, while options include a touchscreen and navigation. There’s also wireless charging for your smartphone via the center armrest, and more services offered through Mini Connect as well.

Look for our full updated reviews after the 2019 Mini Cooper lineup struts its stuff at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show later this month.

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Mini's Upcoming Sedan Could be Larger Than the Clubman

Mini’s Upcoming Sedan Could be Larger Than the Clubman

The four-door could be as big as the BMW 3 Series

Rumors of Mini planning to launch a four-door sedan have been flying around for quite some time now. An,d even though the British company has yet to officially confirm that a compact sedan is underway, it’s the next logical step in order for Mini to achieve a five-model lineup, especially with its two-door models being discontinued one by one. We’ve already speculated about what it may have to offer and even created a rendering using the brand’s current design language, but a recent interview with Mini product chief Ralph Mahler suggests that the four-door could be bigger than we imagined.

Speaking to CarBuzz, Mahler confirmed that Mini plans to remain a compact car company, but said that the upcoming fifth model could be larger than the Clubman. At 168.3 inches, the Clubman is Mini’s longest vehicle as of 2016. "Personally, the compact segment is where our heart should belong to and where our history is. That’s something we should always keep in mind. I’m not saying it’s not possible to go a bit bigger, though,” Mahler said.

There’s no indication as to how big the sedan will be, but a vehicle larger than the Clubman would be about the size of a BMW 2 Series, which is 174.5 inches long. Mini could also develop something similar to the 3 Series, which measures 182 inches as is also sold as a compact, but such a car might just be too big for Mini’s current strategy. On the other hand, with the Cooper and Clubman having grown larger and larger with each generation, everything is possible really.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2018 Mini Sedan

2018 Mini Sedan

Will Mini add a premium four-door to its lineup?

Ever since Mini was acquired by BMW, the British motoring icon has struggled to grow. Once known simply as a provider of fun, accessible, small-sized transportation, the brand has made several forays into uncharted territory over the years, some of which have brought success, and others – not so much. Now, however, Mini says it has the right formula. Rather than offering myriad niche variants like it did in the recent past, Mini is looking to trim the fat to just five core model lines. Four of these are already known, including the hardtop, convertible, Countryman subcompact crossover, and Clubman five-door wagon. The final fifth pillar, however, remains a mystery. That said, rumor has it a Mini sedan is heading down the pipeline.

Supporting the speculation is a comment made by Ralph Mahler, vice president for product management at Mini, who dropped a hint at the New York Auto Show while speaking to the U.K. publication Autocar about market trends, saying, “For example, in Asia and the U.S., the sedan segment is very big. This is very interesting to us, of course.”

In many ways, a new Mini sedan makes a lot of sense. The brand has applied its stylish, premium compact paintbrush to a variety of body styles before, but not once has it tried a classic four-door approach. And as Mini looks to expand its presence globally, this possible new segment entry could play well in markets where hatchbacks lose traction, such as the U.S. and China.

So, if the rumors are true, what would a Mini sedan offer? Read on for our speculative review.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Mini sedan.

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Mini Looking To Add Fifth Model

Mini Looking To Add Fifth Model

Considering either a premium compact model or halo car

Mini is looking at a number of ways to grow its brand and among the options being considered is a premium compact sedan that would serve as the company’s fifth model. Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW board member in charge of Mini, told AutoNews about the company’s plans as it tries to expand the Mini lineup past its current four-car roster.

While there’s been no decision made on the matter, a more upscale compact sedan appears to be on the inside track to getting the green light. At the very least, it has a bigger chance of joining the three- and four-door Cooper Hardtop, the redesigned Clubman wagon, and the Countryman to make up Mini’s lineup moving forward. Another model, a production version of the Superleggera electric roadster concept, is also on the table but Schwarzenbauer admitted that it’s less likely to get the nod due to the possibility that it could be tagged as a low-volume, high-priced halo model. Such a model has a place in Mini’s lineup, but Schwarzenbauer explained that making a case for it from a business perspective has its own challenges.

On the other hand, a compact model would allow Mini to continue transitioning into the segment as it diversifies its model lineup with subcompact and compact vehicles. No timetable has been given on when the company is going to make a final decision, but expectations call for it to happen within the year.

In related news, Mini is also in the process of developing a plug-in hybrid model, which it plans to launch by 2018. An electric car is also on the table, although much of that car’s fate will depend on how far the company develops its own battery technology. There is a need for one considering that Mini touts itself as an urban brand and electric cars are well suited for urban cities. Just don’t expect to see one anytime soon.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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MINI Mulling Over a Miata-Like Sports Car, Among Other Projects

Here MINI grows again – well, potentially grows – as in an interview with Inside Line, BMW announced the potential of three new MINI models. We’ll start with the not-so-fun ones first, as Harald Kreuger let IL know that a larger SUV, to complement the Countryman, is in the works, as is a sedan model. The SUV would likely have some chances of making it to the U.S., but the sedan would likely head to developing markets, like China or Indonesia.

Okay, enough with the family-style stuff, let’s see what we’re really here to talk about. Kreuger also announced that MINI is considering a roadster model. Kreuger even went as far as to point to the master of said domain, the original MX-5 Miata, as the potential mold for this vehicle. This would mean that we would have a quick, fun-to-drive roadster bearing the traditional MINI look. We could live with that.

Additionally, we have to look into the distant possibility of BMW sharing its 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine lineup with said Miata-like sports car. Considering the rumors afloat about the upcoming MX-5 Miata boasting a far more powerful four-cylinder engine than ever before, this very well may be the time to take a swipe at the compact roadster crown by including the new 1.5-liter Bimmer engine.

If anyone can create a machine that rivals the fun-to-drive factor that the Miata has always afforded its owners, BMW can. And that 1.5-liter 3-pot has some serious potential.

In the same report, MINI also announced that it may open up a British-design office to help it maintain the “Britishness” that makes MINIs so attractive to the world. Additionally, MINI is midway through a $1.2 billion renovation of its Oxford plant to extend its manufacturing capacity to 250,000 units and it will be renting space from the Mitsubishi-Volvo Nedcar factory in the Netherlands starting in 2014.

We certainly hope that all of these upcoming models will feature a little bit of their own character, as opposed to being simply squashed up or stretched Coopers. Stay tuned for more!

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PSA Tie-In With GM will Likely End Part of its Relationship With BMW

The web tying varying automakers to one another is a very complex, yet delicate thing. One strand heading the wrong direction can cause an automaker to break off another connection, and we see it every day. One prime example was when AMG hacked off its advertising ties with Ducati just because Audi bought the company. Really, what do motorcycles have to do with your competing with Audi in the automobile realm?

Well, we have another bit of info to pass on in regards to one partnership killing another. Recently PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, increased its stake in a partnership with GM affiliate, Opel, to develop four vehicle platforms together. This leads BMW to believe that PSA will not have the ability to fulfill its partnership duties in reference to BMW’s developing Hybrid platform.

A BMW spokesperson said “We are discussing conditions for the exit of PSA but we will not make any payments,” in an interview with Reuters. In addition, PSA has accepted the fact that this new relationship with GM will force it to “change the conditions” in its partnership with BMW. This likely means that BMW will buy-out PSAs share of the investment in the project and take development into its own hands.

This will not, however, affect the other relationships that BMW and PSA have going on. The largest of these relationships is the partnership between the two to build the MINI Cooper’s engine.

We’ll keep an eye on what’s going on with this development and let you know if anything else pops up. For now, this seems like a pretty open-and-shut case.

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