A MICRO MINI COOPER IN THE WORKS
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, Apr 3, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
HOT WIRE—Following up the coverage of the Southwest Unique Little Car Show, we thought we’d provide a glimpse into the newest MINI. It’s even smaller than the current MINI, and should bring smiles to fans of the original, first generation MINI introduced back in 1959. Our sources tell us to expect 50 miles per gallon and even more go-kart-like fun than the current version. “The as yet unnamed car has shrunk to just over three meters long, although there should still be space for four inside, along with a decent boot,” according to the British publication AutoExpress. “Efficiency is key, even for this sporty version, and the newcomer will make use of a new 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder engine turbocharged engine currently being developed by BMW.”
Despite boasting close to 150 brake horsepower, AE says the new engine should be capable of achieving 50 miles per gallon, with CO2 emissions of just under 110g/km, thanks to BMW's EfficientDynamics technology. Stop/start, brake energy regeneration should be included, although it’s unclear if either will be available on North American models. Dimensionally, the new car is said to be only slightly larger than the original Mini from the 1950s-60s. “A low curb weight means straight line-acceleration should be impressive, with the sprint from 0-62 mph taking just over 7 seconds, says AE. “Meanwhile, the short wheel-base and a set of stiffer springs for this hardcore version will help ensure the newest MINI will also be the most agile yet.”
As for what the car will look like, the folks at MINI say the design borrows heavily from the MINI Rocketman concept that was just introduced at the Geneva Auto Show last month. That design is what MINI calls a 3+1-seater, with 3 doors and a length of just over 3 metres (approx. 10 ft.). The MINI Rocketman Concept measures 3.419 metres (approx. 11 ft. 3 in.) in length, adding just a few extra centimetres to the front and rear of the brand’s founding vehicle born in 1959. The new study is 1.907 meters (approx. 6 ft. 3 in.) wide, including the exterior mirrors, and stands 1.398 metres (approx. 4 ft. 7 in) tall. Its proportions also display clear symmetries with both the classic Mini and the brand’s present-day line-up. The brand’s familiar appearance is therefore concentrated into a new set of dimensions, with the concept for a new vehicle segment remaining recognizable as a MINI. Here’s what the folks at MINI say about the Rocketman: “While the study showcases a new format, MINI remains true to its bloodline. More than 50 years ago the brand’s first car triggered a revolution in the small car segment. The classic Mini met the needs of urban mobility more comprehensively than any other vehicle before it, while at the same time offering the driving fun and individual style that sealed its legendary status. The MINI Rocketman Concept offers a glimpse of how these features may look in the future. Using innovative technology and creative solutions, the study reflects the brand’s unsurpassed expertise in the development of vehicle concepts producing maximum interior versatility within minimal exterior dimensions – and all while delivering unbeatable driving fun.”