By on June 4, 2014

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Can you say, brand dilution? Then again, it’s better than the Countryman.

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42 Comments on “Mini Goes Maxi With More Doors...”


  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    AH! A 5 door MINI at last!

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    Brand dilution? I think that’s a stretch – the Paceman, Coupe, etc. dilute the brand much more. At the end of the day, it unmistakeably looks like a MINI and hopefully drives like one too. I’ll give this one serious consideration if I’m still in the market when it comes out. Those rear doors look awfully tiny though.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    How about a stretch limo version with a bar and LCD TV.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    So what would differentiate this from the upcoming 2nd gen Clubman, apart from the rear hatch/barn door? Do they plan to make the Clubman even bigger to give this car a market space?

    Also, more choice is usually nice, but have BMW ever heard of the term decision fatigue?

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Forgive me, but whenever I see a Mini, I expect to see a large number of clowns pile out. Perhaps I’m showing my age, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Preludacris

      I usually expect to see a large middle-aged woman pile out.

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        “I usually expect to see a large middle-aged woman pile out.” … that would be a Camaro around here. My wife first observed the phenomena and it’s uncannily accurate with the more pedestrian examples.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        They better be flexible. I’m 5’8″, 145lbs, athletic, and I always feel like I’m making some stupid face/body contortion to when I get out of the MINI.

        Though not quite middle aged or large, my wife would have definitely considered this to replace her MINI when we had our kid. We bought something non-BMW instead. Now that our daughter is approaching 2, we are getting to the point we can go front facing, so my wife will be able to take the MINI out with the kid with some regularity. I’ll bet that she chooses the Rav4 95% of the time when given the choice, though.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I cannot wait to turn the car seat around. Then, I just have to make sure she is in some sort of car seat/booster until she learns how to drive. I’m suprised the American Association of Pediatrics doesn’t issue a recommendation to not have children under 17 in cars at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Just a few more months for me… we’re going to take the family up to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix where MINI is marque of the year. That will be the first ride forward facing for my daughter while we try to stuff the 3 of us in the MINI for the trip. Good thing my wife bought the MINI specific luggage when she took delivery. haha

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    The Clubman at least has a direct forebear from the original mini line – Austin Mini Clubman or Morris Mini Traveler.

    I hope that Mini steer clear of using the name Maxi, that model will forever be associated with dated styling and the painful demise of the British auto industry. If top Gear had run out of Marina’s to drop pianos on, the Maxi would have been fighting with the Allegro to take it’s place.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If a water-cooled, front-engined Porsche is brand dilution, then so is this.

    Otherwise, I think it’s fine.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I suppose it was inevitable. But answer me this: why are there 3 seatbelts in the back, but there’s a console in the middle, like the hump in a RWD car?

    If there’s no room for your legs, don’t bother with a seat belt.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I would never buy it. I feel that, for the money, the MINI brand no longer holds anything special other than caricatured styling and finicky BMW electronics. But I agree with you in that this is far more graceful-looking than the Countryman.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Why hasn’t anyone copied the rear-hinged doors that the RX-8 used? That rear door does look tiny; a solution similar to the doors on the RX-8 should make rear seat access much easier.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    Has “brand dilution” ever been used by anyone in the auto media in any way other than to say “I like things in neat little cubbyholes and I don’t like change”?

    MINI has moved roughly 40-45k Mini Coopers/year for about a decade, then adds 20k units a year without cannibalizing its existing sales and yet folks who have never bought or considered a Mini think they’re doing something wrong.

    Right.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      bingo

      when it comes down to it, sales is all that matters

      if they can add 20,000 units per year then its right

      Mini fans might pooh pooh it but they are weirdy beardy types anyway

      of course no-one here would buy one but BMW werent targeting TTAC in the first place

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        Well, someone already brought up Porsche but they’re “diluting” their way to the bank with record sales and profitability.

        Those Panameras and Cayennes don’t look quite right to me either and if I could afford a Porsche on a professor’s salary, those wouldn’t be the Porsches I’d plunk money on, but to hear the outcry of autojournos and pundits, that was going to be the end of Porsche as we know it.

        For some reason, there are a lot of people (mostly middle aged men) who get offended when other folks take a car’s badge to mean something other than what it meant a couple decades ago.

        Meanwhile, I can barely swing a dead cat without hitting a Cayenne because that’s the Porsche that sells four times the number of all 911s put together. Right. Brand dilution. That’s a bad thing for a badge.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Here’s a list of pre-BMW Mini Variants. I think BMW is actually being true to the original brand by making as many variants as possible.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mini-based_cars

      The next variant should be an ICE CFRP version of the Superleggera concept. It’s a beautiful car that they should build. My guess is that a real production version would be i3 based, but who knows.

      http://www.mini.com/superleggera/

      • 0 avatar

        Only a handful of those cars were BMC or British Leyland products. The original Mini factory variants were as follows (many of them were due to BMC’s many brands and some were truly badge engineered as either Austins or Morrises). All the Coopers, Cooper Ss, Clubmans, and 1275 GTs, were based on the basic Mini, same body shell, major mechanicals, etc and the Van was just a Traveler without side glass.

        I’d say that the only variants comparable to today’s MINI variants were the Traveler/Countryman/Van, Pickup, and Moke.

        MK I Mini (1959-1967)

        MK II Mini (1967-1971)

        Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf (1961–1969) (for BMC’s other brands, they had upright grilles and stubby boot added in the back.

        Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Mini Countryman (1961–1969)

        Mini Van (1960–1982)

        Mini Moke (1964–1989) – The Jeep like Mini used by resorts like the Fiat Jolly.

        Mini Pick-up (1961–1982) – Now that’s one BMW MINI variant I’d like to see, but that’s a niche I doubt they’d ever fill.

        Morris Mini K (March 1969 – August 1971, Australia only) – Almost identical to UK Minis

        Mini Cooper and Cooper S: 1961–2000

        Mini Clubman and 1275GT: 1969–1980

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of pre-2000 Minis rolling around Seoul and man are they tiny.

        Regardless, the modern Mini Cooper is a small car by any measure. The Countryman by comparison is quite large. But then, are car guys so obsessed with what they learned a brand image stood for before they became greybeards, they don’t see the writing on the wall? People want CUVs and the trend is not going away. By that measure, the Mini Countryman is among the smallest, lightest CUVs on the market. If not the smallest and lightest. In fact, I can’t think of a smaller or lighter one off hand. (I’m sure someone will prove me wrong!)

        It’s actually small by 5 door hatchback standards period, without getting into Chevy Spark class penalty box territory. The Countryman’s in about the same footprint territory as the Ford Fiesta (and shorter than the current Honda Fit) and people babble on about how Mini’s lost it’s way. Seriously? GTFO.

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      Signal11, you are correct. If it was a MINI monster truck, then that would be “brand dilution” and the marketers and designers of it would be suffering from a “grand delusion.”

  • avatar
    Pch101

    MINI suffers from a lack of breadth, not from dilution.

    MINI is a narrow niche brand that is supposed to help BMW to amortize its costs, yet is so pigeonholed that it can’t fulfill that mission very well. It’s not a great marque around which to build a high-volume mainstream badge; the styling cues are too distinctive and the name itself carries inherent limitations.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      Yes, that’s exactly it.

      Mini is too specific/narrow of a brand that BMW forced itself into making even further niche models when they wanted more than just a coupe and a convertible.

      I wonder if we’d have seen more interesting variety if BMW started with Austin (or Morris or BMC) Mini instead of just “Mini” for the brand.

      Maybe it’s time for BMW to also restart Triumph so that they have little more wiggle room.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      I think that’s the point of the 2 Series Active Tourer. Make a bigger Mini, slap a kidney grille and a roundel on it. If it sells, BMW has solved the Mini expansion issue. Should be interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        darex

        Finally. After reading through all of these often silly comments, someone who gets it! Yes, that is EXACTLY the reason for the Active Tourer, and it is a way forward from MINI. They both share the same engines, same platform, and even the same heads-up display. Hopefully, the A.T. Drives like a MINI, too.

  • avatar
    Victor

    The original Mini was a Morris, it should have never been turned into a brand. Even the two-door is big. Yesterday I parked the C3 aside a two-door, last-gen Mini One. The Mini was wider and almost as big. Anyone who has ever driven the real thing ought to know how stupid those things really are.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I have seen a couple British original Minis here in the US driving around. And OH MAN are they tiny. They look flimsy as well, and I don’t think the roof even comes up to the door handle on a Tahoe.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    In what way is this different than the 4-door Mini which already exists? I really can’t tell.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    If BMW had “diluted” their 1 Series in a similar way by bringing the HB version over here, I’d still own one.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      When I lived in San Diego, I’d often see hatchback 1 Series with Mexican tags. The M135i five door is a seriously cool, practical car devoid of CUV bloat. So sad it’s a poison pill here.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    God, does that look awful.

    Yes, it’s brand dilution, but I don’t care about that.

    Just looks like hell. The cutlines look so awkward, the greenhouse looks all chopped up…yes, the car is a caricature of itself now – and this just adds to it.

  • avatar

    Besides agreeing with Signal11 that this adds more sales so it’s fine, and with Pch101 that Mini needs more breadth as a brand, I’ll add another couple of thoughts.

    How long has BMW Mini been in the market? Yeah, a long time. The luster of new is gone aand so is the profitability of its niche-ness. Others have crowded in and Mini is now “regularizing”. If it can become a regular brand, it will survive. The 4 doors are a point in this and helps them along. I love a 2 door car, but I’m an enthusiast so I don’t count. In most parts of the world buying a 2 door version instead of the 4 door means you’re either poor or cheapened out (not important to me but to others yes).

    This is actually a smart move. Being a four door and as Mini moves out of Europe and North America, the four doors help it appeal to a broader swath of consumers that can appreciate the car for its size. for example, that is very usable most everywhere in the world.

    I see no problem in this. In fact I wonder why it took so long.

  • avatar
    darex

    This particular set of photos makes it look awkwardly proportioned, but I saw a much larger version of the gallery which featured a dark blue MINI Cooper D, and in that gallery, they have it side-by-side with the two-door, and they really don’t look all that dissimilar, and the more one looks at it, the more “normal” it looks. It’s always good to give any two-door a four-door option. Look at the split between two- and four-door Golfs that are sold.

    I think all these people who consider the MINI sacrosanct are ridiculous. The 2014 Mini is entirely brand-new and has nothing in common with its predecessors, mechanically. All-new engines, all-new platform, all-new interior. Of course, externally it’s going to resemble its predecessors. To otherwise would be not a smart move, but it is a dilemma for BMW. Don’t forget, the 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop has received nothing but high praise in virtually every single review I’ve read. Nearly everyone who has driven one has become a fan of the interior and the improved build quality and the way it drives (especially the 3-cylinder), in a very grown-up, BMW like manner.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    Looks like we’ve come full circle. Who would’ve guessed that MINI would come out with a version that resembles a white-roofed Ford Flex?

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