By on April 13, 2016

2016 Mini Clubman

Executives at Mini are busy mulling what to introduce next, and it’s increasingly looking like that model will have a trunk.

Unlike a car modeled after a young man wearing a backward ballcap, a sedan is a logical addition to the brand’s future lineup, and comments made to Autocar by Ralph Mahler, vice-president of product development, make it clear there’s a serious business case for a three-box Mini.

Speaking about different markets and consumer demand, Mahler said, “For example, in Asia and the US, the sedan segment is very big. This is very interesting to us, of course.”

If produced, the sedan would join a group of five core models for Mini, which is tightening up its product strategy in an effort to boost sales, especially in the U.S.

The two- and four-door Cooper hatchbacks, convertible and lengthened Clubman are three of Mini’s new sales warriors, while the revamped (and enlarged) Countryman SUV is due out later this year. That leaves a fairly obvious slot unoccupied, unless you’re one of the few that thinks the world is ready for a Mini pickup (but wouldn’t that be cute?).

Riley Elf, Image: Charles01 (GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0)/Wikimedia Commons

A Mini sedan isn’t unprecedented. Older ex-pats might recall the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet — both were Mini-based two-door sedans produced by the British Motor Company (BMC) starting in 1961. The models were dropped in 1969 after the dismal British-Leyland days began.

Mini owner BMW still holds the rights to the Riley name following its purchase of British-Leyland’s cast-offs (Rover Group) in the 1990s. Theoretically, the name could return as a specific model, and not a brand, though few people in the U.S. would have an emotional connection to it.

There’s no word on when Mini will announce its fifth core model, but with the fourth due out this fall, you’d think the company would want to be able to describe (at that time) what model customers can expect next.

[Images: Top, Mini; Riley Elf, Charles01 (GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0)/Wikimedia Commons]

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22 Comments on “Get Ready, a Mini Sedan Could be on the Way...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    A Mini sedan only makes sense – it’s the product niche they are missing.

    They are also missing in pick-up trucks, which is a good thing.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    As a current owner of two *Mini vehicles – a MY03 R53 and a MY09 R55 – I would welcome a sedan to their line up.

    *yes I do like to torture myself but my wife loves Minis, which is a first for her in the world of cars. So we will keep on buying them.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Current R53 owner and we have an F54 Clubman S All4 on order. Same deal. My wife loves them, takes care of them, and doesn’t ask for a new one frequently, so I can’t complain when she does want a new one.

      • 0 avatar
        Tstag

        Same here, my wife has a MINI and won’t consider anything else. To be fair I can understand why. As a BMW 3 series owner I find the interior of my car absolutely soulless and when I compare my car to hers I keep thinking why did I buy that boring car. The irony being that they are both made by BMW. But when you get in a new Mini the quality is absolutely there, the sat nav is large and clear and there is a sense of occasion and fun.

        For this reason BMW have convinced me that although their 3 series is a good car I will be buying a Jaguar next time. Things like pop up gearboxes and rotating air vents absolutely do make a difference to me. Now if BMW made a bigger car with the same sense of fun then I might change my mind. And if that doesn’t suit the BMW brand then how about using the Triumph brand?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I like the Austin GT sedan. The brown Riley thing above looks awful, like the door hinge covers are made of turds.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMC_ADO16#/media/File:Austin_1300GT_registered_June_1972_1380cc_(sic_DVLA).JPG

    I’m sorry British people, for BMC was foisted upon you for so long, making such awful crap.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I’m thinking this is going to be less Riley Elf and more Austin Landcrab. Either way, the spirit of the Prince of Darkness will live on. I’ll pass.

  • avatar
    darex

    I’m going to vote “no” on this notion. Small cars should only be hatchbacks. That’s the whole point. Otherwise, they’re small AND impractical.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      As opposed to the Camaro and Challenger, which are large and impractical. Yet somehow they keep selling them. Yes, a MINI sedan would be silly. I hope they build it.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      As the current crop of subcompact sedans prove, they can be practical, but only once the rear end reaches “Oh. My. God. Becky, look at that trunk. It is SO big” proportions. Mini probably isn’t willing to make that compromise.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Will it sell? yeah probably. People are foolish. I just cannot fathom why someone would choose it over the hatchback, especially on a car as small as this. I’m sure it will be goofy looking. A lot of small cars like the Fiesta, Sonic, Mirage, and Versa just look awkwardly wrong as a sedan.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    This is repulsive. Sir Alec Issigonis is spinning in his grave.

    When a brand tries to be all things to all people, it ends up being nothing to anyone. I was about to joke, “Why not a Mini SUV?” Then I remembered, they have one. Ye Gods.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    The largest MINI has a shorter wheelbase than a Honda Civic. They’ve hardly reached “all things to all people” territory. What’s repulsive about a MINI with a trunk? Choice is bad?

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    Only if they call it the Mini Montego.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I thought BMW had a range of new compact FWD BMW’s, including a sedan, coming that are based off the Mini platform. Now Mini is going to have their own copy of that sedan?

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    That sounds like great news, I drive a 2013 Cooper S 2 door hatch and love the car. I could use a 4 door Cooper S but i have a few years to go with the 2013. Fun car and as a side benefit the gas mileage is great no matter how hard i push the car.I also test drove the new 3 cylinder Mini and the engine is really quite good. Not loud and very little vibration. Good pick up and quite well insulated at 70-75 MPH.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      @Cabriolet – Just curious, if you like your Cooper 3 door, but want an extra set of doors, why not go with either the Mini Hardtop 4 door or the the Clubman that are already available? What’s the appeal of a less spacious and practical sedan?

  • avatar
    Joss

    Fug the Kestrel-sedan revamp. Howz about a Mini Moke reboot for the Cali crowd?

    Or even a MINI based commercial?

  • avatar
    zipper69

    I was in the UK when the original Mini was created (factoid: it was briefly advertised as the “Austin Se7en” and the “Morris Mini-Minor”).
    The Riley and Wolseley variants came a while later when they were trying to turn a profit (the original barely did)and figured the respected middle class brands might pull in hesitant buyers.

    That being said, for the purist, a Mini should have two doors, four forward gears and FWD. The bloated Euromobiles bearing the label are sailing under false colors !


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