News : Tempted to call it the Maxi?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Mini goes Maxi at last...
Mini goes Maxi at last…

Here it is then – the proof that the MINI is no longer mini… After a series of more unusual body styles cueing people up for the era of change, BMW has revealed the first images of the new MINI 5-Door Hatch ahead of its debut at the Paris Motor Show next week.

The wheelbase of the 5-dr is 72mm (or almost three inches) longer than the 3-Door model, while the boot space has been increased to 278 litres – still not huge by the standards of the class, but big enough for the extra shopping and pushchair that many owners of the original BMW MINI find themselves lugging around these days. And that’s exactly what MINI has done – created a car to appeal to those who bought the first generation cars as youngsters to keep them buying the MINI brand.

An extra three inches in the wheelbase to fit in doors. And legs.
An extra three inches in the wheelbase to fit in doors. And legs.

A good thing? Well, it depends on how your bread’s buttered, for there will no doubt be hundreds if not thousands of fans of the original Mini out there who are mortified that the iconic name is being applied to a more family-oriented hatchback being sold in the busiest sector of the European new car market. In many respects, and as a classic Mini owner, I’m one of them.

But conversely, the fact that BMW is taking MINI into the busiest sector of the car market and doing so with a brand that’s got a huge fan base is good for British jobs isn’t it? And consequently a good thing for our industry…

Rear lights and tailgate appear to be the same as the three-door
Rear lights and tailgate appear to be the same as the three-door

 

 

Craig Cheetham

A serial impulsive car purchaser, Craig has had his name on over 200 V5s over the past 20 years. 10 per cent of those have been either 800s or Austin Allegros, with between 10 and 20 cars usually owned at any one time. Started out as a local newspaper journalist then worked for car mags including Auto Express, Classic Car Weekly and Land Rover Owner. Worked inside the car industry for a decade as an employee of General Motors, now works for a news distribution agency. Home based, which is dangerously convenient for further irrational heap purchases. Lover of all makes of car since childhood, with a particular leaning towards Austin-Rover... Father of three boys, so hoping to spread the car love. Other passions include rugby union, travelling and eating out.

29 Comments

  1. Looks better than I thought it would. I don’t get the “knockers” who STILL keep going on about “it’s not a Mini it’s way to big” or “it’s a Maxi more like”
    It is a very good car, if you don’t like it fine don’t buy one simples. Just remember that to BMW, MINI is a brand not a car and the only true options are BMW Mini or no Mini at all and all those UK jobs gone.

    • Good point, well made IMHO. It’s not my personal cup of tea, but I think it’s a good thing for the people of Oxford and another new car built in Britain, so I’m not going to knock it…

  2. Looks hideous like a Marina coupe in reverse i.e. it looks like they have used the front doors from the three door instead of coming up with some shorter ones.

    Clearly a Friday afternoon afterthought of a job.

    • Maybe they reasoned that the front doors will be used far more often than the back and sized them accordingly ?

      No doubt a future generation MINI will have rear doors LARGER than the fronts as their loyal customers become back-seat passengers in their dotage.

  3. I think it looks quite good (unlike the paceman) – It has the typical short overhangs, and the looks well proportioned. I’m sure it will be a hit – like all the other new MINI’s

  4. Where was this car styled? USA I guess. It seems to be a copy of the Fiat 500L

    Like women’s fashions we see changes in style which we can associate with an era, and a 1960s car will look different to its predecessor in the 1950 and 40s.
    Perhaps the style of the latest MINI, stegosaurean rear end, high door waist and stunted glass area is set to be the style for the next 10 years.

  5. The Mini brand is the descendant of Morris/Austin Morris. The Mini name just became cooler for various reasons than Morris or Austin by the time BMW came along. It was inevitable after the success of the new mini and subsequent off shoots that this car would eventually appear. Looks fine to me and I’m sure it’ll be pricier but cooler than the venerable but very good and loved Austin 1100 and the Maxi development.
    Just hope its made in the UK and not Holland to give it greater credibility, so we can tip our hats to Herbert and William. I’m sure this car will sell well.

  6. I did some background reading, the BMW MINI was styled bythe American Robert Stephenson, he departed the USA BMW studio for Fiat around 10 years past, he then worked for several years on Fiats including the current 500 series, before joining MacClaren.

    This may explain my subconscious association with the 500L Fiat, I could be tempted to own a 500L, the balance of purchase price styling and practicality would suit my needs, but certainly not this particular MINI.

    For how many years have the drawings for this “new” MINI been sitting around, did they pre-date the 500L by 5 years? To my eyes the 500L is fresh and appealing, losing the stodginess of the BMW.

  7. It is a logical model.

    In the 13 or so years that the 3 door hatch has been available, many of the original owners have had life events occur.

    When we looked at a Mini 3 door, we did think about futureproofing. The upgrade plan a year or so ago was to sell the Countryman.

    We aren’t particular fans of the current fashion of crossover SUVs, we ended up with a runout model Leon instead (which is a lot bigger than a Mini).

    If Mini is looked at as a spiritual Austin range, it makes more sense.

    The first concepts of the ADO16 – XC9002 – looked like an enlarged 5 door Mini. This is just following those footsteps, and would’ve had precedent had Leonard Lord not insisted on Paninfarina involvement.

  8. Those rear doors look slightly awkward, being rather small and very vertical looking, I don’t know whether a 4-light configuration, more conventional doors and a thicker C pillar would look more attractive, albeit at the expense of rear visibility?
    Looking at the bottom picture, it does seem that the fuel filler cap is one of the reasons for the short doors.

  9. The over-stuffed wheels, both in diameter and width, ruin the looks of this car, they rule out any prospect of visual balance of the vehicle, this car reminds me of a woman with a dress size 8 north of the waist, size 18 south.

  10. OK, there is some irony in calling it “Mini”, but its hardly a big car either. I’m glad to see BMW effectively reincarnating BMC even if all the cars have the same name. Indeed if you look at all the cars Mini and Jaguar are making between them, British Leyland’s range is just about replicated, or at least matched in terms of numbers of variants. Difference is they are all good cars with a common engineering base, rather than a rag bag of unrelated tat.

  11. At last, a large 5-door supermini offering made in the UK to replace the popular, and sadly missed, Rover 25 and MG ZR.

    Hopefully this will be another success story for the Oxfordshire-based workforce.

  12. We had recently had the option to buy a Mini but the ergonomic slum overstyled interior put both of us off. We were similarly uncomfortable in the UK built Honda Civic which has a coal-hole cabin and awkward instruments. In the end we opted for an Audi A1 which is a refreshingly high quality car with a simple to understand interior and controls.

    Whilst I have no problems with the “Mini” I think perhaps it should be re-christened at least a “Midi”. It would also be more attractive if they could make the interior easier and controls and simpler to use.

  13. Nice enough- better looking than the 5dr Audi A1. Will probably end up becoming the replacement for my clubman next year. Certainly seems more realistically sized compared to the ghastly 2015 clubman replacement. It does have just a faint but unfortunate whiff of 500L about it though. I suppose the part of me that is a clubman owner wished they’d gone with silly suicide rear doors and hidden rear handles…

  14. I made a comment in thegrambler.com that this car was a monstrosity that will sell by the bucketload in spite of its looks. I compared it (a little unfairly, admittedly) to the car designed by Homer Simpson in an episode of the Simpsons. Apart from the basic-shape version, the rest of the MINI range is ‘aesthetically challenged’, but still sells. BMW seem to be able to sell anything as long as it carries that magic MINI moniker – even this upturned bathtub on wheels!

  15. They are no longer Mini’s.The Countryman and that thing above are nearly the size of a Foerd Transit Connect!!!..

  16. Its hardly a big car…. I think thats what someone said..

    So kindly explain to me why a “small family car” is WIDER than an SD1?
    Also Kindly explain to me why a MINI (hint: the name) Countryman is wider and at least as high as a Freelander?
    This is just a continuation of the cars designed for the rich and gormless.. It the iPhone of cars. The iPhone is lagging behind the competition, increasingly pointless but 15x the price.. the MINI is lagging behind the competition, is twice the price and is technologically behind the times – at least the 500 has the *cough* Fordson *cough* MultiAir engine, which may sound like a ride on lawnmower with emphysema but has its good points..

    Its very simple – try to keep up. MINI bears no relationship to the original Mini, in comparison it is like long walks in the Cotswolds to long walks in the Cotswolds by taxi.. Heaven forfend you might experience rain or sun or any weather at all.. ditto road noise, or any requirement for driving ability.

    Why bother with customers needing to try to keep the engine in the powerband – just jam a 150-200hp engine into it, after all fuel consumption will be improved when you never get above 2500rpm in the entire life of the car…

    The sad thing is this car is perfect for our “society” – Hitler or Stalin (or Blair/Cameron for that matter) might have called it “sociopathy with a social face”. It harks back to a better time, with the whole point of that time taken out back and shot. Like Online Bingo – all the activity and none of the point or effect… The point has been so utterly missed by all of it. Arsebook, socialising without the social – ditto Online Bingo – the whole point is the social side of it, which is entirely lost. The MINI – A resurrected Zombie version of Issigonis’s finest work, which has been deliberately drained of the enjoyment and the soul of its namesake yet sold on precisely those ideals..

    This latest minionmobile is perfectly suited to a society that punishes people for a spare room that the government punishing them most likely gave them in the first place – and drives them to suicide. A society that whines on and on about their support of the vulnerable for a given value of support, IE none (dont want FGM refugees in the UK? simples tell the papers that FGM in the UK is illegal, and deport the little girls you claim to be protecting – while saying “look ma, no FGM”). Its the perfect car – happy, light, bouncy, small while in reality its got a face like a gutshot blonde, so heavy it’d only bounce if you dropped it off the eiffel tower and small in the sense of really rather big.. a soul-less lump you buy because you have “soul”.

    Which really says it all…

    Welcome citizen, to ChavStrip One.

    • Wow, that’s quite an impressive rant, cramming in Hitler, FGM and online bingo. You should write Clarkson’s Sunday Times column.

      Yes the Mini is bigger than the original, but it remains shorter and narrower than the current generation Fiesta. All car segments have got bigger, the Mini has grown with the times.

  17. These cars are largely made in Britain, keep 5000 people in work in Oxford and thousands of others at dealers and in the supply chain, and seem popular enough, so why knock them? Purists might say the Bini is a betrayal of the 1959 design, but who would really want to buy the original Mini new if it was still on sale.

  18. The problem I see is that the further Mini moves away from it’s original essence (fun, sporty, slightly impractical but different), traits shared by the BMC Mini and the original BMW Mini, the less appeal it has to it’s core market. Even a few years ago “I drive a Mini” said something about you. As the range expands in more mundane and less stylish directions this appeal is diminished. It may be good for short term sales, but is it good for the long term health of the Brand?

  19. “It’s enormous – the original Mini was the best packaged car of all time – this is an example of how not to do it. It’s huge on the outside and weighs the same as an Austin Maxi. The crash protection has been taken too far. I mean, what do you want, an armoured car? It is an irrelevance insofar as it has no part in the Mini story.”

    WHO WOULD MAKE SUCH CRITISCISM ABOUT SUCH A WONDERFUL CAR… THE YANKTANK MINI?

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