2014 MINI Cooper spy shotsEnlarge Photo
A new MINI Cooper is just around the corner but it will be just the first in what may end up being 10 different variants, one of which is likely to be a plug-in hybrid. The current-generation MINI already has seven different variants but some new additions, such as a sedan, MPV and even a proper sports car, would take that tally to 10.
The information was revealed by MINI boss Peter Schwarzenbauer, who spoke recently with Automotive News (subscription required).
“With the new ULK architecture, we currently have in mind eight to 10 models,” Schwarzenbauer said.
That UKL architecture the MINI boss is referring to is a new front-wheel-drive platform that will spawn each of the MINI variants as well as several BMWs. It’s flexible enough to accommodate all-wheel drive as well as alternative powertrains and makes its debut in the new MINI Cooper.
Schwarzenbauer also confirmed that there would be electrification within the MINI brand, though this is more likely to take the form of a plug-in hybrid model. He said MINI is investigating the possibility of a fully electric model, similar to the MINI E prototype from several years ago, but it hasn’t been confirmed. By contrast, the plug-in hybrid is a certainty, according to the MINI boss.
Another alternative powertrain may end up being a diesel engine. Schwarzenbauer said the U.S. market looks ready for a MINI diesel and this is something that has to be considered. Worldwide, almost one in four MINIs currently sold are powered by a diesel engine.
The new MINI Cooper is set for a reveal on November 18 and is due in showrooms by spring.