Does this open up the possibility for a seven-seat Mini?
BMW's Mini brand has come a long way since its reintroduction to the US market back in the early 2000s. The British marque now sells four distinct models, including the Hardtop, Convertible, Clubman, and Countryman - and various versions of each. Mini has always been a brand devoted to fun, but critics of the brand, us included, have argued that some of the brand's modern models have strayed too far from the original small car formula.
Take the Countryman for example, essentially a compact SUV now used to underpin the BMW X1 and X2. Park an original Mini next to any of the modern cars, and the size difference becomes instantly apparent. There is no reason to believe that the trend of Minis getting bigger will continue. In an interview with Car Advice, project lead for exterior design at Mini global, Florian Nissl said the company's unique design no longer has to translate to tiny cars.
Nissl explained that the experience of cars from the past doesn't really translate today. "Being a customer of cars myself I have these memories of the cars I used to drive, like 15 maybe almost 20 years ago, and [I don't] necessarily want to have this experience again," he said, "[today] those cars are bigger and also much more safe." Nissl believes that a lot can be done with the Mini design language, that doesn't require the cars to be small. This could open the door for Mini to build something larger than the Countryman, possibly with three rows.
We aren't ready to jump on board with the idea of larger Mini models. Mini models are meant to be fun and small, but we understand that the brand can open up to new buyers by introducing new models. Mini is the last brand to offer a manual transmission in every model, so we suppose bigger models wouldn't upset us too badly if they remain fun to drive.