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Next-Generation Mini Cooper Might Actually Be Mini Again

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Here's how the company plans to do it.

With a brand name like Mini, you know the company isn't going to build full-size pickup trucks any time soon. But this hasn't stopped Mini from making larger and more powerful models like the versions of the Clubman and Countryman, which are powered by a 302-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Mini has previously stated its cars do not have to be miniature anymore but in a recent interview with Auto Express, it seems like the company would like its flagship Cooper model to return to its tiny roots. This means the next-generation Cooper could be smaller than the existing model.

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Mini brand boss Bernd Koerber said, "I would love to see Mini move back to the essence of clever use of space. That means the outer proportions on the core Mini Hatch could be reduced. I can see that happening."

Koerber explained that to make the next-generation car smaller, Mini would likely rely on electrification. "The benefit of electrification is that you don't have to compromise on function. If you fit the battery wisely, you can go smaller but still offer functionality," he explained. "We are in the process at the moment of looking into how we can make something that fits specifically the requirements of the small car segment. We have to see in the next few months what engineering and design can come up with as a solution."

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Mini did recently reveal an electric Cooper SE, though it isn't any smaller than a gas-powered model and only offers a driving range of around 114 miles. Mini's parent company BMW Group formed a partnership with Chinese automaker Great Wall to develop electric vehicles, which could result in a longer driving range. "This is a very early relationship, so we are still in the phase of sorting out who does what, what's the target, what cars we are talking about, and what technologies we are talking about," Koerber said.

As for the sporty John Cooper Works models, they could live on even if the Cooper goes all-electric in the next generation. "We have to go and define JCW in an electrified context and era. But that's possible, there's no problem, no contradiction," Koerber hinted.

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