BMW's Mini brand has big plans for the platform that underpins the new 2015 Mini Cooper. And by big, I mean "big" in the literal sense: bigger crossovesrs and higher seating positions are on tap for the future.
Edmunds has a revealing look at Mini's plans moving forward, the most radical of which is probably a five-door version of the new Cooper that should answer a question no one asked. Motor Authority had some spy shots of that one if you're curious.
As many as 10 new Minis will be created on this new platform, not to mention several BMWs set to go front-wheel drive for the first time.
With the Cooper now bigger than its predecessor, the small crossover Countryman and Paceman models are also set to grow in size, and a BMW Group board member says that's how they're gonna hook in new buyers:
It's likely that the next-generation five-door Countryman will edge closer toward becoming a baby SUV, a development that's likely to widen the appeal of this already successful model.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW Group board member responsible for the Mini, Roll-Royce and BMW motorcycle brands, revealed at the unveiling of the new Mini here, that "Cars with high seating positions do very well: The high seating generates stronger customer loyalty."
Emphasis mine. If a Mini isn't mini, is it still Mini? I guess it is if BMW says it is and people keep buying it. Edmunds says all of Mini's eight current models are due for a replacement soon, save for probably the Coupe, which hasn't done too well in sales.
You have to recognize BMW's ability to exploit existing niches and create new ones to generate sales, even if it comes at the expense (or perceived expense) of what we enthusiasts are used to. I'd still like to see at least a few Mini models stay small, light and focused on fun. Mini Rocketman, anyone?